7. Remnants of the Lost Seneca Village in Central Park
There was once a thriving village called Seneca located in what became Central Park, between 81st and 89th Street on the West Side. It wasn’t a shantytown or slum, like the rest of the settlements. 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 African American residents what they needed to vote–their own land. However, in 1853 the city passed a bill authorizing the takeover of the land 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!