Mar 22, 2010

At Petrosino Square

SoHo and Nolita make great neighborhoods for strolling, shopping and dining, but it's often hard to find a good place to sit down. Examining the map of the streets south of Houston and north of Canal, only one little area seems convenient - a small park called Petrosino Square at the meeting of Kenmare, Lafayette, and Cleveland Place. Formally opened on October 13, 2009 and now in its final stage of expansion and restoration, a plan that included rebuilding of the original brick columns, the addition of bike racks, plantings, and most conveniently, the placement of several new benches, the square has become the perfect place to stop after exploring the nearby bustling streets. According to the NY Parks announcement last October, the $2 million reconstruction was funded entirely by New York City Council Member Alan Gerson.


View At Petrosino Square in a larger map

The location of Petrosino Square at the crossroads of an older but newly fashionable area of the city optimizes its potential as a gathering place. Surrounded by many popular restaurants, including La Esquina, Ed's Lobster Bar, and Spring Street Natural, and proximate to several French cafes - Balthazar, for example, the park actually sits at the confluence of several historic neighborhoods - Little Italy, the Bowery and an expanding Chinatown. La Esquina contributes reliable Mexican food to the ethnic mix, and its walk-up window (a wonderful feature for anyone out strolling with a dog) allows the pleasure of informal take-out dining in the park. Many coffee carts are nearby, too, especially on the weekdays. It's like a pint-size Times Square, but with far less tourists.




The Italian heritage is recognized in the name of the park, named for the crime-fighting Italian-American policeman, Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino (1860-1909), who died in the line of duty while on assignment to Palermo, Sicily. The square sits a block north of the former police headquarters, an impressive ornate Renaissance Revival building from 1905-1909, at 240 Centre Street. Petrosino Square, in addition to being a nice place to stop, also serves as an excellent starting point for urban explorations north south, east, and west.

Images of Petrosino Square (looking south - see the old Police Headquarters in the distance on the left) and La Esquina by Walking Off the Big Apple.

Related Posts:
A Walk In NoLita, Sometimes Speaking French
Winston Churchill Square

10 comments:

Agnes said...

Your blog is like a breath of fresh air -- absolutely love it!

UberStreeckX said...

Good stuff.

aaronb said...

what a great historical information you have there. In all the 20 years of living here in the city of New York, I never actually had the time to explore the fine dining, warm parks, and beautiful scenery in the Lower East Side, Manhattan. The meaning of the restaurant's name is very interesting, for the fact that it is named after a former police officer and his dedication to serve the city. Its very amazing how the parks and restaurants are nearby each other; which makes it a unique and valuable part about this location.

The villager: said...

Nice blog.....a stroll is so much better than a car or subway.

elisabetta ribatti said...

travelling through your blog. In my mind, but travelling

Miguel said...

Love your blog, very usefull information if you travel New York, I love the photos too.

Boomka said...

Obviously I haven't walked down every street in our fair city, but I do so love it when I walk down a seemingly random street and find a cozy nook or just really cool spot that seems so hidden from the universe. I went to a restaurant a couple weeks ago that was at the end of a t-street and I was just so enamored with it. So crazy cool! I will keep my eye for this square!

Asian Guy said...

I never noticed Petrosino Sq in all those years I spent in NYC up to 2002. From your pic and the map I can see that area really get gentrified! Strangely I deconstructed the title into "Petro Sino". Hmmmm it must be my reflex of being in China and reading sustainability stuff. Nice to see the bikes and rack.

Teri Tynes said...

Thanks so much for these great comments. Also, welcome to new visitors. I hope you come back and continue to contribute comments.

Petrosino Square may seem unfamiliar, because just a few months ago, it didn't look at all like a real place. Sometimes, the square was used for pop-up art installations. There are still plans to use the space for art. Nevertheless, the expansion of the square, along with the bike racks, plantings, brick columns, etc. has turned it into a nice pedestrian island.

Just little things can make a difference in a big city.

Alina said...

Have you seen the artwork on view in Petrosino Square now?