3. Seneca Village Remnants
There was once a thriving village called Seneca located in what is now Central Park, between 81st and 89th Street on the West Side. It wasn’t a shantytown or slum – this was a full fledged middle class town with over 260 residents, several churches, and a school. With wooden houses on assigned lots, it gave Black residents what they need to vote – their own land. However, in 1853 the city passed the bill authorizing the takeover of the land to build Central Park and paid the settlers off. By 1857, when the park officially opened, the settlement was gone.
The granite bricks near the West 85th Street entrance are often erroneously said to be the remnants of a foundation of a building in Seneca Village, but from speaking to the Central Park Conservancy Historian, Marie Warsh, it’s been determined they’re actually from a 1930s sandbox. There are foundations and other remnants hidden much further underground though!