Tag: Author Justin Watral

New York Aquarium  602 Surf Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11224

New York Aquarium 602 Surf Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11224

New York Aquarium

602 Surf Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11224

(718) 265-3474

http://www.nyaquarium.com

https://nyaquarium.com/

Open: Sunday & Saturday 10:00am-5:30pm/Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm

Fee: Adults $25.00/Children $20.00/Seniors $27.00 (see their website for more details on pricing and times)

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60827-d107414-Reviews-New_York_Aquarium-Brooklyn_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I have been to the NY Aquarium many times since it reopened after Hurricane Sandy and there have been many positive improvements in both the facility and the service. The new Ocean Wonders: Shark! exhibition which has opened up giving an interesting look at the underwater world of the many different types of sharks that dominate the deep.

It is not just a display but also a commentary on the conditions of the deep and the treatment of sharks around the world. There contributions as bottom dwellers cleans our oceans and benefits other fish. It was shocking what the treatment is of these animals in Asia when strip these animals of their fins for soup. I like how professionally the aquarium shows this in their displays and videos and doesn’t preach but offer solutions to the problem.

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The new shark tanks

That and walking through the tanks themselves in the darkened rooms with music makes for a fascinating and almost ominous trip into the ocean behind the walls with the sharks and other mammals and fish swim past you. There is also a small tunnel that you can climb under to watch the fish swim on top of you and past you.

In the Conservation Hall, you will learn all about the fish that dominate and keep our reefs vibrant and what happens when pollution takes over and kills them. Again the aquarium displays this in a positive way, shows how the animals keep the reefs healthy. I point out that there are a lot of colorful fish on display and it is fun to watch the small children yell out to them.

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The underwater tunnels is amazing!

There is a wonderful seal show during the day that you should not miss especially in the warmer months when you can sit in the stands and watch them perform with their trainers. They are more Native New Yorkers than most humans having been born at the aquarium and showing their own pride in their home and abilities.

New York Aquarium

This is one of the best stops on the Coney Island Boardwalk

As part of the new building there are also several new eating establishments at the aquarium including the new Oceanside Grill that I have not visited yet (it was closed on my last visit) as well as The New York Bite food truck (which was also not opened). The most impressive restaurant is the Oceanview Bites on the second floor of the Ocean Wonders building. This beautiful new restaurant has an interesting but somewhat routine menu with prices usual to an aquarium but offer the most spectacular views of the ocean and of Coney Island. Do not miss just walking up to the restaurant in the circular pathway for the views alone.

The NY Aquarium is a treat in of itself and a great excuse to visit Coney Island. Don’t miss the rest of the island’s amusements and museums while you are there.

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The NY Aquarium

 

History of the New York Aquarium:

(this information is provided by a combination of the NY Aquarium and Wiki and I give them full credit for the information)

The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, having opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park in Manhattan in 1896. Since 1957, it has been located on the Reigelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island. The aquarium is operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as part of its integrated system of four zoos and one aquarium, most notably the Bronx Zoo. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

As part of the WCS, the aquarium’s mission is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education and inspiring people to value nature.

The facility occupies 14 acres and boasts 266 species of aquatic wildlife. Its mission is to raise public awareness about issues facing the ocean and its inhabitants with special exhibitions, public events and research. The New York Seascape program, based out of the aquarium, is WCS’s local conservation program designed to restore healthy populations of marine species and protect New York waters, which are vital to the area’s economic and cultural vitality.

On June 6, 1957, the Aquarium opened at its new location in Coney Island. The new site of the New York Aquarium is the home of the WCS New York Seascape program, the society’s research and conservation program focusing on nearby rivers, harbor and ocean from Cape May, NJ to Montauk, Long Island.

The aquarium kept an orca briefly in 1968 and a narwhal in 1969. Both reportedly died of possible pneumonia. The aquarium’s beluga whales were transferred to the Georgia Aquarium in 2007 as part of a breeding program. In September 2011, the aquarium named its new electric eel Wattson and in March 2012, it launched a sea horse breeding program.

