Sunday, August 31, 2014

New York History

This is the home of Philip and Catharine Van Rensselaer Schuyler built in Albany, NY in 1762. Philip was a general in the Revolutionary War and a US Senator. Philip had another farm in Saratoga, NY and spent a lot of time traveling between farms as well as for his military and political service.

Catharine bore 15 children of whom 8 survived to adulthood.  (I guess Philip was home often enough to participate in the conception of those children.) Catharine probably was quite a good businesswoman because she was left with the care of this home and farm.

Their daughter, married Alexander Hamilton in this house. You remember Alexander Hamilton from your ten dollar bills. He was among other things, first Secretary of the Treasury, and killed by Aaron Burr in a duel.

The tour guide insisted this mustard color is the actual color of this furniture and wall covering. They have copies of the bill of sale in England for the originals of these items and apparently the description was recorded in detail by the sellers and the fabric and wall coverings can still be purchased.

Next we headed across the Hudson River to the Van Rensselaer home, Crailo, in Rensselaer, NY. The front part of this home was built around 1663. It was home to Catharine Van Rensselaer from her birth in 1734 until she married Philip Schuyler.

This museum is not decorated as the original home but has many exhibits about the history of the area in the early years of the Dutch colony.

Between the history lessons of yesterday and today my head is spinning. A lot changes in a few years! For instance, /Fort Nassau (1614) which flooded out and then Fort Orange(1624) were Dutch trading posts built near each other in New York. A town, Beverwijck, grew up outside the forts. (The name means beaver district and beaver pelts were the main item traded.) By 1664, the British renamed the town, Albany.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

On the Road Again

Today I saw a stone house built by Peter Bronck in had additions by various later generations also but still the oldest part (on the left) was REALLY old and the interior is decorated according to the era it was built.

Shelby the uber knowledgeable guide conducted the tour. She was SO knowledgeable that the one hour tour became three hours! I learned a lot but if I'd known the tour was going to be that long I would have packed a lunch!

There was also an 1835 thirteen sided barn from the farm's later years as a dairy farm.

Yes, there was a Burying Ground too!

Made a stop at a service area. I guess it has been a long time since I've stopped at one. When did they start stocking healthy food at a service area??? There were lots of fruit, salad, nuts and trail mix choices in the little store next to the fast food places. And there was a farmer's market outside!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Balloon Delivery

This photo was taken in the subway car on my way to work. The poor guy - almost hidden by the bags and the post - was on his way to deliver a bunch of helium balloons. There were 2 more big bags of balloons behind him. And in front of the next door in the car was another guy with an equal amount of balloons. (What occasion were these decorations commemorating?) The guys got in at 14th street and left 7 stops later at 68th street after constantly rearranging their cargo to accommodate the other passengers.

As the experienced balloon wranglers stepped off the train the usually bored commuters followed their progress out the door and down the platform. After they were out of sight we heard a POP as some poor balloon gave its life for the safety of the others. Everyone shared a laugh as the doors closed...their faces slowly relaxing into boring morning commute mode.

Morning temperature: 62 degrees

Steps: 9527

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Emoticons in the Window

I am not a particular fan of emoticons. They seem like too much trouble to use in emails and texts so I skip them.

And then even with all the reflections in the window I can see all these emoticons staring at me.

Morning temperature: 71 degrees

Steps: 9216

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Inner Thai

Here at Express your Inner Thai they have a nice walk up window. The first step is the worst!

Morning temperature: 70 degrees

Steps: 11,285

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

WiFi Wherever

It was a nice evening to sit in the middle of the street reading tablets and cellphones.

Morning temperature: 70 degrees

Steps: 9509

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sidewalk Portrait

Monday morning again!

Morning temperature: 65 degrees

Steps: 9299

Friday, August 22, 2014

Mighty Pie

This little place sells Turkish pastries from its' tiny shop in Union Square Park. I wonder how you get a location like that. The selection seems to be savory pies only.

