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Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The next Save Our Seaport meeting will take place on Wednesday, November 2nd at 6:30pm. What is so special about this meeting is that we have been invited to hold it at the Seaport Museum, and MCNY Director Susan Henshaw Jones has agreed to appear and discuss the future of the Seaport with all of us. You will also meet Jerry Gallagher, who is now directing day-to-day operations at the Museum.

Specific location within the Museum will be announced soon. Please plan to attend!

Finally, here is a brief report on our last meeting, which took place back on October 13th.

SOS shared a lot of news, the first announcement being that the old Seaport Museum regime is over. SOS is already meeting with the new director of day-to-day Museum operations, Jerry Gallagher. The next SOS meeting, will be November 2, 6:30 at 12 Fulton Street. MCNY’s Susan Henshaw Jones and Jerry Gallagher will be meeting with us. Yep, that’s the Museum address. SOS will be meeting monthly after that, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be reasons to get together in between. If you haven’t filled out the volunteer survey, you can still do it now! Look for another event at the end of the month as SOS presents our petition to city government. (Hearing the rumblings from Pier 15, the City still needs to be hearing from us!)

Thanks to David Sheldon for the report.

We hope we’ll see you Thursday for the petition delivery, and November 2nd at our next meeting.

Save Our Seaport

Sunday, October 23, 2011


(Continued from September 23, 2011)

Manhattan's Park Theatre was well-positioned in the autumn of 1829. One rival had been burnt out in April, another had closed recently due to poor box office receipts. But there was a young theatrical impresario in town, an Irish import, whose showplace would rival and, finally outshine and outlast the Park.

Very little seems to be known of William Niblo's background. His 1878 obituary in the New York Times just adds to the confusion: The subhead lists his age as 80; the text as 89. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle agrees with the later figure, so it seems Niblo was born in the late 1780s, probably arriving in New York sometime in the mid-to-late 90s. He apprenticed himself to David King, the keeper of a coffee house at 43 Pine Street (today's Trump Building) and settled in to learn the dinning trade. When King died Niblo, who had become his son-in-law by then, took over the business, changing the name to the Bank Coffee House, a name designed to appeal to the denizens of the surrounding financial district, including the two-year-old Merchants Exchange just down the street. The first Delmonico's would have come along at the same time, but there was enough feedbag trade to go around and Niblo prospered.

Billy, as he has been referred to, enjoyed being the genial host. His obit described him as jovial and kind-hearted with native shrewdness and wit. Whenever he came up with an extra-special culinary treat he would hold a private reception just for his regulars, which added to the cachet of the establishment and draw in new clientele. Not content to rest on his laurels (or bay leaves, or what-have-you) he looked for opportunities to expand. A few years previous to 1829, he leased some land further up Broadway at Prince Street, the area that would someday become SoHo, and set out to convert the building on the site into a combination restaurant and public concert garden. In the years following the American Revolution it had been an indoor arena for circus-style entertainment called The Stadium. Later it was used for drilling militia officers during the War of 1812 and, most recently, was the pleasure grounds known as Columbian Garden. Niblo had built a stage into one end of the main room and replaced the corridor walls with glass doors. Eventually the site would also sport a theater - the Sans Souci - that could seat 3,000, a saloon and, eventually a hotel. Open spaces between buildings were covered with canvas tents, creating a circus atmosphere along Broadway, as gaily-colored flags at the peaks flapped in the breezes.

This year, 1829, Niblo unveiled his once-again renamed Niblo's Garden and Theatre to the public on May 18th for a preview look. A month-and-a-half later, on a rainy Independence Day, the official opening, Niblo pulled out all the stops, topping himself with an unprecedented display of gaslight, the first such inside a theater. One attendee reported, "a patriotic display of gas lights which flaunted the name of "Niblo" far and wide and immortalized it in stage as well as gas history. An admiring public gasped from a respectful distance, watching the red, white and blue shadows cast by the rows of gas jets spelling the proprietor's name." William Niblo would be a theatrical force to be reckoned with for many years to come. And who knows - perhaps he was an inspiration for a young man who was running a fruit and confectionery store for his grandfather Phineas Taylor in Bethel, Connecticut.

© 2005 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Thursday, October 20, 2011




A Colonel Romer arrives in Iroquois country, and is instructed to view the “burning spring” near Bristol. ** The approximate date Don Manuel Gonzales moves from Ulster County’s Rochester with his family and settles in Mamakating Hollow, in the future Sullivan County.


The approximate date the first English settlers arrive in the area. Abraham Yates builds a house on Union Street about this time, on the site of the former Jan Roeleffson's house, destroyed during the 1690 massacre.


