Tag Archives: Historic Preservation

New Yorks Historic Bridges Over Troubled Waters

546px-High_Bridge_jehThe High Bridge is scheduled to reopen. This bridge is not to be confused with the High Line in Manhattan which is not a bridge. The High Bridge is a closed pedestrian crossing connecting the Bronx and Manhattan. The 1200 foot span was built in 1848 and is the oldest bridge in the city. It was constructed as part of the Croton Aqueduct system which carried water from Westchester to New York City.

The Croton Aqueduct still functions in Westchester not as a water-carrying system but as an elongated trail somewhat paralleling the Hudson River from Croton to Yonkers. The Aqueduct has devoted followers and a friends group and always is being used by hikers, strollers, runners, and families. It forms a living thread uniting the communities of the county. Continue reading

Coldengham: The Colden Family Seat in Orange County

Colden_Mansion_Ruins-Daniel CaseJust about any morning, cars as well as trucks race back and forth through the intersection of Stone Castle Road and Route 17K in the Town of Montgomery. Many of these commuters, shoppers, or moms driving their children to school are oblivious to the ruins that stand right off to the side, in a wood lot, of the rather busy part of this Orange County road.

Only while stopping along the road, some years ago, I happened upon the remains of what seemed to have once been a beautiful mansion. A blue New York State Education Department sign alerts people that this skeleton, almost lost in the woods, was the site of “the Colden Mansion built of stone in 1767 by Cadwallader Colden, Jr.” How many families, like the Coldens, can boast about having Royal Surveyors, Lieutenant Governors, Acting Governors of New York, noted scientists, and even one of the first female botanists in the Americas among them? Continue reading

Community Narratives: The Importance of Story-Telling

Cheers historic Bar ShotWe are a story-telling species. Storytellers need an audience. Storytellers and the audience need a place to meet. The venue may vary, the technology may change, the message evolves, but somehow, in some way, we will tell stories. They define who we are as individuals and as members of something larger than ourselves, a family, a community, a county, a state, a country, or a religion.

How exactly would we celebrate Easter or Passover without a story to tell? Would we even celebrate them if there were no story?  With these thoughts in mind, I would like to turn to some examples of the importance of storytelling and community which I have noticed. Continue reading

27 NYS Nominations Made for Registers of Historic Places

New York State ParksThe New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended the addition of 27 properties, resources and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including a Livingston County church where the American Red Cross got its start and a Rockland County complex that was central to the nation’s textile industry.

“The multi-faceted story of New York can be traced in its many distinctive buildings and unique landmarks,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “It is an honor to help preserve these unique landmarks by listing them on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.” Continue reading

Orange County: St. George’s Cemetery in Newburgh

When I lived in Boston, I discovered that cemeteries are truly historical treasures to be protected and maintained. While living there, I spent many hours at the Park Street Burying Ground admiring the unusual headstones and looking at the old names which appeared on them.

Usually I was not alone, as other people, many of them tourists, were doing the same. Early on, Bostonians learned a valuable lesson that these final resting places could also be a source of tourist revenue. Continue reading

Harlem Blues: Last Party At The Lenox Lounge

On New Year’s Eve the cigar smoke was thick on the sidewalk in front of the famed jazz club, the Lenox Lounge. Men in tuxes and women in clingy gowns stepped out of white stretch limos, three deep on Malcolm X Avenue, a.k.a Lenox Avenue in Harlem, as blue notes popped from the chromed doorway.

A huge bejeweled crowd could be glimpsed dancing and drinking through the wide octogon window. Continue reading

The State of NY History: The Westchester Experience

January is the traditional time for looking forward and backwards according to the two-faced Roman god Janus. In that spirit, I wish to start 2013 with a look back on some developments in local and state history by focusing on Westchester County both because I live there and because I happen to go through an old folder of Westchester material as I was cleaning up. Continue reading

Old Town Cemetery: Preserving A Newburgh Treasure

The Old Town Cemetery is situated between Grand, Liberty, and South Streets, where it has sat for over two hundred years. It has borne witness to an ever-changing Newburgh, from a sleepy village to a bustling city. Many people are unaware of this gem in the heart of Newburgh and how close they came to losing it forever, but thanks to concerned citizens in Newburgh, its future is looking brighter. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne: Connecting History And Public Policy

Four recent developments remind us of the opportunities to tie history to other initiatives here in New York. Doing that successfully will continue to require leadership, persistence, and imagination.

*New York pride&#8230-and history? The New York State Economic Development Corporation is running ads in business journals to attract businesses to the state. The ads link to the Development Corporation’s Web Site. The ads say, among other things: Continue reading

Preservation League Seeks Nominations for 2013

The Preservation League of New York State is seeking nominations for its 2013 Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards, which recognize significant achievements in historic preservation throughout New York State.

The postmark deadline for nominations is February 14, 2013. The awards will be presented during the Preservation League’s Annual Meeting on May 15, 2013 in New York City at the historic New York Yacht Club. Continue reading