Christmastime is upon us here in Manhattan’s Audubon Park. Wreaths and garlands are appearing on doors and windows and twinkling holiday lights are brightening the increasingly early evenings. On the corner of Broadway and 156th Street, the Christmas tree market has opened once again and a block away, the Church of the Intercession is preparing for its Clement Moore Festival, New York’s “oldest Christmas tradition.” Ushering in the New Year, the Riverside Oval Association is offering the eleventh in its series of illustrated calendars featuring historic images of northern Manhattan.
The Night Before Christmas . . .
Since 1911, the Church of the Intercession has presented a yearly reading of Clement Clarke Moore’s beloved poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas) on the Sunday before Christmas. The program begins at 3:00 p.m. with a musical prelude and continues with the reading at 4:00 p.m., followed by a lantern procession to Moore’s grave in Trinity Church Cemetery. This year’s guest reader is Joy Reid, political analyst at MSNBC and host of AM Joy. The event is open to the public free of charge. (For a history of the ceremony, read the Audubon Park Perspectives blog from December 2011.)
New York’s Oldest Christmas Tradition
A Holiday Reading of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (A Visit from Saint Nicholas)
Sunday, December 17, 2015
Prelude Music at 3:00 p.m. Program at 4 p.m.
Joy Reid, political analyst and host of AM Joy
will read Moore’s poem at this year’s celebration
Riverside Oval Association’s 2018 Calendar
The 2018 Riverside Oval Association Calendar features fourteen vintage images of lower Washington Heights and three contemporary photographs of the same locations. The calendar is a fund-raiser for the ROA’s activities, particularly the ongoing gardening in the Riverside oval at the foot of 156th Street and the installation of tree guards throughout the Audubon Park Historic District. For the past two years, the ROA and Audubon Park Alliance have been leading the initiative to convince the Landmarks Preservation Commission that it must extend the Audubon Park Historic District to include twelve row houses on West 158th Street.
Among the images in this year’s calendar are “canoe tilting” (July), reflecting the area’s centuries-old connection with the river; a photograph of Edward M. Morgan (March), whose name graces the one-block remnant of the old Boulevard Lafayette between 157th and 158th Streets; and a 1931 view of West 158th Street, depicting the row houses the community is trying to preserve.
Of particular interest is the view of subway excavations at Broadway and 157th Street (September) from the New-York Historical Society collection. The image, which dates from around October 1900, shows excavations for the station, which opened in December 1904. Several images exist from around the same time as this one, but they all show the work looking from south to north. The photographer of this image is looking from west to east and provides a much more dramatic view of the scope of the ongoing work as well as the extent of construction on Amsterdam Avenue, which already had a street-car line, compared with that in the vicinity of Audubon Park. The timber-and-frame building in the foreground, perched on a rock formation high above the West 158th Street, is a visual reminder of how much topographical variety urbanization erased from the landscape in northern Manhattan.
The 2018 calendar is available for $12.00 plus $2.75 postage.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Write to V. Ducat, 790 Riverside Drive, Apt. 12A, New York, NY 10032.
Please write checks to: Washington Heights Community Services, Inc. (the Riverside Oval Association’s fiscal conduit)