Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park
Medieval Festival is a Fascinating Event in Washington Heights
On Sunday, October 1st, I headed up to Washington Heights to attend the 35th annual Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park. It was a beautiful fall day as I rode the A train north from Times Square. I met a beautiful young princess from the Bronx on the train wearing a Medieval headband of flowers in her hair. We started talking about the Medieval Festival and lucky for me she had attended it previously and gave me a few important tips.
The first tip was to get off the train at the 190th Street stop because Fort Tryon Park is situated on a bluff [the forts always were so they could spot trouble ahead] and the 190th Street subway station is equipped with elevators which take you up to the park level which overlooks the rest of Washington Heights. She also drew my attention to the jousting contest which was to begin at 5 pm.
When I arrived at the top of the hill, I began my journey through the Medieval Festival which included numerous ye olde vendors selling food and clothing and gifts, as well as all sorts of other things including beauty items. But what was most peculiar were the various acts and events going on all along my walk north to the Cloisters.
Click here for additional photos and a video of the jousting contest, as well as a brief history of the Medieval Festival, the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park.
The Dykman Farmhouse
Where the Cows Come Home in Historic Manhattan ...
I had an opportunity to visit the Dykman Farmhouse in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan this past weekend. The event was their third annual Fall Festival where they offered cider tasting in commemoration of the historic Dykman apple orchards and cider mill, as well as a cheese and waffle tasting. The cheese was Dutch and came from Holland providing a holistic, historic and delightfully happy event.
The Dykmans were a Dutch family that came here in the 1600's and built the Dykman Farmhouse in the early 1780's. Their land holdings on the north section of Manhattan fluctuated, ranging from about 340 to 200 acres of land in northern Manhattan. In the mid 1800's [circa 1870] the Dykman heirs held several auctions, which liquidated most of their holdings, including the Dykman Farmhouse.
Historic Dutch Settlers Farmhouse in Manhattan
In 1915 two of the Dykman heirs repurchased the farmhouse and turned it into a museum in order to preserve a small shred of the colonial past of Manhattan. The sisters and one of their husbands helped find furniture and other home furnishings to recreate the colonial past, and they opened the Dykman Farmhouse Museum a year later in 1916. The Dykman Farmhouse is the oldest farmhouse in Manhattan.
I came upon the farmhouse walking down Broadway just south of 205th street in Washington Heights. It's on an elevated piece of land, which sets atop the land enclosed by a brick wall. I walked up the stone steps into another time dimension, because even though it's in the heart of Washington Heights, surrounded by tall buildings, the sisters purchased and preserved a large enough tract of land to provide the visitor with a sense of being in the country.
I continued walking on a stone path which ran along the front of the long porch at the front of the house. On the far side of the house there was the large yard, which not just protruded to the side of the house, but expanded deeply beyond the back of the house, where a few tall trees provided an inviting, picnic-like setting. The back porch was similar to the front porch in that it provided sufficient space for one to congregate in an expansive relaxed manner, which the guest musicians who were performing were relaxing.
Artisanal Beer Created in Washington Heights
Meredith Horsford, the Dykman Farmhouse Museum Executive Director, provided me with a brief tour of the house before we joined her other guest in the Dykman Farmhouse celebration. I'll provide a tour of the Dykman Farmhouse in a second story at a later date, so that I can tell you about the celebration now.
There was an artisanal beer maker at the event whose name is Juan J. Camilo. Juan is from the Washington Heights neighborhood and just four years ago, he created and launched Dykman Brew. He told me he had started home brewing about eight years ago and that the Chelsea Brewery in the Bronx currently brews the beer. I'm a pretty interested beer drinker [preferences range from Becks to Guinness to Peroni], and I don't find myself enjoying most new beers. But the Dykman Brew was an exception, as it is a smooth, rich, flavorful beer. Juan told me it's sold in many Washington Heights neighborhood stores, as well as in stores in other parts of the city, that you can find on his website - www.dykmanbeerco.com.
