Mad Hatters NYC

The Curious Case of the Hess Triangle (or something to see on the way to dinner)

“Hey, hey, easy kids. Everybody in the car. Boat leaves in two minutes… or perhaps you don’t want to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth, which is only four short hours away?”

-Clark Griswold, National Lampoons Vacation

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There’s something uniquely American about making a pilgrimage to the site of a reputed curio. The offbeat, quirky, secretive and inexplicable have this magnetic quality for us. One finds oneself drawn to these oddities, if for no other reason than the satisfaction of being compelled to utter the words: “Well, you don’t see that every day.” Now, mind you, there’s no need to drive cross-country to see something out of the ordinary (like, for instance, Cawker City, Kansas where the World’s Largest Ball of Twine actually happens to reside). You don’t even have to leave Manhattan for that matter. You simply have to venture over to the southwest corner of Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village where you’ll find the Hess Triangle, a small mosaic tile demarcating the most diminutive parcel of private property upon which taxes are paid to New York City. The odd triangular parcel, inscribed with the proclamation PROPERTY OF THE HESS ESTATE WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN DEDICATED FOR PUBLIC PURPOSES, is the all caps RESULT of an eminent domain dispute between a landlord and the City of New York. If there’s a better exemplification of the pugnacious character of the New York psyche, I’ve not heard it. And don’t forget to commit the fairly minor offense of trespassing by planting your foot squarely within the boundaries of that triangle and snapping a pic for posterity. You better believe I did. For the rest of the story behind the Hess Triangle, there’s a great article here.

Pair it with:

Dinner at the Spotted Pig

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Simply cast a net haphazardly out into the murky depths of the Interwebs and you will undoubtedly bring back a trove of reviews and articles regaling April Bloomfield’s beloved West Village gastropub. It’s a foregone conclusion there will be a reference to the Michelin star it has been awarded for 7 years straight. And you’ll almost certainly be made aware of the many celebrities who frequent the establishment (I’m talking to you, Aziz Ansari!), but none of that matters. What matters is The Spotted Pig always seems to hit that sweet spot, the nexus where food, drink, ambiance, culture and company come together perfectly. An evening spent in its cozy dining rooms, with its friendly and efficient staff, conjures such questions as: Why did I think Deviled Eggs should only be served in the summer and on checkered tablecloths? Can a burger be elevated from a greasy diner classic to a sophisticated “dish” while not just retaining but improving upon its character? (Yes.) And last but not least, where has Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Gnudi with brown butter and crispy sage been my whole life? For further gushing, read this review from our friends over at The Infatuation here.

Tip: The Spotted Pig does not take reservations and sometimes the excruciatingly long wait at peak times can be brutal. I suggest slipping in and putting your name in when the kitchen is *semi-closed, between the tail end of the Bar Menu hours (4-5pm) and the start of dinner (5:30pm). It’s the perfect amount of time to have a drink. If it’s past 5:30pm and you still haven’t been seated, order some of their amazing small plates at the bar (the Chicken Liver Toast is a good play). And again, the staff is very friendly and accommodating, so getting your bill transferred once you get a table is a snap!

Location:
314 West 11th Street, at Greenwich Street

Hours:
Brunch: 11am – 3pm (weekends only)
Lunch: 12pm – 3pm
*Bar Menu: 3pm – 5pm
Dinner: 5:30pm – 2am

– J.

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