Today J and I decided it was finally time to go forth and seek out two places we wanted to visit thanks to the film Little Manhattan. J wanted to find the diner featured in the closing scene of the film, and I—a lover of parks—wanted to find New York’s smallest one, Septuagesimo Uno.*
Yes, that is a mouthful. No, I cannot say it.
As I have mentioned here before, there is a website that lists all of the filming locations for Little Manhattan, so it wasn’t too difficult to figure out where we were supposed to go. We decided to have a late breakfast at Westside Restaurant on the corner of 69th and Broadway before heading over to the park on 71st street.
I don’t know about J, but I was expecting the restaurant to be either overpriced or crappy. It was neither. It was comfortable and even pretty, our waiter was excellent and charming, and the food was delicious and cheap. We didn’t feel bad about stuffing ourselves. Plus there was coffee and a hot guy to giggle over.
We’ve already decided that we must visit this establishment again. Often. For omelets and coffee. And to make friends with Lonely Diner Guy. Because cheap, good food and attractive young men are desirable to single New York girls.
Full and fat, as my cousin Melissa would say, we paid and walked off our newly acquired pounds by heading to 71st street. According to the Internet and the sign at the park’s gate, Septuagesimo Uno is the result of poor planning. The Commissioners Plan of 1811 mapped out Manhattan in a grid system that would help with the expected growth in the population. While it succeeded in its goal, the plan failed to factor in the people’s need for parks. In the 1960s, this became a major problem, and the Vest Pocket Park campaign began to secure small plots of land to create parks and playgrounds. The plot on 71st Street was acquired by the city in 1969, and it is claimed as the smallest park in New York City.
It rests between two brownstones with a gate that is secured at dusk to prevent vandalism. It’s tiny, and very private. Stepping inside, I felt as if I was trespassing on someone’s backyard.
I love it. I want to go back. I will go back.
As no bullies attacked us—which was good as I would have had to rely on J’s karate skills, and we didn’t have a scooter to help with a quick escape—we left, our mission accomplished, and celebrated by hitting up a thrift store on Columbus Ave.
All in all, a great day on the Upper West Side.
List of Parks Emily Has Visited In NYC:
– Central Park
– Riverbank State Park
– Theodore Roosevelt Park
– Septuagesimo Uno
Oh yeah, if you haven’t watched Little Manhattan yet, you really should. Think (500) Days of Summer but with ten year-olds, karate, and a happier ending.
Rosemary Telesco can kick your butt in karate class.
*Apparently “Septuagesimo Uno” means “seventy-first” in Latin. The original name was 71st Street Plot, but that was deemed too boring. Shame. I can say that name. (Wikipedia).