14. Greenwich Village was Home to the Smallest Plot of Land in NYC

Hess triangle in Greenwich Village

On the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue is a triangular mosaic tile that reads,”Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated for Public Purposes.” Measuring in at 500 square inches, the Hess Triangle was the smallest plot of land in New York City. The land belonged to David Hess, a Philadelphia landlord who owned a five-story apartment building called the Voorhis. Hess building. In the expansion of the IRT subway line and the extension of 7th Avenue, the Hess Building was one of 300 demolished through eminent domain.

For some reason, this little triangular plot belonging to David Hess remained in his possession, left over from the plot his apartment building once sat. The city asked him to “donate” the plot of the land for the sidewalk but he refused, taking the issue to court. It remained the smallest piece of private property until 1938, when the David Hess estate sold it to Village Cigars for $1,000.