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Showing posts from September, 2012

East River

The East River is technically a tidal strait. It separates Manhattan and the Bronx from Brooklyn and Queens. It was once also known as the Sound River due to its connection to the Long Island Sound. The Bronx River drains into the East River in the northern section. The Bronx Kill empties into the East River 
as well. Along the east of Ward's Island it narrows into a channel called "Hell Gate." On the south-side of Ward's Island it is joined by the Harlem River. Lastly, Newtown Creek drains into the East River as well.

Verrazano Narrows Bridge

The Verrazano Narrows Bridge spans 7,200 feet from the Brooklyn Anchorage to the Staten Island Anchorage. Compare that to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California which spans 4,620 feet or the George Washington Bridge in New York City, New York at 3,500 feet.

The Bridge is named for Giovanni Di Verrazano, the Italian explorer who discovered New York Harbor in 1524.

Construction of the bridge was overseen by Robert Moses, who at the time was Commissioner of New York State Parks and head of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Construction began on August 13, 1959 and the upper deck was completed on November 21, 1964. The lower deck was completed on June 28, 1969. At it's completion in 1964, the bridge took the title of the longest suspension bridge in the World from the Golden Gate Bridge and held the title until 1981when the Humber Bridge in England was completed.

The pillar of the Brooklyn tower was built on an existing island off of Brooklyn's pier line th…

Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, Manhattan

Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive, formerly the East River Drive, is 9.5 miles long. The FDR Drive extends from the Battery to the Triborough Bridge. The Drive is not designed to current interstate standards, therefore the FDR is closed to commercial traffic. However buses can use the highways in certain locations. Due to its antiquated design, the speed limit maximum is 40 miles per hour.

In the 1920s, calls first began for a waterfront highway began - initially being called the "Chyrstie-Forsyth Parkway."

The FDR Drive is an amalgamation of sections that were constructed in different styles.

Construction of the East River Drive began in 1934. The parkway section from East 92nd street to East 125th required ingenious methods of construction in a narrow right-of-way. A six-lane parkway was conceived by Robert Moses in the 100 foot right-of-way. This section was completed and opened in 1936.

The East River Drive was constructed as an arterial boulevard from Battery Park to East 42nd st…

Castle Clinton, Manhattan

Castle Clinton

Castle Clinton, today Castle Clinton National Monument, stands two blocks west of where Fort Amsterdam once stood. The sandstone fort was built in anticipation of the War of the 1812. It was built on a small artificial island off shore. Originally called West Battery or Southwest Battery, it was renamed Castle Clinton in 1817 for Dewitt Clinton - New York City's Mayor and later New York Governor.

In 1823, Castle Clinton was deeded to the City. It was used as a restaurant and entertainment center and renamed Castle Garden.

The roof was added in 1840 and Castle Garden served as an opera house and theater. Jenny Lind, often referred to as the "Swedish Nightingale", debuted her American tour at Castle Garden on September 11 and 13 in 1850. She returned again to bring her tour to a close in May of 1852. It served in this respect until 1854.

By 1855, landfills had enlarged the Park to encompass Castle Garden.

On August 3, 1855 the Castle became the Castle Garden Immi…

Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan

Marcus Garvey Park
Marcus Garvey Park spans from East 120th Street north to East 124th Street and from Madison Avenue to 5th Avenue.
Dutch settlers referred to the Park as "Slangberg" or Snake Hill because of it's reptile population.  The site was also home of British fortifications during the Revolutionary War for the protection of the Harlem River.
In 1835, serious consideration was given to razing the hilly area to accommodate new streets however citizens successfully petitioned to preserve it.
It opened as Mount Morris Park in 1840. The park is home of the City's only remaining fire watch tower. The fire watch tower was designed by Julius Kroehl and erected in 1856.  The tower is a 47 feet high and constructed of cast iron. It was designated a New York City landmark in 1967. In the 1930s a reconstruction of Mount Morris Park added a community center and child health station.  The Pelham Fritz Recreation Center is named for New York City Department of Parks …

Kingsbridge Armory, The Bronx

Kingsbridge Armory
Also known as the Eighth Regiment Armory located on West Kingsbridge Road. It was built in the 1910s to house the National Guard's Eighth Coastal Artillery Regiment which relocated from Manhattan in 1917.  Possibly the largest armory in the World.  After World War II, the City offered it to the United Nations as a temporary meeting place.  In 1911, the New York State Legislature authorized construction of the Armory using an excavated area that was planned to have been the eastern basin for Jerome Park Reservoir. Some military artifacts were unearther in the area, believed to have been from nearby Revolutionary War forts including Independence and Number Five. 
After the second world war, the City offered it's use to the United Nations General Assembly as a temporary meeting place until the main UN Building was finished.
In 1974, it was designated a New York City landmark. It's military use ended in 1996 and was turned over to the City to manage.  T…

University Heights, The Bronx

University Heights

University Avenue's former name was Aqueduct Avenue.  It was renamed for New York University in 1913 and renamed again in 1988 for Martin Luther King Jr.

The Old Croton Aqueduct has been preserved for a two mile stretch from Kingsbridge Road South to about Bainbridge Avenue, along Aqueduct Avenue West, Aqueduct Avenue East and University Avenue as raised a embankment and walkway.  Aqueduct Avenues East and West are named for their location in relation to the Croton Aqueduct's location.  An aqueduct gatehouse remains at Phelan Place (although from the New Croton Aqueduct 1885-1893).


New York University developed a University Heights campus in 1894 to follow New York City's development as it moved uptown.  However years later, in 1973, fearing urban decay New York University sold the University Heights campus to the City University of New York.  With the engineering school residing at the University Heights campus, the school of engineering merg…

Randall Manor, Staten Island

Randall Manor
Named for Captain Robert Randall, the founder of Sailor's Snug Harbor.

The neighborhood is bound by Bard Avenue to the West, Henderson Avenue to the North and Forest Avenue to the South.

Fresh Meadows, Queens

Fresh Meadows
The neighborhood of Fresh Meadows was named Black Stump during the 19th century. The name Black Stump came from the practice of marking property lines with blackened stumps at respective property lines. Some stumps still remain, such as in portions of Cunningham Park.

Cunningham Park is a 358 acre park that was purchased and assembled in many parcels of land from 1928 to 1944. The park was originally named Hillside Park. In 1934, Hillside Park was renamed for W. Arthur Cunningham who served during World War I as a major in the 69th Regiment. As the years went on and development increased in the area, roads were created through the park including Oceania Street in 1944, Horace Harding Expressway in 1951, and the Clearview Expressway from 1957 to 1960.  Also, in 1952, Junior High School 74 and it's playground was built on parkland.

General Benedict Arnold drilled his troops in Fresh Meadows during the Revolutionary War, at the current location of MS 216.

The Utopia Playgro…