Tag Archives: New York Harbor

Waterfront Preservation Programs Announced


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New York City’s Historic Districts Council, the citywide advocate for New York’s historic neighborhoods, will be presenting “On the Waterfront in New York,” a series of films, lectures, and discussions exploring the history and preservation of NYC’s historic waterfront neighborhoods – much of which is proposed for redevelopment. Topics will include the preservation of South Street, the commercial and industry history of the waterfront, and a waterfront tour of the South Street seaport.

Film Screening and Discussion: Street of Ships
Thursday, October 1, 2009, 6:30pm
Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue at East 2nd Street, Manhattan
Fee: $15/$10 for Friends of HDC, seniors & students.

“Street of Ships” is a 1982 documentary by Charles Richards that chronicles the efforts by Peter Stanford and the early Friends of South Street to save from destruction and preserve some of the city’s oldest and most historically significant buildings. It concludes with the controversy surrounding the goals of 1980s commercial developers versus those wishing to maintain the area’s historical authenticity. The film features archival footage of the Seaport that evokes its past uses as a port and commercial district, along with interviews with area stakeholders and policy experts. The film will be followed by a presentation by Robert LaValva, founder and director of New Amsterdam Market, about the role of waterfront markets. The program will conclude with a discussion—reflecting new opportunities for the future of the Seaport District—with participants from the film including Peter Stanford, a founder and past president of South Street Seaport Museum and Terry Walton, a founder of the Seaport Museum and vice chair of the Working Harbor Committee.

On the Waterfront: A Lecture
Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 6:30pm
The Seamen’s Church Institute, 241 Water Street, Manhattan
Fee: $15/$10 for Friends, seniors & students.

This panel will examine the history and future of the waterfront through different lenses, from the commercial past of its wharves and docks to the adaptive reuse of structures still lining its edges. Richard A. Greenwald, professor of history and dean of graduate studies at Drew University will discuss the commercial aspects of New York City’s waterfront development from the mid-19th century up to 1950 as depicted in the film, “On the Waterfront.” Roland Lewis, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, will examine the reuse of industrial structures along the City’s waterfront. The third speaker, Kevin Bone, an architect and editor of several books on the waterfront, will address the history and development of Manhattan’s historic seawall, a gargantuan structure which encircles the whole island and has literally shaped how the city has grown.

From the Ferries to the Fish Market: A Walking Tour of the South street Seaport

Sunday, October 18, 2009, 11:00am
Location to be announced upon registration.
Fee: October 18: $35/$25 for Friends, seniors & students.

The series will conclude with an in-depth tour of the South Street Seaport, examining such noted landmarks as the South Street Seaport Museum, the WPA-era New Market Building, and historic local businesses. Tour attendees will hear about the South Street Seaport’s diverse past from its beginnings up to the current day as a commercial, retail and residential district. Mr. LaValva will also discuss the role of public markets in shaping the East River waterfront. More recent history and plans for the future, including the massive redevelopment proposal by General Growth Properties will also be addressed by special guest Madeline Rogers. Due in part to this proposed development, in 2009 the Historic Districts Council successfully nominated the Seaport to the Preservation League of New York State’s “Seven to Save” listing of places to preserve in New York State. The tour will end at Acqua, a noted Seaport establishment for a complimentary drink. The exact location for the tour will be announced upon registration.

The complete series of all three events is $60/$40 for Friends, seniors & students. Advance reservations are required. Tickets can be ordered by visiting or contacting www.hdc.org, 212-614-9107 or hdc@hdc.org.

Russell Shorto To Guest Host NY Harbor Walking Tour


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Island at the Center of the World author Russell Shorto will guest host a special edition of The New Amsterdam Trail walking tour of the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, to celebrate the culmination a week-long celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of New York Harbor. Urban historian and National Park Ranger Steve Laise will lead the event which will also include an exclusive curator’s tour of New Amsterdam: The Island at the Center of the World, a new exhibit opening at the South Street Seaport. The tour takes place on September 13th at 9:30 a.m. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance by visiting www.nyharborparks.org.

Throughout the 90-minute tour of lower Manhattan, Laise and Shorto will share entertaining and insightful stories about the famous and infamous characters that helped make New Amsterdam a bustling seaport, an international melting pot and a center of commerce. They will also discuss how the Dutch colony still impacts our culture today. The curator’s tour at South Street Seaport follows, with an insider’s peak at rare documents, maps, plans and watercolors connected to New Amsterdam — including “the best real estate deal of all time”—the 1626 letter of purchase of Manhattan for goods worth 60 guilders. Many of these items have never been seen in the United States.

The audio and map for this tour are available for free at: www.nyharborparks.org.

Inside The Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City


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A new book, Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, by Michelle and James Nevius offers 182 short chapters that tell the story of the city from Henry Hudson’s voyage of discovery in 1609 to the present-day rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. At the back, fourteen self-guided tours allow you to use the chapters to create your own explorations of the city.

This fast-paced narrative history unfolds in mini-chapters designed to guide you to obscure and prominent historic places throughout the city. The supplemental maps and step-by-step directions make using the book to explore the city in a new way easy and accessible. The book is broken down into several parts that include New Amsterdam, the Revolutionary Era, and the Birth of New Republic; The Great Port, 1805-1835; The Growth of the Immigrant City, 1836-1865; The City in Transition, 1866-1897; The New Beautiful City, 1898-1919; Boom and Bust, 1920-1945; and the City Since World War Two.

The layout makes reading the book as a traditional history possible and brings to life the city’s fascinating and dramatic past for locals, tourists, and anyone eager to better know the stories and places of New York City history. Also check out the authors’ blog.

