The Arsenal building in Central Park is now used by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The Arsenal has a seven-sided bathroom that has been dubbed the “Septagon” (another name for a “heptagon"). “Septagon” might have been chosen for its similarity to the word “septic."
Parks Commissioner Henry Stern was known for his naming and most likely named the “Septagon” in the 1980s or the 1990s.
Wikipedia: Arsenal, Central Park
The Arsenal is a symmetrical brick building with modestly Gothic Revival details, located in Central Park, New York, centered on 64th Street off Fifth Avenue. Built between 1847 and 1851 as a storehouse for arms and ammunition for the New York State Militia, the building predates the design and construction of Central Park, where only the Blockhouse (1814) is older.
The building currently houses the offices of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Central Park Wildlife Conservation Center, but it has also served as a zoo and housed a portion of the American Museum of Natural History’s collections while its permanent structure was being erected. During the course of its lifetime it has also housed a police precinct, a weather bureau, and an art gallery.
Wikipedia: Henry J. Stern
Henry J. Stern (born May 1, 1935); was a member of the New York City Council from 1974 to 1983 and appointed as the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation from 1983 to 1990 and again from 1994 to 2000.
In geometry, a heptagon is a polygon with seven sides and seven angles.
The heptagon is also occasionally referred to as the septagon, using “sept-”(an elision of septua-, a Latin-derived numerical prefix, rather than hepta-, a Greek-derived numerical prefix) together with the Greek suffix “-agon” meaning angle).
(Oxford English Dictionary)
1756 T. Amory Life John Buncle I. 201 Making it [basalt] into pentagon, hexagon, and septagon columns.
1896 Blackwood’s Edinb. Mag. Apr. 597 The rock itself..cut into septagon shape.
Inside The Septagon, Central Park’s Semi-Secret Seven-Sided Men’s Room
By Gothamist in News on Oct 2, 2013 1:45 PM
You’re enjoying Central Park’s bucolic splendor when Nature steps from her passive pose and gently, yet urgently calls you. But did you know you can seek relief inside a seven-sided, porcelain fortress in Parks Department HQ known as “The Septagon?”
Some background: The Parks Department’s headquarters building is called The Arsenal and is located in Central Park at 64th Street and 5th Avenue. It’s called The Arsenal because that’s what it actually was when the building was completed back in 1851.
A Parks employee told me that the name goes back to when Henry Stern was running the Parks Department. Apparently Stern loved to give nicknames to people and places.
New York City • Buildings/Housing/Parks • Friday, October 04, 2013 • Permalink