Posts Tagged ‘Paradise Square’

What happened to Paradise Square?

June 21, 2010

That very auspicious name was given to the neighborhood built in the early 19th century over the site of Collect Pond.

A pristine body of water in colonial times, Collect Pond was basically an open sewer by 1800. It was located near today’s Centre and Lafayette Streets.

The city filled the pond in 1811, and Paradise Square sprang up over it, according to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

But Paradise Square only lasted a few decades. The water table was so high, the neighborhood began sinking—and emitting a rancid smell, prompting affluent families to leave.

By the 1830s it was known as Five Points, the notorious slum that was a breeding ground for crime, gangs, and disease.

The Paradise name lived on until the early 1900s in the form of Paradise Park, as seen in the NYPL postcard above. It was renamed Columbus Park in 1911.