In October 2006, the New York Aquarium announced the finalists to a competition to develop a more inviting and visually prominent exterior for the aquarium. In March 2007, the winning design by firms WRT and Cloud 9 was selected, which featured an enclosure resembling a whale over the aquarium. However, in March 2008 that concept was scrapped due to concerns over the a new exhibit based on sharks was announced. The massive 784,000 US gallon exhibition, Ocean Wonders: Sharks! was originally scheduled to break ground in November 2012 and open in 2015. However, the New York Aquarium was significantly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, which severely flooded the facility and shut down power. A small group of WCS staff who remained onsite during the hurricane were able to save 90% of the animals in the collection. As a result, the exhibition opened June 30, 2018, becoming the first major exhibition at the New York Aquarium to open after Hurricane Sandy.

Disclaimer: this history of the NY Aquarium is taken from Wiki and I give them full credit for this information.

 

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Washington Irving’s Sunnyside  3 West Sunnyside Lane Irvington, NY 10533

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside 3 West Sunnyside Lane Irvington, NY 10533

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

3 West Sunnyside Lane

Irvington, NY  10533

(914) 591-8763

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48720-d3680157-Reviews-Sunnyside-Tarrytown_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Washington Irving’s home, Sunnyside is open during the warmer months of the year, closing at the end of October. The house looks like a enchanted cottage with almost a fairy like appearance right on the banks of the Hudson River with the most spectacular views of the river valley and the Tappan Zee Bridge in the distance.

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Sunnyside at the end of the summer

The house was designed by architect George Harvey and reflects the Dutch Colonial Revival, Scottish Gothic and Tudor Revival influences with wisteria growing up and around it and a jagged crow stepped gable.

When walking through the home, you will see the study where Washington Irving conducted the business of the house and did his writing. To the other side of the house, you will see the living room and small dining room where the family used to entertain. The upstairs contains small bedrooms where Washington Irving, his brother, Ebeneezer and his five nieces lived on and off when they were living at the house. Washington’s brother’s business had failed and the family came to live with him. Two of the nieces never married and ran the home for their uncle.

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The bedroom at Sunnyside

The house is nicely furnished in the most modern decor of its time but is not an elaborate house. It is a home and not a weekend mansion and this ten acre estate was a once a  working farm. In the back of the house, there is an ice house and a barn show where the people who worked on the estate kept the house running.

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The study of Washington Irving

The view of the river is one of the most spectacular in the Hudson River Valley as its at the widest part of the Hudson River. You can see the cliffs of New Jersey on the other side with views of Nyack and the Tappan Zee Bridge in the background.

During the Fall season there are all sorts of activities going on at the estate and the tours are a very interesting look at life at that time.

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The Sunnyside Kitchen

The History of Sunnyside:

The estate was once the home of Wolfert Acker called Wolfert’s Roost and was part of the Manor of Philipsburg and this home was once a simple two room stone tenant farmhouse built around 1690.

The property came into the hands of the Van Tassel family, who were married into the Eckert family and owned it until 1802. That year, 150 acres were deeded to the family of Benson Ferris, one time clerk of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, whose wife, Maria Acker, was a descendant of Wolfert Acker’s.

In 1832, Washington Irving visited his nephew, Oscar Irving, who lived near the old stone farmhouse and was looking for a home at the time. He purchased the property on June 7, 1835 and would add to the property.

Irving wrote a story, “Wolfert’s Roost”, about Acker and the site. In a letter to his brother Peter, he described it as “a beautiful spot, capable of being made a little paradise…I have had an architect up there and shall build upon the old mansion this summer. My idea is to make a little nookery somewhat in the Dutch style, quaint but unpretending. It will be of stone.” He asked his neighbor to help him remodel the house and landscape the grounds in Romantic style adding a brook and waterfall.

The house became a major spot of people visiting the area to meet the author. In 1842, he was appointed to be the Ambassador of Spain and left the estate in the care of his brother and four daughters. He returned in 1846 and added to the home the ‘Spanish Tower” in 1847. This added four more bedrooms to the home.

Irving died in the house in 1859 of a heart attack at age 76.

The house was purchased from Lousi Irving by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and was restored for historic preservation. It was opened to the public in 1947.

