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Archive for new york

A Festival of Film Conservation

By Linda Tancs

George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography, completed his Colonial Revival mansion on East Avenue in Rochester, New York, in 1905 and resided there until his death. The historic mansion and its beautiful gardens are now part of the Eastman Museum. At the museum’s opening in 1949, it was one of only two American museums with a photography department and a film department. In 1951, the museum opened the Dryden Theatre to exhibit films. The Nitrate Picture Show, the world’s festival of film conservation, will return there for the third time from May 5–7. The festival features screenings of vintage nitrate prints from international archives—including the Eastman Museum’s own collection—as well as lectures, workshops and other opportunities to experience the art and science of film preservation.


Small Wonders in NYC

By Linda Tancs

The Cloisters is the branch of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicated to the art, architecture and gardens of medieval Europe. Deriving its name from the medieval cloisters that form the core of the building, it’s located in Upper Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park overlooking the Hudson River. Some of its more famous collections include the unicorn tapestries (among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages), the 12th-century Fuentidueña apse and the Annunciation Triptych by Robert Campin. Don’t miss the special exhibition of miniature Gothic boxwood carvings of biblical stories on display until May 21. Among the highlights of these tiny treasures is a complete carved boxwood rosary made for King Henry VIII of England and his first wife, Catherine (or Katherine) of Aragon.

Guardhouse of the Great Lakes

By Linda Tancs

During its heyday, Old Fort Niagara controlled access to the Great Lakes. It was a strategic stronghold during the colonial wars. Over its more than 300 year history, the site has been controlled by France, Britain and the United States. The French established the first post here, Fort Conti, in 1679, followed later by an elaborate, permanent fortification known as the “French Castle.” Britain gained control of Fort Niagara in 1759 during the French & Indian War and held the post throughout the American Revolution. They were forced, by treaty, to yield it to the United States in 1796 and, after recapturing it in a later conflict, ceded it to the United States a second time in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812. An original flag from that war is displayed in the Visitor Center, where you’ll find introductory exhibits filled with original artifacts and an award-winning, 16-minute orientation film. From May to October the Discover Niagara shuttle operates from Niagara Falls to the fort, connecting to over 12 destination sites along the way. The fort is open year round.

America’s Canal Heritage

By Linda Tancs

The Erie Canal is America’s most famous man-made waterway. Built between 1817 and 1825, the original Erie Canal traversed 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo. It was the longest artificial waterway and the greatest public works project in North America. It transformed not only engineering but also travel: in 1825 the journey from Albany to Buffalo took two weeks by stagecoach; the canal shortened the journey to five days. It carried more westbound immigrants than any other trans-Appalachian canal, infusing the nation with diversity. Due to its significance, Congress established the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in 2000. The corridor stretches 524 miles across the full expanse of upstate New York, from Buffalo to Albany and north along the Champlain Canal to Whitehall. Along the way you’ll find museums, four national parks, 34 national historic landmarks, historic canal sites and vessels, a 100-mile mural trail and more than 200 canal communities to explore.

Clear Comfort in Staten Island

By Linda Tancs

Alice Austen was one of the first women photographers in the U.S. to work outside the confines of a studio, a pioneer in the field of photojournalism. Her home in Staten Island, New York, was built in 1690 as a one-room Dutch farmhouse. Known as Clear Comfort, she lived there from the 1860s until 1945. Now a National Historic Landmark popularly known as Alice Austen House, it’s a house museum offering interpretation of her photographs, life and historic home. In celebration of International Women’s Day today, admission to the museum is free.

A History of Immigration in Manhattan

By Linda Tancs

One of America’s foremost immigrant neighborhoods is Manhattan’s Lower East Side, in particular 97 Orchard Street. Built in 1863, this tenement apartment building was home to nearly 7,000 working-class immigrants. This ordinary building from which dreams were built forms the Tenement Museum. Accessible only via guided tours, visitors meander through restored apartments that recreate immigrant life in the 19th and 20th centuries. A testament to the lure of the American Dream, in 1992 the museum opened its first apartment, the 1878 home of the German-Jewish Gumpertz family. Since then, six more apartments have been restored, like the home of the Moores, Irish immigrants who lived at 97 Orchard in 1869. Tours start and end at 103 Orchard, site of the museum’s flagship visitors’ center.

Racing in New York

By Linda Tancs

The history of automobile racing in New York State goes back to 1896 when six cars competed in the state’s first auto race, covering the distance round-trip between New York City and Irvington-on-Hudson. The sport’s vast history in the state (and elsewhere) is recalled at Saratoga Automobile Museum in the heart of historic Saratoga Springs, New York. The facility is equally as interesting as the exhibition of automobiles and automotive artifacts—it occupies the restored and renovated Saratoga Bottling Plant, a beautiful neo-classic structure built in 1934. The museum is prized for its public programs designed for both car enthusiasts and lifelong learners, including children’s programming featuring hands-on restoration projects.

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