Tag Archives: John James Audubon

Spring Exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society


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The "New York Girls," 1910In Spring 2014, the New-York Historical Society will present a range of exhibitions that will examine New York City architecture, fashion and photography through the lens of the legendary Bill Cunningham; the early history of African American basketball before the dawn of the National Basketball Association; the second installment of Audubon’s Aviary, showcasing New-York Historical’s collection of Audubon watercolors; and an exhibition of quilts and textiles created during the Civil War. Continue reading

The Grinnell at 100: Celebrating Community, History


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In 2010 and 2011, residents of the Grinnell, a land-marked cooperative apartment house at 800 Riverside Drive in Manhattan’s Audubon Park Historic District, celebrated their building’s centennial with a year of activities including the launch of a centennial website, logo and photography competitions, and a birthday celebration for the neighborhood. Grinnell residents have now produced a book commemorating that centennial year, The Grinnell at 100: Celebrating Community, History.

Through a historical essay, numerous personal histories, biographical sketches, and 150 photographs and illustrations, the 94-page, full-color book traces a half-acre triangular block in northern New York City from primordial forest to a 21st-century co-operative apartment house.

Constructed between June 10, 1910 and July 29, 1911, the Grinnell sits on a triangular plot of land in Washington Heights where the family of George Blake Grinnell once pastured a few cows when the surrounding area was known as Audubon Park. “The Park,” a bucolic suburb that grew out of John James Audubon’s farm Minnie’s Land, remained suburban into the 20th Century, but became prime property for real estate development when the subway opened at 157th Street in November 1904. Six years later, when the extended Riverside Drive opened, its path crossing Audubon Park, the Grinnell heirs, led by eldest son George Bird Grinnell, sold their property. Developers quickly snapped it up and between 1909 and 1911 erected a group of Beaux Arts apartment houses. Noting the effects of rapid transit, newspaper commentators dubbed the two-year period Audubon Park’s “rapid transformation.”

Edited by Matthew Spady and designed by Jacqueline Thaw, featuring photographs by Charles Baum and Mo Ström, and contributions from more than 30 Grinnell residents, The Grinnell at 100 is a must-have edition for anyone with an interest in the history of New York City, Washington Heights, or the Audubon Park Historic District – and of course the book will interest Grinnell residents, friends, and admirers, past and present.

The Grinnell at 100: Celebrating Community, History, and an Architectural Gem, available at Lulu.com. For information about discounts on purchases of multiple copies, contact info@TheGrinnellat100.com.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.

John James Audubon’s 225th Birthday Event


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John James Audubon’s 225th Birthday will be commemorated on Saturday, April 24th 2010 at 4PM in the Riverside Oval (156th Street at Riverside Drive, NYC), a few steps from the site of the naturalist’s final home in northern Manhattan.

In May 1842, Audubon moved his family to a fourteen-acre farm in northern Manhattan, a large triangular plot resting on present-day 155th Street, stretching from Amsterdam Avenue to the Hudson River, and including the land surrounding the Riverside Oval, the site of one of the Audubon barns. 765 Riverside Drive, adjacent to the Oval marks the site of Audubon’s house (pictured here).

Audubon called his farm Minnie’s Land, but after his death, his sons and wife renamed it Audubon Park, selling large portions of their land to wealthy New Yorkers who inhabited villas under the forest trees, laying out their gardens and drives where Audubon once had enclosures for both wild and domesticated animals. Audubon Park was a name familiar to New Yorkers from the mid 1850s until about 1910 when developers, capitalizing on the newly-opened subway with a stop at 157th Street, purchased large portions of the land and erected the magnificent Beaux Arts apartment houses that exist in the area today. In 2009, Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the blocks between 156th and 158th Streets west of Broadway the Audubon Park Historic District.

The event is being sponsored by the Riverside Oval Association, a not-for-profit neighborhood organization, plants and maintains green spaces in the Audubon Park Historic District, presents musical events, and sponsors oral history evenings at neighborhood buildings. Audubon’s 225th Birthday Celebration will kick off the 2010 gardening season and give residents in the neighborhood an opportunity to meet Oval Association members and become involved in the Association’s activities.

In the event of rain, the celebration will take place in the community room at the Grinnell, 800 Riverside Drive.