View Full Version : Lt. Joseph Petrosino Square (formerly Kenmare Square)

April 1st, 2009, 12:37 AM
Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino Park

This small park is at a crossroads of several dynamic New York neighborhoods: Little Italy and the Bowery to the east, Chinatown to the south, and SoHo to the west and north. The site/area became parkland as a result of the City Charter of 1938, which turned over all public places and squares to the Department of Parks.

The site was formerly known as Kenmare Square, for the street that runs east to Delancey. Around the turn of the century, Tammany Hall leader “Big Tim” Sullivan of the Lower East Side named Kenmare Street in honor of his mother’s birthplace, a village in County Kerry, Ireland. Kenmare Square was renamed in memory of Police Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino (1860-1909) by a local law, introduced by Council Member Miriam Friedlander, passed by the City Council, and signed by Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1987.

Giuseppe (Joseph) Petrosino was born in Salerno, Italy, and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1873. As a boy, he shined shoes outside Police Headquarters on Mulberry Street. At the age of eighteen, he began his career in the public service with the Department of Sanitation (then under the jurisdiction of the Police Department). Fluent in many Italian dialects, Petrosino aided the police by working undercover as an informer in Little Italy.

When he joined the Police Department in 1883, Petrosino was the city’s shortest officer, at five feet and three inches tall. Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt personally promoted him to Sergeant of Detectives in 1895. While investigating anarchists in the United States, Petrosino warned President McKinley of threats against his life; however, the warning was not heeded and the President was assassinated in 1901.

Within ten years, Petrosino was named lieutenant and given command of the new Italian Squad, a unit created to combat the crime organization known as the Black Hand. Under his leadership, several thousand arrests were made, and more than 500 offenders were sent to prison. Crimes against Italian-Americans dropped by fifty percent. Petrosino was killed while on assignment to Palermo, Sicily.
When his body was returned to New York, thousands of mourners formed a funeral procession which marched from Little Italy to Calvary Cemetery in Queens. Lt. Petrosino was the only New York police officer who had died in the line of duty outside the United States. The park named in his honor is located just north of the Renaissance Revival edifice at 240 Centre Street, which served as Police Headquarters from 1910 to 1971.

April 1st, 2009, 12:39 AM
http://i220.photobucket.com/albums/dd121/BrooklynRiderRob/nyc%203-31-2009/th_03312009118.jpg (http://s220.photobucket.com/albums/dd121/BrooklynRiderRob/nyc%203-31-2009/?action=view&current=03312009118.jpg)

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April 4th, 2009, 02:07 AM
Interesting story on the naming of the park.

On a side note I ironically knew someone in high school with the same name and he happens to be a cop now.

April 11th, 2009, 03:45 AM
Construction Watch: Petrosino Square Springs to Action

Friday, April 10, 2009, by Pete

The plan for the new slice of park.

Trees in the park await planting.

Pavers laid out in a herringbone across the center, Belgian blocks at the edge.

Lots of benchage.

The pizza-slice of cracked and crumbling pavement called Lt. Petrosino Square down where Little Italy meets Soho is getting the finishing touches on its long-needed revamp (http://curbed.com/archives/2008/06/11/curbedwire_silverstein_getting_300k_a_day_bathtub_ no_one_protests_petrosino_square_makeover.php). A batch of benches and a truckload of trees arrived at the site shortly after a wreath was laid to commemorate the 100th Anniversary (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/pr/pr_2009_ph04_petrosino.shtml) of the death of NYPD Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, who was gunned down in Sicily while investigating the notorious Black Hand gang, thereby becoming the only officer in the history of the NYPD to be killed on duty outside of the US.

Formerly known as Kenmare Square, the little park was renamed in 1987 to honor Lt. Petrosino and in the past 20 years has witnessed changes galore around its periphery (La Esquina, yum). A 1996 competition sponsored by the Storefront for Art & Architecture elicited numerous entries, but what is being built now is in the traditional NYC park mode: Belgian blocks, hexagonal pavers, green benches and lots of plantings, plus the restoration of the Levy Gate entrance and original iron fence at the perimeter. A big improvement, certainly, and sure to be a great spot to catch the local action when Petrosino Square re-opens in the coming months.

· CurbedWire: No One Protests Petrosino Square Makeover (http://curbed.com/archives/2008/06/11/curbedwire_silverstein_getting_300k_a_day_bathtub_ no_one_protests_petrosino_square_makeover.php)

http://curbed.com/archives/2009/04/10/construction_watch_petrosino_square_springs_to_act ion.php

April 20th, 2009, 04:33 PM
This is already a cool area and the renovated park will make it that much more dynamic. You're right Derek, I walked through this weekend and couldn't remember whether I had seen a photo of that nice building with its soft curves here.

