At .04 acres, this slender gap in a row of brownstones on West 71st Street (hence the name) has been called the city’s smallest official park.
By contrast, Central Park has 843 acres, and Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx is three times Central Park’s size.
This postage stamp of a park, originally known as “71st Street Plot,” owes its existence to Mayor John Lindsay.
“New York City acquired this property through condemnation on March 28, 1969,” explains the Parks Department website. “Mayor Lindsay’s vest pocket park initiative supervised the landscaping of the parcel.”
By 1981, as the Upper West Side was emerging from decades of decline, it was put under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department. In 2000, commissioner Henry Stern gave it an illustrious new name that sounds like a cafe in Rome.
In New York, of course, small is good. Septuagesimo Park’s one bench-lined lane is framed by gardens and a few shady trees—all you really need to take in summer in New York.
[Photos: NYC Parks Department]