Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The High Bridge and the Park

High Bridge, New York c. 1880
Tinted Stereoview by the New York Stereoscopic Co.

Welcome to The High Bridge -- Its Past, Present & Future website.  This site connects all interested parties on exciting developments associated with The High Bridge, Highbridge Park, and the immediately surrounding area.

We are in the process of sprucing up our site and making it more presentable.  As most of you already know, the High Bridge was reopened on June 9, 2015 after about 45 years of having been closed and years of planning and reconstruction.  The adjacent Highbridge Park is also undergoing extensive refurbishment as part of the NYCPlan 2030, and the immediate neighborhood near the Park, particularly along Amsterdam and Edgecombe avenues is starting to experience a renaissance with building renovations and new commercial ventures.
With this in mind, we are now shifting gears away from the reconstruction of The High Bridge to the other improvements that will be forthcoming.  We also recognize that there will be more visitors to the bridge, the Highbridge Park, and the surrounding areas, so we will be providing more information for those who do not have familiarity with the area and its attractions. 
At present the public funding for the improvements and redevelopment effort for the Bridge and the Park have exceeded $100 Million. On Jan. 11, 2013 Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke ground on the construction phase of the plan for the redevelopment of the High Bridge and the cost of reopening the bridge has been publicized at $61.8 Million.

On June 9, 2015, the official reopening ceremony of the High Bridge occurred. (Please see the specific posts for this event).  On July 25, 2015 the High Bridge Festival celebrating the reopening of the High Bridge occurred.

There are many other activities progressing simultaneously with the redevelopment of the High Bridge. This web site focuses on the developments in and immediately adjacent to The High Bridge and Highbridge Park.  Please make sure to scroll down to see previous posts on new and exciting developments.

It is our belief that with this site we can foster an appreciation of the past, an understanding of the present and a catalyst for the development of the future needs of this immediate area.

Hopefully, we will find common ground to dramatically improve the buildings, the retail establishments and the quality of life in such a way as to compliment the redevelopment effort associated with the High Bridge and High Bridge Park and make this area a destination for more of the millions of residents of New York City and some of the more than tens of millions of visitors who come to New York City each year.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Sept 6, 1879

Please contact us and let us know if you have any interests in participating as a contributor, volunteer, or merely to coordinate with your community organization, or even if you are just an interested neighborhood resident. If you want to contribute to the site with any comments please feel free to do so.

Organizationally, we have been adding information to each page as it is appropriate.  You should return to pages on a regular and frequent basis to catch up on latest developments on each topic.  We have also provided for reader feedback at the bottom of each topic.

There are over 100 posts with information and pictures on all sorts of topics. Information about the history of the High Bridge and the building of the aqueduct, articles about what is going on right now, and articles about the future changes that we all hope will come to the High Bridge, the park, and the surrounding neighborhoods. Please click on the Area of Interest on the right and a whole host of topics will present themselves. Or, you may scroll through the archive of articles on the right to find and article of interest to you. Or, you may also search by keyword in the box provided at the right above the archive listings. Or, you may just scroll down and look at the articles in chronological order going backward in time.

 If you are experiencing any difficulty using our site please let us know.

Please subscribe to our newsletter.

last modified 7/28/2015

City Parks Department to Install Mobile Charging Stations in Highbridge Parks

According to an exclusive in the New York Daily News, the city will be testing high-tech park benches in Highbridge Parks (in both Manhattan and the Bronx) that allow visitors to recharge their batteries while getting a boost for their cell phones and tablets.
"Five Soofa benches with free charging stations will be installed at Highbridge Parks in the Bronx and upper Manhattan.  The benches — developed out of the MIT Media Lab — can also keep track of how many people visit the parks by counting their Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
The Parks Department will spend about $24,000 on the solar-powered benches, which have been used in several other cities, including Boston and Los Angeles.  The first bench is set to be installed on Tuesday at Highbridge Park in the Bronx.  The remaining four will be up and running within the next 30 days, according to the agency."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

