The oldest tree in Manhattan

New York Mysteries  April 29, 2023

A friend has a 1950s copy of a Russian film, War and Peace. It’s wonderful. When I was young I sort of read War and Peace, concentrating on the lavish parties and skipping the battles. In the film, the battles are amazing. Russian and French soldiers in natty uniforms on well trained horses raced over green fields and lakes in pursuit of each other.

The Russian spring’s birch, cherry and oak trees reminded me of the oldest living tree in Manhattan, planted in New York/  New Amsterdam in 1679.

It’s referred to as “the hanging tree” because of executions that supposedly took place. Although there are no public records confirming this, there was a nearby prison. Perhaps some of the inmates met their fate at the hanging tree.

The tree was on private land that was bought by the city and added to Washington Square in 1827. You can visit it at Washington Square Park’s northwest corner.