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Tuesday, February 06, 2001
No. 21


DATE: Saturday, February 10th, 2001

TIME: 11:00 a.m.

LOCATION: Central Park, 85th Street and Central Park West

EVENT & PHOTO-OP: Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern, State Senator David Paterson, Borough President C. Virginia Fields, New York Historical Society Executive Director Betsy Gotbaum, and Community Board 10 will unveil the Historical Sign commemorating the site where Seneca Village once stood.

DETAILS: In celebration of Black History Month and in honor of Seneca Village, which stood on present-day Central Park, a historical sign will be installed at the site. Seneca Village, located between 81st and 89th Streets and between Seventh and Eighth Avenue, is important to the history of New York City because it may possibly be Manhattan's first prominent community of African-American property owners. Park visitors will now learn the history of the land upon which they recreate.

Religion played an enormous part in most communities in the nineteenth century and Seneca Village was no exception. Two African Methodist churches, the African Union Methodist and the AME Zion (today, known as Mother AME Zion) were constructed in the village near 85th Street. Their congregations were composed entirely of African-Americans. Dr. Alvin Durant, the pastor for the Mother AME Zion Church, will conduct the invocation for the dedication.

The installation of this sign was a community effort. Members of Community Board 10 in partnership with Parks, the Central Parks Conservancy, and the New York Historical Society, recognized the importance of remembering this village as a part of city’s rich and diverse history. It will open park users eyes to history that lies beneath this verdant oasis.

CONTACT: Jane Rudolph (212) 360-1311

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