The New Amsterdam Trail, Free Downloadable Audio Tour


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The Dutch and the indelible role they played in the formation of the ideas and ideals that shaped New York City and America is being celebrated by National Parks Service, the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, and the Henry Hudson 400 Foundation with The New Amsterdam Trail. This free downloadable audio walking tour is the first of three in a series featuring the iconic National Park Service Rangers and an expert cast of historians, scientists, and other great storytellers.

Using a backdrop of period music and special sound effects, the audio with map can be downloaded from the Harbor Conservancy’s website or on the Henry Hudson 400 website. Visitors travel through the streets of downtown Manhattan to 10 historically significant locations, cueing commentary from their mobile phone, mp3 player or ipod. As they stand at the tip of the Battery, they can visualize Manhattan in the hours before Henry Hudson arrived and when he first navigated our waters and then listen to the stories of the life and times of New Amsterdam’s most famous and infamous settlers.

The New Amsterdam Trail features Steve Laise, Chief of Cultural Resources for Manhattan’s National Parks; Eric Sanderson, author of Mannahatta, Natural History of New York City; Andrew Smith, editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, and Russell Shorto, author of Island at the Center of the World.

The family-friendly walking tour takes about 90-minutes– however, you can walk the trail at your own pace during lunchtime and pause the recorded commentary at any point. For more details and to download the free tour, visit www.nyharborparks.org or www.henryhudson400.com.

The Harbor Conservancy is the official partner of the National Parks of New York Harbor and together they champion the 22 National Park sites that call New York Harbor home by helping to preserve the environment, promote economic development and create the finest urban waterfront recreation and educational park system in the world.

Henry Hudson 400 New York is a foundation created to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s legendary voyage for the Dutch to the Hudson River and New York. The unique character of New York City, originally New Amsterdam, has been shaped by the legacy of the multiethnic and tolerant culture of 17th century Amsterdam. Henry Hudson 400 is producing a series of special events in 2009 to celebrate the spirit of freedom, enterprise, and diversity shared by Amsterdam and New York.

New York’s 400th: River Day 2009 Great Flotilla


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Beginning June 6, historic vessels and modern day boats will travel the Hudson River from New York Harbor to Albany for “River Day” Commemorating the Voyage of Henry Hudson 400 Years Ago. In 1609, Henry Hudson and his ship, the Half Moon, with a crew of Dutch and English sailors, ventured up the Hudson River from New York Harbor to near present day Albany, the first recorded European exploration of the river that now bears his name. In celebration of this historic event, the New York State Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Office will launch a “River Day” celebration, an opportunity for thousands of recreational boaters and history buffs to gather on the water for an eight-day journey up the Hudson River.

Participating boats & ships include:

* The Half Moon, a replica of Hudson’s ship.

* The Onrust, a 17th century replica of the first ship built in New York. River Day marks the Onrust’s maiden voyage.

* Historic Tall Ships including the Sloop Clearwater and Schooner Mystic Whaler plus the Woody Guthrie, a wooden replica of an 18th-19th century Hudson River Ferry Sloop; the 1890’s-style pilot Schooner Adirondack; the Manhattan, an open boat originally built as a life boat to explore the canals of Amsterdam; and the Shearwater, a classic Maine Schooner.

* Other participating boats include: The Circle Line; NYC Water Taxi; SeaTow; Launch 5; Coast Guard, the Discover Boating Cruiser and more.

* Escort from the sky – historic bi-planes will escort the flotilla from the Rhinebeck Aerodrome.

The River Day celebration will launch Saturday, June 6, 9 a.m. at the Statue of Liberty. The flotilla will spend eight days moving north on the Hudson, with stops scheduled at participating yacht clubs & marinas, cities and communities with special events & educational programs planned at each port. The tentative schedule is available at http://www.exploreny400.com/riverday.aspx

The 220th Anniversary of Washington’s Inauguration


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Today marks the 220th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration as America’s first president a reminder that as our nation’s first capital, New York City is rich in historical gems that commemorate Washington and his era’s achievements. One of them is presented by The National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, which offers a series of tours that explore these sites.

“George Washington’s New York” is a new self-guided tour that recounts “a day in the life” of America’s first President when New York was the capital of the United States. Learn about the colonial New York our founding fathers called home. Follow Washington’s daily horseback ride through the Battery to Federal Hall; first home of the fledging country’s congress. The tour departs from 26 Wall Street and last approximately 90 minutes. Visitors can also visit free exhibits at Federal Hall following the tour.

You can download the tour booklet and map here.

Ellis Island to Include Native Americans, African Slaves


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The Associated Press is reporting that the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is creating The Peopling of America Center to tell the history of those who arrived in America outside the traditional peak immigration dates of 1892 to 1954:

Exhibits will focus on the arrival of Native Americans, who are believed to have migrated to North America more than 10,000 years ago across the Bering Sea from Asia; Europeans who landed on the Eastern seaboard from the 1600s through 1892; Africans brought here forcibly by slave traders; and today’s immigrants from all over the globe…

The $20 million, 20,000-square-foot space, designed by Edwin Schlossberg of ESI Design, will be located in an existing gallery that will be redesigned and in an adjoining building that now houses the curatorial staff…

Work on the new center began in September. Funding has been underwritten in part by Bank of America and the Annenberg Foundation. Briganti said the foundation has attained more than 75 percent of its fundraising goal.

Upon its completion in 2011, the museum will be renamed Ellis Island: The National Museum of Immigration.