Posts tagged ‘David Hess’

Awesomest Defender of Private Property I Had Never Heard Of

From Scouting New York


Set into the sidewalk is a small triangle (see my sneaker for size comparison), with the mysterious message: "Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated For Public Purposes."


In 1910, the area around Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue was being widened by the city. Over 300 buildings were condemned and razed under Eminent Domain laws, including a 5-story apartment building called The Voorhis belonging to David Hess.

Hess fought the city fiercely to save his building but lost, and by 1914, this small triangle was all that was left of his property. Thinking he'd been suitably beaten down, the city asked Hess to voluntarily donate the minuscule triangle for use as part of the public sidewalk "“ but Hess refused, and had this mosaic installed on July 27, 1922. Though it inevitably became part of the sidewalk anyway, anyone who walked over the triangle couldn't help but be reminded of Hess' battle.

I would like to buy it from the Hess family and erect a triangular pedestal with a suitable statue on top, perhaps Atlas with the globe bouncing away, giving a one finger salute to the city.