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Archive for new york

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.

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.

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