Artisanal Dutch Cheeses made in the Old Country
I also met a woman who helps Beemster Premium Dutch Cheese market their cheese in the U.S. She had samples which I tasted before we delved into the artisanal Dutch cheeseworks. The cheese was a semi-soft, creamy Gouda cheese that in addition to a nice taste on its own, would likely go well with just about any accompaniment.
She told me that the cheese is aged for 18 months on wooden planks in old historic stone warehouses before it is made available for sale. That the cows are herded on Dutch polder land [land reclaimed from the sea] which provides rich grazing. She noted that Beemster is one of the most - if not the most - sustainable dairies in the Netherlands, but that there are bilateral trade issues with organic certification which is why they can't yet make that claim on their cheese. The cheese tasted great before we started talking, and possibly even a bit more so after I had heard her tell me about it.
Live Music & Entertainment in Historic Washington Heights
I sauntered back around to the rear of the farmhouse where unfortunately [for me] the musicians had stopped playing. They were discussing their gigs around the city and how to get to and from them.
Anyhow, the third annual Fall Celebration at the Dykman Farmhouse was an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. They have other upcoming programs, such as Oktoberfest. Check out their website for details and we'll periodically post some of the bigger events as they arise in our Weekend Things To Do post which is done sometime every Friday.
NYC History: Morris-Jumel Mansion
The Mansion, Once Washington's HQ, is Home to 'Spirited' History
I had an opportunity to visit the historic Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights this summer. The mansion was built in 1765 by a British Military Officer, Roger Morris, who had married a wealthy heiress, Mary Philipse. Mary was the daughter and granddaughter of early Dutch immigrants [circa 1650's] who had become large landowners along the Hudson River - including lands ranging from what is now the western Bronx, all the way up to Putnam County.
The Morris Jumel Mansion was built atop one of the highest - if not the highest points of Manhattan - and to this day provides a great view of the surrounding urbanscape. During the Revolutionary War General George Washington set up headquarters at the house in September / October of 1776 where he won his first battle against the British in the Battle of Harlem Heights. This was an important victory because it demonstrated the colonialists could win battles and it came after Washington's forces had to evacuate what is now Brooklyn - in a Dunkirk style exit across the East River earlier that summer. The curators at the mansion, maintain the room that was once Washington's headquarters in a manner similar to the time.
Morris Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights
Nonetheless, the British were beginning to surround Washington in that locale, so he soon evacuated it. Today we call the area Washington Heights, and it is likely Washington's presence in this home during the war, that influenced the name of this neighborhood.
These Morrises were sympathizers to the British Crown, and thus evacuated it when the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775. Eventually Morris had to forfeit their lands, when the colonialists suprised the world, and in 1783 emerged the victorious agains the British Empire. It's worth noting that there is a Robert [not Roger] Morris who was one of the American Founding Fathers.
From the time of the forfeiture of the house until it was a acquired in 1810 by Stephen Jumel and his wife Eliza, the mansion was reported to have been used as a tavern. There's not much information available about Stephen Jumel - not even a picture, but plenty about his wily wife, Eliza. They remodeled the house, notably the front of it in a Federalist style. Stephen died in a reportedly unusual death / accident in 1832 and there were rumors that Eliza may have had something to do with it.
Jumel Marries Burr & Mansion Inspires 'Hamilton' Playwright
Eliza married Aaron Burr, a former Vice President and the man who killed Alexander Hamilton. They reportedly lived together a short while [she was 19 years his junior], as it appeared to be a marriage of convenience [status for her and money for him] and she obtained the official divorce documents from him on the day of his death in 1836.
Eliza apparently was a shrewd businesswoman and managed the lands they owned in such a manner that she lived comfortably until her death in 1865. The estate took 16 years to settle and the house was finally acquired by the State of New York in 1904 and thereafter bestowed with increasingly protective historic designations.
