Tag Archives: Long Island

Utopia: The Village of Modern Times


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Among_the_Pines_Brentwood_NYOne spring morning, readers of the New York Tribune opened the paper to discover the surprising news that Utopia had appeared overnight. Where inequality, strife, turmoil, mutual hatred, and oppression had previously ruled over human history, in this new place, men and women were said to be, even now, living together in a state of peace, harmony, and equity.

Readers were surprised, even disbelieving. Others, who had followed certain hints and implications, wondered if this might be, perhaps, the fulfillment of certain obscure promises by the great reformers of the day: the Greeleys, the Ballous, the Comtes. Continue reading

Thoreau’s Long Island Railroad Sojourn


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Thompson’s Station “About ninety years ago, there was born in Concord, Mass, a boy who never really grew to be a man, though he lived forty-four years. It is true that he got to be tall and strong, with a deep bass voice; that he wore a beard, and that from all external appearances he would have at once been taken for a full-sized man. But at heart he was always a boy. He never got over the habit of looking at things from a boy’s point of view. Instead of regarding the world as a place for serious business, where men must work so many hours a day and produce so many dollars’ worth of goods, and till the fields and labor hard in factories, or offices, or stores, and ‘get along’ – instead of all these things, he always seemed to consider the world as a great, fine, glorious playground — a place to be enjoyed and appreciated. This man-boy was Henry David Thoreau.” – From Gilbert P. Coleman’s “The Man Who Was Always A Boy.” Continue reading

SPLIA ‘Collecting Long Island’ Exhibit Opening


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Oyster Bay millThe Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) will open a new exhibit on September 15th. The exhibit is titled Collecting Long Island, and the objects come from all over the island, from the Hamptons to Old Westbury.

This display of regional paintings and decorative arts, most on public view for the first time, will present new discoveries and encourage visitors to look at objects through the eye of the collector to understand how we know what we know about the things Long Islanders have made, used, and cherished for centuries. Continue reading

The Extinction of the Long Island Heath Hen


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Turvey Heath Hen IllustrationRecently, the federal government of the United States relaxed land-use restrictions designed protecting the greater sage-grouse, hoping the change might spur economic development via increased oil and gas excavation and expansion of cattle grazing areas. The grouse, a strange chicken-sized bird known for its flamboyant displays of plumage and bizarre, warbling vocalizations, once made its home on the great western prairies of the United States and numbered in the millions. Where settlers once encountered birds blanketing the landscape, today a mere five-hundred thousand remain.

A similar bird once inhabited the more eastern portions of the United States. The heath hen, a sub-species of grouse, exhibiting a similar appearance and familiar behaviors, extended along the coast as far North as Massachusetts, South to Virginia, and East to Pennsylvania. In New York, an environment of scrub oak and pine trees made Long Island an attractive home for the hens. Their habitat stretched from the pine barrens of Suffolk County west to the Hempstead Plains. (John Bull in his Birds of New York State notes that they may have also appeared in the scrub and sand plains west of Albany). As in other locations, it is generally assumed that here, a combination of hunting and habitat change led to the hens extinction. Still, it is only an educated assumption – the the Long Island heath hen and the causes for its extinction have gone largely unexplored. Continue reading

DEC Acquires Historic Setauket Property for Conservation


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dec logoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has acquired 17 acres of woodland in the historic maritime hamlet of Setauket. The property will be added to Patriots Hollow State Forest.

The property, the former Fitzsimmons Farm, is located in the Old Setauket Historic District within the watershed of the Long Island Sound. Its protection is cited in the 2016 Open Space Conservation Plan, released by Governor Andrew Cuomo in December, as a priority acquisition for protection of the Long Island Sound Watershed. The $3,400,000 purchase was paid for with funds from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Continue reading

Unpacking Long Island’s Support For World War One


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Chancellor Von Bethmann-Hollweg“New York State has prepared for war.” The headlines of the South Side Signal for April 6, 1917 announced the entry of the United States into conflict. “Local War Notes,” a new feature (later, simply, “War Notes,”) would chronicle Long Island developments through armistice.

On April 6th , it was announced, that, among other news items, Edwin N. Post, R.N. had been appointed head of the enrolling party for the naval reserves, establishing recruiting headquarters over Smith and Salmon’s drugstore in Babylon village. Recruits thronging to Babylon village, seventeen had already enrolled at Sayville and another fifteen at Bay Shore. Legislation had been introduced to increase the size of the naval militia, allow the state to appropriate lands, and expand punishments to those showing disrespect to the flag. Continue reading

Boomtown: Oyster Bay During the TR Era


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roosevelt save your parkThe Thirteenth Annual Dr. John A. Gable Lecture Series, sponsored by the Friends of Sagamore Hill, continues on Thursday, March 30, with “Boomtown: Oyster Bay During the Theodore Roosevelt Era.” In his lecture, Park Ranger Scott Gurney of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site will discuss how technological advances in transportation, communication, and lifestyle at the turn of the 20th century — combined with the popularity of Theodore Roosevelt — transformed Oyster By from a quiet country town into the focus of world attention. Continue reading

Stony Brook Harbor: A New Natural History


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between-stony-brook-harbor-tides-bookStony Brook Harbor, or Three Sisters Harbor as it was known historically, is a pristine Long Island north shore pocket bay.

Untouched by major commercialization, it has been designated a Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat by the New York State Department of State and a Significant Coastal Habitat by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Despite these designations however, there is constant pressure to increase development in and around the harbor. Continue reading

Historical Journal Rediscovers Long Island Woman Architect


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tjaden-and-workmenThough Olive Tjaden’s name is not known to most Long Islanders today, a mayor of Garden City in the 1930s reportedly suggested that the community be renamed Tjaden City, because she designed so many houses in the village.

Cornell University, her alma mater, named Olive Tjaden Hall for her in 1980. The story of this prolific woman architect appears in “Designing Suburbia: Olive Tjaden on Long Island,” in the recently issued Nassau County Historical Society Journal. Continue reading