 

Van Cortlandt Manor  5 Riverside Avenue Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY 10502

Van Cortlandt Manor 5 Riverside Avenue Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY 10502

Van Cortandt Manor

5 Riverside Avenue

Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY  10502

(914) 366-6900

Van Cortlandt Manor

My review on TripAdvisor (Manor and Pumpkin Blaze):

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47560-d116391-Reviews-Van_Cortlandt_Manor-Croton_on_Hudson_New_York.html?m=19905

 

A trip to the Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-the-Hudson is an interesting step back into the Colonial history of this country. During the summer, there is an interesting walking tour of the home offered usually from the end of July to Labor Day. Then the house is closed to prepare for the huge ‘Pumpkin Blaze’ during the months of October and November and then the house is shut down until the spring.

The house tour is interesting because it shows the home as a working farm and place of commerce for the family. This was not a weekend home for the family working in the City but crops being grown for shipping, vibrant gardens that supplied the house and a small tavern for travelers along the Albany Post Road as well as a place for shipping goods down the rivers.

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Van Cortlandt Manor

The home is furnished in the most modern furnishings of the time and you can see how the house reflected the needs of the family at that time. It was more of a home than a luxurious place to entertain. The furnishes are practical, very in fashion of the time and nicely decorated.

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The Dining Room

The tour of the kitchens and storage areas show that even in what was the modern era was not such easy living without servants. The estate was somewhat self-contained with animals and provisions being raised on the land and there is even an area where fabric such as flax and cotton where spun and made into clothing.

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The kitchen dining area

The upstairs bedrooms show that the linens were under lock and key even with the servants and that the rooms were well-appointed and comfortable. A lot of the family heirlooms still reside in the house and it gives you a perfect look at what life must have been like when the family lived here.

Don’t miss the gardens as well. Some have been over-grown because of the lack of volunteers but still you can see the beauty of the flowers and trees around the house. The house sits right on the cross between the Croton and Hudson rivers and even though it is now grown in, you can see that the house stood at one of the busiest sections of Upstate commerce.

During the months of Halloween, there are thousands of pumpkins that line the walks and beautiful displays to see along the paths of the estate and the river. Don’t miss this annual event every fall.

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The Pumpkin Blaze is amazing!

The History of the Van Cortlandt Manor:

By Royal Charter, Van Cortlandt Manor was originally a 86,000 acre tract granted as a patent to Stephanus Van Cortlandt in 1697 by King William III, stretching from the Hudson River on the west to the first boundary line between the Province of New York and the Colony of Connecticut, on the east, twenty English miles in length by ten miles in width in shape nearly a rectangular parallelogram forming, “The Manor of Cortlandt”. The massive holding was acquired by direct purchase from the Indians, in part by Stephanus van Cortlandt, a native born Dutch gentleman of New York and in part by others whose titles he subsequently bought, this tract together with a small tract on the west side of the Hudson River opposite the promontory of Anthony’s Nose, which he also purchased from the Indians.

The Manor House was built sometime before 1732 but was not any owner’s principal residence until a grandson, Pierre Van Cortlandt, moved there in 1749. At the time the manor house was on a 1000 acre portion of the original tract.

Pierre brought his family to the estate in 1749 and established the manor into it most vibrant days, according to some. During this period, the manor was operating an apple orchard, dairy farm, a bee house, a kiln, a tavern and a carpenter and blacksmith shops. Van Cortlandt Manor was a self-sustaining community while Pierre and his family resided in the estate. At this time, tensions leading to the Revolutionary War were building and the manor would become a place of wartime retreat. Pierre side with the colonies and the manor was used to assist the Continental Army, using its resources to make food and supplies. Pierre was involved with military legislature and his son Philip was a soldier for the Continental Army. Eventually Pierre and his family vacated the manor in the thick of war. The manor was ransacked by the British Army and left in poor standing. Philip, becoming a brigadier general by the war’s end, returned and along with his sister, Catherine, brought the manor back to working order.

Van Cortlandt Manor became an essential stop on the route from New York to Albany in the years that followed the war. The mills were once again thriving and provided the community and travelers with food, supplies and lodging. Pierre and his wife did not return until 1803 once the manor was in full working order again. The manor was passed down in the family until it was sold to a non-relative, Otis Taylor in 1945. By this time, the property had lost its luster and was not the flourishing estate it had once been.

In 1953, John D. Rockefeller Jr. purchased the property and began restoring the manor to previous prominence. In 1961, Van Cortlandt Manor became registered as a National Historic Landmark.

