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NYC - West Village: Hess Estate plaque | by wallyg
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NYC - West Village: Hess Estate plaque

Embedded in the sidewalk at the venerable Village Cigars, trod upon by hundreds of thousands of feet yet barely noticed, is a marker that reads:

 

"Property of the Hess Estate which has never been dedicated for public purposes"

 

There used to be a five-story residential building on Christopher Street called the Voorhis. The legend has it that the building was condemned in the 1910s to make way for the IRT subway, which also extended 7th Avenue south from Greenwich Avenue. However, the Voorhis' owner, David Hess, refused to surrender this small plot to the city to become part of 7th Avenue South's new sidewalk. The Hesses created this mosaic to let everyone know of their small victory against the city. Village Cigars moved to its present corner site in 1922, and bought the 500-square inch property from the Hesses for $1,000. The mosaic has stayed put.

 

The phrasing however, is a standard disclaimer for reserving the right to remove loiterers and the like; there's a similar plaque at 1st Avenue and 14th Street.

 

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Taken on January 6, 2007