Friday, September 26, 2008

Dutch officials in NY

So what's the connection between "bowling, the Bowery, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem, Stuyvesant Town, the Yankees, the Roosevelts and cole slaw?"

According to New York City podcaster Sam Roberts, they’re all part of New York’s unique Dutch heritage. He's got an interesting, Quad-related piece in the New York Times this week. Among his observations, the news that Dutch officials (including the prime minister, the foreign minister and the heir to the Dutch throne) were in New York City this week to kick off the NYC-Quad celebration. With all that's happening in the news these days (Economy. War. Mets!) I guess the visit kind of slipped under the radar for major news outlets.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hudson Valley Dutch heritage

Learn about the cultural practices brought here by the region’s 17th century Dutch settlers that had a lasting impact on American life. "The Forgotten Holidays" is a free program that takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 25), presented by the Hurley Heritage Society at the Hurley Reformed Church, 17 Main St., Hurley.

Peter G. Rose is a Hudson Valley resident and native of the Netherlands who has written and lectured extensively about the Hudson Valley’s Dutch heritage. A noted food historian,
she won the Alice P. Kenney Award for research and writing on the food customs and diet of the Dutch settlers in New Netherland in 2002.

During her talk in Hurley, Rose will discuss not only the recent-day celebration of Christmas, but also the festivities surrounding New Year’s, Pinkster and other celebratory events such as the birth of a child. She’ll also show slides illustrating the various festive occasions.

Refreshments will be served. For more information and directions, please call 845-338-1661.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All aboard!

A full-scale replica of the ship that Henry Hudson sailed in 1609, the Half Moon is a traveling museum that sails the Hudson River and offers programs about our area's history as the Dutch colony called New Netherland.

The ship will be open for public tours in Albany this weekend, Sept. 27-28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children above the age of 12, and free for children 12 and younger. It also will be giving public tours in Newburgh and in Yonkers later this fall -- the schedule is here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

More cash in Walkway coffers

The Jane W. Nuhn Charitable Trust, a Poughkeepsie-based foundation, is chipping in $500,000 to support Walkway Over the Hudson's effort to transform the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into the world’s longest elevated public park.

“This significant award by a venerable local philanthropic institution demonstrates how much the Walkway dream is shared in every corner of our community,” Walkway Chairman Fred Schaeffer said in a press release.

The $35.5 million Walkway construction project is scheduled to wrap up in September of 2009, in time for the Quad celebration. This recent Poughkeepsie Journal article describes the work that's underway.

Walkway Over the Hudson said its fundraising goal currently stands at $12.5 million, which it hopes to raise over the next year via government, corporate, private foundations, individuals and other funding sources. Other donors that have made significant contributions to the project include the Dyson Foundation ($2 million), Scenic Hudson ($1 million), and the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency ($500,000).

"Between these large contributions from community-minded benefactors, significant support from our partners in government, and the hundreds of smaller donations from Walkway’s members and supportive individuals we’re well on our way to completing this project,” Walkway Executive Director Amy Husten said in the release.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Light on New Netherland

There is an ambitious four-part project underway to mark the Quad in 2009.

Sponsored by the New York State Library and the Holland Society of New York, the New Netherland Project was established to complete the "transcription, translation, and publication of all Dutch documents in New York repositories relating to the 17th-century colony of New Netherland." The Dutch presence in North America began in 1609 when Henry Hudson explored the river that was to bear his name. "New Netherland"extended from the Connecticut River to Delaware Bay, including within its boundaries much of the current states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and western Connecticut.

The Albany-based New Netherland Institute (formerly Friends of New Netherland) seeks to increase public awareness of the work of the New Netherland Project and supports the project through fund raising. With a mission like that, it's no wonder that 2009 will be a big year for the group.

According to the group's press release, the Quad project will include:

* An exhibition on the scope of the 17th-century Dutch in the New World, from Connecticut to Delaware, including Beverwijck and New Amsterdam.
Light on New Netherland, “a traveling exhibition of first-class quality,” will be shown throughout the former New Netherland area and beyond. Exhibits in general present history far more effectively than any other medium. This exhibit will introduce adults and children to important, but not well-known aspects of American history and culture. It will travel beyond Albany and New York City, ultimately becoming a part of the permanent exhibit of NYC's New Amsterdam History Center; reach an audience greater than that of a lecture series, catalog, or book; go far beyond what is currently offered on the subject in schools; attract those who normally do not read history books; present material not readily available to the average person.

* Discovery and Invention: The Worlds of Henry Hudson, an exhibit to be developed by the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) in co-sponsorship with the New Netherland Institute. This co-sponsorship will include the assistance of Dr. Charles Gehring, Director of the New Netherland Project, and support with funding and content.

* Illuminating New York’s Dutch Past, a documentary DVD focusing on the New Netherland Project and its connection with modern times. This video will provide some historical background about New Netherland; explain the importance of using documentary evidence; make clear why the New Netherland documents are unique and important; relate the journey the documents took from 1674 to the present; describe the necessary skills for translation; explain the translation process; give examples of the fascinating information found in these early records; and dispel some of the Dutch folk myths and misrepresentations of the Dutch in sources such as literature, history books, and social history.

* A history/exhibit book, a production that will focus on the Dutch-American heritage. The publication will be a Liber Amicorum: a book in praise of New Netherland. Resembling a Festschrift, it will praise the legacy of the Dutch rather than one person. Its introductory essay, setting the stage for the remaining texts, will be written by Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World: the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan & the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America. The volume's emphasis will be on previously undeveloped topics and will consist of essays by prominent authors and historians working in the field.

Jumping Frog Jubilee

Update to my post from Friday about the 2009 Quad celebration having been named the top tourist event in North America by the American Bus Association:

The Canadian Press reports that a few other interesting events are also on the top of the ABA's list, such as the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee at Angels Camp, California, which dates back to the 1800s and was made famous in a story by Mark Twain. It takes place in May, so shouldn't compete too much with the major Quad events planned for our area.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Get on the bus

I hope Albany has a lot of parking spots -- bus-size ones, that is.

According to a report I read in the Business Review (, the 2009 Quad celebration has been named the top tourist event in North America by the American Bus Association. That is a trade group that represents motor coach and tour companies. The Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau nominated the event to the ABA, the report says.

Wonder how many of those buses will also be heading down the river to Poughkeepsie?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Get a piece of the bridge

Want to own part of the 120-year-old Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge?

Walkway Over the Hudson, the not-for-profit organization overseeing the bridge's transformation into the world's longest linear park/pedestrian walkway, is raising money for the project by selling pieces of the steel and iron elements (including railings, posts and spikes) that have been cleared from the bridge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"We’ve sold railroad spikes and nearly 200 stanchions that once held up the railings on the bridge. I’m told people are using these distinctive stanchions as decorative elements for gardening and landscaping," the group's Executive Director, Amy Husten, said in a press release.

The group has several hundred stanchions still available and they are being offered for $50 each. Spikes can be purchased for $10 each. Call 845-454-9649 for more information.

Workers needed to remove the pieces so they could start repairing steel beams and other elements of the bridge’s superstructure before installing the 6-foot-by-32-foot prefabricated concrete panels that will make up the Walkway’s new deck. They are now assembling a mammoth 100-ton crane that will be used to lay the concrete decking panels.

“If all goes as it should, we expect the construction crews to reach the western shoreline and begin heading out over the Hudson River by mid-October,” Walkway Chairman Fred Schaeffer said in the news release. “This puts us on schedule to finish the project by August, 2009” -- just in time for the area's major planned Quad celebrations.