1891...............................2012

In the late 19th century, the area that is now Columbus Park was known as Mulberry Bend. At its southern boundary was the notorious Five Points, formed at the intersection of Baxter St (formerly Orange), Worth St (formerly Anthony), and Park St (formerly Cross). Jacob Riis wrote documented Mulberry Bend in is 1889 book, How the Other Half Lives.
WHERE Mulberry Street crooks like an elbow within hail of the old depravity of the Five Points, is "the Bend," foul core of New York's slums. Long years ago the cows coming home from the pasture trod a path over this hill. Echoes of tinkling bells linger there still, but they do not call up memories of green meadows and summer fields; they proclaim the home-coming of the ragpicker's cart. In the memory of man the old cow-path has never been other than a vast human pig-sty.
From Riis's data on population, the density of Mulberry Bend was about 2000 people per acre. If Manhattan had that density today, all of us would be living within Central Park.

In the 1890s, the city began buying and clearing out the slums, and in 1897, Mulberry Park opened.


c1905

The name was changed to Columbus Park in 1911.

The original southern boundary of the park was Park St. The triangle formed by Worth, Mulberry and Park was not cleared away, and remained until the early 1960s. The section of Park St south of Worth St disappeared when the courthouse at 60 Center St was built in the 1920s. I recall that for a time that the triangle was a parking lot. I'm not sure exactly when Park St was demapped and Columbus Park extended, but the last section of the street between Mulberry and Mott was renamed Mosco St in honor of LES community activist Frank Mosco in 1982.

The pavilion, which had been fenced off for many years, was renovated and reopened in 2007.