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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Script No. 458 NEW YEAR'S EVE BASH

It had been mid-summer back in 1828 when Scottish

traveler James Stuart first arrived in New York City.

His timing was such that he had missed the city’s New

Year’s Day celebrations by a good eight months.

Perhaps fortunately for him. He might have been

callithumped. There are a number of possible origins

of the obscure word ‘Callithumpian’. Whatever the

source, it’s described in “Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of 

Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words” as,

“a noisy demonstration”. The whole thing was a

British import, as described by historian Stephen 

Nissenbaum's The Battle for Christmas

“By beating on tin pans, blowing horns, groaning

and shouting catcalls, the music was performed as a

gesture of deliberate mockery . . . the callithumpians

 . . . directed their 'rough music' against those who

seemed to be claiming too much dignity or abusing 

their power."

On January 1, 1828, the entire cacophonous shivaree

got out of hand. It had begun up in the theater district

along the Bowery, when a contingent of middle-class

revelers, armed with all sorts of noisemakers and well

fortified with liquid refreshments started tossing

limes (don’t ask me where they found limes in early

Manhattan during the winter) through the windows of

one of the local bars. Then they made their boisterous

way over to the City Hotel on Broadway (where the

Stuarts would put up in the coming summer). After

roughing up attendees at a fancy ball there, they turned

next to a nearby African-American church, bursting

through the street door, smashing windows, breaking 

up the pews, and physically assaulting the congregation

who were gathered to see in the new year. Heading down 

Broadway they looted shops all the way down to the

Battery Park, where they tore down its iron fence and

tossed assorted missiles through windows surrounding

the park where the city’s elite had their town houses.

Then they presumably scattered, stumbling off to nearby

gutters to lie down and make their resolutions.

We don’t hear of repeat performances in the immediately

following years.

Certainly now, in 1830, the Stuarts apparently enjoyed a

much more sedate celebration, since he makes no mention

of any merrymaking at all. The sun rose on a quite mellow

January 1st; the Stuart party caught a steamboat out of 

Hoboken and headed off to Brooklyn Heights to watch

the various sailing packet boats headed for and returning

from Europe.

Stuart reports, “I never witnessed a more animating scene.

On our return  through New York we were surprised to

observe the streets more crowded than at any former

period . . . it is usual for people of all descriptions to call

at each other's houses, were it but for a moment, on

the first day of the year. Cold meat, cake , confectionaries,

and wines, are laid out upon a table, that all who call may

partake; and it seems the general  understanding,

that such a one's friends as do not call upon him on the

first day of the year are not very anxious to continue his


As we’ve seen repeatedly 19th century Americans really

liked to pack away the vittles. Local bakers outdid

themselves creating the ‘confectionaries’ Stuart mentions.

During the holidays they would each advertise their

grandest creations and visitors come around to gawk

at the grandest, before they’re cut.

One of the bakers would seem to have been going for a

Guinness record, had such things existed then.

His cake weighed in at 1500 pounds.

April 15, 2006

© 2006 David Minor / Eagles Byte

Monday, December 2, 2013


Wednesday, December 4
St. Margaret’s
49 Fulton St.

This will be our first meeting since the Howard Hughes Corp presented some plans
for the Seaport to Community Board 1.

Now that we know some of what’s planned for the Seaport, shouldn’t we know the rest? Do we have a choice other than to accept what’s being planned?

CB1 is planning a Town Hall Meeting for January. Let’s brainstorm what should be addressed.

C’mon down!

** * * * * *

Both of the South Street Seaport Museum‘s schooners returned home this weekend!

Pioneer returned Saturday afternoon from Tottenville on Staten Island, where she got some tender loving care at the shipyard.

Lettie G. Howard arrived home this morning from Portland, Maine and is now nestled comfortably alongside the Lightship Ambrose.

Please join us on Wednesday and help us make our voices heard !

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Join Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner and BHS Public Historian Julie Golia as they discuss one of the most prominent artifacts in BHS' collection: theEmancipation Proclamation.

A document that continues to resonate 150 years after its signing, the Emancipation Proclamation has profoundly influenced the social and political landscape of our country and has had an evolving role in our collective American consciousness.

Join us December 4th at 6:30pm for a nuanced look at this historic document's 150 years of impact, in connection with BHS' display of our rare authorized edition of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Emancipation Proclamation:
Eric Foner & Julie Golia in Conversation
Wednesday, December 4th
6:30pm, FREE
BHS Great Hall 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013



The New Theatre - designed by French architect Marc Isambard Brunel and brothers Joseph-Franรงois and Charles Mangin and later known as the Park Theatre - opens at 23 Park Row.

Jan 13
Lower Manhattan's 1767 John Street Theatre closes. Part-owner Lewis Hallam, Jr.  Hallam sells it for £115 to neighboring grain and hay store. The acting company moves to the New Theatre.