April 20th, 2009, 04:40 PM
I posted one somewhere, before the building was finished, but can't remember where.

EDIT: Found it (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=65032&postcount=59)

April 20th, 2009, 08:41 PM
It's here (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14199) too.

April 20th, 2009, 08:55 PM
ding ding ding ding!

You've won the privilege of moving my post to the correct thread. Congrats BR.

May 13th, 2009, 08:17 PM
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August 18th, 2009, 06:31 AM
Nolita's New Petrosino Square Fattening Up for Fall

August 17, 2009, by Fletcher

The view of Petrosino Square Park from around 16 Cleveland Pl. (SE Corner of the triangle)



The remaking of Petrosino Square—the park that occupies the space in the Soho/Nolita DMZ where Lafayette Street meets La Esquina—is progressing, and the park could meet its revised mid-October opening. The new park was recently slated for September, but a shipment of granite had to work its way through the ports, causing the extra delay. (Community Board 2 explained that the granite was needed for a new curb, since the park was slightly enlarged from the original plan.) A few neighbors started to get antsy about further setbacks, and word circulated that the park's unplanted trees teetered on the brink of death. When a Curbed operative dropped by last week, though, the trees looked plump and juicy, the jackhammers were hard at work, and progress, sweet progress, was at hand.

Well That's Just Dumb (http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2009/08/well-thats-just-dumb.html) [Lost City]
All Petrosino Square Coverage (http://curbed.com/tags/petrosino-square) [Curbed]

http://curbed.com/archives/2009/08/17/nolitas_new_petrosino_square_fattening_up_for_fall .php

September 29th, 2009, 05:54 AM
September 28, 2009

Lieutenant Petrosino Square Nearing Completion

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2633/3963223786_c0a1b0c71b_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/paolomastrangelo/3963223786/)


September 29th, 2009, 10:02 AM
"Nearing completion" might be a bit optimistic ... although work has picked up here in the past few days. New lamp posts in the old NYC style have just gone in, but the reconstruction of the old brick and iron gate & fence has not yet begun.

Gonna be good when it's finished and a big boon to property owners nearby.

September 29th, 2009, 10:10 AM
This is taking forever.

By taking a traffic lane from Lafayette, the triangle now extends to Spring St.

September 29th, 2009, 10:17 AM
I sound like a broken record when it comes to how long it takes to build these tiny traffic triangle parks, but it never ceases to irritate.

September 29th, 2009, 10:26 AM
I like when they open them in December, and all the pols show up without overcoats, and pretend it isn't cold.

September 29th, 2009, 10:32 AM
In this particular case, partial blame goes to a slow boat from China (http://lostnewyorkcity.blogspot.com/2009/08/well-thats-just-dumb.html) ...

October 15th, 2009, 08:04 AM
A Park Is Renewed, the Better to Honor the Hero in Its Name

By Andrew Keh

Police Department Lt. Giuseppe Petrosino (1860-1909)
was killed in the line of duty.

The exploits of one Giuseppe Petrosino, while unknown today by much of the public, have always loomed large in the lore of the city’s Police Department.

Lieutenant Petrosino (1860-1909), known as Joseph, is said to have sent a warning to the Secret Service in Washington about the impending assassination of President William McKinley (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/william_mckinley/index.html) in 1901 — a warning that went unheeded. Later, as the city’s first Italian-American squad leader, Lieutenant Petrosino was a valiant foil to the organized gangs that terrorized the city in the early 20th century. And after he was killed in 1909 while on a secret fact-gathering mission in Italy, more than 200,000 New Yorkers lined the streets of Manhattan for his funeral procession.

On Tuesday in Little Italy, Lt. Joseph Petrosino Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/hs_historical_sign.php?id=8723) was reopened after a one-and-a-half-year, $2 million renovation project. The park, which until 1987 was called Kenmare Square, was rededicated to Lieutenant Petrosino’s memory.

For years, the term “park” was a generous way to describe the barren concrete triangle that rested between Lafayette and Spring Streets and Cleveland Place. But now — after an expansion that has almost doubled the plaza’s size and renovations that have added new pavement, benches, trees, and security lights — descendants and admirers of Lieutenant Petrosino are elated that his lofty reputation will be properly honored.

