NY Wine History: Finger Lakes Museum Doc Premier

The Finger Lakes Museum is hosting the premier showing of its documentary film series, Vine to Wine- Savor our Finger Lakes, at Bristol Harbour Resort in Canandaigua on Friday, September 21st. The 6:30 p.m. event includes an assortment of tapas and wine tastings from regional wineries as well as presentations by the wine professionals who created the program series. Attendees can also bid on “Finger Lakes Experience” silent auction packages and participate in a raffle.
Part One of the Vine to Wine series, which highlights the history of grape growing and winemaking in the Finger Lakes Region, will be presented at four different venues across the region in October and November. Through film, live presentations, and wine and juice tastings, people can learn how the region developed into the wine destination that it is today.

For additional information and program schedule, or to purchase tickets for the premier, log on to www.FingerLakesMuseum.org or call 315-595-2200. Reserved ticket prices are $15 per person or $20 per person at the door.

The Finger Lakes Museum is being planned to be the premier cultural and natural history resource dedicated to the enjoyment, education and stewardship of the Finger Lakes Region, and to freshwater conservation.

The Finger Lakes Museum is chartered by the New York State Education Department and is incorporated as a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization. For more information or to make contact, log on to www.FingerLakesMuseum.org.

Saratoga Battlefield Announces Photo Contest

The Saratoga National Historical Park’s photo contest will held from now through October 31, 2012. The winning photo will be featured on the park’s 2013 Annual Pass and the photographer will receive a free 2013 Annual Pass. Once all photos have been submitted, the winning photo will be decided by a panel of Saratoga NHP employees by November 9.  Next year marks the 75th anniversary of Saratoga National Historical Park (Saratoga Battlefield).

Contest Rules:

Contest is open to all ages
Picture must be taken within park boundaries: Saratoga Monument,
Schuyler House, Victory Woods, Saratoga Battlefield Scenic, wildlife, park events, park structures (monuments,historic houses, etc.) photos will all be accepted

Entries must be submitted by 4 pm October 31, 2012

Limit to one (1) photo per contestant

Photo(s) must be submitted by e-mail to megan_stevens@nps.gov

Photo Specifications: File in JPEG format with 300 DPI resolution. Each photo must be no larger than 3 MB in file size Contestant must provide: Full name, phone number, brief description (no more than 100 words) of where and when photo was taken

All photos submitted for this contest automatically become property of the National Park Service- photographers will be credited. Anyone who derives 5% or more of their income from taking photos are ineligible Saratoga NHP employees and their immediate family members are ineligible

For more information about this contest or other park events, please call Megan Stevens at 518.670.2982 or visit: http://www.nps.gov/sara/parknews/newsreleases.htm.

Auburn Prison, Gillette Case Documentary, Lecture

A North Woods Elegy: Incident at Big Moose Lake is a documentary feature film that explores one of the most famous American murder cases. Grace Brown, a pregnant young woman from upstate New York, was killed in the Adirondacks on July 11, 1906 [watch the trailer].

Her lover, Chester Gillette, was eventually tried and convicted of her murder. Gillette died in the Auburn Prison electric chair on March 30, 1908. The case became the basis for Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel, An American Tragedy.

A North Woods Elegy explores the fascination America had, and still has, with the case, encompassing issues of class, jurisprudence in America at the turn of the 20th century and ethics and sensationalism in news reporting.

The documentary film will be shown in Theater Mack at the Cayuga Museum, twice on Saturday, September 15, at 1:00 pm. and again at 4:00,. Derek Taylor, the film’s producer, director and editor, will answer questions after each screening.

At 3:00 p.m., there will be a lecture on “Gillette in Auburn” by Tompkins County Judge Jack Sherman, editor of The Prison Diaries and Letters of Chester Gillette. Gillette spent more than a year in Auburn Prison before his execution- his diary from that time is today in the collection of Hamilton College. Both the film screenings and the lecture are free and open to the public.

1934: A New Deal for Artists Exhibit in Albany

During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a &#8220new deal for the American people,&#8221 initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help &#8220the forgotten man&#8221 also embraced America’s artists.

The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture &#8220the American Scene&#8221 in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. They painted regional, recognizable subjects &#8211 ranging from portraits, to cityscapes and images of city life, to landscapes and depictions of rural life &#8211 that reminded the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism. Read more

Call for Entries: 2012 Erie Canalway Photo Contest

Entries are being accepted through Friday, September 7, 2012 for the 7th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest. Winning photos will be displayed in the 2013 Erie Canalway calendar, which will be available free of charge in December.

Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit prints and digital images in four contest categories: Bridges, Buildings and Locks- For the Fun of It- On the Water- and the Nature of the Canal.

The contest captures and shares the beauty, history, people, and distinctive character of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, which is comprised of the Erie, Oswego, Cayuga/Seneca, and Champlain Canals, and their historic alignments, and surrounding communities.

You can download official contest rules and an entry form online.