Isaac Mann, Jr., Stillwater, New York, supplier of logs to New York City for its water system pipes during the Colles project, petitions the city for payment of the balance due. Records cannot be found for the contract and the council suggests Mann sue for his money.

Mar 2
A correspondent for the New York Gazette & General Advertiser estimates that the average cost of Tea Water is $15 per family, suggests an annual tax to raise money for a public waterworks. Nothing will come of the suggestion.

John Beddoe, his wife Catherine, and his cousin David Morse arrive in New York City from England, set out for the Finger Lakes region.

May 13
Manhattan's  original Rutgers Presbyterian Church, built on ground donated by Colonel Henry Rutgers, at what would become Henry Street at the intersection of Rutgers Street, is dedicated.

Surveyor Melancton Smith dies of yellow fever in New York City, the first death in a summer-long epidemic in the city that will claim 2,086 lives. As the summer passes coffins will be sold on street corners.

Jul 2
Westchester County, New York, doctor Joseph Browne, Aaron Burr's brother-in-law, writes that the health of a city depends more on the quality of its water than any other comestibles. He proposes supplying New York City from the Bronx River.

Yellow fever has claimed close to 100 New York City lives by the early part of the month. A carpenter sends around a wagon loaded with coffins to be sold in the streets.    **    New York's City Council appoint a temporary health committee to aid the indigent though the epidemic. They will spend $5,000 over the next three months.

1,000 New Yorkers die of yellow fever, including the family of doctor Alexander Anderson. He will later turn to engraving.

Sep 1
U.S. Military Academy superintendent Richard Delafield is born in Manhattan.

Sep 2
New York doctor Elihu Smith writes that new cases of yellow fever are dwindling, due to the small number of people remaining in the city.

Sep 13
63 New Yorkers die of yellow fever, including the father of a future mayor, 17-year-old Philip Hone.

Sep 17
Doctor Elihu Smith contracts yellow fever.

Sep 18
Hone's mother dies of yellow fever.

Sep 19
Elihu Smith dies of the fever.

New York's yellow fever death toll tops 400.    **    New York City museum owner Gardiner Baker dies in Boston in his mid-thirties. His Tammany Museum collection is sold.

Over 2000 New Yorkers are now dead from yellow fever. Colder weather ends the epidemic.

Nov 15
John Jacob Astor advertises in the New York Gazette and General Advertiser that he has 24 cannons and other military supplies for sale.

Nicholas Roosevelt revives his proposals for supplying water to New York City. Judge William Cooper proposes a plan to lay water pipes there.

Dec 17
A New York City committee chosen to evaluate water supply proposals - John Bogert, John B. Coles, Jacob de la Montagnie, and Gabriel Furman - reports that the Bronx River is the best source, but that a few alterations need to made to Joseph Browne's plans.

Population: 4,000 households.    **    A residence is built at 207 Front Street.    **    John Stevens conducts steamboat experiments on Collect Pond for the third year in a row.    **    Three health commissioners requested by the city and appointed under the state "Act to provide against infectious and pestilential Diseases" are empowered to enforce the city's health regulations. Dr. Richard Bayley is named head of the Health Office.    **    Coles' bridge across the Harlem River is completed but his mill works at the site is still unfinished.   **    The Tammany Society moves from its usual Barden's Tavern meeting spot at Broadway near Bowling Green to new quarters at Brom Martling's Tavern at Nassau and Spruce. The new place is nicknamed the Wigwam.    **    The state legislature recognizes The Corporation for the Relief of Widows and Children of Clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York as a separate entity from a three-state umbrella organization.   **    The United Insurance Company and the New-York Insurance Company for Maritime Insurance are chartered.    **    Upstate land speculator James Wadsworth arrives, back from a stay in England.    **    The city orders a survey of the area along the Bronx River, with an eye to eventually obtaining a drinking water supply from its waters.    **    The Bank of New York establishes a branch on eight lots in Greenwich Village. The street where the lots are located will become Bank Street.    **    The city begins grading and paving South Street. Structures along it are built back from the wharves to accommodate the bowsprits of ships moored along the docks.    **    This year - after the fort in lower Manhattan was torn down in 1790 - the need for new fortifications leads to guns being placed in temporary fortifications close to Government House. 

Shipbuilder John Jackson and his yard on East River’s Wallabout Bay - the future U. S. Navy Yard - build the 28-gun frigate John Adams for the Navy.

John Stevens conducts steamboat experiments on New York City’s Collect Pond for the third year in a row.

Irish insurgents are defeated by the British at the Battle of Vinegar Hill, in County Wexford. Many of the former will emigrate to the U. S. , and settle in a Brooklyn neighborhood that will become known as Vinegar Hill.

