Tag: NYC Historical Sites

Carl Schurz Park East 86th Street and East End Avenue New York, NY 10028

Carl Schurz Park East 86th Street and East End Avenue New York, NY 10028

Carl Schurz Park

East 86th Street and East End Avenue

New York, NY  10028

(212) 459-4455

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M081/

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/carl-schurz-park/history

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-12:00am

Admission: Free

I have been visiting Carl Schurz Park many times while walking the neighborhood for my project, “MywalkinManhattan.com”. You can see the entries from Days One Hundred and Ten, Six, Four and Two. I also visited again when touring Gracie Mansion for this blog, “VisitingaMuseum” (see write up under Gracie Mansion).

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7156

The park is such a nice place to relax in the warmer months. Being so close to the river in the winter months when the wind kicks in from the river can be brutal. In the Spring and Summer, it is one of the nicest parks to just sit and relax in. During the day, it is fun to watch the kids play in the large playground in the middle of the park. On the weekends the place is packed with kids, parents, and nannies all vying for space.

The gardens are beautiful and are very nicely maintained between the City and the Carl Schurz Park Association, who I have seen members weeding, landscaping and planting in the park during the times of my visits. It is relaxing to just sit by the river and watch the river go by and the boats sail by in the warmer months.

The flowers return during each part of the season almost on cue and the park is awash with colors of daffodils, tulips, irises and tiger lilies. There are many flowering plants in the summer that add to the rainbow of colors that accent all the trees. It is a nice place to sit and read a book while watching people walk their dogs.

At twilight, it is fun to watch the lights go on in Queens across the river and the whole city come to life again in the evening. In the warm summer months, the kids are playing in the park, residents have their dogs running around the Dog Run and you can hear the activity at Gracie Mansion. Trust me, security is tight in that section of the park.

This is a nice residential park to relax in when you visiting the Upper East Side.

The History of Carl Schurz Park:

Carl Schurz Park, named by the Board of Alderman in 1910 for the soldier, statesman and journalist Carl Schurz (1829-1906), overlooks the turbulent waters of Hell Gate. The first known Dutch owner of the land was Sybout Claessen, who was granted the property in 1646 by the Dutch West India Company. Jacob Walton, a subsequent owner, built the first house on the site in 1770. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army built a fort surrounding the Walton residence to guard the strategic shipping passage of Hell Gate. After the British attack on September 8th, 1776, the house was destroyed and the Americans were forced to retreat from the fort, which the British retained until the end of the war in 1783.

The land was purchased from Walton’s heirs in 1798 by Archibald Gracie, a Scottish shipping magnate. He built a mansion there in 1799, where his illustrious guests included future United States President, John Quincy Adams and future French King Louis Phillippe. The estate, sold by Gracie in 1819 was acquired by the City from the Wheaton family in 1891. The first home of the Museum of the City of New York from 1924-32, the mansion served as the official residence of New York’s mayor’s since Fiorello LaGuardia moved there in 1942.

gracie mansion ii

Gracie Mansion during the Wheaton Years

The southern portion of the park was set aside by the City as East River Park in 1876. The former Gracie estate was added in 1891 and a new landscape design by Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons was completed in 1902. Maud Sargent re-landscaped the park in 1939 when the East River Drive underpass was under construction. Charles Haffen’s sculpture of Peter Pan, created in 1928 for a fountain in the lobby of the old Paramount Theater was installed in the park in 1975.

carl schurz park ii

Carl Schurz Park in the Summer

The park name honors Schurz, a native of Cologne, Germany. It was strongly supported by the large German community of adjacent Yorkville. After emigrating to the United States in 1852, Schurz quickly made his reputation as a skilled orator and proved to be instrumental to Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election campaign. His most significant political offices were that of United States Senator from Missouri (1869-1875) and Secretary of the Interior (1877-81) during the Hayes administration. In later years, Schurz was editor of the New York Tribune and an editorial writer for Harper’s Weekly. Schurz is also honored by Karl Bitter’s statue of 1913, located in Morningside Drive and 116th Street.

Recent improvements include rebuilding of the stairs, the complete restoration of the playground and the opening of Carl’s Dog Run. These and other projects, including the planting of flowers, have been accomplished through a partnership between the Parks and the Carl Schurz Park Association, which has demonstrated the community’s commitment to restoring, maintaining and preserving this park since it formed in 1974.

(NYC Parks Official Website)

My write up on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2182

carl schurz park iii

Carl Schurz Park in the Summer months.

