Sam Fraunces himself briefly owned a "Vauxhal l " as early as 1765. His competition was insignificant, as New Yorkers had yet to feel the stifling constrictions of an expanding city and skyrocketing population. But they soon did. By the end of the century, sixty thousand residents were crowded together at the southernmost tip of Manhattan, and with the exception of a few promenades along the river and the Battery, there were no public parks in which to escape the sweltering summer heat. The opening of Joseph Corre's spectacular Mt . Vernon Garden, on the corner of Broadway and Leonard Street, marked a turning point. Another Frenchman, Joseph Delacroix, quickly followed suit, purchased the old Bayard homestead on Grand and Mulberry streets, and i n 1798 launched the first American Vauxhall worthy of the name. These two compatriots embarked on a feud that was to last for years, and, in trying to outdo each other, plied the public with so many irresistible attractions that the tavern, at least during the summer months, went into eclipse.