project leader
Georgia S
5th Avenue
(Greenwich Village)
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Minetta Creatures 2.0

the project

Minetta Creatures will reveal the historic course of Minetta Brook through a performance of people costumed as plants and animals that would have inhabited the island of Manhattan prior to Dutch colonization. A long-term goal of Minetta Creatures is to create a permanent environmental artwork to celebrate the stream, to bring awareness of the hydrology of the neighborhood, and to connect parks within the watershed.

Minetta Brook is one of 101 waterways and water bodies of pre-colonial Manhattan. The stream once ran aboveground in Greenwich Village and lives on in streets (Minetta Lane, Minetta Street) and parks (Minetta Playground, Minetta Green, Minetta Triangle). However, the stream itself is largely hidden from view. You can almost picture a section of its flow in the curves and dips of Minetta Street and Downing Street.

Minetta Brook is a second-order stream; it has two, spring-fed, source tributaries. One arm originated at 16th Street at Sixth Avenue and the other between 21st and 20th Streets at Fifth Avenue. The two tributaries joined midblock between 11th/12th Streets and Sixth/Fifth Avenues. The stream flowed southeast then turned southwest entering Washington Square Park west of the Washington Arch. The stream left the park at the southwest corner traveling along MacDougal then along Minetta Lane then Minetta Street to Downing Street. At Varick and Houston Streets, the trunk split. One leg flowed west on Houston and turned south on Greenwich towards Charlton Street. The other leg flowed on Varick then traveled diagonally between King and Charlton. Both channels rejoined at Charlton discharging into the Hudson River at the former shoreline between Greenwich and Washington Streets.

the steps

  • Select creatures*
  • Design creatures
  • Performance rehearsal(s)
  • Stage performance

* Our creature list includes heron, beaver, bullfrog, brook trout, sensitive fern, tulip tree, and water. Our wishlist creatures are red-tailed hawk, blue jay, red maple, flowering dogwood.

why we're doing it

Minetta Brook was a central ecological feature of Greenwich Village prior to Dutch colonization and through the early mid-1800s. The stream landscape included marsh and forest that supported a diversity of aquatic and terrestrial plant and animal species. Although the Minetta place name lives on in streets and parks, if you don’t know the origin of the name, you don’t know that a stream once flowed through the neighborhood. Minetta Creatures seeks to improve ecological literacy at the neighborhood scale, and hopefully the project will be a model to celebrate the numerous waterways that used to dot and wind along the surface of the entire city.


Creatures materials and design: $5915

Transport (vehicle & gas): $350

Total $6,300

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $344
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $207


Minetta Creatures 2.0

We have been quiet because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have retooled the live performance aspect of Minetta Creatures in light of the current realities of contagion. We will still perform but the show will not be a procession. Also, we have reduced the number and types of creatures. The new creature list includes water, trout, tulip tree blossom, sensitive fern, bullfrog, heron, and blue jay.

Minetta Creatures Mural

This summer we painted two small, temporary eco-scenes featuring brook trout and sensitive fern at two locations in the Minetta Brook Watershed.  We will resume our virtual puppet making workshops this fall and winter.

Minetta Creatures Mural at Vesuvio Playground

Minetta Creatures Mural #2 at Vesuvio Playground

Minetta Creatures Mural in progress at MacDougal

Minetta Creatures Mural #1 at 123 MacDougal Street

Timing change for Minetta Creatures

To ensure the safety and well-being of Minetta Creature performers and audiences, we have postponed the launch of the project until Spring 2021. We will continue to make creatures. We hope to offer a couple of sneak peeks this summer and fall, so watch this space. Thank you for your support!

Creatures: From otter to beaver

These otter heads performed a synchronized swim routine last summer. They will be redesigned as beavers for Minetta Creatures.

otters swimming

Creatures: Heron

The these herons took to the sky in May 2019. The birds will be retrofited for Minetta Creatures.

Heron flight

Heron flight

The confluence

Minetta Brook is a second-order stream: it has two source tributaries. One arm originated at 16th Street at Sixth Avenue and the other between 21st and 20th Streets at Fifth Avenue. The two tributaries joined midblock between 11th/12th Streets and Sixth/Fifth Avenues. This confluence is indicated by the blue star in the first photo, a portion of Egbert Viele's Sanitary & Topographical Map of the City and Island of New York, 1865. Photographs 2 and 3 show the approximate location of the confluence today.

Minetta Brook

Minetta Brook

Minetta Brook

We've surpassed 50%!

As of this writing, you have donated $3,708 of the total funding ($6,886) we need to bring Minetta Creatures to the sidewalks of Greenwich Village. Thank you!

P.S. The Artists Lead! matching funds have expired. Future gifts to Minetta Creatures will not be matched. All gifts are tax deductible; ioby, the project's fiscal sponsor, is a 501c3 nonprofit.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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