Tag: nyc

The Staten Island Zoo 614 Broadway Staten Island , NY 10310

The Staten Island Zoo 614 Broadway Staten Island , NY 10310

The Staten Island Zoo

614 Broadway

Staten Island, NY  10310

(718) 442-3100

http://www.statenislandzoo.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48682-d110278-Reviews-Staten_Island_Zoo-Staten_Island_New_York.html

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-4:45pm

Fee: Adults $10.00 (15 and older)/Seniors (60 and over) $7.00/Children (3-14) $6.00

 

I wanted to celebrate Groundhog’s Day this year and had fully planned to go to Punxsutaway, PA to see the Groundhog’s Day festival again (see Day Thirty-Seven of ‘MywalkinManhattan’) but a ‘Arctic Vortex’ swept all over the Midwest with its fringes reaching the middle of Pennsylvania. It would be 30 degrees on Groundhog’s Day with a temperature of 4 degrees that night. The thought of sitting in Gobbler’s Knob in almost 0 weather had no appeal to me and I changed my plans.

I had remembered that there was a festival on Staten Island at the Staten Island Zoo with ‘Staten Island Chuck’ on Groundhog’s Day so off I went early the next morning to see the groundhog see his shadow.

The Staten Island Zoo had a fun and engaging Groundhog’s Day ceremony (see Day One Hundred and Thirty One of ‘MywalkinManhattan’) with a musical concert with the students of P.S. 29 and a private band who made up a song to go with the festival. At 8:00am, they presented Staten Chuck to the audience and he told us that there would be an early spring (its still freezing out!).

After the ceremony was over, the Zoo gave us plenty of time to explore the park before it opened to the public. With it being so cold outside, a lot of the outdoor animals were not in their pens outside but I was able to most of the exhibits.

State Island Zoo

Map of the Staten Island Zoo

I was able to visit all the inside exhibitions which was nice because the crowds began to thin as the morning went on. It is a nice sized zoo with a lot of indoor exhibitions for a rainy or cold day.

I visited the Birds of Prey exhibit which contains many types of birds in their simulated natural habitat. There were some interesting colorful birds that the zoo keepers took out so that we could see them up close.

There was a Fox exhibition where the small furry creatures were crawling and climbing all over the rocks and formations. They just stared at me looking at them leading me to believe that they were used to humans looking at them.

I walked through the African, Tropical Forest and the Aquarium which were located towards the front of the zoo.  I walked through the aquarium which is small but still nice and you are able to see many types of fish and plant life. In the African exhibition, I loved looking at the bearded monkeys who just looked back at me and then it was off to the reptile wing to look at snakes, turtles and frogs.

s.Staten Island Zoo III

I went outside later in the morning and looked at the horses (who looked freezing) and the kangaroos, who looked at me like they wanted to run back inside (it was about 35 degrees at that point). The emus looked at me with desperation as well like ‘at least he is going to feed us’ look.  None of the outdoor animals looked comfortable in this weather. Even Staten Island Chuck was inside because his keeper said that it was too cold even for him to be outside.

The one thing about the Staten Island Zoo is that it is compact and you can see the whole zoo in one afternoon. There is also plenty of parking behind the zoo in the park. The Zoo also has a nice gift shop, where a ‘Staten Island Chuck’ stuffed animal will cost you $20.00. There is also a restaurant with stand kid fare like chicken fingers and burgers in the afternoon hours.

The Zoo I would think would be more fun in the warmer months but with the indoor exhibitions, there is lots to see and do at the Staten Island Zoo.

Staten Island Chuck 2019 II

At least Spring is on its way!

The History of the Staten Island Zoo:

In August 1933, the Staten Island Zoological Society was created and the park built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. On March 25, 1935, the Egbert-Robillard Bill was passed by the New York State Senate to have the city provide maintenance for the zoo. Two months later on May 7, 1935, the Governor of New York signed an agreement to allocate public fund for the zoo to cover operational and maintenance costs while the exhibits, animal care and educational programs were to be maintained by the Staten Island Zoological Society. With the land now owned by the city and a program to convert the 8 acre estate into a zoo. The zoo opened to the public on June 10, 1936 and was considered the first U.S. “educational zoo”. (Wiki)

Staten Island Zoological Society:

Unlike all the other zoos in New York City, which are operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Staten Island Zoo is operated by the Staten Island Zoological Society which was created in August 1933 under the organization of Harold O’Connel. Local legend maintains that the society was partially formed from the Staten Island Reptile Club, which was located nearby on Britton  Street and Broadway. Although no written documentation exists regarding the merger it would  explain the newly formed Staten Zoological Society’s affinity for reptiles and why the zoo was (and still is) known for its extensive reptile collection. Just short of one year after its organization on July 24, 1934, the Staten Island  Zoological Society was officially incorporated. (Wiki)

The zoo is home to Staten Island Chuck, a groundhog who is the official Groundhog Day forecaster for New York City and Grandpa, a black-handed Spider Monkey, who made local newspapers when he accurately ‘predicted’ the outcome of six out of nine matches during the U.S. Open Tennis Championship. (Wiki)

Staten Island Chuck Festival 2019

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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.

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

Branch Brook Park Alliance  115 Clifton Avenue  Newark, NJ 07104

Branch Brook Park Alliance 115 Clifton Avenue Newark, NJ 07104

Branch Brook Park Alliance

115 Clifton Avenue

Newark, NJ  07104

(973)  268-2300

http://www.branchbrookpark.org

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46671-d502865-Reviews-Branch_Brook_Park-Newark_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I have visited Branch Brook Park many times over the past thirty years and during the Annual Cherry Blossom the park is especially nice. The City of Newark still has the reputation as a rough place and parts of the City I still would not like to walk around in after dark (as are all cities). Branch Book is separated from the rest of the City and sits on the border of Newark sharing the park with the town of Belleville.

The Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place every Spring with the coming of the blooming of all of the Cherry Trees which cover the whole length of the park, is always anticipated by people all over the State of New Jersey. They bloomed a little late this year due to the unseasonably cold weather this year. It was snowing up to two weeks earlier so the buds opened later this year. In come cases, the peak of the blossoms came about two weeks late.

It was well worth it as spread over thirty two acres of land are over 2,000 cherry trees that bud every year at slightly different times due to the different species of plants. You day will start in the park at the Visitor’s Welcome Center located in the eastern section of the park, where you will read about the history of the park and have a chance to check into the activities of the annual Festival or just relax and go to the bathroom. The Visitor’s Center has just been renovated and is a nice starting point to walk around the park during the festival. There is a lot of public parking in this area and your car will be safe with all the people walking around.

Walking among the paths of blossoming Cherry Trees is quite spectacular. It is Mother Nature showing here best with all sorts of hues of light and dark pink. It is something to walk around the trees as the petals in some cases rain down on you. Because the Festival is such a tradition with visitors some even wear their kimono’s or their wedding gowns in the park for pictures.

The park is in the process of a decade long renovation after years of neglect. The Branch Brook Park Alliance in partnership with Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, is working to restore the park’s historic design and adapt it to today’s lively use. Our park holds claim to many firsts: America’s first county park opened to the public; first to be listed on both the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places and the first to surpass Washington DC in the number and variety of cherry trees (Branch Brook Park Alliance).

Completed projects set the stage for the park’s full restoration. The County has refurbished historic bridges, renovated the Cherry Blossom Welcome Center and created the Cherry Tree Memorial Grove to promote the “Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure”. Extensive plantings of cherry trees, soon to number 4,000, complement the park’s 78 other tree varieties. Restoration of historic sites include the Octagon Shelter and park entrance ways (Branch Brook Park Alliance).

The Cherry Blossom Display at Essex County Branch Brook Park:

In 1928, Caroline Bamberger Fuld, after seeing the cherry trees in the Nation’s Capital, offered a gift of 2000 trees for Essex County Branch Brook Park. To showcase the park’s newly acquired Extension, the renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architectural firm created a planting design using dark evergreen trees as a backdrop for the mix of white and pink cherry blossoms from varieties such as Higan, Yoshino and Kwanzan (Branch Brook Alliance).

After a 2004 inventory showed 1.000 cherry trees remaining, an ongoing initiative to replace and expand the collection was undertaken by Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. and the Branch Brook Alliance. By 2016, the number of cherry trees was expanded to over 5,000. Cherry trees in 27 varieties now adorn all sections of the park, from the Southern Division at Clifton Avenue in Newark to the park’s Extension at Washington Avenue in Belleville (Branch Brook Park Alliance).