Playwright Lin-Miranda, author of the popular play, 'Hamilton', apparently sought some good measure of inspiration from this site. Reportedly some key verses were written in Aaron Burr's bedroom.
Paranormal Investigations - Eliza Jumel & the Morris Jumel Mansion
There's been some emerging lore, dating back over half a century, that the ghost of Eliza Jumel, and possibly others, haunts the mansion. In fact the museum capitalizes on this lore by offering folks paranormal investigational tours.
All in all it was a fun visit to the Morris Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights. It was my first visit there and it won't be my last.
Fashion Show on the Hudson
Riverbank Park Fashion Show Highlights New & Known Clothing, Models & Designers
A couple of weeks ago I made my way to the 8th Annual Fashion on the Hudson fashion show at Riverbank Park at 679 Riverside Drive along the Hudson River in the Inwood neighborhood of upper Manhattan. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon as I headed into the Cultural Building in the 28 acre park.
The audience filled the Cultural Building, so I had to move around to get some photos of the models who were in the process of displaying men's swimwear. The muscular male models, with washboard ribbed stomachs marched down the runway showing a range of swimming suits that ranged from modest white trunks, to skimpy speedo cuts with psychedelic designs. I surveyed the crowd and found a number of women who seemed appreciative of the new designs and cuts.
As I was tight on time, I decided to make my way backstage to talk to a few of the models and designers to learn a bit more about them. Backstage a number of models had queued up for the ongoing swimwear segment of the program, while deeper backstage a number of the formal wear models were prepping for their debut.
In the photo above right you can see members of the audience enjoying themselves at the Fashion on the Hudson fashion show at Riverbank Park in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan.
Fashion on the Hudson Showcases Local Designers & Models
Fashion aficionado Daryl H. Miles, Founder of Beyond Styles by Miles, took a few minutes to talk to me about the show. He told me that Sofia Davis, editor of Fashion Avenue News, founded the show and that it has been produced at this location since its inception. At first Sofia held the show outside, but given the vagaries of the weather she decided to bring it in, where it has been ever since.
This year the show hosted 30 designers displaying swimwear, formal wear, casual wear and other stylish creations. The show is free to the public, but you must rsvp because seating is limited. The Fashion on the Hudson fashion show represents a great opportunity to see what's new and what's hot in the local NYC metro fashion world, and provides an opportunity for people interested in the business to meet models, designers and fashion buyers.
Daryl of Beyond Styles by Miles [www.beyondstylesbymiles.com - not to be confused with www.stylesbymiles.com] has been in the business for a number of years helping designers, models and fashion show organizers promote their fashion lines and brands.
I stayed a bit longer shooting photos of the models and lines before departing. And I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time covering the show next year.
In the photo above right you can see models who participated at the Fashion on the Hudson fashion show at Riverbank Park in the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan.
Old World Big Screen Theater Coming Back
The United Palace is a Big Screen Theater Built in the 1930's
Last month I had the opportunity to watch George Orwell's 1984 on the big screen at the United Palace theater in Washington Heights. I hopped aboard the subway at Times Square and made my way north into Washington Heights, bumping into a friend of a friend along the way.
I got off the A train at 175th Street and made the one block walk east to the the theater. The outside of the building is rectangular and made of stone, hiding an exquisite interior in an evolving neighborhood. When I stepped inside, I was nearly dazzled by the beauty and old world glamorous feel that the United Palace has managed to keep alive all these years.
More coming later this week.
Harlem Inwood & Washington Heights Neighborhoods NYC
Welcome To The Harlem, Inwood & Washington Heights Neighborhoods of Manhattan NYC
On Site Directory
Manhattan Farmers Markets 2017
Upper East Side, Midtown Manhattan, West Side NYC, West & East Village & Chelsea Farmers Markets Manhattan
May 2017 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Manhattan Farmers Markets / Manhattan Buzz NYC.
