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Archive for new york

Minerals of New York

By Linda Tancs

Gems and minerals are just one of the many ongoing exhibitions at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York. Its collection includes specimens from several notable sites throughout the state, including 93 mineral species from the Balmat-Edwards mining district in St. Lawrence County (the only locale where tremolite is found), super garnets (the official state gemstone) from the Barton Mine in the Adirondack Mountains and Herkimer diamonds from Herkimer County, New York. In fact, the state museum has the world’s largest and most complete collection of New York minerals. Established in 1836, the facility also boasts the distinction of being the oldest and largest state museum in the country. Admission is free.

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New York’s First Capital

By Linda Tancs

Burned by the British on October 16, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga, Kingston is New York’s first capital city. About 59 miles south of Albany, the current capital, it’s situated at the point where the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River meet, in the shadows of the scenic Catskill Mountains. The locale is perfect for a ride on the Catskill Mountain Railroad, a heritage railroad featuring day trips through scenic mountain and village terrain. The historic city boasts American architecture spanning four centuries from the early Dutch and English, including Federalist, Georgian, Greek Revival, Victorian, Romanesque, Italianate, Neo-Classical, Art Deco and Contemporary. You’ll also find almost two dozen original, pre-revolutionary stone houses, a lighthouse and a host of museums highlighting local history and heritage.

The Joys of Commuting

By Linda Tancs

Mass transportation has its ups and downs. Just ask any commuter, especially in the New York metropolitan area. Maybe a trip down memory lane would lessen the pain, like the bit of nostalgia preserved at the New York Transit Museum. Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in downtown Brooklyn, the museum’s working platform level spans a full city block and is home to a rotating selection of 20 vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907. You can learn about fare collection, the evolution of the subway and the history of buses and trolleys. It might foster an appreciation for the current system, however flawed it might be.

A Village for Book Lovers

By Linda Tancs

Imagine a village with barely 500 residents becoming a center for arts and literary culture. There aren’t too many, worldwide, but one of them is in the Northern Catskills—Hobart, New York, to be precise. The only book village east of the Mississippi, the tiny hamlet boasts five independent book stores featuring second-hand and antiquarian books, prints and other works. You’ll also find art galleries, antique shops and a calendar full of writing festivals, book signings and lectures. This Thanksgiving weekend the town hosts one of two semi-annual sales drawing hundreds of book lovers and collectors.

A Slice of Life in New York

By Linda Tancs

Statistics reveal that about 21,000 slices of pizza are sold each minute in the U.S., or 30 million every day. No wonder it’s one of the nation’s go-to comfort foods. A food that iconic should have its own museum. And it does, a pop-up variety currently exhibiting in New York City. The Museum of Pizza is an immersive experience featuring textile sculpture (Mystic Pizza), a pizza guitar, giant photographs and explosively colorful installations. In short, you’ll learn all about the fine art of pizza, literally and figuratively. Located on the street level of Brooklyn’s William Vale hotel, the museum is open until November 18.

The Tenor of Things in Brooklyn

By Linda Tancs

Italian operatic singer Enrico Caruso is widely regarded as one of the greatest tenors of all time. A worldwide sensation, he performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera over 800 times alone. It seems appropriate, then, that a New York collector would facilitate the creation of a museum in Caruso’s honor. The Enrico Caruso Museum opened in 1990 in Brooklyn with the Mancusi family’s collection of over 200 recordings. Other memorabilia include rare family photos of the Caruso family, books, letters, caricatures and the death mask of Caruso. A popular attraction in the museum is the 20-seat mini theater, with chairs and décor from the old Metropolitan Opera donated by famed soprano Licia Albanese.

Eternal Rest in Sleepy Hollow

By Linda Tancs

When it comes to historic places on the national register, cemeteries don’t necessarily come to mind. That is, unless you’ve visited historic Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in the village of Sleepy Hollow, New York. Listed on both the New York State and the National Register of Historic Places, numerous headstones and mausoleums boast the work of famous American sculptors and artists. You’ll see their work among William Rockefeller’s imposing mausoleum, Henry Villard’s exquisite sculpture, the Washington Irving Memorial Chapel and the stained glass windows in the Helmsley mausoleum. Over 85 acres in size amidst rolling hills and Hudson River views, the luminaries buried there include Brooke and Vincent Astor, Major Edward Bowes, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, Samuel Gompers, Oswald Villard, Thomas Watson and, of course, author Washington Irving.

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