Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct stalwarts Mavis Cain, Eddie Jabbour, Michael Ambrozek and Angelica Campoverde braved a chill, drizzly day to represent the Friends at the May 12 “Highbridge Rocks Community Festival” in Manhattan's Highbridge Park, organized by NYC Parks & Recreation. Our contingent took turns introducing local residents to the Aqueduct story at the Friends' table or leading walks on the High Bridge and the area near the fabled Coogan's Bluff. Many local residents were totally unaware of the Aqueduct trail and its link with the bridge.
With the completion of the Croton Reservoir and Aqueduct in 1842 the City of New York held what had been called the largest celebration in its history. Part of that celebration included the presentation of silver medals, engraved and struck by New York City medalist Robert Lovett Sr., to individuals involved in the project and the celebration. Exactly how many were awarded is not known but they were awarded to the 17 Alderman as well as other dignitaries. And how many still exist is unknown as they appear very rarely in the numismatic marketplace.
On Sunday, October 8, the Friends hosted a party on the lawns of the Keeper's House to commemorate the October day 175 years ago when Croton water first arrived in New York City. The rain stopped on cue, and we were able to celebrate the flow of water without any flowing over us.
A lovely Spring day was had by all. Some of us went on to Dia Beacon, while others came early for breakfast on Main Street before the boat ride to sunny Pollopel Island. A band of docents shepherded us through the ruins and showed off old photos of the castle home and arsenal. This was a wonderful way to get to know more about our group .... it turned out that 3 participants knew each other from high school. And Jane Reed's description of Dobbs Ferry 54 years ago was a stitch!
The story of Burr’s maneuverings to found a bank (now JP Morgan Chase) by pretending to meet New York City’s urgent need for clean water is one of the more colorful sidebars of our water supply history. In this 175th anniversary year of the Old Croton Aqueduct, learn how Burr pulled it off, Alexander Hamilton’s ambiguous role, and the consequences of Burr’s ruse for the emerging metropolis.
Friends member and avid trail walked Carlos Gee has an excellent blog, SCENES FROM THE TRAIL, where he provides heavily-illustrated guides to his walks in the new York and New Jersey region. He was kind enough to allow us to copy his walks onto this website, so you can follow along on his adventure to walk the entire length of the Westchester section of the Old Croton Aqueduct trail (and earn a patch in the process.
The Friends invited our wonderful, hard-working Keeper's House docents to a private tour of Philipse Manor Hall during the holidays. And, since we like exploring Yonkers, we added on lunch at the locally famous Cuban restaurant La Bella Havana! Sixteen docents and board members socialized and took the fascinating tour. Our New York State Parks guide Robert A Lee, a descendant of General Robert E Lee (!), then took us outside for an impromptu walk through the newest Saw Mill River Daylighting park!
Our 2016 Annual Meeting speaker, Diane Galusha, has just published an expended edition of her informative book, Liquid Assets: A History of New York City's Water System, which covers the Old Croton Aqueduct, New Croton Aqueduct and Delaware system. Essential reading for anyone interested in this subject! You can order it and pay via Paypal at: http://liquidassetsbook.com