The lost neighborhood under New York's Central Park

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  • Before Central Park was built, a historically black community was destroyed.
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    If you’ve been to New York, you’ve probably visited Central Park. But there’s a part of its story you won't see.
    It’s a story that goes back to the 1820s, when that part of New York was largely open countryside. Soon it became home to about 1,600 people. Among them was a predominantly black community that bought up affordable plots to build homes, churches and a school. It became known as Seneca Village. And when Irish and German immigrants moved in, it became a rare example at the time of an integrated neighborhood.
    Everything changed on July 21, 1853. New York took control of the land to create what would become the first major landscaped park in the US -- they called it “The Central Park.”
    In the Vox series Missing Chapter, Vox Senior Producer Ranjani Chakraborty revisits underreported and often overlooked moments from the past to give context to the present. Join her as she covers the histories that are often left out of our textbooks. Our first season tackles stories of racial injustice, political conflicts, even the hidden history of US medical experimentation.
    Have an idea for a story that Ranjani should investigate for Missing Chapter? Send it to her via this form! bit.ly/2RhjxMy
    Sign up for the Missing Chapter newsletter to stay up to date with the series: vox.com/missing-chapter
    Explore the full Missing Chapter playlist, including episodes, a creator Q&A, and more! thexvid.com/p/PLJ8cMiYb3G5fR2kt0L4Nihvel4pEDw9od
    The Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History website: projects.mcah.columbia.edu/seneca_village/
    The exhibit on Seneca Village through the Central Park Conservancy: www.centralparknyc.org/programs/discover-seneca-village
    Check out the 1856 before and after Central Park plans at the New York Public Library, as well as dozens of other Central Park maps and archives: digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6850fc74-5e61-8806-e040-e00a18067a2c
    Read the full report on the 2011 Seneca Village excavations: s-media.nyc.gov/agencies/lpc/arch_reports/1828.pdf
    Read the New York Times’ coverage of Seneca Village: www.nytimes.com/2019/11/28/opinion/seneca-central-park-nyc.html
    Read The Park and the People by Elizabeth Blackmar and Roy Rosenzweig for a comprehensive history of Central Park, including Seneca Village: www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9780801497513/the-park-and-the-people/
    Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out www.vox.com.
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Comments • 80

  • Vox
    Vox  2 months ago +1124

    hi everyone, thanks for checking out the first Missing Chapter episode of 2020! we've got a lot more reporting planned this year, so if you want to stay up to date with the latest in the series you can sign up for the Missing Chapter newsletter: vox.com/missing-chapter . -Ranjani

    • Tee Consigliano
      Tee Consigliano 16 days ago

      Omitting the Native American history at the beginning of the video makes it incomplete and inaccurate.

    • B M
      B M 21 day ago

      did you just say "poor whites and immigrants"... italians and irish are white and immigrants. you make no sense

    • Timothy View
      Timothy View 24 days ago

      😷CORINA VIRUS is REAL 😷 🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨WASH HANDS🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨🚨

    • Glip Klopsyiop
      Glip Klopsyiop Month ago

      Did they get compensated?

    • Shadow
      Shadow Month ago

      @SIStefanov Yet here you are. For I'm sure your own best reason. Though apparently you are the type that needs me to explain so as not to deny you a (C) I'm not interested. Too bad. Shame about your own whoosh.

  • Earth Is A Donut
    Earth Is A Donut 52 minutes ago +1

    Rich white elites:
    Step 1: We buy and bring people from other countries
    Step 2: We make them our slaves
    Step 3: They become part of our community and take over some of our land...hol up

  • Hmfirestormz
    Hmfirestormz Hour ago

    But now everyone enjoyes a nice big park. What’s the problem

  • Andrew Cleartower

    god i love ny. its the only place to live on this planet.

  • Alfredo Jeri
    Alfredo Jeri 12 hours ago

    Not surprised at all... NYC does this even today because money talks and bulshit walks... hence why I don’t live there anymore...

