Category Archives: Historic Preservation

Wild History Tales From St. Marks Place, NYC


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Tish and Snooky, punk rock boutique Manic Panic at 33 St. Marks Place.

“The street has provided generation after generation with a mystical flash of belonging… experiences of mortal peril, dissipation and adventure…” writes Ada Calhoun in her new book St. Marks’s Is Dead. Her wry and witty journey through history notes that each generation plunged in the excitement and grunge of the Lower East Side street proclaims its own moment “the golden age,” while bemoaning subsequent events as the death of the place’s “true essence.” That heart might be an immigrant’s dream, revolution, creativity, dissent, fashion experiment or altered consciousness.

Her bedlam of voices making these claims is entertaining and illuminating, the voluble chatter of participants, residents, business folks and dissidents who gave the street its gritty allure. Calhoun conducted over 200 interviews to assemble this history, and they range from obscure rantings of yesteryear to tales of the poor and famous. You will hear from Leon Trotsky, W.H. Auden, Debbie Harry, Klaus Nomi, street people, skate-boarders, drag queens and theater operators. Emma Goldman, famed anarchist, ran the Modern School for a while, where ardent revolutionaries could learn from the works of Mikhail Bakunin and Karl Marx. Pamela Moore, a pulp novelist of the 1960s described the creative invasion of the 1950s as “their own brand-new Beatnikville where the artists had moved in on the Slavic factory hands and all lived together in glorious, outrageous, dedicated poverty!” Continue reading

Update On Fort Ticonderoga’s 1826 Pavilion Project


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Designing the Future for Fort Ticonderoga's PavilionThe design phase has begun for Fort Ticonderoga’s Pavilion, an 1826 historic home and later hotel located on Fort Ticonderoga just east of Fort Ticonderoga. John G. Waite Associates, Architects PLLC, a consultant firm in the field of historic preservation architecture, has been hired to prepare schematic design and design development documents.

The Fort Ticonderoga Association is expected to use the documents in the stabilization and restoration of the building as part of a larger master plan for the site. Continue reading

Peekskill’s Historic Community of St Mary


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SM Chapel West SideReaders may know that the Roman Catholic Church has numerous religious orders of nuns and monks, but may not know that the Protestant Episcopal Church has them as well. Overall, there are 18 Episcopal religious orders and 14 “Christian Communities” comprised of men, women, or both. This is the story of the Community of St Mary (CSM) and the remarkable religious buildings they had constructed at Peekskill, NY from 1872 to 1963. The order was founded by Sister Harriet Starr Cannon, (1823-1896) its Mother Superior, on the Feast of the Purification of Mary on February 2, 1865 in St. Michael’s Church, 86th Street, New York City, about two months before the close of the Civil War.

Accordingly, it is said to be the oldest Episcopal religious community in the US still in existence (now headquartered in Greenwich, Washington County, New York. Sister Harriet was the temporal head of this community of Protestant Episcopal nuns from its founding in 1865, to her death in 1896. Based on a Benedictine model, the CSM adhered to a simple monastic life centered on prayer, reflection, and service. The forms of service practiced by the nuns of the order have varied over the years and places where they chosen to have a presence. At Peekskill for instance, they operated a high school for girls and the manufacture and sale of “Alter Bread” (aka communion wafers) was one of the CSM’s primary means of self-sustainment. Continue reading

Newburgh’s Tower of Victory Needs Restoration


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Tower of Victory 1906-Library of CongressJonathan Hasbrouck III will forever be known as the Hasbrouck who lost the “Old-Headquarters” home (Washington’s Headquarters in 1782-1783) in Newburgh by foreclosure. The State of New York took control of the home and in 1850 made it the first publicly owned historic site in the nation.

Jonathan Hasbrouck III hoped to save it the home from foreclosure, and even proposed a monument on the grounds over four decades before the current Tower of Victory was erected. Today, that tower is in desperate need of restoration. Continue reading

Addressing The Care of Cemeteries


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The Historians LogoThis week “The Historians” podcast features an interview with Craig Tolosky, secretary/treasurer of the East Line Union Cemetery in Malta, with his perspective on challenges facing cemeteries in New York State. Mr. Tolosky’s daughter, Christie Tolosky, is buried in the cemetery. She died at the age of 24 from what was later diagnosed as Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome. You can listen to the full podcast hereContinue reading

Exhibition Features Mt. Beacon Incline Railway


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Beacon Incline Railway LogoComing on the heels of the recently published book on the Mt. Beacon Incline, the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Restoration Society has announced the opening of a six-month exhibition. Entitled Along the Mt. Beacon Incline Railway: Past, Present & Future, the exhibition explores the initiative to bring back the Mt. Beacon Incline through the lenses of a historic narrative and an eye towards the future.

As Beacon, in Dutchess County, continues to transform and revitalize, the organizers argue, the Incline’s restoration provides a unique opportunity to connect the past with the future in a way that is meaningful to the city’s heritage and relevant to the community of today. Continue reading

Converting A Historic Jail To Women’s Activism


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Women exchanging ideas. Photo:Kathleen HulserArt deco murals, decorative brick work, mosaics – not quite what you expect to encounter at a women’s prison. The Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility at 550 West 20th Street in Manhattan was built in 1931 as a YMCA for merchant sailors. Converted to a prison, it was closed after Superstorm Sandy flooding and is now being converted to a Women’s Building. As an adaptive reuse, the main building will be preserved with some elements that reflect the history, even as the site is re-purposed as a women-focused community facility. Continue reading

Comments Sought On Plan To Remove Historic Railroad


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NYC Railroad from Lake Clear LodgeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA), at its November board meeting, announced a public comment period for Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance regarding proposals from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to amend the 1996 Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (1996 Plan).

APA will accept Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance comments until December 18, 2015. Continue reading