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Archive for new york

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.

An Eagle’s Nest in New York

By Linda Tancs

William K. Vanderbilt II (“Willie”) was a member of the prominent and prosperous Vanderbilt family. Among his many estates is Eagle’s Nest in Centerport, New York. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was built initially in 1910 as a small English cottage and grew over the decades into the 24-room, Spanish-Revival mansion that is seen today. A world traveler, the home’s museum space showcases his collection of fish and other marine life, birds, invertebrates and cultural artifacts. The home and its museum, together with a planetarium, comprise the 43-acre waterfront Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium complex. General admission tickets can be purchased online but do not included guided tours of the estate grounds and private rooms of the mansion (available at the admissions booth) and planetarium shows (available separately).

Oasis on the Hudson

By Linda Tancs

New York City’s latest public park provides visitors with an urban oasis on the Hudson River. Known as Little Island, it’s a part of Hudson River Park designed to merge nature with art. In addition to seasonal performance art, the topography of the park is marked by undulating piles along the remains of the wooden piles of Pier 54 together with a maritime botanic garden with 35 species of trees, 65 species of shrubs and 270 varieties of grasses, perennials, vines and bulbs. The park is located in the Hudson River off of the West Side Highway with entrances at West 13th and 14th streets.

A Famed Park in the Finger Lakes

By Linda Tancs

Watkins Glen State Park is arguably the most famous state park in New York’s Finger Lakes region. It’s prized for the Gorge Trail, a path nearly 2 miles long that boasts 19 waterfalls and over 800 stone steps. Proper footwear is essential, as is a camera. The park is located right on Main Street in Watkins Glen; metered parking is located opposite the entrance.

A Jewel in Central Park

By Linda Tancs

Located in the heart of New York’s Central Park, Bethesda Terrace is an architectural jewel and one of the first structures built in the iconic park. Its layout includes two staircases flanking an extraordinary interior walkway that links the tree-lined promenade known as the Mall to Bethesda Fountain and Central Park Lake. Known as Bethesda Terrace Arcade, its ceiling is the show-stopper, the only one in the world featuring encaustic or inlaid tiles which were more typically used as flooring. Manufactured by Britain’s Minton & Co. in the 1860s, 16,000 tiles are set in 49 panels to create a colorful, geometric pattern.

Women’s History in New York State

By Linda Tancs

Together with other activists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton became a leader in the women’s rights movement. She initiated the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, where the Declaration of Sentiments that she co-authored was signed by 68 women and 32 men. The Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls commemorates this historic occasion. It features Stanton’s home as well as Wesleyan Chapel, where the convention was held. The visitor center is next to the chapel and provides historical context to the event.

Auburn’s Historic House

By Linda Tancs

William Henry Seward enjoyed a storied political career, having served as a New York State Senator, Governor of New York, a United States Senator and as Secretary of State in the Lincoln and Johnson administrations. Among his many achievements, he negotiated the purchase of Alaska and also became an influential lawyer. His longtime home in Auburn, New York, is a historic house museum. Given his political ties, one of the home’s most interesting collections is in the “diplomatic gallery,” where over 120 photographs and engravings represent every country with which the United States had a diplomatic relationship. The home is located at 33 South Street and is available for viewing by guided tour only.

America’s Famous Dessert

By Linda Tancs

Jell-O is “as American as apple pie” (as the saying goes). It was invented by a carpenter in LeRoy, New York, in 1897. He sold the rights to it to a fellow townsman who made it into what is now proclaimed as America’s most famous dessert. The history of this gelatinous wonder is explored at the Jell-O Museum in town. On exhibit are original advertising art, molds, toys, recipe books and other memorabilia.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Unique Area in New York

By Linda Tancs

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation defines a Unique Area as “land owned by the state that was acquired due to its special natural beauty, wilderness character, or for its geological, ecological or historical significance.” The first area to be so designated is Labrador Hollow Unique Area in Cortland and Onondaga counties. The 2,000-foot-long boardwalk traverses a diverse wetland complex where you may be lucky enough to spot the elusive great blue heron or pied-billed grebe whose range covers the area. You should also look out for the Kentucky warbler, which has been identified as a rare and protected species by the New York Natural Heritage Program. While you’re there, be sure to visit Tinker Falls, with its impressive natural rock amphitheater above a 30-foot-high rocky cascade. The falls are most spectacular during the spring thaw this time of year.

Water Biscuits in New York

By Linda Tancs

At approximately one-fifth acre in size, Squaw Island is New York’s smallest state park. Located at the northwest corner of Canandaigua Lake (one of the state’s Finger Lakes), it functions primarily as a wildlife management area and features water biscuits. Found in only a few locales worldwide, the so-called biscuits are flat, whitish cakes of lime that deposit over pebbles and twigs. The island is accessible only by boat; a public boat launch is available at Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park, and paddlers may launch directly off Canandaigua City Pier.

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