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The Frick Collection 1 East 70th Street  New York, NY 10021

The Frick Collection 1 East 70th Street New York, NY 10021

The Frick Collection

1 East 70th Street

New York, NY  10021

(212) 288-0700

http://www.frick.org

https://www.frick.org/

Hours:  Tuesday-Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm/Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm/Monday Closed

Closed: January 1st, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas

Admission: Adults $22.00/Senior Citizen $17.00/Students $12.00. Pay as you wish Wednesday from 2:00pm-6:00pm

Audio Guide: The Acoustiguide Audio Tour is available free of charge in the Entrance Hall.

I visited The Frick Collection for the first time when I was walking the Upper East Side for my project, “MywalkinManhattan” Day One Hundred and Twelve-Walking the Upper East Side”. In all the years I had been coming into Manhattan I had never been inside. So I stopped for the afternoon to see what it was like inside the old Frick Mansion.

When you first walk into the museum, in the inside of the main foyer of the house there is fountain with a large indoor pool with benches, the perfect place to relax after the long walk outside. All around the pool are various doors and windows that lead to the rooms that house the collection.

the frick collection ii

The Fountain area

All around the house you will see famous Old Master’s paintings, statuary and porcelain figurines. While I was visiting there, I stopped in to see the new exhibition “George Washington Statuary Collection”.

The  “George Washington” exhibition showed the creation of the statue for the Virginia State Capital that was destroyed by fire in the last century. All of the models and drawings were accompanying the display to see how the work was created.

After that, I just walked through the galleries to see all the paintings and sit by the fountain in the middle of the old house. Each of the rooms houses each part of the Mr. Frick’s Collection plus new pieces that continue to be added.

the frick collection iii

The inside galleries

Before you leave, remember to check out their gift shop which has interesting items for sale and copies of the art in various forms to take home. Also on a nice day take time to walk around the gardens. For a mansion on Fifth Avenue, it is cared for beautifully and is well cared for just as the Frick’s would have done.

 

History of The Frick Collection:

The Frick Collection is house in the former residence of Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), which was designed by Thomas Hastings and constructed in 1913-14. After Mrs. Frick’s death in 1931, changes and additions to the building were by the architect John Russell Pope and in 1935 the Collection was opened to the public.

The Collection preserves the ambiance of Mr. Frick’s private house and visitors are therefore asked to observe regulations necessary for protecting the works of art and their domestic setting:

*Because few ropes or cases are used to guard fragile objects, children under ten are not admitted to the Collection.

*Group visits are by appointment only and large groups must be divided into parties of no more than ten. Lecturing in the galleries is prohibited.

*Free checking is provided in the coat room. Coats (if not worn), packages, umbrellas and large handbags must be checked.

The Collection includes some of the best known paintings by the greatest European  artists, major works of sculpture (among them one of the finest groups of small bronzes in the world), superb eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelains, Limoges enamels, Oriental rugs and other works of remarkable quality.

Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from The Frick Collection Museum pamphlet and I give the museum full credit for this information. Please check out times and dates before you visit.

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan

Visiting Stone Street in Lower Manhattan:

As part of my tour of Historic Bars and Pubs on Day One Hundred and Thirteen with the Cornell Club on May 9th, 2018, we toured the famous ‘Stone Street’ one of the original paved streets of Manhattan. You will not find architecture or pavings like this left in New York City. Here and there are streets or buildings that represent these times during the early to mid-1800’s but they are few and scattered in remote spots all over the island. Here the street still represents a different era of Manhattan.

The stores in the 90’s had been either boarded up or were used but in horrible shape. During the business hours not too many people inhabited this area of Lower Manhattan and it was ignored. The neighboring South Street Seaport was being transformed in the mid 80’s into a type of historic theme park and entertainment center by the Rouse Corporation. It put these old neighborhoods back into vogue and people started to return again.

Over time, especially after 9/11 and the changes in downtown Manhattan, the street is now home to many trendy bars and restaurants and a hang out for the downtown business crowd. During the recent walking tour, the place was hopping with people spilling out of restaurants, ordering drinks during happy hour and eating pizza at the local pizzeria.

During ‘Happy Hour’ after work, the place is mobbed with people milling around having a good time. The tables toward the end of the street are filled with tourists taking pictures and at one end of the street is the famous “India House” and at the other is the Frances Tavern where George Washington gave his troops his farewell address.

stone street

Stone Street in the warmer months

It is not only a historical neighborhood but loaded with things to see and do. The buildings which were once in horrible shape have been brought back to life and repositioned to use for the meals and entertainment. It is interesting to see how a neighborhood comes back in full circle in a 150 years.

History of the area:

Stone Street is a short street in Manhattan’s Financial District. It originally ran from Broad Street to Hanover Square but was divided into two sections by the construction of the Goldman Sachs building at 85 Broad Street in the 1980’s. Today the cluster of historic buildings along Stone, South William, Pearl Streets and Coenties Alley form the Stone Street Historic District.