The History of Branch Brook Park (Branch Brook Park Alliance):

1862: The land we know know now as Branch was then the property of the Newark Aqueduct Board. Much of that land was commandeered in July of 1862, at the outbreak of the Civil War; known as Camp Frelinghuysen, it was used as a training ground for New Jersey volunteers. Between 1862 and 1864, six regiments encamped there before fighting in every important battle from Antietam to Appomatox.

1867: The New Jersey State Legislature authorized a Newark Park Commission, with a mandate to locate grounds for a municipal park. Fredrick Law Olmsted, the famed landscape architect and designer of Central Park in New York, visited Newark and Essex County and recommended a site encompassing what is now Branch Brook Park, Olmsted and his partner, Calvert Vaux, envisioned Branch Brook Park to be a “grand central park” for the City of Newark. They understood that American cities of the 19th Century were growing quickly and changing rapidly. The parks they designed embodied their view that all people, regardless of their position in society, were entitled to fresh air, quiet places and the beauty that only nature can provide.

1889: The Newark Common Council donated 60 acres of the Aqueduct Board property surrounding the circular holding reservoir to “park use”. Known as Reservoir Park, the land was left undeveloped. Much of the surrounding neighborhoods were crowded with bleak, unhealthy tenements. To the north lay a dismal march known as Old Blue Jay Swamp.

1895: The Essex County Park Commission was formed to enable the creation of a county-wide park system, the first in the nation. The City of Newark transferred Reservoir Park, which would become the nucleus of Branch Brook Park to the Commission at ta cost of $350,687. The surrounding properties were acquired by the County while donations of land from prominent Newark families extend the park northward. The Ballantine Family donated 32 acres of their property and another 50 acres were given by Z.M. Keene, William A. Righter and the Messrs. Heller. John Bogart and Nathan Barrett were chosen to provide plans and advise on the development of the park. Their design was gardenesque in style, dominated by the geometrically patterned gardens and numerous architectural elements including arbors, viaducts, gazebos and shelters that shaped the park’s Southern Division.

 

1896: Demolition and grading began following Bogart and Barrett’s plans.

1898: Dissatisfied with Bogart and Barrett’s work, the Commission hired the Olmsted Brothers firm; John Charles Olmsted and Fredrick Law Olmsted Jr. were Fredrick Law Olmsted Sr’s nephew/stepson and son. While their work continued that naturalistic style of landscape design championed by their father, in Branch Brook Park, they were required to incorporate the elements of Bogart and Barrett’s plan that had already been constructed. This led to the Olmsted firm’s design concept consisting of three divisions: the Southern, from Sussex Avenue to Park Avenue, incorporating the elaborate ‘gardenesque’ elements from Bogart and Barrett’ the middle from Park Avenue to Bloomfield Avenue, which would be a transitional zone, mixing the exotic with the indigenous and as the culmination, the Northern Division, the largest and most naturalistic area of the park.

1900: The first Chrysanthemum Show was held in the newly constructed greenhouse in the Northern Division. This annual event brought thousands to the park every fall until  1969.

1903: The United Singing Societies donated the bust of composer Felix Mendelssohn they won in Baltimore, MD at that year’s ‘saengerfest’, the annual, nationwide German singing competition that generated excitement comparable to today’s Super Bowl.

1906: The gran boathouse, designed by the firm of Rossiter and Wright, was added to the southern end of the lake, replacing an earlier structure.

1916: The Essex County Park System build its Administration Building on the parkland that had been set aside to provide a view from Concourse Hill. Designed by New Jersey native Harold Van Buren Magonigle, the exterior has eight different shades of coarse-textured terra brick and expensive terra cotta reliefs especially notable around the main entrance. Under the wide overhang of the tile roof are colorful, allegorical decorations executed by Mrs. Edith Magonigle.

1924: Industrialist and philanthropist Harmon W. Hendricks, owner of a copper rolling mill on the Second River, donated his family home and the adjoining 23 acres to the north of Branch Brook  Park. An additional 94 acres were acquired by the county to link Hendricks Field Golf Course and Belleville Park in an unbroken swath of green. This land included what was the first landing site for the U.S. Postal Service where bi-winged airplanes landed on a short field with bales of hay rimming the end of the runway to prevent accidents.

