Posts Tagged ‘NY’

The Museum of the City of New York has a great exhibit called The Greatest Grid – The Master Plan of Manhattan 1811-2011.

Map of Harlem - if you click on it you will be able to zoom in and see the old village of Harlem with housing lining the streets. Note the marshes and streams.

This describes the picture of the shanties at Fifth Avenue and 101st Street. The Colberts lived on 116th Street in the 1850s and 1860s. By 1865 they had moved their house to East 121st Street and had a respectable 15 year lease - $30.00 a year.

I went to see the exhibit on January 7th – so did a lot of other people and it was crowded. It was one of those strange spring like days we’ve had this year.

It was fascinating to see the old maps and pictures.

My favorite part was the original, hand-drawn map of the proposed streets – very long with lots of detail. There were also pictures of New York when it still had hills and pictures of shantytowns.

Fifth Avenue and 101st Street (in the 1890s)

Jacob Reis believed the shanties were healthier than the tenements.

Harlem - when New York had hills (taken in the late 1890s)

The exhibit closes April 15th – if you get a chance, it’s worth a trip to see it.

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On Saturday I went to Astoria to visit my son, Joe, and my niece, Kate. We intended to tour the neighborhood and see where some of the family lived. My father had quite a few cousins in Astoria: Ryans, Durneys, and Colberts. My mother also had a cousin there – Anne Ahern Getty.

As it turned out we did the Calvary tour. We have a lot of relatives there too. Joe was the driver, Kate the navigator and I realized how congested Queens is and how much easier it is to drive in Dutchess County.

The Calvary office was closed, but I had printed out some maps. Calvary is HUGE and it is easy to get lost, but the navigator and driver were both very skillful. We went to First, Second and Third Calvary. Of course, many of the family sites are missing headstones, but we found a couple:

George Grossman – only his name is on the stone – his wife, Mary Colbert Grossman is also buried here.

Lawrence Coleman, brother of Mary Coleman Colbert         

James and Anne Whelan and their children: Nan, Thomas, William

My father worked at Brewster Aeronautics, by the Queensboro Bridge, from 1939 to 1942. It’s now MetLife. We had a hard time getting there because of traffic detours – we didn’t know it at the time, but it was because they were filming the Dark Knight on the bridge.


By the time we left the old Brewster building it was getting dark, so the rest of the tour of Astoria will have to wait for another visit.

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