High Bridge Walk May 14 at 11am sponsored by Outdoor Afro

Where: Highbridge Park, W 165th St. & Edgecombe Ave.
Join Outdoor Afro for an Uptown urban walk at Highbridge Park(Washington Heights, NYC) on Saturday, May 14th from 11a-1p! Our walk will take us through the park and across the Highbridge.
Fun fact - the High Bridge, built in 1848, is NYC’s oldest standing bridge, spanning from Manhattan to the Bronx. This beautiful bridge was just reopened to pedestrians in 2015 (after being closed for 45 years), so if you’ve been meaning to get there to check out the amazing views, now is your chance!
We will walk about 2 miles, so comfortable shoes are a must! We will walk at a moderate pace so all skill levels (including children) are welcome. After the walk, there will be an optional opportunity to grab a quick bite at a local café with your fellow Outdoor Afros.
This event is easily accessible via public transportation – the closest subway station is 168th St (A/C/1 train). Please note that we will meet at the park entrance at the corner of W. 165th St and Edgecombe Ave. (This entrance is ramp accessible for wheelchairs or strollers.) Remember to bring at least 24oz of water!
Look forward to seeing you guys Uptown!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Uptown Fitness Club Total Body Sculpt in Highbridge Park on May 16th

Get your body right and tight just in time for swimsuit season! Join us for an hour-long session packed with high intensity, fat blasting moves for total body toning and weight loss. ALL fitness levels are welcome! Just bring a mat and water (and a towel if needed). Begins Monday May 16, 5PM

Suggested donation: $10-15
EXACT location is TBA. See you there!
**If you have any injuries or physical limitations please contact me ahead of time so I can make sure you get a good hard workout in that is also safe!

Website: http://www.meetup.com/Uptown-Fitness-Club-Harlem-Washington-Heights/events/230974381/ 

Provider: Meetup - Find your people

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Day the Sky Turned Dark in New York City -- January 24, 1925

It was the second decade of the 20th century, about the middle of the roaring 20s.  Technology and industrialization, along with the Great World War of the prior decade, had helped to transform the United States into a major world power, and with that transformation New York City became the world's powerhouse.  

Calvin Coolidge, who had been the Vice President of the United States under Warren G. Harding, was now the President since Harding had suddenly died in office on August 2, 1923. At that time there was no way, unlike today after the passage of the 25th amendment to the Constitution in 1967, to nominate and confirm a Vice Presidential candidate to fill the vacancy created by Coolidge’s ascendancy to the Presidency.

During 1924, Coolidge ran for President on the Republican ticket, with Charles G. Dawes as his running mate against John W. Davis and Charles W. Bryan on the Democratic ticket.  In the November, 1924, election Coolidge and Dawes won the election, but in those days, since inauguration day was still March 4, of the following year, Coolidge would have no sitting Vice President until after the inauguration in March.

In New York City, John F. Hylan was the Mayor. New York City had just become the most populous city in the world, having overtaken London.

January, 1925, arrived and departed like a polar bear and New York City was the unwelcome recipient of almost 27 1/2 inches of snow, the most ever recorded for any January up to that time (this record was finally eclipsed in January, 2011, when the city recorded 36 inches of snow).  On January 20, 1925, New York City got hit with two blizzards in one day. On January 27 more snow fell and then the coup de grace; another giant storm on January 30 that affected the entire metropolitan area.

But, on January 24th of that year, on that cold and wintry Saturday morning the temperature was hovering around zero degrees, and David Franklyn Yerex, a professional photographer who had worked for a number of years for Underwood and Underwood, the world’s largest producer of stereoscopic cards, arose early and took his photographic equipment to Highbridge Park just north of the High Bridge on the Manhattan side before dawn and set up his camera to get a good view of the High Bridge and the Harlem River. David grew up with cold weather. He had been born in a small town in Ontario, Canada, in 1876.  But, despite all the adverse weather conditions, at precisely 9:11 am he took a picture that made him somewhat of a celebrity. He had taken a very rare picture of a total eclipse of the Sun at precisely the right time.

