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Archive for new york

An Iconic Ferry in New York

By Linda Tancs

One of the last operating ferry systems in New York, the Staten Island Ferry has been transporting passengers between New York City and Staten Island long before bridges were introduced. Today it is the only non-vehicular mode of transport between Staten Island and Manhattan, transporting almost 70,000 passengers daily between the St. George and Whitehall (also known as South Ferry) terminals in Staten Island and Manhattan, respectively. The orange-colored icon offers scenic views of New York Harbor (including Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty) and is a free service provided by the City of New York.

The National Lighthouse Museum

By Linda Tancs

The United States Lighthouse Service’s General Depot in Staten Island, New York, was the national headquarters, testing ground and distribution center for all materials and equipment used by light keepers and USLHS personnel from 1864 to 1939. Now the foundry building on that site hosts the National Lighthouse Museum, where visitors can enjoy self-guided exhibits exploring lighthouses, their lights and lightkeepers, as well as monthly lectures and special events. This time of year (May through October) you can also enjoy a boat tour, visiting lighthouses that can’t be seen from land as well as ship graveyards and bird sanctuaries. The museum is a short walk from the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

The Skinniest Skyscraper

By Linda Tancs

It’s like a supermodel, tall and thin. That’s a good way to think of New York City’s Steinway Tower, the world’s skinniest skyscraper. At 1,428 feet it’s the second-tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere and the thinnest skyscraper in the world with a ratio of width to height at 1-to-23 1/2. The tower is named for its locale, the former Steinway Hall, once a performance space of the famed piano makers. You’ll find the building along a stretch of Manhattan’s 57th Street known as “Billionaires’ Row.” That should give you an indication of the price tag attached to these digs with 360-degree views of the city.

Railroad Ties in Port Jervis

By Linda Tancs

Port Jervis, New York, is inextricably tied to the railroad industry. Its depot was built as a passenger station for the Erie Railroad and for years was the busiest passenger station on the railroad’s Delaware Branch because Port Jervis is along the Delaware River near the tripoint of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Incorporated in 1907 and named after John Bloomfield Jervis (the engineer of the Delaware & Hudson Canal), the city’s transportation history is being commemorated with a new history center. Located at the city-owned historic Erie Railyard and turntable (the longest-operating turntable in the eastern U.S.), the Port Jervis Transportation History Center will host a collection of locomotives, boxcars and cabooses, preserving the city’s railroad heritage and its role as a crossroads of commerce.

A Little Zing and Spark

By Linda Tancs

Touted as the largest light show in the country, Amaze Light Festival is an interactive adventure through five holiday-themed worlds guided by storybook characters Zing and Sparky. Guests visit sites like the North Pole, a Land of Sweets and a Whimsical Forest, immersed in a million twinkling lights. The event is returning to Chicago (Odyssey Fun World in Tinley Park) and has expanded to New York City’s Citi Field baseball park. Give yourself at least two hours to enjoy the festivities.

The Revolution in Pawling

By Linda Tancs

From September to November 1778, George Washington based his military movements during the Revolutionary War in Pawling, New York. One of the places he headquartered in during that period was the John Kane House, the home of John and Sybil Kane. Located on East Main Street, today it serves as the local historical society’s main museum. Visitors will learn about the area’s indigenous and European settlers, Washington’s use of Pawling and the effect of the war upon the Pawling community.

The Lore of Fire Island

By Linda Tancs

New York’s Fire Island is a 30-mile-long barrier island separated from Long Island by the Great South Bay. Much of it is protected as Fire Island National Seashore, a United States National Seashore. It features a lighthouse, high dunes and ancient maritime forests. The most alluring aspect of the place, though, may be the supposed wreckage of the Bessie A. White, a Canadian schooner that struck a sandbar off the island 100 years ago. After Hurricane Sandy rolled through the area in 1912, a ship’s skeleton believed to be the schooner became visible in an area not far from Watch Hill, a popular visitor site within the National Seashore. As winds and waves shape the beach, the remains appear and disappear, so be patient.

The Stones of New Amsterdam

By Linda Tancs

Located in the Financial District, Stone Street is one of New York City’s oldest streets, harking back to the city’s days as New Amsterdam, the 17th-century Dutch settlement established at the southern tip of Manhattan that served as the seat of the colonial government. The road bears the distinction of being the first street in the Dutch settlement to be paved—that is, with cobblestones. Designated a historic district, it runs in two sections between Whitehall Street in the west and Hanover Square in the east. Look beyond the skyscrapers to capture the area’s historic buildings, some of the last remnants of New Amsterdam.

An Aristocrat in Hyde Park

By Linda Tancs

The Vanderbilt Mansion at Hyde Park, New York, was a seasonal residence and part of a portfolio of properties occupied by Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt. One of America’s wealthiest families, the manor’s design is very much in keeping with the opulence that defines Gilded Age country houses. The mansion itself is described as a Beaux-Arts interpretation of the Italian Renaissance. Inside, the rooms are lavishly decorated with exotic wood paneling, imported marble, lush velvets, French tapestries, and, as was the custom, antique building components salvaged from the great houses of Europe. Boasting original furnishings, a centerpiece of the estate is Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom. A recreation of a French royal bedroom, it features a canopied state bed, raised on a dais against a wall and separated from the rest of the room by a partition of raised columns with curvilinear balustrade, an architectural convention borrowed from many European royal palaces. Access to the mansion, a National Historic Site, is by guided tour only.

The Turning Point in New York

By Linda Tancs

During America’s Revolutionary War in 1777, American troops battled and beat a British invasion force at Saratoga Battlefield, marking the first time in world history that a British army ever surrendered to another country, an event which helped to secure American independence. The battlefield (in Stillwater, New York) is the largest of four parts comprising Saratoga National Historical Park, an area encompassing Stillwater, Schuylerville and Victory, New York. In Victory, you’ll find a 155-foot obelisk commemorating the American victory; the surrender site (open April through November) is marked by an outdoor memorial just outside Schuylerville. Tours of the battlefield are self-guiding, using information in the park brochure available at the Visitor Center.

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