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Golden Swan Garden

About this listing

Urban oasis on the former site of a beloved dive bar

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : West Village
Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Gathering Place

Place Matters Profile

Written by Angela Garra for Place Matters and the Fall 2015 Local and Community History course of NYUs Archives and Public History Program

The Golden Swan Garden is a petite pocket park consisting of approximately half an acre of land on the southeast corner of West Fourth Street and Sixth Avenue. Completed in the winter of 2000, the park is a small retreat from a highly urbanized area. Although perhaps not the most visually arresting park in New York City, the Golden Swan Garden has great value as a pause point from the hustle and bustle of the West Village, and also for the legacy surrounding the property. The plot was formally the location of the Golden Swan Café, a dive bar known to frequenting patrons as the “Hell Hole.” Founded during the mid-nineteenth century, this quirky saloon became the stomping grounds of important neighborhood artists such as American playwright...

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Gelb, Arthur and Barbara Gelb. O’Neill: Life with Monte Cristo. New York: Applause, 2000.

Gray, Christopher. “The Village Site of Eugene O’Neill’s ‘Iceman’ Saloon.” New York Times, June 3, 2001.

“The Golden Swan: A ‘Hell Hole’ for Village Inspiration,” The Bowery Boys: New York City History, February 20, 2009, accessed December 7, 2015,

“Held. The Men Suspected of the Planet Mills Robbery.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Tuesday, April 16 1878.

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NYC Parks. “Golden Swan Garden.” Accessed November 21, 2015.

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Trow, John F. City Directories for New York, New York. New York: 1855 – 1871. Accessed from Fold3,

Wetzsteon, Ross. “Republic of Dreams: Greenwich Village, The American Bohemia 1910-1960,” New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007.

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