Small Sights in the Big Apple

Beth Sattur
Two visitors peek inside Mmuseumm, located on Cortlandt Alley. Even when the museum is closed, visitors can call a toll-free number to hear about the objects, or look inside the building’s windows. (Photo by Katie Peurrung)

New York City is traditionally known as a city with the biggest buildings, the biggest adventures and the biggest prices — but what are the smallest aspects of the Big Apple?

In Lower Manhattan, you can find the smallest museum in all five boroughs: Mmuseumm. This museum is comprised of two refurbished freight elevators, neither larger than 20 square feet. Located in Cortlandt Alley, the museum considers itself a modern history museum. With ever-changing exhibits, Mmuseumm focuses on what it calls “object journalism” and contemporary artifacts. There is a suggested donation fee of $5.

While this next museum’s square footage is much larger than that of the Mmuseumm, Gulliver’s Gate presents the world on a miniature scale. Located on 216 W 44th St. in Times Square, this museum captures famous landmarks on a 1:87 scale. There is a small version of New York City, along with sites from Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. The attention to detail in these mini cityscapes is mindblowing. Aptly named after “Gulliver’s Travels,” it is a fascinating exhibit that allows visitors to travel the world for a ticket price of $36.

You can also find pocket parks hidden all over the city — if you know where to look for them. Septuagesimo Uno, which means 71 in Latin, is thought to be the smallest pocket park. It can be found on West 71 Street between West End and Amsterdam Avenue. Squeezed between two brick buildings, the 0.04-acre park features lush greenery and long benches. It’s the perfect place to disappear into.

Located at 56 Seventh Ave S, the Greenwich Locksmiths building is a total of 125 square feet, giving it the title of Manhattan’s smallest free-standing building. Not only is this the smallest building, but it’s also decorated with over 10,000 keys.

The smallest piece of property in Manhattan can be found in the West Village. It’s a triangle shaped piece of sidewalk, a mere 500 square inches reading “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated for Public Purposes,” known as the Hess Triangle.

And the narrowest apartment building in New York City would be 75½ Bedford Street, which is about as wide as a subway car.

U Thant Island, or Belmont Island, is a 100-by-200 square foot island located in the East River. It is New York City’s smallest island. It is also a refuge for endangered birds and not open to the public, although it can be viewed from the southern end of Roosevelt Island.

And to round it off, the smallest bar in New York City is the Threesome Tollbooth, located somewhere in East Williamsburg —  the address is only sent after a reservation is made, which can cost anywhere from $100-125 per person. They are currently sold out, with the next round of reservations being released on April 16.

As they say, it’s the small things that matter in life — so enjoy them.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 26 print edition. Email Beth Sattur at [email protected]

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