Disclaimer: This information on the history of the house was provided by Wiki and I give them full credit on the information.

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum of Kingston 265 Fair Street  Kingston, NY 12402

Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum of Kingston 265 Fair Street Kingston, NY 12402

Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum of Kingston

265 Fair Street

Kingston, NY  12402

(831) 331-0866

https://kingstonvolunteerfiremensmuseum.weebly.com/

Open:  The hours vary by the season so please look to the website for the openings. School groups please call for an appointment.

Fee: Free but donations accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3367598-Reviews-Volunteer_Fireman_s_Hall_Museum_of_Kingston-Kingston_New_York.html?m=19905

I was recently visiting Kingston, NY for an event and while walking around the downtown the doors of the Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum of Kingston was open for visitors. Even if you are not a fire fighter it is such an interesting museum on the history of fire fighting and the role the Kingston Fire Department had in the formation of the City of Kingston.

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The early horse drawn fire equipment

On the main floor is four pieces of equipment from various stages of the department. The engines are from the turn of the last century featuring horse drawn ladders and steam engines and then the latest equipment from the early teens and twenties from the automotive stage. Each piece of equipment has been carefully maintained and is in pristine shape. It is interesting to see how different each rig is at that stage of its history but how much has not really changed with the use of the equipment when fighting a fire.

One of the more interesting pieces in the collection is the beautifully detailed Parade piece from the late 1800’s (circa around 1890’s) which has gorgeous details and intricate craftsmanship work to it. This interesting piece of equipment was the pride of the department on parade day and is one of the few of its type in the country.

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The Fire Department Parade Piece

Along the walls is all sorts of pictures of old fires, men who were once members of the department, ribbons and awards, old systems for calling for firemen from the horns that used to sound the alarms to the more modern telegraph equipment to the current paging systems.

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The fire department equipment pieces

Upstairs you can visit the furnished headquarters of a firehouse circa 1890’s to 1920 with vintage furniture, decorations and composites of firemen long ago. There is even a mannequin of a fire fighter sliding down a pole that leads to the first floor. Here and there are more decorative equipment pieces, furnishings and awards.

The museum has a little something for everyone and if you are interesting in knowing more of the history of the fire service and want to hear the stories by members current and retired from the Kingston Fire Department, then the Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum is the place to visit.

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Old decorations from fire equipment at the Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum

 

History of the Museum and Fire Fighting in Kingston, NY:

Ulster County has a remarkable over 350 year history of noble fire fighting. See it up-close and personal at the Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum of Kingston.

When Kingston City Hall burned on June 4th, 1927, the third alarm was sounded from the building’s own bell tower before it crashed to the ground. Fire calls in Kingston today are answered through the 911 system with a three minute response time. Ever watched a TV show about firemen and their firehouse? The ‘squawk’ to a call is unmistakable.

Seven volunteer fire companies and the Exempt Association of Kingston recognized the importance of preserving and protecting firematic artifacts as well as establishing a meeting hall for volunteer fire organizations in Kingston and Ulster County. They were charged with finding a permanent home and signed a lease with the City of Kingston for Fair Street’s historic circa 1850 Wiltwyck Fire Station and the rest is history.

Walk through the large wooden doors to the home away from home of the 19th century firefighters.

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The old Kingston, NY firehouse that now houses the museum

Disclaimer: this information was taken directly from the Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum of Kingston pamphlet and I give them full credit for it. Please check out their website for more information.

The Senate House  296 Fair Street Kingston, NY 12401

The Senate House 296 Fair Street Kingston, NY 12401

The Senate House

296 Fair Street

Kingston, NY  12401

(845) 338-2786

http://www.palisadeparksconservancy.org

http://senatehousekingston.org/

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-5:00pm/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm (April 15-October 31). Open by Appointment only (November 1-April 14)

Fee: Adults $4.00/Seniors (62+) $3.00/Children under 12 and under Free

 

I recently spent my afternoon at the Senate House and Museum in Kingston, NY taking a tour of the museum and the House next door. The Senate House itself is being renovated and repaired and will not be open until next year. It was a quiet afternoon and I was the only patron for most of the afternoon. The grounds were full of beautiful foliage and fall flowers so it was nice to walk around the grounds.

