Category Archives: Public History

Bruce Dearstyne: The New York Statehood Trail


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1777 New York State ConstitutionAs discussed in a previous post on this New York History Blog, the state’s historical community might want to consider organizing an effort to commemorate New York State’s Birthday.

We could use April 20, the date the first State Constitution was completed in Kingston in 1777, or April 22, the date it was first read and officially proclaimed, bringing the new state into existence. This would give us an opportunity each year not only to review New York State’s historical origins, but also to call public attention to various aspects of the state’s 240+ years of history.

We might want to consider designating a historical driving trail, a good fit for the I Love New York’s heritage tourism “Path Through History” program, perhaps calling it the New York Statehood Trail. “Path Through History” has its own list of Revolutionary War sites. Continue reading

Council for the Humanities Rebrands as Humanities New York


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humanities-new-yorkTo celebrate their 40th anniversary, the New York Council for the Humanities is updating their brand, look, and name, and are now known as “Humanities New York.”

A new website contains links to programs, grants, and events – which have been changing to keep up with changing communities. The site also features some of the luminaries whose work they have supported through 40 years of leadership in the public humanities. Continue reading

1930s Gotham Rising: New York Skyscrapers


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1930 skyscraperThe skyscraper can trace its ancestry back many years, millennia in fact, before the existence of New York City. The book of Genesis tells the story of Babel, the Babylonian city in which Noah’s descendants tried to erect the mythological tower: ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into Heaven.’ For their presumption the people were punished: their words were made incomprehensible to one another. This aetiological tale of the diversity of speech could easily be applied to New York, home to the speakers of some 800 languages, a city in which cab drivers routinely set their satnavs to Russian, Bengali or Serbo-Croatian. Continue reading

For Rent: Federal Hall National Monument


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National Park Service NPSNational Park Service, Manhattan Sites and the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy (Harbor Conservancy) announced that Federal Hall National Memorial is available to rent for special events.

Federal Hall National Monument is one of 413 units of the National Park Service. From 1789 to 1790, the location of Federal Hall National Memorial was the seat of the United States federal government under the new Constitution. Congress passed many of the founding laws of the nation and approved the Bill of Rights for ratification by the states. The 1883 statue of George Washington commemorates where our first president took the oath of office on April 30, 1789. Continue reading

Commemoration of 1794 Canandaigua Treaty Planned


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canandaigua-treaty-march-2015The public is invited to join in celebrating the 222nd Anniversary of the historic Canandaigua Treaty, and learn about this seminal federal treaty still in effect, on November 11th.

In 1794, a historic federal treaty signed in Canandaigua brought about peace between the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Confederacy) and the United States, each recognizing the sovereignty of the other to govern and set laws as distinct nations. On Friday, November 11, 222 years later, the Canandaigua Treaty will be commemorated. Continue reading

Commemorating New York State’s Birthday in 2017


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New-York-State-Map1New York State officially came into existence on April 20, 1777, with the approval of the first state constitution by the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York in Kingston.

New York’s fourth New York Provincial Congress, elected the previous year, had changed its name to a group representing the State of New York which, technically, did not even exist until the new constitution was written and promulgated. The document, however, declared that the Convention had acted “in the name and by the authority of the good people of this State.” Continue reading

The Tappan Zee Bridge: Transforming Rockland County


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the tappan zee bridgeThe Historical Society of Rockland County and Clarkstown 225th Anniversary Committee will be hosting The Tappan Zee Bridge: Transforming Rockland County, a film screening and discussion on Thursday, October 20, 7:30 pm, at the HSRC Community Room, 20 Zukor Road, in New City.

After the screening, the floor will open for a discussion about the impact the bridge has had on people and places in the county and how the new bridge might affect the community. Continue reading

NYS Council on the Arts Names New Executive Director


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nysca-logoThe New York State Council on the Arts has announced that Mara Manus has been appointed the agency’s new executive director.

Manus has served as executive director of the Public Theater in New York City as well as a program officer at the Ford Foundation. Previous roles also include Director of Playwrights of New York, Executive Director of The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Founding Director of the Arthur Miller Foundation and Southampton Arts Center.

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A Short History of The Beaver River Club


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Joseph Dunbar’s Hotel at Stillwater, the original Clubhouse From its founding in 1893, and over the next 30 years, the Beaver River Club was the destination of many of the visitors to the Stillwater area.

It was the summer retreat of wealthy and influential families from Syracuse, Utica and to a lesser extent from throughout New York State. The decision to enlarge the Stillwater Dam and create today’s Stillwater Reservoir utterly destroyed this glittering outpost in the wild. Here is its story. Continue reading