This small park, named for heroic police officer Lt. Joseph Petrosino, is at a crossroads of several dynamic New York neighborhoods: Little Italy and the Bowery to the east, Chinatown to the south, and SoHo to the west and north. The site became parkland as a result of the City Charter of 1938, which turned over all public places and squares to the Department of Parks.
The area was formerly known as Kenmare Square, named for the street that runs east to Delancey. Around the turn of the century, Tammany Hall leader “Big Tim” Sullivan of the Lower East Side named Kenmare Street in honor of his mother’s birthplace, a village in County Kerry, Ireland. Kenmare Square was renamed in memory of Police Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino (1860-1909) by local law in 1987.