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Archive for new york

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.

The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue

By Linda Tancs

Known as “the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue,” New York City’s Congregation Shearith Israel is the first Jewish congregation to be established in North America. It was established in 1654 in what was then New Amsterdam by Jews who left Dutch Brazil. Members of the congregation have led distinguished lives, enriching both the city and America. Its famous members include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo and poet Emma Lazarus, whose poem “The New Colossus” is inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. The synagogue is located on 70th Street at Central Park West.

New York’s Palisades

By Linda Tancs

On the west side of the Hudson River, New York’s Palisades region is rich in spectacular views. That’s especially true at Bear Mountain State Park. Situated in rugged mountains, you’ll enjoy panoramic vistas from Perkins Memorial Tower (in season). This time of year appeals to cross-country skiers and ice skaters, but a year-round visit awaits at the Trailside Museums and Zoo. The attraction features native turtles, snakes, frogs, toads, salamanders, skinks and many species of fish along with geologic formations. The park is an easy day trip from New York City.

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