A tavern at 240 West 52nd Street between 8th Avenue and Broadway bears the name of one of the architects of Greater New York, though few patrons may recognize him.
Andrew Haswell Green (1820-1903), in large part was responsible, in his capacity on the fledgling Central Park Board of Commissioners, for the Olmsted-Vaux Central Park plan being effected. He also played an important role in the formation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Central Park Menagerie (the Zoo), and the New York Public Library.
After stints as President of the Board of Education and as NYC Comptroller, Green helped draft the Consolidation Law, in which unincorporated areas and municipalities of southern Westchester (the Bronx), Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, and Richmond (Staten Island) counties be consolidated with Manhattan to form the five boroughs of a greater New York City. The law took effect January 1, 1898.
Tragically, Green was shot and killed by a deranged gunman in 1903. In 1929, a marble bench in northern Central Park, along with five newly planted trees, were dedicated to Green. The bench was moved to its present location in the early 1980s. I’m not sure Green would approve of the location since it’s located in nose-shot of the Central Park composting area and the stench is palpable even in midwinter.
But Green would certainly be proud that his memorial stands on ground once fortified to defend U.S. soil; there stood Fort Fish, which was positioned to train five heavy guns on any British vessel that would dare to sail up the Harlem River during the War of 1812. And if Green appreciated a decent tipple, he’d be tickled that this watering hole bears part of his name, too.
The tavern is located in the same building as the former Ruby Foo’s, founded by the Chinese-American woman (1904-1950) who founded a restaurant franchise that numbered Boston, New York, Washington, Providence and Miami in its reach.