© 2013    David Minor / Eagles Byte

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


This is your reminder/nudge/notification that our bi-weekly meeting will occur TOMORROW, Wednesday October 30, in Conference Room 1 at St. Margaret’s House, 49 Fulton Street, 6:30pm. (Map)
We will discuss the newly (and unanimously) passed CB1 Resolution, the meeting within which it was passed (on the 50th floor of 4 World Trade Center), our continuing Seaport Watch activities, news from the Museum, and more…
Please download the flyer (below – PDF) and hand it out to your friends and neighbors!
See you tomorrow!

Please Join Our
Mailing List!

Our Next Meeting

Wednesday October 30
St. Margaret's House
49 Fulton St. (Map)

Are you or were you a
Seaport Volunteer?
Please fill out our

Volunteer Census.

Contact Us
(347) 6-PIER16

About Us

Our Mission: To save South Street’s working waterfront, beginning with our schooners Pioneer and Lettie G. Howard, then continuing inland to restore interest and life to the rest of the Museum.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Saturday, October 5th, 2pm. Meet at the corner of Fulton and Water Streets, by the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse.

We'll have music and guest speakers and we willmake a stand for saving our historic district, our museum, our market, our waterfront.

Our current (growing!) list of guest speakers:

Gale Brewer (City Council, candidate for Manhattan Borough President)
Simeon Bankoff (Historic Districts Council)
Peter Stanford (Founding President, South Street Seaport Museum)
Roland Lewis (Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance)
Robert LaValva (New Amsterdam Market)
Jenifer Rajkumar (Democratic District Leader)
Paul Hovitz (Community Board 1)
Nelson Chin (Volunteer, Sailor)
Paul Greenberg (Author, Journalist)

Music will be provided by:

Theresa Danks
Art Baron

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The City’s hand-over of the Seaport continues… Our next meeting is this Thursday, September 26

The City’s hand-over of the Seaport continues, and it’s up to all of us to do something about it.
The next public meeting of Save Our Seaport is this Thursday, September 26th, 6:30pm, in the library at St Margaret’s House, 49 Fulton Street. (Map)
We will brainstorm and discuss plans for our upcoming Rally (October 5th!), report on last week’s Community Board meeting, talk about the latest news from inside Pier 17, and more.
Please join us!

Friday, September 20, 2013



New York governor George Clinton addresses the
state legislature, urges strengthening defenses
against the British. They vote £30,000 for fortifying
New York City and £12,000 for the frontiers to the
west and north.    

Jan 5                 
Erie Canal engineer and surveyor Holmes 
Hutchinson is born in Port Dickinson to
highways commissioner and former army
paymaster Amaziah/Amassa Hutchinson
and Elizabeth A. Mack Hutchinson.

New York Indian agent General Israel Chapin,
noticing desertions from local reservations and
fearing trouble from his charges, meets with
them at Buffalo Creek and stay close to them
on through this year and into the next.    

Mar 5                 
Onondaga County is carved out of Herkimer
County. The town of Manlius is formed, with
Comfort Tyler as Justice of the Peace.   

Mar 22
The state legislature votes to extend the
Mohawk Valley Road west from Fort Schuyler
(Utica) to the Genesee River. The extension
will be named the Main Genesee River Road.

Apr 16                 
The 28,245-acre second Chenango Township
is granted to William Smith, who is also
granted the third (24,624 acres), fourth
(24,400) and fifth (26,200) townships.   **
The 25,780-acre eighth Chenango Township
is granted to William S. Smith. The 
24,200-acre ninth Chenango Township is
also granted to William S. Smith. The
24,186-acre twelfth Chenango Township,
is granted to William Matlack, Sr.

Simeon DeWitt publishes a map of the
Albany area.    **   The Bayard Land
Company is formed.

County boundaries are surveyed in the
Military Tract.    **    Judge William Cooper
is elected to Congress.    **   Connewango
pioneer Sarah Ash (Metcalf) is born in
Rennsselaer County.    **     A group of settlers
on the banks of Esopus Creek petition the
governor for pasture and firewood land in
the Catskill region. Traders Jacob Rutsen
and Johannis Hardenbergh take notice.    **
The legislature authorizes the surveying of a
road between Utica and the Genesee River.
**     Joseph Lothrop and A. Mead are the first
to settle at the future site of Chenango County's
North Norwich.    **    The first church services
in the Oneida County town of Augusta are held
in the Fairbanks home.    **    The population of
Herkimer County is 1500; Otsego County 12000.
**    The Fabius area is settled.    **    Jason Parker
of Utica and several partners establish a stage
line to Albany.    **    After a subscription of 200
shares is taken up by the state, work on the stalled
Western Inland Navigation Company canal at 
Little Falls is resumed.    **    Medina horse trader
Richard Gordineer is born to Jacob Gordineer,
a Dutch settler in the Mohawk Valley, and a
slave woman. He and his mother will be sold
to Joseph Grant when he is two months old.
**    The approximate date Utica merchant
Peter Smith acquires proprietary rights for close
to 50,000 acres from the Oneida Indians, the
land stretching from Syracuse to the Oneida
County town of Augusta.

©  2013            David Minor                        Eagles Byte