Stone Street is one of New York’s oldest streets. It was originally known by its Dutch name, Hoogh Staet (High Street). In 1632, the Dutch West India Company built the first commercial brewery in North America there. Around 1656, Hoogh Straet was shifted about twenty to twenty-five feet to align it with Brouwer Street, the extension of Hoogh Straet west of the Gracht and which in 1658 became the first paved street in Nieuw Amsterdam. Following the British conquest of the colony, the name Hoogh Straet was translated to High Street. It was then called Duke Street for the Duke of York during most of the 18th century. Leveled in 1771 and 1790, it was renamed Stone Street in 1794 because of it’s cobblestone paving as New Yorkers abandoned reminders of British Rule. The street’s stores and loft were built for dry-goods merchants and importers, shortly after the Great Fire of 1825, which destroyed many remnants of New Amsterdam.

Most buildings were used as storage. The building at 57 Stone Street was rebuilt in 1903 by C.P.H, Gilbert in Dutch Colonial Revivial architecture at the behest of the owner, Amos F. Eno as son of Amos R. Eno. The buildings to the back on South William 13-23 also were reconstructed in the Dutch revival style, evoking New Amsterdam.

Following many decades of neglect, a joint partnership between the Landmarks Preservation Commission and other city agencies, the Alliance for Downtown New York and Stone Street owners has transformed Stone Street from a derelict back alley into one of Downtown’s liveliest scenes. Restored buildings, granite paving, bluestone sidewalks and period lights set the stage for the half dozen restaurants and cafes, whose outdoor tables are very popular on warm summer nights.

The eastern portion of the street and the surrounding buildings have been protected since 1996 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as the Stone Street Historic District and is pedestrian only. The historic district is now populated by several restaurants and bars and has a outdoor dining when the weather permits. The India House historic landmark is located at the Hanover Square end of the street.

(This information was taken directly from Wikipedia and I give them full credit)

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street   Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street Bronx, NY 10471

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Van Cortlandt Park at Broadway & West 246 Street

Bronx, NY  10471

(718) 543-3344

infor@vchm.org

Open: Tuesday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Saturday & Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm

Admission: $5.00 for Adults/$3.00 for Seniors & Students/Children under 12 are free/General Admission is free on Wednesdays. Guided and group tours are available.

Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47369-d103501-Reviews-Van_Cortlandt_House-Bronx_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Van Cortlandt House Museum for the their Annual Christmas Decorated House event. The mansion was decorated for Christmas in the 1700’s so it was not overdone as it would during the Victorian times. The front of the house entrance was done with sprays of holly, mistletoe above the door and garlands of pine around the banister and fireplaces. The windows had candles in them and the dining room was set for Christmas luncheon in post-Revolutionary War era.

While most of the house is represented during the Dutch era with floors with no rugs, vintage furniture and decorations and the second and third floors are set for family entertainment. The first floor is set for entertaining for the holidays with the formal dining room, family palour and the formal living room for games and dancing. The formal dining room was the only room decorated post-Revolutionary War era.

van cortlandt mansion xmas ii

Van Cortlandt Mansion at Christmas 1800’s

Until the Victorian era, Christmas was a more religious affair with church service in the morning and luncheon in the afternoon. Things were formal and less elaborate. The acts of gift giving, sleigh rides, tree decorating and card giving came during the affluence of Queen Victoria’s reign in the post Civil-War era. This is the reason why the house is decorated so simply and elegantly.

History of the Van Cortlandts:

The Van Cortlandt House Museum, also known as Fredrick Van Cortlandt House or Van Cortlandt House, is the oldest surviving building in New York City’s borough of The Bronx. The Georgian style house, begun in 1748, was build of fieldstone by Fredrick Van Cortlandt (1699-1749) on the plantation that had been owned and farmed by his family since 1691. Fredrick intended the house to be a home for him and his wife, Francis Jay and daughters, Anna Maria, 14 and Eve, 13. His sons, Augustus, 21 and Fredrick, 19, were not intended to be permanent residents of the house. Sadly, Fredrick died before the new house was completed. In his will written in 1759, Fredrick left the house to his son, James Van Cortlandt (1726-1781) and a life time tenancy to his widow, Francis Jay Van Cortlandt (1701-1780).

The Van Cortlandt’s were a mercantile family prominent in New York affairs. Fredrick’s father, Jacobus, established a thriving wheat growing and processing business on the plantation including a grist mill for processing the wheat into flour and a fleet of shallow draft boats to carry the flour from the south end his lake down Tibbet’s Brook and out to the Harlem and Hudson Rivers to market. During the Revolutionary War, the house was used by Rochambeau, Lafayette and Washington.

