New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
When Dutch colonists settled in Manhattan in the 1620s, they learned from local Native Americans about a small brook that was full of trout. It originated near what is now Gramercy Park, burbled its way over and beneath Greenwich Village, and emptied into the Hudson at what is now West Houston Street. The Native Americans called the stream “Mannette,” which was translated as “Devil’s Water.” The Dutch called the water Mintje Kill, meaning small stream.
Several families of freed slaves, released by the Dutch, established farms and homes along the Minetta Brook as early as the 1640s. With African Americans continuing to settle here in the 18th and 19th centuries, the area became known as “Little Africa.” Most of the brook has been covered over, though some Village residents claim that it flows beneath their basements and sometimes causes flooding. In the lobby of the apartment building at 2 Fifth Avenue, there is a transparent tube that is said to contain murky water spouting
This triangle, located at the northeast corner of the Avenue of the Americas and Minetta Lane, is one of three nearby parks named after the feisty brook. The City of New York acquired this parcel in 1925 as part of the southerly extension of Sixth Avenue (now Avenue of the Americas) and assigned it to Parks in 1945 after deeming the .075 acre excess. In 1992, community members formed the Bleecker Area Merchant and Resident Association, or B.A.M.R.A. Along with the Bedford Downing Block Association, or B.D.B.A., they developed a successful proposal for the renovation of Minetta Triangle, Sir Winston Churchill Square, and Minetta Green.
New trees and shrubs, along with the creation of a curvilinear bluestone path featuring images of trout, transformed the rigid geometry of Minetta Triangle. Circular sitting areas surrounding trees punctuate the garden path. Small mounds, built up in the interior of the path, add depth to the previously flat landscape and create more of a pastoral setting. Once predominantly concrete, the sitting area has a become green garden cove.
City of New York Parks and Recreation
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor
Adrian Benepe, Commissioner
Erected 2005 by City of New York Parks and Recreation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Parks & Recreational Areas • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 40° 43.793′ N, 74° 0.122′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Sixth Avenue near Bleeker Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10012, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Father Demo Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Sir Winston Churchill Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Minetta Green (within shouting distance of this marker); Downing Street Playground (within shouting distance of this marker); Mascha Kaleko (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of the San Remo Café (1925 - 1967) (about 300 feet away); Minetta Playground (about 400 feet away); MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens Historic District (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . . Minetta Triangle. Official NYC Parks site. (Submitted on September 13, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 13, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 13, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 116 times since then and 10 times this year. Last updated on September 13, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 13, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.