It was know for quite some time prior to the actual eclipse that this eclipse was going to come on January 24th, but in order for a view in New York City to get a view of the total eclipse the viewer had to be in the very narrow path where the eclipse was total.  In fact, had Mr. Yerex been south of approximately 96th St. he would have only seen a partial eclipse. Below is the map prepared by Consolidated Edison Companies based upon actual observations of where this particular eclipse was total and where it was only partial. You will note the somewhat diagonal dotted line (actually it is going almost directly east/west) through the northern part of Central Park, starting at about 95th St. at Riverside Drive and ending at about 106th St at the East River. Points south of this line were in partial eclipse for the event and points north of this line were in the path of the total eclipse.

Below is a local news article on the anticipated path of the area where the total eclipse would occur on that day.

You can see that New York City is on the southern fringe of the area covered by the total eclipse.  

The following beautiful and rare art photo of the Total Eclipse of the Sun was taken by David Yerex from Highbridge Park on Washington Heights, overlooking the Harlem River and the Bronx, New York City, January 24th, 1925 at about 9 A.M.

Image copyright 2016, Friends of the High Bridge, LTD.

It shows the historic High Bridge before the steel span over the Harlem River would be installed a few years later. Also, the street lights were turned on during the eclipse; and you can see the small tug going up the river; and smoke from a passing train still visible; also shown is the reflection of the eclipse in the water.  This is the only photograph of the “Great Event” which shows the marvelous streamers of the Corona that resemble an arrow shooting through the disk of the Moon.

A beautiful hand colored enlargement of this picture was hung in The American Museum of Natural History and has been highly endorsed by astronomers, artists, photographers and other capable critics who have proclaimed it to be a stunning picture of the eclipse.

To get an idea of how infrequently a celestial phenomenon such as this happens, the last previous total eclipse in New York City was in 1838, just as the Croton Aqueduct was starting to be constructed, and that eclipse was not a total solar eclipse, it was an annular solar eclipse. You would have to go back to the year 1478, before Columbus even discovered the New World, to find the last total solar eclipse to pass over what is now called New York City. And, if you are interested to know, the next total solar eclipse to pass over New York City will be in the year 2079.

David Yerex, would go on to take pictures of other future eclipses including the total solar eclipse of August 31, 1932 in Florida, and the total solar eclipse of April 7, 1940 in New Hampshire; and was honored by Life Magazine in 1940 with Life Magazine's Picture of the Week Award for the picture of the total eclipse of April 7, 1940, taken by him in Green Cove Springs, FL, just south of Jacksonville.

David Yerex led a colorful life. He lived in Providence, RI upon immigrating to the US in about 1893 and then met and married Annie McGregor Belmore after she immigrated from Nova Scotia to Boston in 1898. They moved to Boston where he was with the firm of E. Chickering. He was noted for his critically important photographs during this period of time. He divorced Annie and moved to New York City in the early 1910s, where he was employed by Underwood & Underwood. Underwood & Underwood was the world's largest producer of stereoview cards. It was during the 20s that the stereoview cards were losing market share and the firm was moving into photo images for the press, much like AP and UPI. He became naturalized as a citizen in 1917 and married a local girl named Helen of Irish descent. In 1920 he had moved to Washington Heights on 160th St. By the mid 1920s he had his own studio in the Bronx, not far from the High Bridge. Perhaps he walked the High Bridge from the Bronx with his equipment that cold wintry day to shoot the picture of the eclipse. During the 1930s he operated a photo studio providing portraits and other photographic services for the general public while he pursued his interest on the artistic side of the field. Around 1940 he moved back to Boston and lived there until his death. Very few of his known works still survive.

last modified 5/17/16

City Intends to Increase Uniformed Officers in the Parks of Northern Manhattan

At the Community Board 12 Meeting on Tuesday night it was announced that as a result of some increases in reported crime, the City intends to increase the presence of Uniformed Officers in the parks of northern Manhattan --a total of 14 Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers and 17 Police Department officers.

For clarification Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers are employed by the Parks Department and are peace officers empowered to issue summonses and make arrests when appropriate.  You can spot a PEP officer by their distinctive all-green uniforms and unique special patrolmen shields.  Additionally, the Parks Enforcement Patrol will be engaging their Mounted Auxiliary Unit.  

This is a volunteer unit working in conjunction with the PEP officers patrolling in full uniform and on horseback to "ensure the preservation of the natural and living resources in the city's parks, as well as the safety of those utilizing the parks, by maintaining a clearly visible presence. They monitor areas that are not accessible by vehicle; they deter, identify and report illegal or unsafe activities that require police attention; and they advise the public on park rules and regulations." 