1927: Caroline Bamberger Fuld donates 2,000 Japanese flowering cherry trees to a display in Newark that would rival that in Washington DC. The Olmsted Brothers’ firm laid out the trees naturalistically on the tiered slopes along the narrow valley of the Second River, evoking the way the trees would be seen in Japan and distinguishing Branch Brook Park’s display from all others. Eventually the collection would grow to more than 3,000 trees.

1928: The Morris Canal that ran from Jersey City to the Delaware River and formed the park’s western boundary was abandoned and became the Newark City Subway. Now Newark Light Rail, there are six stops along the park that provide easy access by mass transit.

1940: The Rossiter and Wright boathouse was deemed unsafe and dismantled. A smaller building replaced the grand structure.

1956: More than 3,000 people attended the Fall Chrysanthemum Shoe in the greenhouses.

1967: Riots broke out in Newark and devastated  the community. Many buildings were burned, boarded up and sections of the city were deserted. The National Guard was called in to maintain order and bivouacs in Branch Brook Park, where Civil War volunteers mustered 100 years earlier.

1974: Community members rallied to save their beloved park and the Friends of Branch Brook Park was formed.

1976: The Newark Cherry Blossom Festival was established.

1980: Branch Brook Park was placed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

1981: The Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1986: The Boathouse was destroyed by fire and replaced by a concrete block structure.

1999: Branch Brook Park Alliance (BBPA) was formed.

2002: BBPA hired Rhodeside & Harwell (RHI), nationally recognized landscape architects, to produce a Cultural Landscape Report, Treatment and Management Plan, to serve as a blueprint for the park’s restoration.

2003: The lake edge near the boat house in the Southern District was replanted to recreate the original Olmstead plan; this pilot project was designed by RHI and funded by BBPA.

2004: A tree inventory was conducted by BBPA as part of the Cultural Landscape Report and revealed that less than 1,000 cherry trees remained from the original gift of 2,000 trees and subsequent plantings.

2005: Responding to community interest, the first farmers’ market took place, along with other activities to help reactivate the park.

2006: BBPA, together with the Essex County, the North Ward Center and the Newark Boys and Girls Clubs developed the Middle Division ball fields, now home to 7,500 ballplayers annually.

A grant from the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund enabled the first planting of what would total more than 3,000 new cherry trees over the next four years.

2007: The Ball fields in the Extension were redesigned and upgraded while the surrounding landscape is restored. The Cherry Tree Demonstration Project showed what a fully restored collection should look like with extensive companion plantings and appropriate hardscaping.

2008: The Octagon Shelter was reconstructed. The Waterway Rehabilitation Feasibility Study was completed, setting forth a path for the restoration of one of the park’s most salient features.

2009: Prudential Global Volunteer Day drew more than 300 participants from diverse sectors of the community. A Maintenance Plan for the park was completed and implementation begun at six volunteer days.

2010: Design work was completed for project that will transform western lake edge in the Southern Division. The rehabilitation of the Octagon Field House in the Middle Division was completed.

(The History of Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ by the Branch Brook Park Alliance)

http://www.branchbrookpark.org

Disclaimer: This information was taken from the Branch Brook Park Alliance and I give them full credit for their work. Don’t miss the Cherry Blossom Festival each Spring April/May depending on the weather.

 

 

 

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum 4881 Broadway at 204th Street New York, New York 10034

Dyckman Farmhouse Museum 4881 Broadway at 204th Street New York, New York 10034

I visited the Dyckman Farmhouse on day during my walk around the Inwood section of Manhattan and came upon this old farmhouse in the middle of the commercial district by Columbia University’s football field. You have to take the A or the 1 Subway uptown to get there but it is one of the last vestiges of the farming community that once was Manhattan in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. It has been there since the family donated it to the city in 1916. It should not be missed when visiting Manhattan. I wrote more about my trip there in “MywalkinManhattan” blog site.