“This is beautiful,” said Joseph A. Petrosino, 62, Lieutenant Petrosino’s grandnephew. “The changes are tremendous.” Mr. Petrosino, an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, said he used to come by the park a few times a year to clean up the endless empty bottles that were always strewn about the ground. “He lived and worked right around here, so this is a great tribute,” he added.

Lieutenant Petrosino was born in Salerno, Italy, in 1860 and immigrated to New York in 1873. He joined the Police Department in 1883 after aiding them for years as a street-level informer. By 1895, he was personally promoted to sergeant of detectives by Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/theodore_roosevelt/index.html). He was the first Italian-American to reach that rank.

At just 5 feet 3 inches tall, Lieutenant Petrosino was said to have had a gruffness and cunning that belied his diminutive stature. Newspaper accounts from the time portray Lieutenant Petrosino as an expert brawler who was equally adept at wearing a disguise for surreptitious investigative work.

“He was truly a visionary,” Chief Anthony J. Izzo (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/administration/organized_crime_control_co.shtml), the current head of the Police Department’s Organized Crime Control Bureau, said of Lieutenant Petrosino. “He believed in the employment of stealth in police work.”
It is widely believed that his most famous stealth mission could have prevented the assassination of President McKinley.

In an account of his life published on March 14, 1909, The New York Times reported that Lieutenant Petrosino was given a special project by the Secret Service (http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9D03E7D8173EE033A25757C1A9659C946897D6CF) to infiltrate a group of Anarchists in New York and Paterson, N.J., after they received an anonymous tip about possible assassination attempts on the president.

For three months, he posed as an anarchist himself and infiltrated the group, attending meetings and learning enough to warn the Secret Service that crowds should not be allowed anywhere near the president.

According to the article in The Times, Lieutenant Petrosino cried when told the news of President McKinley’s death in Buffalo in 1901, and said, “I warned Washington that the president ought to be more careful, but he believed that every one was like himself.”

Sadly, Lieutenant Petrosino suffered a similar fate in 1909 while on a secret, investigative mission in Palermo, Italy. He was sent by Thomas Bingham, the police commissioner, to obtain criminal information about Italian-Americans for possible deportation. The Sicilian Mafia, after learning of Lieutenant Petrosino’s presence in the city, set a trap for him and shot him in the street.

The New York Times’s account of Lieutenant Petrosino’s funeral procession (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9F04E0D91131E733A25750C1A9629C94 6897D6CF), published on April 13, 1909, provides a staggering view of the regard in which he was held in the city:
If Petrosino had died a president or an emperor no deeper or truer show of feeling could have been manifested than was shown by the 200,000 citizens who lined the sidewalks and filled the balconies and windows of houses along the route of the procession from the old church of St. Patrick’s in Mott Street to the grave in Calvary.
The roll of muffled drums and strains of martial music, tolling bells, and the rhythmic tread of hundreds of his comrades made Lieutenant Petrosino’s funeral pageant so imposing and solemn that it will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.
Now, officials hope that the renovated park will ensure that Lieutenant Petrosino’s name is not forgotten.
“He was an amazing public servant who gave his life in the line of duty,” said the parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe (http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/b/adrian_benepe/index.html), in an interview before the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We finally made it a park worthy of his name.”


October 15th, 2009, 08:11 AM
Grand Reopenings: Italians Re-Take Petrosino Square

October 14, 2009, by Pete






http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3499/4010179906_4f895dcd10_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3499/4010179906_a8d9e51d71_o.jpg) http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2660/4010179670_f16ef1f1a4_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2660/4010179670_9800741491_o.jpg) http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2633/4009412929_ce93f81cb6_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/2633/4009412929_68d9308036_o.jpg) http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3504/4010180300_107c24d86a_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3504/4010180300_a3d2961a24_o.jpg) http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3520/4009413433_0ed4b14be7_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3520/4009413433_f02dcb722c_o.jpg) http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3475/4010180102_e77e0ed224_s.jpg (http://cdn3.curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3475/4010180102_7df19d8d6c_o.jpg)
(click thumbnails to enlarge)

It was over 100 years ago that Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino of the NYPD gave his life while fighting overseas to free our city from the grip of organized crime, and it seems like it took nearly that long to complete the renovation of the slice of park that bears his name. Now, finally, an expanded Petrosino Square has re-opened on the Soho/Nolita/What'sLeftofLittleItaly border. Officer Petrosino's grandnephew, Joseph A. Petrosino, an assistant D. A. from Brooklyn was there, as was his great-grandnephew, Joseph M. Petrosino, himself an officer with the NYPD. There were Petrosinos everywhere. Tutti Petrosini!

