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A Tiny Piece of NYC History

By Linda Tancs

Outside a cigar shop in Greenwich Village at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street is a small marker symbolizing a big dispute in the history of New York City. That’s where you’ll find a triangular mosaic set in the pavement in the 1920s, a memento of one family’s defiance of an order allowing for the seizing of property in the area in the early 1900s to widen the street for the Seventh Avenue subway line. Known as the Hess Triangle, it represents the Hess family’s refusal to sell to the city the one remaining piece of property erroneously omitted from the seizure order, a plot of land barely larger than a footprint. The family ultimately sold the parcel to the cigar shop, where the marker continues to be tramped on by passersby to this day.

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