  • I think I Got This!
    I think I Got This! 17 hours ago

    An then you have some White ppl today act like Black ppl have no right to be upset.😒

  • I think I Got This!
    I think I Got This! 17 hours ago

    @4:55 of course there is a Rothchild involved.

  • Philip Sterk
    Philip Sterk 23 hours ago

    the white man is the devil

  • tech out my space
    tech out my space Day ago +1

    little pink house

  • turnerway14
    turnerway14 Day ago

    A bit boring but good

  • BAGS_OF_BISCUITS

    So evil smh. Can we have anything?! As far as I’m concerned the families need to be compensated by today’s standards

  • Ciaran Doyle
    Ciaran Doyle Day ago

    i once ate a pack of jellybeans in central park was alright

  • thehoneyeffect
    thehoneyeffect Day ago

    White people smh

  • thehoneyeffect
    thehoneyeffect Day ago

    'Settled' lol
    Stolen

  • RUFFTURBO911
    RUFFTURBO911 2 days ago

    RIP Seneca. I pray these people relocated and found success in their new homes.

  • Austin
    Austin 2 days ago

    6:12 black people weren’t the only ones that lost their homes but it didn’t help your narrative so🤷🏻‍♂️

  • eric williams
    eric williams 2 days ago

    Its the same story for the last 1000 years. Kings or wealthy people in this case taking land from the underclasses. Id like to know what other neighborhoods were displaced.

  • Jace Fortner
    Jace Fortner 2 days ago

    I wish I didn’t live in Mississippi

  • Theps Theps
    Theps Theps 2 days ago

    I love New York history. I’m going to do research and learn all about Seneca Village now.

  • Martin Duprey
    Martin Duprey 3 days ago

    As a new Yorker this is old news and the take over of Manhattan island by the rich is inevitable but as time goes by it must be retold all of America's history has to be re written and retold with what's missing

  • Alex Anzivino
    Alex Anzivino 3 days ago

    why not talk about all the lost dutch communities the there lost as well

  • FREE CODING
    FREE CODING 3 days ago

    Newspapers of that era really had no standards of legit journalism. They wrote inflammatory sensational stories just to incite people to riot or cause conflict among people.

  • Shake Bake
    Shake Bake 3 days ago

    Sounds like they made the right decision.
    Central Park is beautiful

  • Matthew Lo
    Matthew Lo 4 days ago

    Village's cause of death: *GOT IN MY WAY*

  • Ulev Lsy
    Ulev Lsy 5 days ago +3

    They also did something like this in san Francisco with a Filipino community that was destroyed to make a parking lot.

  • Mike Knight
    Mike Knight 5 days ago +1

    Stop hating

  • CinnastixChick
    CinnastixChick 5 days ago

    Don't you just hate it when history books wash down the actual truth to make nefarious deeds sound legitimate?

  • Dee Harden
    Dee Harden 5 days ago

    Wow never knew this

  • Danny
    Danny 6 days ago +2

    Wish we learned this in class

  • Gislaina
    Gislaina 6 days ago +2

    Hey Vox! Thanks for doing videos like this! I never even heard of Seneca village and I’m a native New Yorker.

  • Gene Miller
    Gene Miller 7 days ago +4

    Reminds me of my city. In the 60s when the interstate was built, Central Avenue the 'black mainstreet' was destroyed.

  • Derek Quintal
    Derek Quintal 7 days ago

    Very interesting.

  • J-Lynn
    J-Lynn 8 days ago +1

    R.E.P.A.R.A.T.I.O.N.S NOW

  • MrKingVulture
    MrKingVulture 8 days ago

    White democrat elites destroyed Seneca city ... fixed.

    • chatboss000
      chatboss000 4 days ago

      How about "white elites" unless there's an ideology you'd like to clarify besides "people that called themselves 'Democrat'".