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The Senate House plaque

The Senate House itself was closed for the renovation but you could see in the windows and there was not much going on inside the house. There was furniture here and there and the roof really needed work. There is not much too see at the house itself but the grounds are very pretty and well-landscaped. The house was built for merchant Abraham Van Gaasbeek and his family. It stayed in the family for generations.

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The Senate House

The Senate House Museum is broken into three sections. The right side of the museum is is the history of the City of Kingston and the matching artifacts. There is a description of manufacturing, merchant class and its military prominence. The left side of the museum is dedicated to the locally born artist, John Vanderlyn. His paintings line the walls of the museum of the artist at different stages of his career. His work was ahead of its time for the area and it was noted in the collection that he forced himself to commission portraits to survive. His works advanced for the time because of his studying abroad now line the walls of the best museums in the country.

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The second floor holds the furniture that is not historically correct with the Senate House and comes from different time periods. There is furniture, beds and chairs, spinning wheels, chamber pots and all sorts of accessories for the home.

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Artifacts from the past are displayed here

The Loughran House next door houses more of the furniture of the house and has a new exhibition “Back to the Future: The Evolution of Senate House”. This houses artifacts from the house.

History of the Senate House:

Amidst the turmoil of a British military invasion in the fall of 1777, the elected representations of rebellious New Yorkers met in Kingston to form a new state government. While convened in Kingston in September and October, New York’s first Senate met in the simple stone house of merchant Abraham Van Gaasbeek.

In 1887, to recognize Senate House’s role in the formation of New York State, New York State acquired the property, which quickly became a vital community museum. A two-story Museum Building was constructed in 1927 to house and display the site’s burgeoning collection. Among its treasures are: major works by John Vanderlyn and other members of the Vanderlyn family of Kingston. The museum also includes the site’s popular new exhibit: “Kingston Stockage: New Netherlands’ Third City,” discussing Kingston’s early history.

(New York State Park History)

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The Kingston Stockage: The City’s formation from the beginning

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum   210 Main Street   Boonton, NJ 07005

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum 210 Main Street Boonton, NJ 07005

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum

210 Main Street

Boonton, NJ  07005

(973) 402-8840

http://www.boonton.org

https://www.boonton.org/268/Boonton-Historical-Society

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46315-d19255529-Reviews-Boonton_Historical_Society_and_Museum-Boonton_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I recently visited the Boonton Historical Society on the Main Street of downtown Boonton, NJ in a quickly changing new Arts Community. Up the hill, several galleries have found a home and the downtown is filling up with cottage industries catering to both locals and artists.

The Historical Society covers the history of Boonton and its role in New Jersey history especially with the creation of the Morris Canal and the Iron works that once dominated the area until about WWI.

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The munitions of the town’s foundries

The town saw much prosperity during the Civil War, providing ammunition and supplies to the Union Army. Many of the nails used during this period came their foundries. They also supplied munitions, pails, building materials and the transportation of raw iron out of the town. When technology and the way we build changed, the businesses here started to dry up. The use of the Train system and major highways also changed the transportation, it affected the town’s businesses.

Still the Boonton area is home to many historic homes, a section of the Morris Canal and the remains of the iron works that burnt to the ground decades ago. There is an interesting exhibition of the town’s Police Department in the lower level and now as part of the changing gallery space an extensive exhibition on the NJ Trolley system that once dominated the state.

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The Boonton Historical Society and Museum

The permanent exhibition space studies the history of the town, telling the story of the town’s beginnings as a manufacturing town, growth of the canals and shipping and agriculture to its current destination as a Arts Community. The museum is small and can be seen in about an hour to two hours if you like to read.

Don’t miss the room to the right of the museum which covers the timeline of the town and its prominent residents. It tells the story of how the growth of the iron works, the building of the dam and the coming of the railroads and the trolley system changed the town and the growth of its population. Take time to read the displays and look at the exhibitions behind the case lines.

The museum is only open once a week on Sundays from 1:00pm-4:00pm and is run by volunteers. If you want to see how the State of New Jersey grew from a series of small towns to bustling industrial areas to sleepy back towns and back, visiting the Boonton Historical Society and Museum is a must visit.