The Massachusetts General Court and New York State banish Roman Catholic priests. New York mandates hanging for any priests entering the colony to influence the Indians.


Feb 14

The 5,000-acre Walter’s Patent, in Westchester County, is granted to Robert Walters.

Mar 21

Scarsdale Manor is granted to Caleb Heathcote.

May 13

Robert Livingston writes to the Board of Trade in London, praising the Iroquois Nations for their friendly relations with the colony.


New York State adopts a policy of neutrality toward the Canadian French. ** Johannis Hardenbergh petitions New York’s governor for grants of small tracts of lands in the Catskills. ** Wealthy miller Frederick Philipse dies, leaving his Yonkers home and property to his grandson Frederick. ** Royal governor Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, dies suddenly. ** The Five Nations’ treaty with the French in Canada and renewal of the Coveant Chain with the English in Albany, preserves the tribes’ independence - The Grand Settlement.


Mar 8

The first court sessions for Orange County are held at Tappantown (in today’s Rockland County town of Orangetown.)

Apr 17

East and West Jersey are united as a royal province by Queen Anne, under the governor of New York.


Edward Hyde, Viscount Cornbury, a cousin of Queen Anne, begins serving as royal governor in New York, replacing the late Lord Bellomont.

Nov 6

Westchester County landowner Frederick Philipse dies in New York City at the age of 76.

Dec 9

Frederick Philipse’s will is probated; he left his son Adolph the portion of Philipsburgh Manor north of Dobbs Ferry, including the town of Mount Pleasant.

Dec 10

New York French Church minister the Reverend Peter Peiret petitions Lord Cornbury to resume a salary previously received from the city due to the smallness of his congregation, for his living expenses. Cornbury agrees to a £20 per year pension until Peiret’s death.


Jesuit missionary Julien Garnier returns from Canada to live for a while with the Seneca again. ** Johannis Hardenbergh petitions the governor for permission to purchase 250 acres of land northwest of Kingston from the local tribes. The tracts, called Sakewanneekcock and Pog Kanecook by the Indians, will become part of the Town of Woodstock. ** ** A short road is built at the portage or Great Carrying Place, between Wood Creek and the Mohawk River.


Former Jesuit missionary to the Seneca Julien Garnier dies in Qu├ębec at the age of 87.


Apr 29

The Wawayanda Patent, in New York’s Orange County, is awarded to Chief Justice Dr.

John Bridges and others.

Jun 8

The Rhinebeck Patent, in Dutchess County, is granted to Henry Beekman.

Jun 25

The Ulster County town of Rochester, named for the Earl of Rochester, is incorporated by patent. ** Beekman’s Patent, in New York’s Dutchess County, is granted to Henry Beekman.

Nov 27

New York acting colonial governor James De Lancey is born in New York City, to

merchant Etienne (later Stephen) De Lancey (Delancey) and Anne Van Cortlandt De



Legislation calls for the establishment of a road between New York City and the Connecticut line to the east (later the Boston Post Road). ** The proprietors at the eastern end of Long Island reaffirm the residence and planting rights of the Montauk Indians.



The Westchester County town of Bedford has its 1697 rights confirmed by the colonial government.

May 20

Queen Anne’s patent of confirmation is awarded to patroon Killian van Rennssalaer, son of Jeremiah.

Aug 28

The Minisink Patent, in Sullivan and Orange counties, is granted to Matthew Ling and others.

© 2011 Eagles Byte / David Minor

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NYC's South Street Seaport

Friday October 14th is the official Grand Re-Opening Day for Bowne & Co. Stationers. Let’s all drop in and welcome them back, maybe order some cards for the holidays, and generally show our support!

Bowne & Co. is located at 211 Water Street, and will be open Wed-Sun 11-6.

Cecelia and Fanny

Several months ago I queried you about an article in Crooked Lake Review that I wanted to cite in my book about an escaped slave who lived for a while in upsate NY [Rochester], and you graciously offered to post info about the book on the CLR blog and your Eagles Byte blog. I wanted to let you know that the book is now out; here is the info:

Cecelia and Fanny: The Remarkable Friendship between an Escaped Slave and her Former Mistress

Author: Brad Asher
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

Brad Asher

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Boston Rare Maps Launches

About Boston Rare Maps

Boston Rare Maps specializes in rare, important and unusual antique and vintage maps depicting all periods of American history. In addition to rare early maps, we also offer American historical prints, city views and a growing selection of illustrated broadsides. We serve a wide variety of clients, including private collectors and institutional map collections, as well as those seeking just a few special pieces for themselves or as gifts to clients, friends or family.

Questions? Comments? Searching for a specific item?

Please feel free to contact us at (413) 527-4020 or via email at

Visit to explore this new exhibition.

Please visit us online at