From the early 1900’s to now, there have been significant changes that have taken place all over the world in various fields - be it technology, fashion, economy, politics, and so on and so forth. Architectural marvels on the other hand beg to differ; they stand erect and tall (except for the leaning tower of Pisa!), and many of them are known to withstand the tests of time.
But what if the structure in question was no architectural marvel but rather was just a piece of land, which has a very fascinating story?
At the southwest corner of Christopher street and Seventh Avenue, right in front of the entrance to a quaint little store called- ‘The Village Cigars Store’ in New York City, is a remarkable site that is so small that it can be missed by anyone passing by the vicinity.
The land around the said area used to be a residential area with 300 buildings owned by builders. Among these builders was a certain Mr David Hess who owned one five storey building known as the Voorhis Apartment. In 1910, the city decided to construct a new subway line and widen the streets, which in turn meant the demolition of all the buildings that stood above the planned subway.
After the demolition took place, on account of a surveying error on the part of the city government, Mr Hess found himself in the possession of a a tinier than tiny parcel of land, measuring 65 cm on the base and 70 cm on both sides. As soon as the error was recognised, the city sent a formal notice to Mr Hess asking him to surrender the property in question, that earlier was left unmapped.
But, Mr David Hess did not agree to the city’s demands and resisted. To show his displeasure and his right over the property, he had the tiny property tiled bearing the inscription: ‘Property of Hess Estate which has never been dedicated for public purposes.’
In 1938, Mr Hess sold the property to the ‘Village Cigars Store’ for $ 1,000. Last heard, it is still the smallest property in New York City that is listed till today!
P.S: It is said that the piece of property is as big as a pizza slice. You can find out the truth behind this statement by booking your flight tickets to NYC!
Author : Roshal Mascarenhas