Category Archives: History

New York History

Lilac Arts Series Launched At NYC’s Pier 25


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Lilac Arts ExhibitThe Lilac Arts Series, a contemporary art exhibition aboard the historic ship Lilac, will run through August 15, 2015 and focus on three themes inspired by the ship’s story – “Steam”, “Work + Labor” and “Restoration/Reinvention“.  The visual art exhibition will feature the work of over 25 artists within the ship’s unique spaces, including several site-specific installations.  The exhibition and events are free and open to the public.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Lilac was built in 1933 and is America’s only surviving steam-powered lighthouse tender. Lilac is currently being restored as a unique vehicle for maritime education and community activities and is berthed at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne Talk At Albany Institute Sunday


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Bruce Dearstyne Spirit of New YorkThe Albany Institute of History & Art will host historian (and regular New York History Blog contributor) Dr. Bruce W. Dearstyne for a lecture and book signing on Sunday, June 7 at 2 pm for his recently published book The Spirit of New York: Defining Events in the Empire State’s History.

The lecture is open to the public and is free with museum admission. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Continue reading

Free Family Event At Historic Cherry Hill


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Cherry HillOn Saturday, June 6th, Historic Cherry Hill will present the Hudson River Family Day, from 1 until 4 pm. Participants are invited to step into the 1700s and experience Hudson River sloop trade and daily life at this free event. The Hudson River Trading Game, with its 34-foot game board, will immerse all ages in the adventure of 18th century trade and travel. The game is based on the actual experiences of merchant and sloop owner, Philip Van Rensselaer of Cherry Hill. Continue reading

Does Your Community Have A Literary Landmark?


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Empire State Center for the Book Literary LandmarksHotels, bars, a lighthouse and a windmill are just some of the sites in New York State that have been declared Literary Landmarks by United for Libraries (formerly known as Friends of Libraries USA). The literary landmark program began in 1986 to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites.

The first literary landmark to be designated in New York was The Algonquin Hotel in 1996, home of the legendary Algonquin Roundtable  There are currently 15 landmarks in New York State with two more planned in the near future.  The Wilder Homestead in Malone, NY was made famous by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her book Farmer Boy will be dedicated this summer and The Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage in Saranac Lake , NY will receive its designation this fall. Continue reading

French Impressionists Exhibit Opens In Utica


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29471 IBrilliant, colorful paintings by the artists who revolutionized the art world will be showcased in Monet to Matisse: The Age of French Impressionism, on view through November 29 Utica’s Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute’s Museum of Art.

Monet to Matisse features more than 60 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings and pastel drawings from the renowned collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee. Continue reading

The Northern New York Roots of Pratt & Whitney


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01NYHFrancisPrattIn the year 2000, five years after Plattsburgh Air Force Base closed, Pratt & Whitney signed a lease, moved in, and set up shop on the former base property. Many jobs and residents had been lost in the air-base shutdown, making Pratt & Whitney a valued anchor business in the recovery effort.

Their arrival might have been a homecoming of sorts with historical significance, but persistent misinformation carried forward for more than a century appears to have robbed the region of an important link to the past. Continue reading

NYS Senate Passes Women’s Suffrage Commission Bill


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Womens Suffrage CommissionThe New York State Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would create a New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. The stated purpose of the commission is to promote the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, which will take place from 2017 to 2020.

After more than 70 years of demanding the right to vote through activism, women were enfranchised in New York in 1917, and nationally in 1920 following the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Continue reading

Historians Podcast Meets Ben Franklin’s World


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The Historians LogoThis week “The Historians” podcast features an interview with Liz Covart, host of “Ben Franklin’s World,” a podcast focusing on the Revolution and early years of the American Republic. Covart is writing a book on the impact of the American Revolution in the Albany, N.Y., area. She earned a Ph.D. in history at the University of California in Davis and currently lives in the Boston area. With her podcast, blogs and other writing she strives to bridge the gap between academic and popular history. Listen at “The Historians” online archive at bobcudmore.com/thehistorians
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This Week’s Top New York History News


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Hanford Mills Museum Kicks Off 42nd Season


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mill with steamHanford Mills Museum, in Delaware County, NY, will be open Wednesdays-Sundays, plus holiday Mondays, 10 am – 5 pm through October 15th. Guided tours are offered of the Mill complex, where visitors can watch the 1926 Fitz overshot waterwheel start up and provide the power for the sawmill and woodworking shop. Historic water-powered machines are operated each day, just as they were a century ago. Continue reading

Second Great Awakening in Northern New England


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ben_franklins_worldIn this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Shelby M. Balik, author of Rally the Scattered Believers: Northern New England’s Religious Geography (Indiana University Press, 2014), joins us to explore the New England town-church ideal, how it helped New Englanders organize their towns, and why the post-Revolution migration into northern New England forced New Englanders to change and adapt how they maintained civic and moral order within their communities. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/030 Continue reading

Schenectady Celtic Heritage Day June 6th


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Schenectady Celtic Heritage DayThe Sixth Annual Schenectady Celtic Heritage Day, presented by a partnership of the Schenectady County Historical Society and the Schenectady Ancient Order of Hibernians, will be held at the Mabee Farm Historic Site in Rotterdam Junction on June 6, 2015 from 11 am to 7 pm.

This year’s event brings live music from regional Celtic favorite Triskele, as well as Dublin Train Wreck, and the Fiddler’s Tour plus Celtic dance performances by the Braemor Highland Dancers and the Farrell School of Irish Dance. Continue reading

New Basquiat Exhibit In Brooklyn


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HollywoodAfricans.Basquiat.1983.WhitneyThe tragically short career of Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) has created a penumbra of martyred glory around his work. This must give him a chuckle wherever his spirit looks down on the shuffling hordes trekking to view his work reverently installed at the Brooklyn Museum.

Basquiat was born as a spray-can wielding street artist who liked mess, disorder and chaos. How different was he, when beatified by art gallery recognition and patron purchases? In his art world heyday he got his fine new designer clothes just as stained as his thrift shop threads from his early days. Continue reading