Archive for the ‘NYC Parks’ Category

The 1776 Celebration at the Conference House

September 7, 2011

The following describes the 2010 1776 Peace Conference Celebration at the Conference House on Staten Island. It is by Nicholas Zvegintzov, whose many interests and projects are visible here:

I successfully but sleepily caught the 11:01 train in St. George, about 45 minutes to Tottenville, the end of the line, where the front of the train almost ends in the water at a long-abandoned ferry landing.

I first took this trip in 1979, when there were still some old wooden rail coaches on a siding and on the street approaching the ferry a boarded-up porticoed building, perhaps part of an old hotel. Both are gone, but otherwise it is very much the same – well, more clustered town houses on the far side of the Kill van Kull.

Reenactors with soup tureen

I walked through prosperous tree-lined streets past some pleasant houses built on the shore, and got directions from a man who was exercising two dogs and two teenage daughters. He comes here every Sunday, but had little idea what the Conference House was or the Conference. ‘In 1976? Ah, 1776. Tell my daughter, she should learn.’ His daughter of course not very interested. (more…)


What Sense of Entitlement…

May 21, 2010
End of Massachusetts Street

End of Massachusetts Street

On Tuesday, I drove home with a Parks employee, let’s call her Q, who had discovered that day that three 60-foot oaks had been girdled (the bark cut all the way around to kill the tree) in Conference House Park. The damaged trees and a cleared area were behind the Park’s fence directly opposite a brick house on Massachusetts St., which borders the park.

Hmm. That’s bad. Why would someone do that?

The Sighting

On my way into work on Wednesday, I drove down Massachusetts St., and who was there but an older gentleman standing at the end of the street, scraping dirt off his adze with his foot. (That might explain the damage at the bottom of the trees—easier to do with an adze than an ax.)

So I got out of my car and said, “I’m from the Conference House Park and we noticed some damage to the trees here. Have you seen anyone working in this lot?”

“No,” he said, “I just moved in two weeks ago.”

“Oh,” I said. “Maybe landscapers or gardeners? Someone caught vandalizing a tree has to pay something like $80,000 for the damage, so….”

He seemed a bit startled by that. I said, “If you see anyone, could you call us, please? Let me give you my card.”

He took the card, and I said, “Come visit us sometime!” and smiled, and he smiled back. I didn’t go behind the fence to look, however—not yet. (more…)