The Dyckman Farmhouse

4881 Broadway at 204th Street

New York, NY  10034

(212) 304-9422

dyckmanfarmhouse.org

http://dyckmanfarmhouse.org/

Hours:

Winter Schedule: November-April Friday and Saturday 11:00am-4:00pm

Monday-Wednesday: Groups by Appointment Only; Groups of 10 or more by appointment

Thursday-Saturday: 11:00am-4:00pm

Sunday: 11:00am-3:00pm

Fee: Donation Based

My TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d108018-Reviews-Dyckman_Farmhouse_Museum-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

The Dyckman House, now the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum in the oldest remaining farmhouse on Manhattan island, a remainder of New York City’s rural past. The Dutch Colonial-style farmhouse was built by William Dyckman in 1785. It was originally part of over 250 acres of farmland owned by the family. It was once the center of a thriving farm with fields and orchards of cherry, pear and apple trees. It is now located in a small park at the corner of Broadway and 204th Street in the Inwood section neighborhood of the city.

History and Description

William Dyckman was the grandson of Jan Dyckman, who came to the area from Westphalia in 1661. Jan Dyckman, a shoemaker and another Dutch settler, Jan Nagel purchased much of the land between present 155th Street and the northern tip of the island. Members of the Dyckman and Nagel families lived on the land for three generations until the Revolutionary War broke out.

dyckman farm house III

The house and front gardens

During the Revolutionary War, the British occupation of Manhattan in 1776-83, the Dyckman’s, like many other patriots, fled the city and did not return until the British had been defeated. When the war ended and the Dyckman’s found their home and orchards had been destroyed, they built a new house on the Kingsbridge Road, now Broadway. They chose this location on a major thoroughfare in order to supplement their income by providing accommodations for travelers on their way to and from Manhattan.

William Dyckman, who inherited the family estate built the current house to replace the family house located on the Harlem River near the present West 210th Street, which he had build in 1748 and which was destroyed in the American Revolutionary War.

There was also 30 people living within three other houses scattered across the roughly 250 acre farm. The residents included laborers and other Dyckman family members. The main outbuildings for the farm were built close to the farmhouse including a cider mill, corn cribs, barns and stable (Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance).

The house is designed with:

The Relic Room: Objects that are displayed were discovered from digs in the area.

The Second Floor Bedroom: Some of the rooms are decorated with furnishings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries and reflect colonial life around 1800.

The Parlor: This area was used for a variety of activities from dining to socializing.

The Bedroom: There were two bedrooms on the first floor and one large sleeping space on the second floor.

Dyckman farm house IV

Downstairs bedroom

The Winter and Summer Kitchens: The farmhouse had two kitchen, the Winter and Summer kitchens, the Winter one would have kept the home warm in the cold months and would have been used  as a non-cooking work space in the summer. The Summer kitchen is closed to the public has a small bedroom attached to it.

The Garden Area: On the half acre of family land left they have constructed a reproduction a smokehouse and outbuildings along with gardens planted with thousands of new plants that include things like bleeding hearts and foxglove.

dyckman farm V.jpg

The gardens and smokehouse

(The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum Alliance)

The current two-story house is constructed of fieldstone, brick and white clapboard and features a gambrel roof and spring eaves. The porches typical of the Dutch Colonial style but were added in 1825. The house interior has parlors and an indoor (winter) kitchen, with floors of varying-width chestnut wood. The house outdoor smokehouse kitchen, in a small building to the south, may predate the house itself.

The house stayed in the family for several generations until it was sold in 1868, after which it served as a rental property for several decades. By the beginning of the 20th century, the house was in disrepair and in danger of being demolished. Two sisters of the original family and daughters of the last Dyckman child to grow up in the house, Mary Alice Dyckman Dean and Fannie Fredericka Dyckman Welch, began restoration of the farmhouse in 1915-16 under the supervision of architect Alexander M. Welch, the husband of Fannie. They then transferred the ownership of the house to the City of New York in 1916, which opened it as a museum of Dutch and Colonial life, featuring original Dyckman family furnishings.

Dyckman Farm House I

The Dyckman Farmhouse in Inwood

The farmhouse, which is not only the oldest remaining in Manhattan, but the only one in the Dutch Colonial style and the only 18th century farmhouse in the borough as well. It has New York City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark status since 1967. A major restoration of the house took place in 2003, after which it reopened to the public in the fall of 2005.

*Disclaimer: This information comes from the Historic House Trust and Wikipedia and the NYC Parks System. The site is free to visit and takes less than an hour to visit. During the summer months, it is nice to visit the gardens and property. It is a interesting property to visit and when you are through with your tour, there are many nice Spanish restaurants in the area on Broadway and along 207th Avenue corridor. It is a nice place to walk around and explore.