Stuyvesant Square, between east 15th and 17th Streets, is looking beautiful this summer.
This elegant swatch of flowers, benches, and fountains is split into two halves by Second Avenue, with both sections surrounded by a handsome black cast iron fence.
The fence was decreed by a descendent of Peter Stuyvesant, who in 1836 wanted to land to become a park enclosed by a fence “similar to that around Union Square.”
Topped with spiked finials and cage posts, the seven-foot tall fence is impressive.
“It is technologically interesting as it is freestanding, without any lateral braces to support it, and stylistically interesting as a cast-iron version of Federal style ironwork built in 1847,” states the 1975 Landmarks Preservation Commission report designating it a city landmark
And according to this NYC Parks Department page, it’s the oldest cast-iron fence in New York City.
It’s not the oldest iron fence in the city though. The wrought-iron fence around Bowling Green, put up in 1771 to protect a new statue of King George III from independence-minded colonists, still stands—predating Stuyvesant Square’s fence by 76 years.
[Right: Stuyvesant Square and its old-school fence in the 1930s, NYPL Digital Gallery]