Also on hand to show off the bike-friendly piazza: out-going City Councilman Alan Gerson, who fought long and hard to make this project happen. The crowd cheered for the mayor of Padula, Petrosino's little hometown in southern Italy (site of the annual Festival of the Omelette of the 1,000 Eggs), and many were moved by the words of NYPD Chief Anthony J. Izzo, head of the Organized Crime Control Bureau. The ribbon was cut and then, of course, there was food, with lots of tasty little morsels from Eileen's Special Cheesecake, which has sat across the street for more than 30 years. Finally the festivities ended and everyone went their merry way. Later in the day, after the speeches were over and the flags taken down, one lone soul was seen parked on a bench, savoring some of the newer local cuisine. Enjoy the solitude while it lasts. The downtown crowds will find this sweet resting soon enough.

http://curbed.com/archives/2009/10/14/grand_reopenings_italians_retake_petrosino_square. php

October 15th, 2009, 10:07 AM
It can't have opened; it's not winter yet.

I suspect it's all Photoshopped.

May 2nd, 2010, 09:53 PM
http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/9510/petrosinosq02.th.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/petrosinosq02.jpg/) http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/8827/petrosinosq01.th.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/petrosinosq01.jpg/) http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/2006/petrosinosq03.th.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/petrosinosq03.jpg/) http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/5697/petrosinosq04.th.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/petrosinosq04.jpg/) http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/6352/petrosinosq05.th.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/petrosinosq05.jpg/)

They've dug it up already.
http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/2256/petrosinosq06.th.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/petrosinosq06.jpg/)

May 3rd, 2010, 12:01 AM
Actually they never finished what's going in at that corner, they just covered it up when the celebration took place last fall (just before the non-re-election of our local City Councilmember, Alan Gerson).

They're still waiting for the big granite pieces for the curved curbs, at all three corners (supposedly stuck on a slow boat from China).

And the old perimeter fence, to be restored and rebuilt, is sort of scheduled to be re-installed sometime in this century.

But all in all this is a huge improvement and is well used at lunchtime.

May 4th, 2010, 04:33 PM
A huge improvement, but if a may complain one last time, this one may hold the record for the length of time it took to construct versus what was ultimately accomplished.

June 23rd, 2010, 06:24 AM
Petrosino Park Undergoing Large Scale Improvements

by Paolo Mastrangelo


Little Italy's Petrosino Park appears to be falling into disrepair, going to pot even.

After much fanfare when it re-opened in October—the triangular shaped park doubled its previous space and was a welcome addition to the neighborhood—the little park that could has been beset by constant closures and repairs on one side or another. Or as is the case now, on all three sides!

I've heard from a reliable source the work happening now is necessary to correct problems with the original contractor. I have not confirmed this.

With so much repair taking place at the park now, NYC The Blog phoned Council Member Margaret Chin's office yesterday and spoke with staff member Patricia Owen to get the 411.

The south east end has been fenced off since the park opened and remains so today, being used a staging ground of sorts. Owen explained the Parks Department is currently installing a permanent water service to keep the grounds watered. Unfortunately, dozens and dozens of potted plants currently lay about in this area in a kind of plant graveyard, uncared for and dying.


This restricted area has now expanded westward and encompasses the main entrance as well (see photo at top), where the main entrance fenced off, the stone path removed. And now, as of last week, the north west side of the park has been fenced off too, the benches there removed (see photo at left below).


New fencing will be installed throughout the park (replacing the useless chicken fencing guarding the landscapes now) as well as new granite walkways to replace the "temporary stonework in place now." The benches removed from the north end were temporarily moved southward, and will be placed in their original spots again. This seems like a lot of material and labor to repeat and replace so soon, temporary or not.

The east side of the park has become a de facto skate park, but it seems the Parks Department have been taking an active role in trying to prevent this as of late.

And who is taking care of the landscaping? Apparently no one at this time. The carefully planted lush greenery on the north side of the park is being overrun with weeds. Though admittedly, anyone concerned could remove the weeds themselves if one saw fit, being careful of course not to damage the other plants.

In spite of all this, and even because of, Petrosino Park is a stellar example of reclamation of public space, transforming what was in effect four or more lanes of traffic into a well designed public square. When people have value as pedestrians and community members, parks like these are the result.


June 23rd, 2010, 08:35 AM
Shouldn't there be a plaque?

June 23rd, 2010, 09:50 AM
Weeds? No such thing. Natural plantings taking their course :cool:

June 23rd, 2010, 02:00 PM
Just like the High Line uptown! ;)