4. Paradise Square and Five Points in Five Points, now New York City Supreme Court and Columbus Park
In the early 1800s, as Manhattan slowly crept into existence, there was a swampy patch of land in the area around what was then a pristine body of water called the Collect Pond. Later, the marshy land became occupied by several tanneries and breweries, including Coulter’s Brewery, or “The Old Brewery,” which later developed a reputation as the Five Points’ most infamous tenement building during the 1830s and ’40s. The Brewery, which sat right across the street from Paradise Square park, became one of many tenements that sprung up in the area following the Panic of 1837, a financial crisis that shut down many banks, drove up the value of land holdings, and ruined hordes of speculators.
The crime and vice in Five Points is well known in popular culture, but the slums themselves were replaced in an early attempt at urban renewal in New York City. Calvert Vaux, the designer responsible for Central Park, had replaced much of the slum housing with the newly planted Mulberry Bend Park, which was renamed Columbus Park in 1911. The park brought some refreshing greenery to the long shoddy area, and the arrival of a new wave of Asian immigrants in the early 20th century overwhelmed the once diverse population in the Five Points. Soon, the notorious Five Points simply became yet another province of the ever growing Chinatown.