Morning temperature: 67 degrees

Steps: 8532

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bargain Hunting

When you see great bargains you just have to pile that shopping cart high!

Morning temperature: 63 degrees

Steps: 9845

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tree Growth

These were some BIG growths on this tree right next to a low stone wall.

Morning temperature: 71 degrees
Steps: 9774

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Good Morning Glory!

I finally remembered to look for the morning glories in the morning. This is in front of a pet store that has cute little puppies in the window. It's hard to know where to look!

Morning temperature: 63 degrees
Steps: 8619

Monday, August 18, 2014

Walking on Water

Another stop on Saturday's trip was the Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park over the Hudson River (of course). It was the only part of the day that it seemed a little cloudy.

You can see the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

You can see the other way too.

If you have a nice zoom lens you can take a photo of the sailboat just before it goes under the bridge.

Or a shot of a jet ski

There's the railroad tracks.

The park is a bridge originally built from 1886 to 1889. I was a little disappointed that the actual park part was only a concrete and steel walkway with no old time historical features. The historic part is the understructure which is important for keeping us in the air but is not visible from the walkway.

It's a nice walk across the Hudson, though.

Morning temperature: 63 degrees
Steps: 9477

Sunday, August 17, 2014

9 or 10 degrees of Separation

So this morning I was checking a couple names in my family tree. Surprise, surprise...I have roots in New Paltz! You would think I would do the research before I went to the place!

The New Paltz house above has long been referred to as the Jean Hasbrouck house though through continuing research it is now believed to have been built by his son, Jacob, in the early 1700's.

Jean Hasbrouck, one of the original settlers of New Paltz, is my 10th great grandfather. His son, Jacob the builder, is my 9th great grand uncle. Jean's daughter, Hester, married Pierre (Peter Gumaer). Just last week I discovered my link to Peter Gumaer and now I discover that Hester Hasbrouck Gumaer is my 9th great grandmother!

After the visit to New Paltz we drove through Hurley, New York. This 350 year old town also has a lot of very old stone houses. These houses are still in use as homes and businesses but are not normally open to the public for tours.

This is the Van Duesen house built in 1723 in Hurley. It was the temporary capital house for a short while after the British burned nearby Kingston, NY in 1777. The constitution of New York was still being written but Kingston was the first capital of New York.

This connection is a little fuzzy between the genealogical records and other internet information. And I couldn't get close enough to get a good shot. The stone part of the house which isn't really visible here is said to have been built in the late 1660's. In the 1800's a later addition changed the look of the house on Wynkoop Road in Hurley.

If I'm reading all the information correctly the original stone part of this house was built by my 10th great grandparents, Cornelius and Marytje Wynkoop. They emigrated from the Netherlands and were  original settlers in Hurley. Although Hurley is about 15 miles from New Paltz these two branches of my family were not related.

And the bear from yesterday's post was in a cornfield just down and across Wynkoop Road from this house!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

August Daycation #2

It was time for another August Saturday daycation road trip.

Destination: Historic Huguenot Street.

This location has original stone houses built in the 1600 - 1700's. Only a few are open but they are gems. Although all were built near the same is furnished as a 1600's home, another as a home from 1755 and one (that had a later addition) was set in 1908. The final home was empty inside but showed some of the bare bones of the old house. Most were still lived in as late as the 1970's.

The Abraham Hasbrouck House

The Bevier House now I'm checking out cemeteries everywhere!

Tree eating a tombstone in New Paltz

And a second cemetery in Hurley
 And there was wildlife...a bunny, a muskrat-type of animal, 3 deer...and a bear!
A quick shot through the dirty windshield!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Serenade at the Subway

There is lots of music around some of the major subway stations. Outlaw Ritual has a bluegrass sound...or maybe it's just what you think when you hear a banjo!