  • Justin Tackett
    Justin Tackett 9 days ago +2

    This is interesting. And the truth should be known, but for those haters of America I think her last quote summed it up.

  • Roy Rogers
    Roy Rogers 9 days ago

    It was done under "The Common Good" and if you think it was wrong you are not aware that is what democratic socialism is all about. Kids are taught this is good now, older city buildings all over are being taken away from the poor right now "for the common good", rich young business types move in to save "down town" and everyone benefits except the poor

  • Matthew Baken
    Matthew Baken 9 days ago +1

    What happened to the burial site? Has any archeological study taken place to locate the hallowed graves of the neighborhood. Chicago’s Lincoln park was partly built on an old cemetery that was used to bury cholera and small pox victims.

  • Renata Cantore- Gross
    Renata Cantore- Gross 9 days ago +1

    Thank you for telling us about this untold story about yet another outrageous experience fraught upon Black people. They could have built the park around Senaca village or at least paid the people for their homes & property.

  • DaLion
    DaLion 9 days ago +1

    Europeans "The Whites," they did it to the Natives, now other Ethnicity. Need more diversity in the courts. I hope there was compensation for relocating these homeowners.

  • youright 1
    youright 1 10 days ago +1

    I thought the proclamation was 1865? So if this was 1820, then how were we not free????? Mhmm got em..

  • youright 1
    youright 1 10 days ago +5

    African American ain't African. We been here, and European Americans, lied about history for agenda purposes. Like they did to the aborginal Australians...

    • youright 1
      youright 1 7 days ago +1

      @2016 memes Google shinnecock tribe and click image, google pequot tribe and click image....

    • 2016 memes
      2016 memes 7 days ago

      @youright 1 lol ur out of ur mind

    • youright 1
      youright 1 7 days ago

      @VYTTORIA SAINTAMAND Google pequot tribe and click image

    • VYTTORIA SAINTAMAND
      VYTTORIA SAINTAMAND 7 days ago

      youright 1 you’re getting confused with Native Americans

  • Terri Mabrey
    Terri Mabrey 10 days ago

    This is excellent to know! Thankfully t

  • dedicated2house
    dedicated2house 10 days ago +1

    I really enjoyed this video
    It’s similar to what they did in my area “ South East London “Greenwich, deptford and Lewisham

  • Felipe Carvalho
    Felipe Carvalho 10 days ago +1

    Why it was called Seneca Village? The founder was a stoic student? Cmon you gotta give us more details on that.

  • Sanseevan Harichandran
    Sanseevan Harichandran 10 days ago +1

    White and immigrants???
    In America all are immigrants other than (native) red indian.

  • cosmicVox13
    cosmicVox13 11 days ago

    Pave it over and build low income housing.
    There. Fixed it.

  • Explodingtraps
    Explodingtraps 12 days ago +8

    I hope Vox recognises the importance of telling the truth in the news after this story has shown how lying in the news changes history

  • Joseph Namattoc
    Joseph Namattoc 12 days ago +1

    New York times. How reliable

  • teammm
    teammm 12 days ago +1

    All black people know for a fact our people began to gain wealth and political power and it was time again, generation after generation destroyed by white people. Now we have a sense of complacency and ignorance among the general public that claims that by now black people had time to overcome their obstacles. Meanwhile it’s only been 50 yrs since all our people could vote and it’s still being undermined to this day. Smh.

  • Mathias Warrior Wolf
    Mathias Warrior Wolf 13 days ago +1

    It's not African American history it's just American history.. nicely put! Honestly i didn't even take the reference to senaca village as an African American village.. she said it was a mixed culture of blacks who started it and the Irish and Germans moved in.... i would've thought Indigenous Americans were here...

  • Juan C Martinez
    Juan C Martinez 14 days ago

    Great story. I will sure take a trip to Central Park and learn much more about this.

  • Aizen Reeve
    Aizen Reeve 14 days ago

    See how powerful and destructible News Outlets/Medias are. Able to downgrade a whole village.

