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Tragic true story about neighborhood that used to exist underneath New York's Central Park

Tragic true story about neighborhood that used to exist underneath New York's Central Park

A neighborhood used to exist underneath New York's Central Park

Central Park is one of the most iconic tourists destinations not just in the US, but the entire world.

The majority of people who have visited New York would have paid the famous park a visit.

And if you've been to the Big Apple and never visited Central Park, well you certainly need to swing by to see what it's all about on your next visit to the American city.

Beneath all the grass, paths and lake in Central Park, there is a whole lot of history that makes for interesting reading.

The park was built all the way back in 1858, and has since become surrounded by countless skyscrapers and large buildings.

Central Park in New York. (Getty Stock Photo)
Central Park in New York. (Getty Stock Photo)

Central Park wasn't always the tourist attraction it is today though, as it once acted as New York's countryside before it became so industrialised.

The area became home to about 1,600 people, including a predominantly Black community which bought plots on the land to develop into homes, churches and a school.

Thanks to the development, the area between New York's 82nd and 89th Streets and Seventh and Eighth Avenues became known in 1825 as Seneca Village, and drew in Irish and German immigrants who lived alongside the land's existing residents.

According to the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History, Seneca Village had become 'a multi-ethnic community [including] African Americans, Irish, and German immigrants, and perhaps a few Native Americans' by the 1840s, and in 1855 the New York State Census reported approximately 264 individuals living in the village.

However, in spite of all of the work that had been done, New York City was able to take control of the land on 21 July, 1853 thanks to eminent domain - a power which allows the federal government to acquire property for public use.

The Seneca Village. (MoMA/Aerial Archives)
The Seneca Village. (MoMA/Aerial Archives)

The US' Department of Justice explains the eminent domain 'appertains to every independent government' and 'requires no constitutional recognition'.

Once they had control of the land, New York City dubbed it 'the Central Park'.

In a bid to learn more about the history of the land beneath the park, archaeologists conducted excavations at Seneca Village in the summer of 2011 following research on the site which began years prior.

Today, Central Park covers a space of 843 acres and welcomes more than 42 million visitors annually. The City of New York has enlisted the help of the Central Park Conservancy to help care for the park, with more than 300 Conservancy employees working to tend to the park's 'maintenance, restoration, and architectural needs'.

The conservancy spends as much as nearly $78 million each year into 'protecting and improving' the park, with the money coming 'primarily by individual donations'.

Featured Image Credit: MoMA/Aerial Archives / Craig T Fruchtman/Getty Images

Topics: Nature, New York, Travel, US News