 

New Exhibition:

The Boonton Historical Society in conjunction with the North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society and Liberty Historic Railway present this exhibition on the Trolley era. This display will include scale models of various types of trolley cars which operated in New Jersey, along with streetcar memorabilia and artifacts such as operator’s uniform jacket/hats, badges, books, publications, post cards, photos, videos, lithographs, signs,posters, tickets, lanterns, hardware and more (Boonton Historical Society).

 

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The History of Boonton, NJ

 

The Mission Statement of the Boonton Historical Society & Museum:

The Boonton Historical Society and Museum is a non-profit organization incorporation in 1959 located in the town of Boonton, New Jersey. Its mission is to:

*Preserved and protect the town of Boonton’s unique cultural, architectural and industrial history;

*Preserved and share the area’s rich history, folklore, arts and humanities of the past and present;

*Encourage preservation and restoration of historic landmarks in the town;

*Protect and display the museum’s collections;

*Provide educational programs, guided historical tours and exhibitions to a diverse population.

 

The History of Dr. John Taylor House 210 Main Street  Boonton, NJ (Home of the Museum):

The building was originally a private home built for Dr. John Taylor and his wife, Adelaide T. Kanouse. John L. Kanouse gave his daughter and her husband this lot as a Christmas present in 1897. Most likely, it was an enticement to get his family to move closer to him because they had been living in Succasunna and Mount Arlington where Dr. Taylor had practiced medicine for 15 years. The Taylor’s returned to Boonton and had the brick house built. Dr. Taylor continued his medical practice there.

In 1901, Adelaide’s parents came to live with them until her father died in 1905 and her mother in 1908. John L. Kanouse was one of Boonton’s most prominent citizens and was a successful businessman. He operated a food and supply store on Main Street, a coal yard on the Morris Canal and a modest farm between Kanouse and Roessler streets. He was elected Superintendent of Public Schools and held the office for twenty years. He served in the State Legislature and Board of Chosen Freeholder and as Associate Judge of Morris County and Tax Collector of Boonton.

Dr. Ellery Peck worked with Dr. Taylor in the building as an associate for seven years. Then in 1917, Dr. Peck went to serve in WWI and Dr. Taylor moved to Chula Vista, CA. After the war, the returning soldiers formed American Legion Post #124. Dr. Peck was one of the trustees of the Legion Post. He negotiated with the Taylor’s to purchase the building from the Post and dedicated it as a permanent memorial to veterans and a home for Post #124.

In 1922, the Town offices were moved from the Maxfield Fire House on Main Street to the John Taylor house. The Legion Post and the Town shared this building for 43 years until the present Town Hall was built in 1965. Since that time, the Boy Scouts, Civil Defense and Parking Authority have also used the building, having five floors there was enough room for everyone.

The Legion also offered space to the Boonton Historical Society. On November 11, 1980, the Society opened its museum on the second floor. This arrangement continued for ten years until Town Fathers deemed the building unsafe and it was closed to the public.

The building sat idle until the Committee to Save the John Taylor Building sought funding to renovate the building. That funding came from several sources. The largest portion came form a state grant but there were also sizable donations from the American Legion Post #124 and the Boonton Historical Society. More money came from individuals who were interested in seeing this portion of Boonton’s history kept alive and retained by the Town. The renovations were completed by professional tradesman and a few tireless volunteers. The building reopened in May 1997.

The original building had two triangler dormers on the top floor and a porch at the back of the main floor. They were removed sometime during the 1960’s. That work did solve the problem of a leaking roof but unfortunately, it made the building ineligible for designation to the historic register. Another mistake was made when the building was painted to solve the problem of leaking bricks. That mistake was undone when a civic group, Boonton’s United Community Effort, held a raffle to earn money to have the paint chemically removed and the bricks repointed.

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The John Taylor House

Today, the building is shared by the American Legion and the Historical Society and Museum. The Town Fathers generously pay the expenses of the building and for that were are grateful (Boonton Historical Society).

Disclaimer: This information was taken from the Boonton Historical Society pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information.

 

 

 

Kearney House (Blackledge-Kearney House)  Alpine Landing  Alpine, NJ 07624

Kearney House (Blackledge-Kearney House) Alpine Landing Alpine, NJ 07624

Kearney House (Blackledge-Kearney House)

Alpine Landing

Alpine, NJ  07624

(201) 768-1360 ext. 108

https://www.njpalisades.org/kearney.html

Open: Most weekends & holiday afternoons from May to October

Fee: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

 

I took my first trip down to the Kearney House in Alpine, NJ and was able to walk the grounds, visit the Alpine Landing and see the amazing views of New York and of the Hudson River. This spot gives you breathtaking views upstream of the surrounding Hudson River.