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor spans 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York, encompassing the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego, and Champlain canals and their historic alignments, as well as more than 230 canal communities. Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, in partnership with the National Park Service, collaborates with government agencies, communities and organizations to protect and promote the canal corridor for all to use and enjoy.

Photo: 2011 First Place Photo Winner &#8220The Locks at Lockport&#8221 by Stephen Bye.

Seneca Ray Stoddard Exhibit Opens at NYS Museum

A new exhibition has opened at the New York State Museum showcasing the works of Adirondack photographer and conservationist Seneca Ray Stoddard.

Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks is open through February 24, 2013 in Crossroads Gallery and includes over 100 of Stoddard’s photographs, an Adirondack guideboat, freight boat, camera, copies of Stoddard’s books and several of his paintings.

There also are several Stoddard photos of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island. These and other items come from the State Museum’s collection of more than 500 Stoddard prints and also from the collections of the New York State Library and the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.

Born in Wilton, Saratoga County in 1844, Stoddard was no doubt inspired by the Adirondacks at an early age. A self-taught painter, he was first employed as an ornamental painter at a railroad car manufacturer in Green Island, across the Hudson River from Troy in Albany County. He moved to Glens Falls (Warren County) in 1864, where he worked with sketches and paintings until his death there in 1917.

Early on he sought to preserve the beauty of the Adirondacks through his paintings but then became attracted to photography’s unique ability to capture the environment. He was one of the first to capture the Adirondacks through photographs. He used the then recently introduced wet-plate process of photography. Though extremely cumbersome by today’s standards, the technique was the first practical way to record distant scenes. It required Stoddard to bring his entire darkroom with him into the Adirondack wilderness.

His renown as a photographer quickly grew once he settled in Glens Falls, which also became his base camp for his explorations of the Adirondacks. He studied the Adirondacks intensely over a 50-year period.

Stoddard’s photos showed the challenges travelers faced in getting to the still undeveloped wilderness, along with their enjoyment of finally reaching their destination. His writings and photographs indicate that he was especially skilled at working with people from diverse economic backgrounds in a variety of settings. This was especially important as he used his photos to capture the changing Adirondack landscape as railroads were introduced and the area became an increasingly important destination for the burgeoning middle-class tourist, but also for the newly wealthy during the “Gilded Age.”

His work stimulated even further interest as he promoted the Adirondacks through his photographs and writings on the beauty, people and hotels of the region. Stoddard’s photographs showed the constancy of the natural beauty of the Adirondacks along with the changes that resulted from logging and mining, to hotels and railroads. As unregulated mining and logging devastated much of the pristine Adirondack scenery, Stoddard documented the loss and used those images to foster a new ethic of responsibility for the landscape. His work was instrumental in shaping public opinion about tourism, leading in part to the 1892 “Forever Wild” clause in the New York State Constitution.

The State Museum purchased over 500 historic Stoddard prints in 1972 in the process of acquiring historic resources for the Museum’s Adirondack Hall. They included albumen prints from Stoddard’s own working files, many with penciled notes. Nearly all are of the landscapes, buildings and people of the Adirondacks taken primarily in the 1870s and 1880s.

An online version of the exhibition is also available on the State Museum website at http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/virtual/exhibits/SRS/ .

The State Museum will present several programs in conjunction with the Stoddard exhibition. There will be guided tours of the exhibition on September 8 and December 8 from 1-2 p.m. Stoddard will also be the focus of Family Fun Day on September 15 from1-4 p.m.

Established in 1836, the New York State Museum is a program of the State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.

Photo: Stoddard’s &#8220Indian Encampment, Lake George, 1872&#8243-.

Roxy Rothafel: Legendary American Showman

American Showman chronicles the life of Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel (1882–1936), the prolific movie palace showman and radio star who helped transform the moviegoing experience, radio broadcasting, and American popular culture to become an international celebrity.

Ross Melnick’s American Showman: Samuel &#8216-Roxy’ Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry (2012, Columbia University Press) is the first book devoted to Rothafel’s multifaceted entertainment career. Among Roxy’s notable popular culture contributions include the first showings of Robert Flaherty’s documentary “Nanook of the North” and the German film that reinvigorated the a genre, &#8220The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari&#8221 &#8211 oh, and there was also those Rockettes, and that mention in Cole Porter’s &#8220You’re On Top.&#8221

Read more

Bungalows of Rockaway: Film Screening, Discussion

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) will show the 2010 documentary film, “The Bungalows of Rockaway,” produced by Jennifer Callahan and Elizabeth Logan Harris follwed by a panel discussion.The film highlights the rich history of the Rockaway bungalows. Although of the more than 7,000 bungalows dotting the peninsula in 1933, fewer than 500 remain today. The documentary, narrated by Estelle Parsons, features rare archival footage, maps, and interviews with historians, prominent New Yorkers, and several of the longtime residents and vacationers.
In 2012, HDC named the Far Rockaway Beach Bungalows to its Six to Celebrate list, six historic New York City neighborhoods that merit preservation as priorities for HDC’s advocacy and consultation over a yearlong period. HDC is working with the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association to get the remaining bungalows of Beach 24th, 25th and 26th Streets on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and to raise awareness about this irreplaceable part of New York City’s history.

