Cheeky cartoon looks at NYC’s tiniest piece of real estate

Hess Triangle in the West Village is less than 30 inches long
December 20, 2015 11:00AM

A triangle with a 25.5-inch base and 27.5-inch sides in the West Village is NYC’s tiniest piece of real estate. It was born out of a bitter dispute between the city and a landlord. And in a recent New Yorker cartoon, the magazine looks back at the history of the site, while poking fun at modern attitudes toward public works projects.

The triangle is known as Hess Triangle, after David Hess, a landlord who owned a five-story apartment building that was demolished by the city. The city project widened Seventh Avenue and expanded subway service, but Hess wasn’t pleased.

Hess found that the surveyors had missed a small triangle of land and refused to give it to the city. Instead, he had a plaque installed in 1922, which reads: “Property of the Hess Estate which has never been dedicated for public purposes.”

Check out the New Yorker’s cartoon by Julia Wertz on the subject here. —Christopher Cameron