View the HOURS, MAPS, ITEMS / SELECTION of the 22 BEST & most centrally located Farmers Markets / Green Markets in Manhattan, w/ savvy shoppers' tips. This report includes the Midtown, Upper East Side NYC, Upper West Side NYC, West & East Village, SoHo, Tribeca, Harlem, Morningside and Chelsea farmers markets.
Click here for dates, times, locations of the Manhattan Farmers Markets - Manhattan NYC.
Manhattan Street Fairs 2017 - In NYC
Manhattan Street Fairs 2017 - UES, UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, LES, SoHo, Tribeca, Chelsea
THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE MANHATTAN STREET FAIRS including DATES, FOTOS & maps of most of the Manhattan Street Fairs and Festivals in the NYC neighborhoods of the Upper East Side UES, the Upper West Side UWS, Midtown NYC, East Village NYC, West Village NYC, Chelsea and more.
Click here to view our report, including links to maps, of Manhattan Street Fairs & Festivals 2017.
De Blasio Delivers State of the City Address
*Mayor Takes Humanist, Social Science Approach to Solving NYC Problems
*NYC Crime Down, Stop N’ Frisk Down 97%
*NYC Public School Graduation Rate Up, H.S. Drop Out Rate Down, College Bound Graduates Up,
*70,000 Children Enrolled in Universal Pre-K
*Financing Initiated on 62,000 Units of Affordable Housing
*NYC Budget Surplus
I attended Mayor de Blasio’s third State of the City Address at the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Monday. The beautiful old theater, built in 1904, didn’t admit African Americans until thirty years later. And it was in 1934 that the historic theater began earning the fame it has today, by becoming the showcase for African American musical and theatrical legends.
In the photo at right is the Apollo Theater as seen from one of the balcony booths prior to the beginning of Mayor de Blasio's 2017 State of the City Address. GB LINKS.
These are the Times that Try Men’s Souls: Thomas Paine & Fighting Tyranny
There were a number of performances and speeches leading up to the Mayor’s address, including a performance by the Dorothy Maynor Choir of Harlem and an operatic delivery of the Star Spangled National Anthem by FDNY’s Regina Wilson. Recently deceased Detective Steven McDonald’s son, Conor, gave a speech, as did NYC First Lady Chirlane McRay, the Reverend David Ramos, Rabbi Arthur Schneier and Imam Souleimane Konate.
The Pledge of Allegiance was delivered by Jian ‘John’ Yuan Lin, Chyna Huertas and Eva Lin. And the Reverend Michael Walrond, of the First Corinthian Baptist Church, gave a fiery, inspirational speech talking comparing the national state of affairs today to the American colonists fighting to shake off the shackles of tyranny. He cited the words of American Revolutionary Thomas Paine, who in 1776 said,
“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
Just before the Mayor came on stage was a video highlighting the de Blasio Administration accomplishments.
Mayor de Blasio Standing Big & Tall for All New Yorkers
The Mayor came onto the stage, beginning by thanking the various people and departments that helped make his Administration’s accomplishments possible. His thanks always include his wife, Chirlane McCray, who has been evolving in her role as NYC’s First Lady.
Here’s a sampling of the de Blasio’s efforts to make New York a better place for all New Yorkers. Some of the information came from the video presentation referenced above, which I have augmented with some additional research and information obtained in prior reporting efforts.
In the photo at right stands a weary, but determined, Mayor Bill de Blasio at his 2017 State of the City Address at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
I. De Blasio Administration NYC Public School Achievements
A. Social Science & Humanist Approach to Education
• Universal Pre-K Enrollment 70,000
• Advanced Placement For All
• Drop Out Rates Down
• Graduation Rates Up
• College Bound Graduates Up
The slide at right shows some of the gains made by the de Blasio Administration with the NYC public school system over the past three plus years.
