Monday, August 8, 2011

Columbia Yacht Club

 This photo is from 1916. Most of the apartment buildings in the background are still standing on Riverside Drive. That is a steam engine hauling a freight train. Although there had been a ban on steam trains going into Grand Central station prior to 1916, this freight train seems to be an exception to the rule or the rule did not apply to freight trains running above ground in the shores of the west side. The train is heading south, probably to the massive yard between 72nd and 60th streets, now the home to Riverside Park South and other Trump related structures. The photo was taken from the Columbia Yacht Club at 90th street on the river.

 This is the Columbia Yacht Club

 Again with the Columbia Yacht Club
 Change is coming to the waterfront.  Given the truck on the right, the boats waiting to be put into the water will not be stored here for too many more winters.

 Looking North. The large apartment building just left of center is 230 Riverside Drive at 95th Street.

 The club in it's glory.  What looks like what could be a train platform is probably not. There was at one time a station along this line at 96th street but passenger service ended long before this picture was taken.

Now gone, replaced by the West Side Improvement Project. During the great depression, Robert Moses, then the parks commissioner, received a great deal of WPA money to build the Riverside Park and The Henry Hudson / West Side Highway we all know and love today.

Audubon Park

 This is just north of 155th street on Riverside Drive. The original route of Riverside Drive turned here and headed east, then north. A viaduct was put in (it is also called Riverside Drive) and then the Henry Hudson Parkway, obliterating this last bit of the old Audubon estate, "Minnies Land". Purchased in 1841, the estate was a rural retreat in an ever changing island. The population that doubled every 20 years during the 19th century, eben James Audubon knew that this would not last forever.

 This is detail from the picture below. The Victorian house in the lower left corner, the Wheelcock mansion was there until the mid 1930's.

 More detail from the first photo.

 A map of the area, probably just before the Civil War.

 This is a map of the same area from 1873. The estate of James Audubon started selling off the land as you can see. The Wheelcock house and property are marked on this map.

 This is a map of the same area from 1916. This map clearly shows some familiar buildings, such as the Grinnell. The Wheelcock house is still there but upon further examination the Depot Hotel is not.

 This is the last days of the Wheelcock mansion.

 What is interesting about this map is, while it is only a map, you can get an idea of the topography of the land. Those squiggly lines running through "Minnies Land" are streams. In contemporary descriptions, it is mentioned that the streams emptied, by way of waterfalls, into the Hudson.
The railroad seems to be on an embankment on the river, which left a body of water between the shore and the tracks. It did not take all that long for the shore to be landfilled out to the tracks, thus obliterating the natural shoreline of Manhattan. This is obvious in the photos as well as the later (chronologically) maps I posted.
Also in this map, it is noted that there is a station at 152nd street as well as the Hudson River Railroad Hotel. These tracks, which are obviously still there, once carried passenger trains as well as freight.

 This is the Audubon Cottage around 1925. It will not be here too much longer. The house at this point is not even 100 years old. Amazing how fast Manhattan changed. The Apartment building just above the "cottage" is building next to The Riviera Apartments on 155th and Riverside.

 Opening by the late 1920's, this is the viaduct that obliterated what was left of Audubon park.  The main purpose of this new viaduct was to move traffic directly to the new George Washington Bridge, seen under construction in the background.  It is also called Riverside Drive which is why there are two Riverside Drives at this point. The old Riverside Drive snakes around towards the east, around the old property lines of Audubon Park. The New York side tower of the George Washington Bridge is in the background. The bridge would open in 1931. 

The tracks here are gone, all but two. The two on the right are still used today by Amtrak. This is looking north from 143rd street and Riverside. The little house on the right is still there, without a roof however. It looks as though it could have been a station house for the railroad but it is, according to the Parks Department, a gardener's tool shed from the late 1870's. This yard is now occupied by the bike path and the sewage treatment plant.

West 72nd Street

 This is looking north from the Dakota (1 West 72nd Street) just after it opened in 1884. Designed by Henry Hardenbergh, this New York City landmark is one of the earliest high rise luxury apartment buildings that is still standing. It may not be so much a high rise at this point but it is still high end. iThe building in the middle of the picture is the original, and still standing, wing of the Museum of Natural History designed by Calvert Vaux, half of the design team that gave us Central Park.

 This is looking south from the Dakota, taken at the same time as the previous picture.  The Dakota gets it's name from the Dakota Territories.  When this building was being constructed in 1883, it was considered to be so far uptown and inconveniently located that one might as well be going to the Dakotas, as those territories were considered to be the "wild west" as was the area in which Edward Clark built this landmark.

 This is the Hudson River looking north from 72nd.

 This is the Central Park West end of 72nd Street with the Dakota rising above. The south west corner, where the picket fence is, was occupied eventually buy the beautiful Majestic Hotel. Now the site is occupied by the tribute to art deco Majestic Apartments.

 This is the Hudson river end of 72nd street.  The boat in the center is a replica of Christopher Columbus' boat the Santa Maria.  This picture was taken in 1909 celebrating the 400th anniversary of Columbus sailing the ocean blue.
This is the Saint Andrew Hotel on the north west corner of 72nd and Broadway. This hotel did not last much after this picture was taken. After the hotel was demolished the site was home to a bank and The Embassy 72. The site is now occupied by a high rise with an Urban Outfitters in the large retail space