The house was closed but the vegetable gardens were full of late Fall produce and the gardens could have used some weeding. I will have to wait until the house opens up again.

I recently visited the Kearny House of their Fall event “Punch & Pie at Mrs. Kearny’s Tavern”. That was an interesting night. First let me say that it is pitch black in that park. The Alpine Basin has no lights in the park and you will be in the dark the whole trip down the hill. I had a minor incident travelling down the hill so take it slow.

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The Kearny House illuminated at night

Once I was down for the event, it was interesting and fun night. Tavern musician, Thaddeus MacGregor, entertained us with all sorts of songs for the evening and there was storytelling by the gentleman who runs the historical site.

There was a candlelight tour of the house, so we got to see the second level with the upstairs bedroom, the attic area which really was drafty and the room above the new addition that is used for storage. The area was once heated by fireplaces and since the downstairs had a fire lit, the whole house was nice and warm. They had once of the original rope beds that had been tied and antique toys.

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Heating the punch

The first floor had the fireplace lit and the whole room was illuminated by candles which made the room very warm and cosey. It was interesting to see one of these homes that has no electricity and how it operates. It must have been very interesting to live at time.

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The Main Room lit by fireplace an candle light

What calmed me down after a long night was the delicious homemade pies that they served at the event. They had a strawberry rhubarb and apple that were just delicious. So flaky and filled the freshest fruit. It really cheered me up. They also had cheeses, roasted peanuts and a hot spiced cider to drink. I could have used something stiffer but it was still nice to drink and had the most wonderful flavor. Overall it was a nice night of desserts and snacks and good storytelling and the view of New York City was incredible.

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The house illuminated by candlelight

 

 

The History of the Kearney House:

 

(I credit this to the Kearney House pamphlet and Wiki)

The Kearney House was built in the 1760’s by the Blackledge family and was the home of Maria Blackledge, who was the daughter of Benjamin Blackledge, who lived in the home with her husband, Daniel Van Sciver.

Maria Blackledge father, Benjamin Blackledge, was an educator and public official, who taught Dutch citizens the “Kings English”. He was the first clerk of Harrington Township, NJ and served as Justice of the Peace and Judge of the County Court of Common Pleas and elected to the assembly of Bergen County, NJ. Mr. Blackledge’s wife, Caroline Tallman (Cathalyntie Tallema), was the daughter of Dowe Hermanszen Tallema and Maritie Haring, of the prominent Haring family of which Harrington, NJ was named after (Wiki).

The house was built in this location when the farmers of Closter, NJ built the Closter Dock Road through a pass in the cliffs to the Hudson River so they could deliver their goods to New York City. The house was most likely built to be a dockmaster’s house to supervise the busy river landing.

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The Blackledge-Kearney House

The house was purchased in  1817 by James and Rachel Kearney. With them were their three children from Rachel’s first husband, Abraham Powles, who died two years earlier. James and Rachel then had five children of their own. Rachel also adopted a daughter.

Mr. Kearney died in 1831 and Mrs. Kearney used the home as a tavern. The northern part of the house was expanded in 1840 to house the tavern part of the building. Besides offering food and spirits, Mrs. Kearney’s tavern served as a meeting place for the captains and crews of the sailing vessels that arrived and departed daily from the docks here and for the local workforce of quarrymen, dock workers and tradesmen.  The upstairs room in the new addition may have been for lodgers staying at the tavern.

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The Kearney House furnishings

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission bought the house in 1907 after Rachel’s death in 1897 and in 1909 had the big porch built as a grandstand for a dedication ceremony for the new park. Through the 1920’s, the Commission used the house as a police station. The house is now open to the public on select weekends and holidays for touring and special events.

The property offers beautiful views of Yonkers, NY and the Bronx and from the Alpine Landing especially in the coming Fall, amazing views of the foliage and of the cliffs surrounding the Hudson River.

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Alpine Boat Basin by the Kearney House