Michael Dockett, an assistant commissioner for the Parks Department, said a PEP captain, two sergeants and five officers were added to the department's patrol in Highbridge Park this past week. They will also add a new trailer near Highbridge Pool, as well as bring in additional officers at the end of June.

Capt. Peter Andrea said he will be adding 17 probationary officers over the next few months, with two or three specifically dedicated to local parks. The 34th Precinct is generally patrolling inside the parks, although they often times dispatch response cars as well. 

Lt. Caraballo of the neighboring 33rd Precinct said his precinct has the same number of probationary officers as the 34th, with additional patrol cars driving along Highbridge Park. 


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tribeca Citizen -- Field Trip: The High Bridge

A nice little article appeared today in the Tribeca Citizen on a Field Trip to The High Bridge. The pictures are perhaps the best part of the article. What do you think? Write your own description of a Field Trip to the High Bridge, or Highbridge Park and send it in to be posted here with other interesting tidbits on our hidden gem.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Park & Rec Drops Plans for Ice Skating Rink at Highbridge Park

Both DNA INFO and New York News Grio have reported that plans for an uptown skating rink in Highbridge Park at the swimming pool during the winter season have been dropped after a failure to get interest from businesses to develop, operate and manage it with financial support from the Parks & Rec Department.  The project would have put the skating rink above the wading pool on Amsterdam Ave. at 173rd St. and would have included three mobile food outlets, a warming tent and a shop.
At the Community Board 12 meeting on Tuesday it was revealed that there were no bids on the second request for proposals put out by the Parks & Rec Department.  Parks & Rec had allocated $1.3 million for the project.

This was the second request for proposals and they made extensive outreach to potential ice skating concessionaires and adjusted the language of the first request for proposals to make it more appealing, allowing for more flexibility and creativity with regards to the layout of the ice rink, including allowing the rink operator to use more of the locker rooms, run a holiday market and sell alcoholic beverages for special events provided they obtain a license for it.
Now that the ice rink idea has been dropped, they are requesting that the community send thoughts about what to do with the funds that had been allocated for the project.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

EEAC Plans Tour of The High Bridge on Saturday, May 14th 1pm

Join EEAC for a guided tour of the High Bridge! The High Bridge is the oldest standing bridge in New York City, having originally opened as an aqueduct in 1848 and reopened as a pedestrian walkway in 2015 after being closed for over 40 years. Two tour guides from Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct will guide participants over the bridge with an optional extension to the Morris-Jumel Mansion. There is a separate fee of $10 for those adult who wish to tour the historic mansion. 
The meeting point is on the sidewalk at 165th St. and Edgecombe Ave., in front of the park sign for Adventure Playground, which is part of Highbridge Park in Manhattan. Participants will walk to and from the bridge on a paved path that takes about 10-15 min.  In case of inclement weather, the tour will be rescheduled for a later date.

There's no shade on the bridge so please bring hats, sunscreen, etc. to protect your skin.
This tour is limited to 20 adults.  For more information click here.

Established in 1974, EEAC has advocated for excellence in formal and informal education in New York City and beyond. EEAC provides a network and forum for all committed to environmental education to grow professionally and to share ideas and information.
EEAC is the only nonprofit organization with the sole purpose of promoting and supporting outstanding environmental education in New York City schools and other centers for learning. EEAC provides a wide range of programs and services and relays information about environmental education resources and issues. It serves as New York City's umbrella environmental education organization, bringing together people and resources throughout the metropolitan area.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Life Found in a Bottle "Adolph J. Linser Pharmacist Amsterdam Ave. & 167 St NY"

An old purple medicine bottle was found with a pharmacist's label stamped into the glass: Adolph J. Linser Pharmacist Amsterdam Ave & 167 St. NY.  This bottle allows us to look into the life of this individual at a particular point in the history of this city near Highbridge Park.

Adolph Joseph Linser was born in Austria on July 2, 1869 to Joseph and Hannah (nee Malin) Linser. The family immigrated to the United States in 1870 when he was one year of age.  He was apparently educated in the United States and as a youth of 14 years of age he matriculated in pharmacy training.

