I’m Back!

Apologies for the long absence! I’ve been pretty busy this last month. I started a new job and had my mom visit for a while, among other things! Now that things have settled down a bit, I hope to post more frequently again.

Not much to report today, except that there were herons in Inwood Hill Park!




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Dyckman Farmhouse Museum


Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to visit the historic Dutch Colonial style farmhouse on Broadway and 204th St., just down the street from where I live. William Dyckman built the house after the American Revolutionary War and his descendants turned it into a museum in 1916. What a little gem this place is!

There are several rooms in the house, which are decorated in the styles of various periods when the house was occupied. My favourite rooms were the early 19th century Winter Kitchen (located in the dark basement — I felt like I was in a 17th century Dutch painting!) and the Second Floor Bedroom (which features a replica of an early 20th century(?) quilt, as recently recreated by Empire Quilters):



The best part of visiting the farmhouse, however, was the backyard garden! Besides Dutch Baroque and quilting, gardens are among my favourite things. This garden was beautifully landscaped with large trees, and features a reconstructed military hut (used by German and British soldiers as winter housing during the Revolutionary War, excavated and moved to the garden from another site nearby), an old smokehouse, a sitting area with benches (would be a great spot for brown bag lunch!), and, oh, a little vegetable patch in the front!


The Dyckman Farmhouse Museum is a small and cozy museum, worth checking out if you’re in the neighbourhood, or coming up to visit if you’re interested in New York history. The staffperson there was very helpful, and answered all our questions knowledgeably. Don’t expect something fancy like the period rooms in the American Wing at the Met (which are sooo cool, by the way). While the Dyckman house may be more quaint, it’s the real thing (albeit reconstructed)! And admission is only $1!

The deets:
4881 Broadway (at 204th St.)
Wed-Sat 11-4, Sun 12-4. Closed Mon & Tues


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Behind Bars

security gate

We finally had a security gate installed on our fire exit window this morning. On its own, the window seemed extremely insecure; anyone who could get on the fire escape could easily break the window and get inside. The gate wasn’t cheap, but I think it was worth it. It’s strange to me that tenants, not landlords, are responsible for such a basic security feature, especially since these gates are custom-made-to-measure to the particular window (so we wouldn’t take it with us when we move). Anyway.

Just thought I would let readers know that we were excellently served by long-time local locksmiths Danny McGivney and his son (who called himself Danny Jr., but I’m not sure if he was pulling my leg!) of McGivney Bros. Locksmiths. Apparently they have been locksmithing here in this neighbourhood for 35 years! I think it’s great that they’ve been around for so long. I’m sure they’ve seen Inwood change a lot in that time.

I was happy with the work, the speed (came to measure the window the day after we called, installed the window in 15 minutes today, the following weekend), and overall friendliness of service. So if you want a locksmith, I would recommend them. Their tiny storefront is located on 207th just east of Broadway (right next to the 99-cent store that burned down!):



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Greenmarket note


Highlights this week include 1st-of-the-season artichokes at the Glebocki stand, peaches, and gorgeous spring onions!

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Mannahatta/Manhattan: A Natural History of New York City is a really interesting exhibit currently on view at the Museum of the City of New York. It imagines our little island as it might have appeared to Henry Hudson when he arrived here 400 years ago in 1609, and uses this vision to help us think about the relationship between Manhattan’s inhabitants and natural environment today. The exhibit is divided up in sections by neighbourhood/ region, and there is, of course, a section devoted to Inwood!

exhibit shot

The museum is presenting the exhibit with the Wildlife Conservation Society, which is the home of the Mannahatta Project. The Mannahatta Project is a landscape ecology research project that used data from various sources (historical maps, data sets, soil surveys, tree rings, historical accounts, etc) to reconstruct a digital version of Manhattan’s landscape circa 1609. There is a lot of information on the project website, including educational materials and a really cool feature called Explore Mannahatta!, a Google Map of Manhattan with a slider at the bottom that allows you to wipe back and forth between Manhattan 1609 and Manhattan 2009. Here is a screenshot I took of the map, with the slider halfway between past and present:

inwood past and present

It’s interesting to see how much Inwood has changed, not just in terms of how the land is used, but the shape of the land itself.

The museum exhibit runs until October 12th, but I’m guessing the project website will stay up.


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Theatre in the Park

Moose Hall Theatre Company presents…


July 15th through August 1st
Wednesdays – Saturdays / 7:30 P.M.
Inwood Hill Park Peninsula

Dracula is a gothic horror tale, adapted for stage from the novel by Bram Stoker. Some scenes may not be suitable for young children.

Parental discretion advised.

Due to the nature of outdoor theatre, in the event of rain, or other conditions, performances may be delayed or cancelled, but we will perform if and when it seems possible. Cancelation notice is not available until after 7:30 P.M. on the scheduled night of the performance.

More info:
(212) 567-5255

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Inwood Stars

iya logo

Did you know that this year is the International Year of Astronomy? I didn’t either, so it’s a happy coincidence that I picked this year to start stargazing! Prior to this weekend, my stargazing experience consisted of one outing to Columbia’s Rutherford Observatory, located on the roof of the university’s Pupin Physics Laboratory. They have a popular public program that includes free lectures and guided telescope stargazing about twice a month. When we went, we saw Saturn and one of its moons, and a binary star (or was it an optical double?) whose name I forget.

Anyway, instead of fireworks this year, BC and I decided to spend July 4th looking at stars with the members of the Inwood Astronomy Project. Around 9pm, we took a flashlight and wandered up an unlit path (very spooky!!! Don’t go alone!), following chalk arrows to the the top of Inwood Hill. Here is a very blurry picture (no flash, of course):


With the help of Jason and other amateur astronomers (thanks Joe!), we learned how to locate the Summer Triangle, the constellation Cygnus, Polaris (aka the North Star), and Arcturus. We also got to take a close look at the craters of the moon, and the super-cute (in my opinion!) binary star Alberio.

If you’re interested, here is a good, free resource from skymaps.com: a monthly evening sky map that you can print out.

I probably won’t have my new Galileoscope in time, but the next stargazing session with Inwood Astronomy is this Wednesday! Maybe I’ll see you there!

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