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African Americans began to purchase land on 82nd and 89th Street, from the Great Lawn to Central Park West in the 1820s. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church bought land there because they needed to build a burial site for its downtown congregation. Some of the people who owned the land built their houses, and this group of houses eventually became Seneca Village, which was built in the 1820s.


More people began to reside in the village when the African American community of York Hill, just to the east of Seneca Village, was destroyed due to the creation of a holding basin for the new Croton water system.


Though there were no Irish residents in the village, some Irish immigrants began to move into the village and interact with African Americans in the late 1840s.


In the 1850s, there were more than 260 residents in Seneca Village. Two-thirds of them were African Americans and one-third were European, most of whom were Irish.


The Black

and Irish 

As New York City dramatically and rapidly grew, its border moved to the north. Its border eventually encountered Seneca Village, and the government decided to create a public park in the location currently known as Central Park. To build the park, the government destroyed all the houses in Seneca Village, forcing all the residents to move out and contributing the demise of the African American-Irish community.


The destruction of

Seneca Village

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