|Antiques Digest||Browse Auctions||Appraisal||Antiques And Arts News||Home|
Visiting New York City:
New York - The Greatest American City
New York Below Forty Second Street:
New York Above Forty Second Street:
The Vicinity Of New York
Some New York Hotels
A Few Suggestions About Restaurants In New York
More Articles About New York City
Index Of Articles About New York City
( Originally Published 1936 )
Other places you will probably wish to see in Uptown New York are: The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Riverside Church, Grant's Tomb, Columbia University, and the Bronx Zoo; also, some of the old mansions which have been preserved — the Jumel Mansion, the Dyckman House, the Van Cortlandt Mansion; and Poe's Cottage. All these can be easily seen in a single drive which may also include The Cloisters and Harlem. All of them can be reached by subway or bus or a combination of both. Some of them are included in the Gray Line and other motor-coach tours of Upper New York.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is at 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue; and Columbia University is at Amster-dam Avenue and 116th Street. The quickest way to them is by subway; but the most interesting approach is by Riverside Drive.
Anywhere on Fifth Avenue below 57th Street take Bus No. 5; or anywhere on Fifth Avenue between 32d and 57th Streets take Bus No. 8. This latter bus starts from the Pennsylvania Station at Seventh Avenue and 32d Street and goes east on 32d Street. If you are in one of the hotels near the Pennsylvania Station, it will be more convenient for you to take it at its starting point.
Turning west on 57th Street these buses continue on 57th Street to Broadway and follow Broadway to 72d Street, where they turn west again to Riverside Drive, which extends north from 72d Street as far as the Harlem River at 220th Street, with a beautiful park between the drive and the river.
Between 73d and 74th Streets is the very fine residence of Charles M. Schwab, steel magnate, which cost nearly three mil-lion dollars, irrespective of contents, and may become the property of New York City after the death of Mr. Schwab, to be used as a residence for New York mayors and the seat of municipal hospitality. It has a famous organ and has been the scene of many of the finest private musicales given in America.
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument at 90th Street commemorates the men who fought in defense of the Union, from 1861 to 1865. Its architectural inspiration was the famous choragic monument of Lysicrates erected at Athens when the Parthenon was new. The copy of Houdon's statue of Washing-ton was a gift from the school children.
The view from there is fine.
The equestrian bronze of Jeanne d'Arc, at 93d Street, is by Anna Vaughn Hyatt. The pedestal contains a stone from Reims Cathedral where Jeanne saw her Dauphin crowned, and some . stones from the tower in Rouen where she was imprisoned while awaiting trial and execution.
Now you may like to continue along Riverside Drive to Grant's Tomb, the Riverside Church, and Claremont. Or you may prefer to leave the bus at 112th Street and walk two blocks east, to the Cathedral.
Grant's Tomb is at 122d Street. Opinions of its architectural worth differ widely. Will Irwin calls it a `gigantic mustard-pot,' an `exaggerated ink-well,' and `the final horror of the Civil War.' Others find it `nothing to be ashamed of.' Ninety thou-sand persons contributed an aggregate of $600,000 to erect the tomb (finished in 1897, twelve years after Grant's death), but `politics' prevailed in the selection of the design — as is too of-ten the case with memorials.
Close to it stands the new Riverside Church, more frequently called the Rockefeller Church because of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s, great gifts to it. Inspired by Chartres Cathedral, it has to serve not only as a temple of worship but as an institutional church carrying on a great variety of social service. In-stead of spires, it has a tower four hundred feet high in which are twenty-two stories of church offices and clubs, topped by a belfry with a famous carillon of seventy-two bells which plays on Saturday afternoons between 5 and 6 and on Sundays between 4 and 5 P.M.
About this church, too, there is wide difference of opinion as to its beauty and fitness. You will form your own conclusions.
North of Grant's Tomb is Claremont, once a private mansion, now a restaurant. The house was built soon after the Revolution by a man named Michael Hogan who had been a fellow midshipman with King George III's third son, Prince William, whom Hogan entertained at Claremont when the sailor-prince visited America. In 1807, Robert Fulton's Clermont had its first trial on the Hudson opposite Claremont. When Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's elder brother, was in America, after Waterloo, he lived at Claremont.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine has been building since 1892, and will not be completed for some years to come. When finished, this will be the third largest cathedral in the world, ranking after St. Peter's in Rome and Santa Maria in Seville; it will seat more than 10,000 and accommodate 5000 more over-flowing into the ambulatories and chapels. When completed, the distance between the front doors and the high altar will be more than two city blocks. The estimated cost is $20,000,000.
Bishop Henry Potter was the founder; but long before he succeeded his uncle, Horatio Potter, as Bishop of New York, the latter had dreamed dreams of a great cathedral far uptown; he died, however, before the ground was bought.
The ground on which it stands — eleven acres — is on the eastern slope of Morningside Heights, a steep bluff that rises from the northwest corner of Central Park, extends westward to the Hudson, and runs north to 123d Street. Crowning this high ground are Columbia University and the Cathedral; also Union Theological Seminary and St. Luke's Hospital.
The first architects of the Cathedral were Heins and La Farge. Since 1911, Cram and Ferguson have been in charge. I shall not attempt a detailed description.
Columbia University is a city in itself, with over 30,000 students and probably 20,000 other inhabitants occupied in ministering to the students in various capacities.
King's College, founded in 1754 under George II, changed its name to Columbia College when New York had finished with kings, and became Columbia University in 1892. The first class, numbering seven, graduated in 1758. Two years later, the first college building was completed, at Park Place and Church Street down near the present City Hall. There the college stayed till 1857, when it moved to the block bounded by Madison and Park Avenues, 49th and 50th Streets. It had 154 students then. Forty years later it moved to Morningside Heights.