One can only imagine the state of pharmacological science education in the 1880s. After all, this was in an era before the Food and Drug Administration which was created by the establishment of the FDA in 1906.

The Pharmaceutical ERA, 1887, shows that Adolph Linser passed the examination of the Board of Pharmacy as a Pharmacist, in Brooklyn, NY at the age of about 18.

Adolph Linser married Anna Loewe, age 17, on March 15, 1891 in New York City.  Anna's parents were August Loewe and Frances Neuschwanter. Anna was born in New York City in 1874.

The Bulletin of Pharmacy for 1894 shows Adolph J. Linser is operating as a Pharmacist in  New York City.

The Pharmaceutical ERA March 3, 1898 shows "A. J. Linser has succeeded  Dr. H.M.S. King in the proprietorship of the pharmacy long operated by the latter at 2161 Amsterdam Ave. in Manhattan. This is the location that is stamped on the the medicine bottle illustrated above.

The Printers' Ink, April 6, 1898, shows Adolph J. Linser at  having a business at 2161 Amsterdam Ave. near 167th St.

Trow's Business Directory of Manhattan for 1898 shows Adolph J. Linser, Pharmacist, 2161 Amsterdam Ave.

The 1900 US Census shows Adolph Linser and his family of two children living in Washington Heights section of Manhattan.

The ERA Druggists' Directory for 1906, shows A. Linser operating a pharmacy at 2161 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY.

Sometime between 1906 and 1910 Adolph Linser appears to have ceased operating his pharmacy on Amsterdam Ave. and opened a pharmacy in Newark, NJ.  Therefore, the bottle pictured above is from between 1898 and 1910, and more likely from between 1899 and 1909.

The ERA Druggists' Directory for 1908 and 1910,  does not show A. Linser.  However, the 1910 US Census shows Adolph Linser as living in Newark, NJ.

The ERA Druggists' Directory for 1911 and 1913, show A. Linser at 108 Bowery, Newark, NJ.

The 1915 New Jersey State Census shows Adolph Linser residing in Newark, NJ.

The Newark, NJ Business Directory for 1916 shows Adolph J. Linser, Pharmacist,  located at 108 Bowery in that city.

The Practical Druggist, March, 1916 "A. J. Linser succeeds Chas. Turner at 1759 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn"  So, it appears that Adolph gave up his business in Newark around 1916 and moved to Brooklyn.

In the Journal of the National Association of Retail Druggists in 1917, it states "at a meeting held December 13, the Greater Ridgewood (Brooklyn, NY) Pharmaceutical Association elected the following officers:  A. J. Linser, President..."

The New York Times reported the Federal Court Calendar for the Eastern District of New York on Sept. 19, 1919 including a motion in a Bankruptcy Proceeding for Adolf J. Linser.

The 1920 US Census shows Adolph J Linser living in Queens, NY.

The New York Times reported on April 19, 1928 that A. J. Linser of Englewood, NJ has bought two plots in the Country Club Estates development at Teaneck, NJ. 

The 1930 US Census shows Adolph J Linser living in Bergenfield NJ.  Virginia B. Linser is listed as his wife.  Did Adolph's first wife, Anna, die prior to the 1930 census?  She would have been 56 years of age in 1930.  Or, more likely, was Adolph divorced from Anna?  Records show that there was an Anna Linser who was also born in 1874, died in Brooklyn in 1948. This would certainly point toward divorce.

The 1940 US Census shows Adolph J Linser, age 70, born in 1869 in Austria, being a naturalized US citizen and living at 166 Jefferson Ave., Tenafly, NJ., married to Virginia B. Linser, age 64.  It also shows that in 1935 the family lived in Essex County NJ (Newark?)

Adolph Linser died on April 1, 1963 at the age of 93.  The death certificate indicated that Adolph resided in New York City.

Adolph Linser and his first wife Anna (nee Loewe) had at least four children, including August, Elsie, Helen, and Ruth. 

Social Security number 141-14-0350 [indicating New Jersey, Social Security was enacted in 1935 and taxes were first collected in 1937.

If anyone can add any additional information it would be greatly appreciated.