A Free Presentation on Seneca Village

A free and live-streamed presentation about Seneca Village will take place on Wednesday, October 28 at 5:30pm. The live presentation will take place via Zoom and will be limited to 100 people, but it will be recorded so those who don’t make it can view the presentation afterwards.

Presenter Philip Andrew Stein will begin the evening’s story begins back in the 1820s, when much of the Upper West Side was open countryside with very few–probably no more than 1600–people living here. About 200 of these people were free Blacks who bought up affordable plots in what is now Central Park. They built themselves homes, churches and a school in the area that became known as Seneca Village.


When Irish and German immigrants moved in, the village became a rare example of an integrated neighborhood. However, on July 21, 1853, everything changed for the residents of the Village. That’s when the city claimed the land and all structures on it, razed it all and started start work on the park.

The program will be an introduction to the history of this significant 19th century community, a history which, for more than a hundred years, remained largely unknown to many New Yorkers. The presenter, Philip Andrew Stein, will share information that has been recently uncovered about the Village and reveal some resources that have been newly developed.

As Stein explains, “If you have been on a tour of Seneca Village before, this will be an update for you; if you haven’t, this will be a useful introduction to the subject.”

Philip Andrew Stein is a 45 year resident of Manhattan and an 18 year resident of the Upper West Side. Retired professionally, he has been performing volunteer work for several cultural organizations including the New-York Historical Society as an explainer and for the Central Park Conservancy as a tour guide. His tours for the Conservancy have focused on pre-park history, park history, statues and monuments, landscape and park design. For most of the 12 years that he has been involved with the Conservancy, he has guided tours of the Seneca Village site.

The presentation will be sponsored by the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group and the Columbus Amsterdam Business Improvement District. To register for the Zoom presentation, please click here. If you’re interested but aren’t able to attend, check out www.upperwestsidehistory.org after the 28th.

The Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group researches, collects and shares information about the history of the upper west side. It is a volunteer group that arranges free public programs just about every month. Hidden History is its October offering.

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  1. Stephanie Tegnazian October 16, 2020

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