(From History of Van Cortlandt House and Museum)

In 1887, after 140 years of occupancy by the Van Cortlandt family and the community of plantation workers, the property was sold to the City of New York and made a public parkland. Before the house became a museum, it saw a variety of uses including as a temporary police precinct house and as a dormitory for ranch hands responsible for taking care of a herd of buffalo.

By 1895, The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York expressed their interest in restoring the house as a museum open to the public. There was only one obstacle keeping the Colonial Dames from this important project, there was no provision in the New York State Law allowing the stewardship of a publicly owned building by a private organization. Undaunted, the first Society President, Mrs. Townsend, took the Society’s cause to Albany where on May 22, 1896 in the 199th session of the New York Legislature, Chapter 837 was approved by the governor and passed by a 3/5 majority to become law.

After nearly a year if repairs and restoration, Van Cortlandt House Museum was opened to great fanfare on May 25th of 1897. The original license agreement grained custody of the house to the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York for a period of 25 years at a ‘peppercorn’ rent of $1.00 per year. Although the Society no longer pays the city rent, they remain, to this day as dedicated to Van Cortlandt House as they were in 1896.

In 1967, Van Cortlandt House was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967. The house was declared a New York City Landmark on March 15, 1966, recognizing the historic and architectural importance of both the exterior and interior.

(From the Van Cortlandt House Museum NSCDNY)

van cortland mansion xmas

Van Cortlandt House Museum at Christmas

The Amiable Child Memorial 554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

The Amiable Child Memorial 554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street, New York, NY 10027

The Amiable Child Memorial

554 Riverside Drive at West 124th Street

New York, NY 10027

Open: 6:00am-1:00am

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riversidepark/monuments/1206

I stumbled across the Amiable Child Memorial over the summer when I was walking Riverside Drive for “MywalkinManhattan” project (see walking 155th Street) and came across this small memorial when I was passing Grant’s Tomb. It is off to the side on the path by the woods. It is a small monument and very humbling in its look. It is a small urn on a pedestal marking a grave of a small child surrounded by a fence. I got the following information from the NYC Parks Department website when I wanted to know more about the site:

This unique New York City monument marks the site of one of the few private graves on public land within the five boroughs. It belongs to St. Claire Pollock (the namesake of nearby St. Claire Place), a child who died on July 15, 1797 in the fifth year of his life, probably from a fall from the cliffs of the parkland onto the rocks near the Hudson River.

In the two centuries that have passed since the tragedy of the “Amiable Child” as he was described on his headstone-different accounts of St. Claire origins and family have persisted. George Pollock, the owner of the property on which the boy was buried, was either his father or his uncle. He was a linen merchant of Scots-Irish or possibly English descent, who lived in a mansion on Strawberry Hill (later called Claremont) in the 1790’s. He  had sold his property to Mrs. Cornelia Verplanck, his former neighbor, by January 18, 1800 when he wrote as follows:

“There is a small enclosure near your boundary fence within which lie the remains of a favorite child, covered by a marble monument. You will confer a peculiar and interesting favor upon me by allowing me to convey the enclosure to you so that you will consider its part of your own estate, keeping it however always enclosed and sacred.”

Claremont Hill was the site of the Battle of Harlem Heights, fought during the Revolutionary War on September 16, 1776. By 1806, it had been acquired by Michael Hogan, a former British Consul in Havana, who built Claremont Mansion (for which Claremont Avenue was named). Possible sources for the name are Hogan’s birthplace of County Clare, Ireland and his friend Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who would ascend the English throne as King William IV in 1830. Known as the site of a popular roadside inn by 1860, Claremont was acquired by the City from the heirs of Joel Post in 1873 for the development of Riverside Park.

In the 1890’s, Claremont Inn was host to numerous politicians, socialites and entertainers including the Morgan’s, Vanderbilt’s and Whitney’s, Lillian Russell and Admiral George Dewey. By 1907, the Inn had been transformed into a restaurant, serving the likes of Cole Porter and James J. Walker. It was destroyed by fire in 1950. The playground which now stands on the site was built shortly afterwards.

A century after the Tomb of the Amiable Child was laid, New York’s most famous monumental grave-Grant’s Tomb-was completed. The domed structure across Riverside Drive, designed by architect John Duncan and sculptor John Massey Rhind, was dedicated on April 27, 1897. The later structure is as grand a testimony to the accomplishments of national leader as the monument to the amiable child is a modest and touching tribute to a young boy who never had the opportunity to grow into adulthood. This monument was dedicated on May 3, 1967 (www.nycgovparks.org/parks/riverside-park/mounments/1206).

*You really have to look off the beaten path to see this unique little memorial but it is very touching and soulful. Take the time when visiting the neighborhood to visit this very touching site. You will find it by the path behind Grant’s Tomb.

Look for more sculptures  by looking at the Parks website http://www.nycgovparks.org.