Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mine Host McCann and the Woolworth Clan

Some time back, we recounted here the testimony of Mr. Patrick H. McCann before the Fassett investigating committee in 1890. McCann told how his lease on the Mount St. Vincent Hotel (later renamed McGown’s Pass Tavern) was not being renewed … Continue reading

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Andrew McGown, 85, killed while crossing the railroad tracks (1870)

Fifteen years after his son Benson was crushed to death while driving an express wagon at Third Avenue and 83rd Street, Andrew McGowan (b. 1785) died while crossing the New Haven Railroad tracks near his house at East 127th Street. … Continue reading

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The Greenhouses and Their Enemies

Like most late-19th Century improvements to Central Park, the new greenhouses had their foes. Almost as soon as they were announced, captious critics denounced them and called upon civic-minded burghers to firebomb them; or at least, to plot their destruction. … Continue reading

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The Old Post Road; or, Second Avenue at 43rd Street

The old Post Road of Colonial times traveled up the East Side from the foot of Manhattan before cutting west, entering what is now Central Park at 92nd Street, where it became, more or less, the current route of East … Continue reading

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Steps to the Conservatory Greenhouses

Some time back we came across a trove of 1890s photographs showing the wide wooden steps leading down from Mount St. Vincent’s Hotel (or McGown’s Pass Tavern) to the Conservatory Gardens. We can’t find them anymore, but this 1900 wintertime … Continue reading

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Sketch of Proposed Fortifications, 1814

A watercolor from the summer of 1814, right after the British shelled Stonington, Connecticut, and the New Yorkers suddenly realized an invasion might come via Long Island Sound. This rough watercolor drawing shows how fortifications might be set up along … Continue reading

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An Untimely Death from 1855

FATAL ACCIDENT Coroner GAMBLE yesterday held an inquest on the body of BENSON McGOWAN, aged 22 years, of One Hundred and Twenty-seventh street, near Third-avenue, who came by his death from accidental causes as follows: While deceased, who was express … Continue reading

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Garbled Junk History, 1907

Farther up, the old Post Road passed Legget’s Black Horse Tavern on its west side, this was the advance post of the British, September 15, 1776, the day before the battle of Harlem. It stood at the seventh milestone (Ninety-sixth … Continue reading

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The Museum and Restaurant in 1869, from Harlem Meer

From Clarence Cook’s Description of the Central Park, a limited-edition book published in 1869. Engraving by the painter Albert Fitch Bellows. A very rare depiction of the region soon after the Meer was built. “…the visitor observes with pleasure that … Continue reading

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“I don’t think the British are EVER coming!”

View from Fort Fish at McGowan’s Pass looking towards Haerlem, as artist J. J. Holland inscribes it. You can see Nutter’s Battery in the distance on the left and Fort Clinton on the right, as well as about a dozen … Continue reading

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