  • Patrick or Pat
    Patrick or Pat 14 days ago

    Cool

  • Ed B
    Ed B 14 days ago +5

    Hopefully these people were paid for their land but glad it's a park and not buildings. people need the park

  • Sammy Hamawi
    Sammy Hamawi 15 days ago

    Why am I not surprised

  • Jonathan Meza
    Jonathan Meza 15 days ago +2

    All my life i lived in ne york city never knew this story, thank you for that.

  • alex042687
    alex042687 15 days ago +1

    I'm from former USSR and white. My mother is Russian and descends from Northern Europe. My father's family is also Russian and darker and descends from Northern Africa. Possibly had ancestors who were slaves in abkhazia in the mid to late 1800s. Would I owe reperations here if and when that becomes law?

  • Northern Alberta
    Northern Alberta 16 days ago

    I wonder how much they paid them to move, its generally more than it's worth.

  • daniel yeroshalmi
    daniel yeroshalmi 16 days ago +1

    Barclays center claimed homes

  • Jenny Calderon
    Jenny Calderon 16 days ago +1

    This makes me so angry...so did they pay them to leave or just forced them out?

  • V 27
    V 27 16 days ago +1

    Thank you Vox for these educational videos!

  • Joseph Vega
    Joseph Vega 17 days ago

    It’s always the whites disrupting the blacks
    :(

  • Ralfi Morales
    Ralfi Morales 17 days ago +1

    Where the majority not the minority how you like them apples👍😂

  • Ralfi Morales
    Ralfi Morales 17 days ago +1

    Same thing happened to us Mexicans in LA Chavez Ravine matter fact they happened to the whole Southwest we're not complaining about it we took it all back where the majority not the minority

  • Chris Reinoehl
    Chris Reinoehl 17 days ago +3

    And to think, the American Indian got duped out of all this land by the pale face, and if not duped, then murdered.

  • Jacques Johnson
    Jacques Johnson 17 days ago +2

    I remember Central Park being somewhere I didn’t want to go to.

  • Leslie Jones
    Leslie Jones 17 days ago

    I apologise

  • THE GERM
    THE GERM 18 days ago +6

    I love this quote “it’s not just African American history it’s just American history.”

    • youright 1
      youright 1 10 days ago +1

      European American history lies about aborginal Americans (now black ppl)

  • eliteinventor
    eliteinventor 18 days ago +1

    American history

  • Scarlet Blackrose
    Scarlet Blackrose 18 days ago +1

    Seneca Crane

  • John Ryu
    John Ryu 19 days ago

    Well the central park is very beautiful. So well done!

  • Bob Martin
    Bob Martin 19 days ago +2

    This same thing has happened in the west as well as back east

  • Bruce Havelka
    Bruce Havelka 19 days ago +1

    Fascinating, thank you.

  • Charles Bird
    Charles Bird 19 days ago +2

    This was an unexpectedly informative and nicely presented mini-documentary. Well done

  • Britopia
    Britopia 19 days ago +1

    So why was this mainly about Seneca Village instead of ‘everyone’ in that area? Typical race baiting.

  • Gen C
    Gen C 19 days ago

    Democrats destroying New York since the 1800s

  • Miguel Castaneda
    Miguel Castaneda 19 days ago +1

    so like where dodger Stadium is here in los Ángeles..homes with belongings were plowed under to make way for the oh so wonderful stadium

  • troryANCAS
    troryANCAS 19 days ago +2

    This part of the USA sickens me … Great video, though. And I'm glad that this side of the park's story is out in the open now, for all to see. I just hope that people learn …

  • michael anzelino
    michael anzelino 19 days ago

    And where is the second part to this story? What happened to the people of Seneca Village? Where did they go? The people who put this story together left us with the impression that the people of Seneca Village were discarded with no compensation. We would like to know.

  • Anthony W Mitchell
    Anthony W Mitchell 20 days ago +1

    Very interesting . Thanks for sharing