Exhibition: The Ground Beneath Our Feet


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On the occasion of The Grinnell’s 100th birthday, members of the Grinnell Centennial Planning Team have mounted an exhibition of more than 50 photos, prints, maps, and documents that tell the story of the half-acre triangle of land numbered 800 Riverside Drive, from the Native American Lenape people who inhabited northern Manhattan when Dutch settlers arrived in the early 17th Century through The Grinnell’s co-oping in the late 20th Century. The exhibition explores the individuals who have owned this unique half-acre during the last three centuries, and examines the political and economic events that inserted a triangle in the midst of the rectangular grid pattern that dominates New York’s street plan.

A slide presentation accompanying the exhibition highlights newsmakers who have lived at The Grinnell during its hundred year history, including operetta prima donna Christie MacDonald (a favorite of Victor Herbert who wrote “Sweethearts” for her); actress, playwright, and novelist Alice Childress; architect Max Bond; artist Ademola Olugebefola; Lucy McDannel, the first woman to graduate Yale Law School; and Catherine Phelan, a housekeeper who earned The Grinnell unwanted national publicity in 1934 when she murdered her employer Douglas Sheridan in his Grinnell apartment.

“The Ground Beneath Our Feet” is open to the public free of charge. There are three dates left:

Sunday, October 10th: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 12th: 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 17th: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Photo: The Grinnell in 1950 when it appeared on the cover of Grace Magazine. At the time, the evangelist Sweet Daddy Grace owned 800 Riverside Drive.

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