Morning temperature: 61 degrees!
Steps: 9605

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Serious reflections in the glass but these are replicas of Gommateshwara a 60 foot 10th century statue in India. You never know what you'll find in the windows of a New York City establishment.

Morning temperature: 64 degrees
Steps: 7261

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Graffiti Free NYC

This van drives slowly up and down the streets. When the team of two sees graffiti they pull over and spray it with some cleaner from a tank in the back of the van. Seems like there is good job security to a job like that!

Morning temperature: 68 degrees
Steps: 7676

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Behind the Red Doors

It's a mystery!

Morning temperature: 73 degrees
Steps: 8988

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ice Cream

Ice cream is always good! 

Across the street was corn ready for harvest. I had trouble keeping from harvesting some for myself!

Morning temperature: 72 degrees
Steps: 9637

Sunday, August 10, 2014


That moon was big and bright again due to its path around the earth. And I still can't figure out how to take a decent photo of it!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Back in Time

I know I said earlier that I don't spend a lot of time in cemeteries but here I go again!

We had planned to make a day trip to an historical site or two slightly upstate New York. While researching locations I saw some city names that were familiar to me. I cross-referenced with my family tree and discovered that some of my ancestors had lived in what is now Orange County, New York.

Jacques Caudebec whose name was later Anglicized to Jacob Cuddeback was a French Huguenot who left France and emigrated to New York along with Pierre (Peter) Gumaer. They moved to the Peenpack Valley (named by the Indians). In 1697, they along with five other men applied to the governor for a 1200 acre land grant known as the Peenpack Patent.

(It turns out that descendants of both the Cuddeback and Gumaer families married so I'm related to both.)

Jacques and his wife, Margaretta Provoost Caudebec, my 9 times great grandparents, are special ancestors to me because several years ago I discovered them accidentally on an unrelated web search and that set me on an journey!

So my research sent us on a trip to find their tombstones today. I had found a museum that was said to have information about the area. The museum is located in a town named Cuddebackville which seemed a good omen. I knew the name of the cemetery and the city it was located in but no address was given. I thought the museum would be able to give me more information. However, contrary to their published hours it turned out that the museum was not open today.

I was disappointed but we decided to drive around a bit before we left the area...and we came across a hand lettered cardboard sign that said "Cemetery". We drove down a narrow dirt road till we saw some cars parked along the road. In another coincidence, there had been a ceremony an hour earlier (hence the sign) to dedicate a new historical marker. We walked in the woods up a little hill and found the cemetery. It was old and most of the tombstones are damaged but we found the relatives! The original stones are broken and unreadable but at some time a couple of metal plaques had been installed.

Without that cardboard cemetery sign we would have never discovered the remote location.

Rest in peace grandpa Jacques and grandma Margaretta. Thanks for the DNA.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Boot

That yellow thing on the front tire is the boot. If you leave your car somewhere it's not supposed to be...or somewhere that you've overstayed your could be subject to the boot. The real punishment is the time it takes to get it resolved...that and scrubbing that sticker off your car window!

Morning temperature: 66 degrees

Steps: 10,017

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Art as Benches

These are the artful benches in East Harlem. I appreciate a good bench but I haven't tried them because they don't look so comfortable. Then again they aren't located in a spot where I feel the need to take a rest. I don't see people sitting on them much. From the top you can look down inside to discover that they have become litter traps. Still I like the look of them!

Morning temperature: 66 degrees (Yes, please!)

Steps: 8623

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sanitation Signs

A sign on the street.

Who knew the Manhattan Project was really about sanitation?

Morning temperature: 71 degrees

Steps: 10,574

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Hidden behind the trees is the 1861 Grace Church.

Morning temperature: 71 degrees

Steps: 8883

Monday, August 4, 2014


On any given day you can see history in and around NYC! You can help crew this historical ship. Or you can visit Ellis Island out there in the background.

Morning temperature: 76 degrees

Steps: 12,086