The screening will be followed by a “Q & A” session and discussion with Richard George, executive director of the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association- Nancy Solomon, director of Long Island Traditions and author of the National Register nomination- David Selig, owner of Rockaway Taco- Jeanne DuPont of Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, andthe filmmakers. The program will be moderated by journalist Eve M. Kahn.

The event will be held on Monday, June 11, at 6:30 pm at Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue at East 2nd Street, Manhattan.  Fees: $10 for the general public, $5 for Friends of HDC, seniors and students. Advance reservations are required. Tickets can beordered via Paypal through hdc.org or by calling 212-614-9107. A limited number of complimentary tickets will be available to Far Rockaway residents. Please contact ftolbert@hdc.org for more information.

Photo courtesy Historic Districts Council.

Cooperstown: Milo Stewart Photo Exhibit Opens

The New York State Historical Association Research Library and The Cooperstown Graduate Program has announced the opening of a new exhibition celebrating the late Milo Stewart’s work, entitled Reflections of Home: Photography by Milo Stewart. The exhibition highlights Cooperstown landscapes and portraits taken by Mr. Stewart between 1965-1992. Split into three sections emphasizing Stewart’s eye for finding beauty in the ordinary, the exhibition includes quotations from his family and friends reflecting on his work as a teacher, friend, and artist. Reflections of Home opens May 16 and is free to the public.

Developed by second-year Cooperstown Graduate Program students Tramia Jackson, AshleyJahrling, Amanda Manahan, and Jenna Peterson, the exhibit is the culminating project of their Master of History Museum Studies coursework. Guided by Dr. Gretchen Sorin, the students produced the exhibition from concept to installation. “It has definitely been a learning experience,” says Jahrling. “But having the support of the program and the Stewart family has helped make this exhibit a wonderfully collaborative effort. We’re happy to share it with the greater Cooperstown community.”

Milo Stewart discovered his love for photography while growing up in Buffalo, New York. After graduating from Buffalo State University and marrying his high school sweetheart, Ruth, he taught high school English and Social Studies and helped his students incorporate photography in their reports. In 1961, he joined the staff at NYSHA and The Farmers’ Museum as an education associate. He went on to become the Director of Education and later the Vice President of NYSHA and The Farmers’ Museum. Over the course of twenty years he taught generations of teachers, local historians, and Cooperstown Graduate Program students. At the request of the Director of the New York Council on the Arts, he took on an important project documenting architecture and historic Main Streets throughout New York. He published several exhibition catalogues including Temples of Justice: Historic Churches of New York and At Home and On the Road, a collection of photographs from his travels through New York and abroad.

The exhibition opens May 16, 2012. The public is invited to see the exhibit at the library free of charge. The library’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday hours are currently 1 to 4 p.m.

Photo: Augur’s CornerCooperstown, New York, 1988 by Milo Stewart. 

Website Highlights Free New York Documentaries

The popular website DocumentaryStorm.com is celebrating its 1st anniversary, and is recommending several documentaries available on the site about New York City for New York History readers. These documentaries that focus on a couple of seldom visited spaces in New York life, the sewer system and the fire department, along with one of New York City’s most visited places. DocumetaryStorm.com is dedicated to finding providing free, full-length documentaries from around the web.

The New York City Fire Museum

NYC’s Fire Department plays an indispensable role in keeping New York’s citizen’s safe. While September 11th, 2001 shone a very bright and hot media light on the department &#8211 rightfully highlighting their training and sacrifice &#8211 the department has a sordid and quite remarkable history dating back many centuries. For many decades the firefighters were all community volunteers. This documentary explores the department’s origins and traces the various incarnations, training, and equipment through the 1800&#8242-s to today. When was the first fire truck used? How were fires put out in the early 1800&#8242-s? What did the firemen used to wear to protect them against fire?

New York from the Underneath

This is a rare and unique glimpse into the sewer system that runs below New York City. Beautifully shot, captivating, and gritty, the documentary traces the underbelly of New York from the Bronx to Queens. Urban Historian Steve Duncan leads the journey through a maze of winding tunnels, man-made waterfalls, and local wildlife. The scars of history’s past is evident in the brickwork and drawings on the wall. We explore more than two centuries of urban planning: a generational patchwork. Half vision, half compromise. The city’s first enclosed sewer system is located on Canal Street and survives intact to this day. Duncan sleeps in the sewers by day and leads us on an entertaining 25 minute tour by day. New York City: like you’ve never seen her before.

The Empire State Building Shall Rise

Proving that the Great Depression was no match for New Yorkers- the Empire State Building continued to rise: past the height of the Eiffel Tower &#8211 which had been the tallest building in the world for decades. Past the height of the Chrysler Building &#8211 which had been the tallest building for barely a year. The Empire State would stand as the tallest building in the world for over 40 years. It is still the tallest building in New York, following September 11th, 2001. Remarkable historical footage of an American treasure.