This trivium (Latin for a place where three roads meet), at the juncture of Cabrini Boulevard, Pinehurst Avenue, and West 187th Street, is named for Dr. Charles V. Paterno (1877-1946) who was largely responsible for the residential development of this section of Fort Washington. The Paterno family arrived in New York from southern Italy and became involved in apartment house construction. Paterno trained as a medical doctor, but after his father's death in 1899, became an active builder throughout Manhattan.
In 1905, Paterno purchased land along the Hudson River, south of 187th Street, and constructed a grand mansion known as "Paterno's Castle." He acquired additional land in the 1920s, on which he erected the picturesque English Tudor-style Hudson View Gardens complex in 1923 to 1924, one of New York City's earliest middle-class cooperatives. In 1938 to 1939, after moving to Connecticut, Paterno replaced the castle with the Castle Village apartment complex. This series of five buildings was the first in America to employ the progressive European idea of setting tall residential towers in a park-like setting.
In the spring of 2000, this trivium became a Greenstreets site. The Greenstreets program, a joint project of NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Transportation, began in 1986 and was revived in 1994 with the goal to convert paved street properties, such as triangles and malls, into green spaces.
The design of this trivium, including the paving pattern and landscape, was by architect Thomas Navin, AIA, ASLA. The ribbon cutting ceremony that dedicated and named The Paterno Trivium took place on August 4, 2001, the birth date of Dr. Charles V. Paterno. Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn trees and ground cover of Lily Turf adorn the trivium. The Friends of The Paterno Trivium Ltd serves as stewards of this park and work in collaboration with NYC Parks to provide for its care.