NYC Day Trippers: August 15, 2010
NYC Firsts: Mass Transportation (Omnibus)

In 1827, New York City launched the Omnibus — the first mass transportation vehicle in the country. It was ‘powered’ by horses and ran up and down Broadway. The Omnibus was essentially a precursor to the streetcar and cable car.

Now for my favorite fun fact: According to
The driver sat on a bench on top of the omnibus at the front, like a stagecoach driver. When people who were riding inside wanted to get off the omnibus, they pulled on a little leather strap. The leather strap was connected to the ankle of the person who was driving the omnibus.

For more information about the History of Street Cars, visit:
History Blog

Omnibus stage coach in New York 1800s NYC Day Tripper

Omnibus stage coach in New York, Mid 1800s (NY Historical Society)


NYC Day Trippers: August 1, 2010

We have always loved the Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown area.  It is so rich in history and it always makes for a nice day trip outside of the city.   On Sunday, we visited Kykuit which is the Rockefeller Mansion.  This particular trip works well for those that want to spend some time both indoors and outdoors.   The visitor center is at Phillipsburg Manor (also recommended as a daytrip but today we focus on Kykuit).  There are several tour options.  We selected the Classic tour ($23) which runs daily except for Tuesdays.  It is a guided tour that begins with a film at the visitor center.  We then boarded a shuttle bus with the guide that brought us to the mansion within a few minutes.

This exquisite mansion was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, beginning with the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil.

The tour took us through the main rooms of the six-story stone house. Then through the expansive, terraced gardens containing Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller’s collection of 20th-century sculpture. Artists represented include Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, and David Smith, among many others. The private, underground art galleries with Governor Rockefeller’s collection of Picasso tapestries, and the huge Coach Barn which included many classic automobiles and horse-drawn carriages were also included in the tour.

The view overlooking the Hudson River is spectacular.  I can only imagine how beautiful the grounds are in the fall.  I guess we’ll have to visit again.View of the Hudson River

Later we went for a bite to eat in Tarrytown and then took a walk to the area marking the capture of Major Andre by the local militia men.   Andre Captured How exciting is that?

Kykuit is open until November 7th.


NYC Day Trippers: August 1, 2010
What’s in a Name: The Bowery

The Bowery is a street (and neighborhood) in lower Manhattan. The name dates back to the Dutch settlement of New Netherland when it was called Bouwerij Road (bouwerji or bouwerie meaning ‘farm’ in Dutch). The road was built by Peter Stuyvesant, and it led from the city (New Amsterdam) up through the countryside (past the farms/bouweries) and up to Stuyvesant’s estate about 1/2 mile north of the city (again, the ‘city’ being New Amsterdam).

The Bowery 1660

The Bowery 1660

NYC Day Trippers: July 15, 2010
Permanent Resident: Peter Stuyvesant, St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, New York City

Peter Stuyvesant (1592 – August 1672) was Director-General (”govenor’) of New Netherland from 1647 to 1664.  

Harsh and dictatorial, Stuyvesant implemented many needed reforms that improved living conditions in New Amsterdam.  He organized a court of justice, appointed fire wardens, paved streets, standardized weights for bakers, established a weekly market and annual cattle fair, repaired the fort, built a protective wall at the northern end of the town (Wall Street), licensed taverns, and overall promoted commerce and increased revenue.

He died in August of 1672 and was interred at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery (131 East 10th St at the intersection of 10th and Stuyvesant Streets and 2nd Avenue).  The Church actually sits on the site of Stuyvesant’s original family chapel (built around 1660) which was on his 62 acre farm called the Great Bouwerie that he purchased in 1651.

Peter Stuyvesant

Peter Stuyvesant

NYC Day Tripper: July 1, 2010
What’s in a Name: Canarsie

Canarsie is a neighborhood located in southeast Brooklyn. It’s named after the Canarsee Indians who originally inhabited the area. For more information on Canarsie’s history, visit Old Canarsie.

Carnarsie NYC Day Tripper

Canarsie takes its name from the Canarsee Indians

NYC Day Tripper: June 15, 2010
NYC Firsts: New York City, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church (22 Barclay Street), 1786, was the first permanent Roman Catholic parish and had the first Roman Catholic cemetery in New York State. The Church was rebuilt in 1836 after it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1835.

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church NYC Day Tripper

St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church NYC

NYC Day Tripper: June 1, 2010
What’s in a Name: Hudson River

Being a native New Yorker, I find it’s sooo easy to get caught up in NYC’s frantic daily pace (so many things to do, so little time!).  However, as soon as I leave the city and head ‘upstate’, my stress magically disappears as I am constantly reminded of the natural beauty that surrounds us.  That said, in my humble opinion, the Hudson River is an astoundingly beautiful river, especially up by the Tappan Zee Bridge and winding up to West Point.  I can only imagine how lush and beautiful it was in the 1600s and 1700s.   Here’s the origin of its name…

The Hudson River is named after Henry Hudson who anchored his ship, the Halve Maen (Half Moon) near Sandy Hook (along New Jersey’s Atlantic coast near the entrance to Lower New York Bay) in September 1609 during his attempt to find an Artic shortcut to the Indies. Hudson then navigated his ship through the Narrows (waters between Staten Island and Brooklyn linking Lower NY Bay to Upper NY Bay) and up the river to what is now Albany before realizing he wasn’t going to reach the Pacific and turning back.

Just a side note: actually Giovanni da Verrazano is noted as the first European to enter upper New York Bay in 1524.

Hudson River NYC Day Tripper

Hudson River