spyglass into the past
selected passages celebrating the heritage, history,
local legends and luring lore of our native long island and vicinity
Down Long Island
York: The Century Co., ©1921
captivating journal detailing the accounts of Charles and his fellow
travelers as they strolled across our island during several whimsical
excursions just after the first World War, utilizing various methods
of transportation, noting every detail, scrpiting wondrous poetry and
dreamy doodles of the landscapes...
beneath a spreading tree, Looking at the sky. Ah, we let the weary world,
Like a cloud drift by."
recall sunrises of tropic beauty, and flaming sunsets that could not
be matched even along the Mediterranean, and hours of such complete
solitude that I completely erased the thundering city from my brain
and existed only in a realm of dreams."
were many little roads tempting us out of the beaten paths, and several
times we took one, rejoicing in the proximity to the ocean, where the
salt air came to our nostrils, and great elms and oaks sheltered us
from the blazing rays of the sun."
"Between Patchogue and Bellport there is a road that dips and turns,
with here and there a bridge to break the monotony of one's walk and
glimpses of pools and streams to add delight to what is a charming province."
went bathing at Blue Point, a few miles away, while I strolled around
Bayport, through lanes where the trees looked oddly enough, like kneeling
camels, and where the sidewalks, as in Douglas Manor, are built to go
around them, and where there is a hush that must be like the quiet of
heaven, as far you from the railroad with its iron clamor."
Stay tuned, more Loafing to come. It's just too great!
Yesterday and Today
Elsie Knapp Corwin and Frederick Langton Corwin
New York: The Mad Printers of Mattituck,
Original published by Ameron House, ©1972
deeply informative account of the life and
history in the quaint colonial seaport village of Greenport
leaving Greenport, I want to say a word for and about it.
It is a good place to wear out old clothes in - easy fitting old clothes;
and to go about in wide roomy slippers. Everybody takes life easily
there, talks so leisurely and composedly, rides, walks, drives, eats,
drinks and communicates information,so slowly and serenely, that I can
imagine a tight boot or collar never exists there at all, and would
not be tolerated a moment. Appleton
Indians, who were here when the first settlers arrived in what is
now Greenport were few in number and quite peaceful... They grew excellent
corn, having found a useful fertilizer, the bunker fish. In the season
when the bunkers arrived in dense schools in the bay, nets were run
around rows of corn on the upland. There were wig wams here and there,
near the head of the inlets to the bay."
is a New England fishing town - if ever there were one out of New
England itself. The Long Island Railroad terminates on a little pier
built out onto the water, whence you foot it to the Peconic Hotel."
Forests and Wetlands of New York City
MA: Little, Brown & Co., ©1971
A wonderfully informative, detailed collection of
essays filled with a rich environmental history of the City that leaves
you wondering about modern populated existence over a rapidly evaporating
Indians were marsh men, too,
weaving trails through the cordgrasses as they went back and forth to
their fishing stations. Archeologists have found evidence of their occupation
in the shell heaps beside the bartlow Creek tidal inlet (obliterated
by dredging for the Olympics rowing basin in the 1950's) in Pelham Bay
Park; in the ovens or steaming holes filled with shells and other fragments
(covered over by ball fields in the 1930's) near Sputyen Duyvil at Inwood
Park; and the burial chambers and extensive collections of artifcats
(now a garbage dump) bordering the south shore of Staten Island and
the Fresh Kills marshes.
Charles Wolley, writing of his stay in the city from 1668 to 1670,
declared, "It's a Climate of a Sweet and wholesome breath, free
from those annoyances which are commonly ascribed by Naturalists for
the insalubriety of any Country, viz. South or South-east winds,
many stagnant Waters, lowness of shoars, inconstancy of Weather, and
the excessive heat of the Summer, the extremity of which is gently refresh'd,
fann'd and and allay'd by contant breezes from the Sea." (pp9)
waters were abundantly filled with fish as the sky with birds.
In those days before pollution made New York Harbor a sterile sewer,
Danckaerts wrote, 'It is not possible to describe how this bay swarms
with fish, both large and small, whales, tunnies and porpoises, whole
schools of other innumerable fish, which the eagles and other birds
of prey swiftly seize in their talons when the fish come to the surface.'"
that time Jamaica Bay had a population of squatters -- old-timers
who lived in weather beaten shacks perched over the water on wooden
stilts -- in a community called The Raunt. Artists frequently sketched
the picturesque seen." (pp113)
at The Raunt was colorful but primitive. Water was collected in
rain barrels and plumbing was nonexistent. There was electricity, a
boon to John Pasky's Hotel, where there was, according to local account,
"a real humdinger of a dance every Saturday night." (pp113)
Pasky's, there were two other hotels for summer visitors: Smith's
Run and Brorstrom's. The hotels and all the other decrepit structures
that comprised the Raunt were ordered demolished by [Robert] Moses at
the time the [Jamaica Bay] refuge was created. Demolished too were the
squatters' cabins that dotted the marsh grasses around Ruffle Bar.
inscription at the base of the
[Blackwell's Island] lighthouse reads"
THIS IS THE WORK
WAS DONE BY
JOHN MC CARTHY
WHO BUILT THE LIGHT
HOUSE FROM THE BOTTOM TO THE
TOP ALL YE THAT DO PASS BY MAY
PRAY FOR HIS SOUL WHEN HE DIES