Audubon157 Craft Fair: May 19, 2018

Audubon157, the Park Stewards who have organized to care for Ilka Payan Park at Broadway and West 157th Street will hold a Craft Fair there on May 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to raise awareness about the need to fund improvements to the park. For this first craft fair, participation is free and Audubon157 can provide tables for participants. All funds raised during the Craft Fair and from a GoFundMe page Audubon157 had set up will go towards purchasing planters for the park. The modest goal for the initial fund-raising phase is $5,000, which will purchase seven large planters and five small ones.

The fair is open to artisans of all types and participation is free. Contact 646.621.6395 to register.

Craft Fair

Saturday, May 19, 2018

11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Payan Park: Broadway at 157th Street

Participation is open to all artisans, free of charge

To Register, call 646.621.6395

Like many people in the neighborhood, Renée Davis Bohnenstiel, Heike Bachmann Zeinalian, and Alison McCarthy see Payan Park as the gateway to the Audubon Park neighborhood. Dismayed at the lack of plantings and frequent litter, they decided to adopt the park nearly three years ago. The first year, they worked with Community Board12, NYC Parks, Partnership for Parks, Broadway Malls, the 33rd Police Precinct, and neighborhood institutions to develop a plan.

They began regularly cleaning the park on weekends, planting bulbs, and drawing attention to the park’s need for regular maintenance and care. Long-term plans include converting the concrete park into green space, adding street lamps and proper plantings and, eventually adding a border to the entire park. As these will all require support from the city and will take years to effect, the immediate solution for the community is the simple expedient of planters.


Now in their third year, the Audubon157 stewards have organized as a not-for-profit organization in collaboration with CLOTH (Community League of the Heights), a 501 (c)(3) that will be their fiscal conduit. All donations made through CLOTH are tax deductible.

Follow Audubon157 on Facebook here:

Ilka Payan Park

Until Friday, March 1, 2002, the triangular green street at 157th Street and Broadway had no official name and was known locally as “Pigeon Park.” That day, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe gathered with leaders of the Dominican Women’s Caucus, city officials, and the friends and family of Ilka Tanya Payan to name the park in honor of the Spanish-language soap opera actress, immigration lawyer, contributing columnist for El Diario/La Prensa, and champion for immigration causes and AIDS education. Read more about Ms. Payan here.

The park sits where the Boulevard Lafayette once split from Broadway (then known as the Boulevard or Grand Boulevard) and followed a westerly route up Manhattan along the Hudson River. When Riverside Drive between from Grants Tomb and West 158th Street finally opened along its full length in 1911, the severed block of the Boulevard Lafayette between 157th and 158th Streets became Audubon Place. The name lasted less than two decades before the City renamed the one-block street Edward M. Morgan Place in honor of the first New York City Postmaster to rise to that rank from letter carrier.

This 1905 view of Broadway at 157th Street, shows the Boulevard Lafayette splitting off at 156th Street and the broad expanse pedestrians had to cross from one side of Broadway to the other.

The park does not appear in neighborhood photographs until the 1940s. Until then, anyone crossing Broadway at 157th Street had a long walk between the median and the street’s west side. Probably an increase in vehicular traffic and faster speeds encouraged the city to build the small triangular park to facilitate crossing the street.

This 1947 photograph, taken during the extension of the subway platforms at 157th Street, is one of the earliest to show the triangular plaza now known as Ilka Payan Park.