Discover Seneca Village

Seneca Village, a predominately African American community that existed prior to Central Park, began in 1825, when African Americans living downtown started to buy property in the West 80s. Researchers believe this new community provided refuge from the crowded conditions and discrimination that were prevalent in downtown New York at the time. By 1855, Seneca Village consisted of approximately 225 residents, made up of a small number of Irish and German immigrants, and the largest number of African American property owners in mid-19th-century New York City.

Explore the history of this area like never before with Discover Seneca Village, a temporary outdoor exhibit of interpretive signage that gives visitors a glimpse into pre-Park history, and highlights decades of research about this extraordinary community.

Exhibit highlights:

  • Visit the former locations of historic features such as homes, churches, and gardens
  • Learn more about residents who lived in Seneca Village
  • Explore natural features that were a part of Seneca Village and still exist in Central Park

To view the exhibit, enter the Park at the entrance at Central Park West and West 85th Street. Maps will guide you to the locations of the signs. You can also download a map before you go or pick up a brochure at any visitor center.

Signage will be on display through October 2020.

Project credits:

The Central Park Conservancy developed this program of interpretative signage based on research conducted by the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History (IESVH), with additional research and content development by the Conservancy and Hunter Research, Inc. Project management by Hunter Research, Inc. and graphic design by Douglas Scott. Sign fabrication by Pannier Graphics. The IESVH includes Cynthia Copeland, Paul Johnson, Celedonia Jones, Meredith Linn, Nan Rothschild, Herbert Seignoret, Diana diZerega Wall, and Sharon Wilkins.

Location

Seneca Village Site

West Side at 83rd Street

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When

Year-Round

Open through October 2020

Accessibility

Accessible