A Visit To A Bizarre Attraction, The Smallest Plot Of Land In New York City

new york cityA few years back I was skimming over Atlas Obscura looking for interesting and strange things to do in New York City.

During my search, I came across something that I had probably walked past many times, paying no attention to it. (An old friend of mine had lives down the block from the location.)

Just outside the Village Cigars shop in the West Village is the smallest plot of land in NYC!

I had planned to visit this site again (called Hess’ Triangle) but I never got around to it until a week back.

Over the weekend, we headed to the city and it just so happened, that Hess’ Triangle was around a block away from where we were having lunch. After we were done, we headed over to take a closer look of this bizarre sight in person.As we approached Village Cigars, we immediately noticed the small triangle with mosaic tiles in the sidewalk. We waited for a few people to pass by before stopping for a quick photo-op.Hess’s Triangle reads, “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated For Public Purposes.”

Some of you are probably wondering what this means.

According to Atlas Obscura, “In 1910, nearly 300 buildings were condemned and demolished by the city to widen the streets and construct new subway lines. David Hess battled the city to keep the Voorhis, his 5-story apartment building. He resisted eminent domain laws for years, but was ultimately forced to give up his property. 

By 1914, the 500-square-inch concrete triangle was all that remained of Hess’ property. As if his loss wasn’t bad enough, the city asked him to donate the tiny portion of concrete to use as part of the public sidewalk. Out of spite, Hess refused the offer. On July 27, 1922, he had the triangle covered with mosaic tiles, displaying the statement, “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated For Public Purposes.”

The Hess family is no longer the owner of the smallest plot of land in New York City as this historic triangle was sold to Village Cigars for $1,000 in 1938!

I’d love to know if the city ever asked Village Cigars to donate the land to the city?
In the end, this was a quick and fun stop and also a great place for a jump!

This visit reminded me of an attraction we visited in Portland, Oregon in 2017- Visiting Mills End Park, The Smallest Park In The World. (Another Atlas Obscura find!)

Hess’ Triangle is located at 110 7th Avenue South in New York City.

2 thoughts on “A Visit To A Bizarre Attraction, The Smallest Plot Of Land In New York City

  1. The Hess family should have been allowed to build a phone booth there or even a house. A house could be like an AirBnB where you go inside and lean on the walls to sleep standing up. Maybe an overhead space for luggage.

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