1. Stop the Bleeding – Stop the 'CORPORATE' run Charter Schools from Maximizing Profit at the Expense of Maximizing Human Potential
Editor's Note: There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between the NON-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOLS and FOR-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOL CORPORATIONS. Non profit charters are generally older organizations, designed as an alternative in response to failing public schools decades ago, and whose focus is on improving education - not improving profits.
By contrast the FOR-PROFIT CHARTER SCHOOL CORPORATIONS generally arose in the 21st century, and this group appears to be pillaging the public school system by recruiting and siphoning off the good [low cost / high performing] students so they can maximize profits – not enhance public education.
The despicable consequence of this for-profit charter school strategy is that they are simultaneously robbing the most vulnerable, disadvantaged children of anything resembling an opportunity in life as promised in the founding documents of this nation.
Family background continues to be the highest determinant [have the highest correlation] of a student’s academic achievement.
So the de Blasio Administration has significantly slowed the corporate charter school assault on the public education system.
Corporate Charter School Business Strategy Comparable to Old Health Insurance 'Gaming the System'
Recruit the Academic Achievers, 'the Healthy Ones', Because They're Most Profitable & Shun the Rest
It appears the charter school corporations have employed a strategy designed to recruit and retain the best students to their schools, while leaving the rest behind. They appear to recruit the kids who are already performing well, because the performing children cost the least to educate, thus providing the highest return to the hedge fund profiteers because the funding is allocated on a per capital / per student basis. High performing student enrollments also enable corporate charter schools to claim they are ‘performing well’ because they've recruited the highest scoring students.
The recruitment and retention strategy referenced above resembles the old health insurance strategy of recruiting the healthy people to buy health insurance as they are the most profitable, while denying those who aren’t blessed with good health because they cost the most to keep healthy. This was a systemic inequity Obamacare attempted to eradicate.
In the photo at right stand an Imam [Islam], a Rabbi [Jewish] and a Reverend [Christian] all sharing the same podium with a message of love, peace, respect and understanding.
2. Help the Youngsters & Maximize Human Potential – Not Profits
The De Blasio Administration pushed through universal Pre-K, which has enrolled 70,000 students since its inception in the Fall of 2014.
When this first came out I, and a number of people I know, didn’t really grasp the importance of this effort. As family support is the highest determinant in a child’s success, many youngsters were entering the public school system at a significant disadvantage vis a vis their better parented peers.
By accessing these kids while they are younger, and providing access to the guidance and resources of the public school system earlier, the NYC Public School system now has a greater chance of motivating these kids, which will inevitabley empowering them, raising their self esteem, and give them a chance at a far more engaged and productive life.
I now get it. And this seems like it can only be a good thing for all of society, as it will reduce societal costs of failing these people early on.
Maximizing Human Potential is Good Public Policy that Costs Less in the Long Haul & Enormously Benefits Society
This approach to education enables us as a society to maximize our human potential, which will benefit all the community - and in some small way - all mankind. Not only is this a more humanistic approach to engaging these children, but it's more cost effective in the long haul, as those left behind will inevitably cost society more through lost opportunities, lost productivity, and increased spending on health, human services and criminal justice programs.
In the photo at right is the Mayor on stage at the Apollo Theater with all of the people working for the city that he honored that night including policemen, firefighters, sanitation workers and educators. The Mayor appears to be one who is very much in touch with the middle & working class rank and file of New York City.
Click here for our report about Mayor Bill de Blasio's State of the City Address 2017 including an update on crime, the affordable housing crisis, the city's finances, sanitation and social activism.
Harlem Inwood & Washington Heights Restaurants & Diners
One of the Harlem, Inwood & Washington Heights attractions are their fine ethnic restaurants.
Harlem Inwood & Washington Heights Restaurants, Shops & Real Estate - TBD
These neighborhoods are unique to Manhattan as they still maintain an ethnic flavor.
We'll have more as time goes on.