Enter at 116th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, facing the stately Library. On your left, west of Broad-way, is Barnard College, the undergraduate college for women. Teachers will not miss the Horace Mann School at the corner of Broadway and 120th Street; it is a laboratory of Teachers College, for the practical trial and demonstration of new educational methods, and has a world-wide fame.
It is difficult to guess what may be your chief interest in visiting Columbia. Possibly the architecture, much of which is very fine. Possibly you seek such impressions as you may get of the exceedingly cosmopolitan student body which includes representatives of every important nation in the world. No wonder it was there that Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., built the first of his International Houses for the common ground of students of many races, creeds, colors.
The battle of Harlem Heights took place on this ground, September 16, 1776. The American Army, retreating from Long Island, had taken up a position around what is now 125th Street. The British, following, encamped on September 15 at 104th Street. Next day, the Americans induced the British to advance, and defeated them, driving them into a buckwheat field where Barnard College now stands. In this engagement the Americans lost 30 men and had 100 wounded. A tablet to commemorate the battle is on the west wall of the Hall of Engineering, Columbia.
North of Columbia, between 138th and 140th Streets, Amsterdam Avenue and St. Nicholas Terrace, is the College of the City of New York, part of the public school system of the city, which has also three other colleges: Brooklyn College; Hunter College (at Park Avenue and 69th Street) which trains girls for teachers, and gives a general four-year course in the liberal arts; and Queens College in Flushing.
The City College, as the parent institution is usually called, has an average yearly enrollment of about 30,000 students, predominantly Jewish. Brooklyn College has more than 10,000 students of both sexes. Hunter College is one of the largest women's colleges in the country. Queens was opened only in September, 1937, but is already flourishing.
New York University, originally in Washington Square, is now scattered about the city, its principal group of buildings at University Heights at 181st Street above the Harlem River. It has an annual enrollment of some 38,000 students.
Fordham University, largest Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States, has more than 7000 students.
Scores of other institutions added to these make New York City the largest center of educational activities in the world.
You will probably wish to visit New York University to see the Hall of Fame, a semicircular colonnade 600 feet long in which are placed bronze tablets, topped by bronze portrait busts, of great Americans. There are spaces for 150 memorials, to be completed about the year 2000. Every five years five more names are chosen by a committee of 100 prominent persons.
The Hall of Fame and the Gould Memorial Library are gifts of Mrs. Finley J. Shepard (Miss Helen Gould) in memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jay Gould.
It is not far along Fordham Road from the Hall of Fame to Poe Park and the little cottage where Edgar Allan Poe's young wife, Virginia, died. There he wrote `Annabel Lee' and other poems.
Fordham University is near-by and east of it is Bronx Park with one of the largest and finest `zoos' in the world, arranged with great skill; and the New York Botanical Garden, likewise notable. To get an idea at all adequate of Bronx Park alone, a half day is necessary. So it would be better to make an objective of the Park and go there by subway.
Now for a word or two about the old mansions:
The Jumel Mansion is at 160th Street and Jumel Place; Fifth Avenue Bus No. 3 will take you there. It was built about 1765 and from September 14 to October 19, 1776, was Washington's headquarters. After the fall of Fort Washington, British and Hessian commanders occupied the house. When the war was over it became an inn, and was the scene of a famous dinner given in honor of President Washington and his cabinet, in 1790.
Twenty years later, a wealthy French wine merchant bought the place. He died in 1832, and the following year his widow married Aaron Burr. They soon separated. There is an interesting small museum in the house, which is open daily, free.
The Dyckman house is the only real eighteenth-century farm-house still standing on Manhattan Island. It was built about 1783, and was lived in by the Dyckman family until 1868. Now a museum, open free to the public. It is at the northwest corner of Broadway and 204th Street.
At Broadway and 242d Street is Van Cortlandt Park, of 1132 acres, one of Upper New York's most popular playgrounds. Near the entrance that is close to the subway station at 242d Street is the Van Cortlandt Mansion, built in 1748. Washington was twice a guest there — in 1781 prior to setting forth to York-town, and on November 12, 1783, before crossiDg King's Bridge to enter New York. Rochambeau was also entertained there; and the Duke of Clarence who was to become King William IV. The furnishings are very interesting, and there is a charming Dutch garden.
Now, this is but a tithe of what might be said, should be said, about Uptown New York. But it is practically all that I dare take room for. You will certainly make at least one drive in the upper part of the island, and see the amazing network of speed-ways constructed there; the vast `bedchambers' in which hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers live; and the beautiful new bridges — the George Washington Bridge crossing the Hudson at 179th Street and the Triborough Bridge crossing the East River at 125th Street.
Of the World's Fair I say nothing as there will be guides galore for that; and I hope this book may be serving readers long after the Fair has become a memory. It is building, as I write, in Flushing Meadow Park, borough of Queens, and will be three and a half miles long and a mile and a quarter wide in the main exhibit area.
I haven't been able to say anything about Brooklyn, or Coney Island — probably the most famous playground in the world, to which on a hot Sunday half a million New Yorkers and their visitors are said to resort.
One experience which many visitors will enjoy is a visit to one of the great ocean liners whose docks are — most of them — along the Hudson River from 14th Street to 23d and (for the largest of all) in the vicinity of 50th Street. On days when one of these is sailing, the dock is an animated scene and no ticket is required for admission to the ship unless she is very new and likely to be mobbed by sight-seers. If you watch the shipping news in the daily papers you will learn on what day a specially interesting ship is sailing. Get there not less than two hours before sailing time, and you can see a good deal. For a `conducted' inspection, with explanation, apply at one of the steamship offices for a pass. And tip the steward or cabin-boy who shows you about. Ships lying in port do not present as gay an appearance as they do on a voyage, or when passengers are embarking.