Tag Archives: Albany

A Short History of Christmas for New Yorkers


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Albany children singings hymns to St. Nicholas on the Eve of the Feast of St. NicholasThe tale of St. Nicholas is an old fable from mid-Europe that was popular in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. St. Nicholas was the patron saint of children, merchants and sailors and the patron saint of Amsterdam and was brought by the Dutch to the new world, which for the Dutch was Nieuw Nederlandt (New Netherland). Many of the American traditions on Santa Claus originated in the Dutch settlement of New Netherland along the Hudson River between New Amsterdam (New York City) and Oranje (Beverwyck-Albany). The other colonies were English.

The image of Santa, with his round belly and long white beard leaving presents for children in shoes left by the door and stockings hung by the fireplace, was the image of Dutch St. Nicholas. The tradition that Santa was dressed all in fur with high boots, smoked a long-stemmed Dutch pipe and rode in a sleigh with reindeer certainly never originated in either England or America. Continue reading

Feast of St. Nicholas: An Albany History


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Early Santa (Sint Nikkolas) with a long stemmed Dutch pipe.  In 1628, Dutch Dominie Jonas Michaelius organized a religious body called the Collegiate Church in New Amsterdam (New York City). Services were held in a large room over the grain mill.

In the Spring of 1633, Dominie Edwardus Bogardus succeeded Michaelius and built a plain wooden church on the banks of the East River at 33 Pearl Street. In 1642, under Director General Kieft, the Collegiate Church built a new stone church at 4 Bowling Green which was named St. Nicholas Church, which is said to be the oldest Protestant Church in America.

By the mid-1600s, an active open-air market operated daily in good weather all along Oranje’s (Beverwyck-Albany) one main intersection where Jonkers (State Street) met Handelaers (Market Street and later Broadway) Street. In the middle of the intersection was the Dutch Church, the center of the village both physically and socially. Several hundred inhabitants, mostly Dutch, were huddled in small dwellings surrounding the church. Fort Orange was located just south of Jonkers and a ferry took people across the Hudson to the eastern section of Rensselaerwyck. Continue reading

Russell Shorto At NYS Museum Monday, Nov 13


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revolution song bookAuthor and journalist Russell Shorto, whose new book, Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom, was released on November 7, will present a reading and discussion on Monday, November 13 at 7 pm in the Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, in Albany.

In Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom, author and historian Russell Shorto looks back to the founding of the American nation, drawing on diaries, letters and autobiographies to explore six lives, including an Albany man, that cast the era in a fresh new light. Continue reading

Albany County Historical Association Marking 75 Years


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Ten Broeck MansionThis year marks the 75th anniversary of the Albany County Historical Association (ACHA), an organization that works to preserve the county’s history, most notably in the stewardship of the Ten Broeck Mansion.

The 18th century home built by General Abraham Ten Broeck is a landmark in Arbor Hill and has been the site of numerous public events and celebrations of our local heritage. The ACHA is celebrating this semisesquicentennial of historic preservation, education, and public programming at its 3rd Annual Holiday Gala on November 16th. Continue reading

State Museum Celebrating NYS History Month


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Albany Cultural Education Center State Museum Archives and LibraryThe New York State Museum will celebrate New York State History Month in November with a variety of free public programs for children, families and adults. In addition, three temporary exhibitions exploring major events in New York’s history are open at the State Museum: A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War; Enterprising Waters: New York’s Erie Canal; and Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial (opens November 4).

The following is a schedule of free New York State History Month programs at the State Museum located at 222 Madison Avenue, Albany: Continue reading

Historical Capital Region Currency Exhibit Opening


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Fractional Currency 10 cents courtesy Ferris CoinOne of the Capital Region’s oldest rare coin dealers will present an exhibit of early local currency in Albany, celebrate its Grand Re-Opening in a new building at 199 Wolf Road on November 1st. There will be an 11:45 am ribbon cutting and unveiling of an exhibit, which will run until November 22, 2017.

“Capital Region Currency: A History of Money in America” is a small exhibit featuring a sampling of currency used in the Capital Region dating from the Colonial era to present day. Many of the paper notes were printed locally and bear the names of Capital Region cities, including Albany, Schenectady, Watervliet, Hudson and Troy. Continue reading

Oxi Day at USS Slater October 28th


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USS SLATEROn October 28th, millions around the world will commemorate OXI (pronounced ō-hē) Day, a day honoring Greece’s resistance during World War II.

The day will be remembered at USS SLATER with a brief program beginning at 9 am. Fr. Dennis Nagi of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church will provide an historical account of Oxi Day. USS SLATER volunteers and friends will be joined by special guest Dr. Nicholas Athanassiou.

Dr. Athanassiou is Emeritus Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy at Northeastern University in Boston. His father, VADM Athanassois Athanassiou, was the first Greek commanding officer of USS SLATER when it was transferred to the Hellenic Navy in 1951. Dr. Athanassiou earned a B.S. from the Naval Academy of Greece and trained on AETOS (SLATER) while there. Continue reading

People of Colonial Albany Presentation in Colonie Oct 22nd


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Stefan BielinskiThe Historical Society of the Town of Colonie has announced that Stefan Bielinski, founder and long-time director of the NY State Museum’s Colonial Albany Social History Project, will present his musical and visual introduction about the people of Colonial Albany at the Town of Colonie’s William K. Sanford Library, 629 Albany Shaker Road on Sunday, October 22 at 2 pm. Continue reading

Albany: Telling The Truth In A Post-Truth World


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kurt andersonThe New York State Writers Institute will hold a  two-day symposium, Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World, October 12th to 14th, which will feature guests of interest to the history community, including Douglas Brinkley on a panel about the American Presidency with Bob Schieffer; David Daley, former editor of Salon, with Ratf**ked, a history of gerrymandering and vote-rigging; recent Lt. Gov. candidate Tim Wu, with a new book on the history of advertising, The Attention Merchants; Carol Anderson, with her current bestselling history of white resentment, White Rage; Pamela Newkirk, author of a history of African Americans in journalism; Kurt Andersen, with a grand history of American flimflammery and snake oil salesmanship, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, and more.

The multi-event symposium will cover topics crucial to an open democratic society.  All members of the general public are invited to following events. Everything is free and unticketed, apart from the first event, which requires a book purchase to raise money for programming. Continue reading