Corolyn Faville Ober.

Manhattan: historic and artistic; a six day tour of New York city; online

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whose works are landscapes chiefly, Sir Joshua


Reynolds, the greatest portrait painter of Eng-
land, Thomas Gainsborough, the competitor
of Sir Joshua, William Hogarth, whose power
to satirize found expression through grotesque
forms and pictorially-displayed incidents, and.
Hans Holbein, the Austrian-English painter,
who stands by the side of the greatest art
masters of the world.

Gallery P, which opens from the new
eastern galleries, displays an assortment of
American antiquities.

The Ruins of Paestum. — This remarkable
mosaic, by Rinaldi, Avhich faces the eastern
middle stairway, is extremely beautiful, both
in design and coloring.

"Saint Christopher and the Infant
Christ." — This painting faces the mosaic at a
landing of the staircase. It is by Antonio
Pollajuolo, and was cut from the walls of the
Chapel of Michelozzi Villa in Florence.

The Old Eastern Galleries contain pict-
ures of the old masters, owned by the Museum,
and examples of modern masters, some of
which are loaned, while others are recent

"Return of the Holy Family from
Egypt." — This valuable picture was painted
for the Church of the Jesuits at Antwerp,
after the completion of the "Crucifixion," and

1 7 o MA NHA TTA N.

before the " Descent from the Cross" had been
executed. Grandeur of style, power of color-
ing, and decision, are among the expressions
of praise bestowed upon it by the catalogues.

Portraits of the Honorable Henry
Fane and his Guardians, Inigo Jones and
Charles Blair, by Sir Joshua Reynolds. —
This picture is one of the best examples of the
famous painter, and one of the most valuable
acquisitions to a collection which includes
specimens from Correggio, the school of Fra
Bartholommeo, Diirer, Del Sarto, Velazquez,
Van Dyck, Teniers, Maas, Lely, Jordaens,
Greuze, and many others.

"CoLUiMBUs before Ferdinand and Isa-
bella," by Brozick, "Reading Homer," by
Alma Tadema, — that careful painter who has
attained such perfection in the historical de-
tails of dress and architecture, — "Wallen-
stein's Lager," by Messerschmitt, which was
awarded the highest prize at the Royal Acad-
emy in Munich in 1887, "Joan of Arc," by
Bastien LePage, a pupil of Cabanel's, por-
traits of Washington and John Jay, by Stuart,
Alexander Hamilton, by Trumbull, Bayard
Taylor, by Eastman Johnson, and Walt Whit-
man, by Alexander, constitute the most impor-
tant paintings in the second department.

Two balconies that connect the eastern with


the western galleries exhibit specimens of Ori-
ental porcelain and Japanese art.

" Lions Chasing Deer," by Rubens, " Alex-
ander and Diog-enes," by Gaspard de Grayer,
"Returning from the Hunt," by Josef Hore-
mans, are three of the paintings that occupy
the hallway which leads from the old eastern
galleries to the floor below.

The success of the Museum, and the superior
quality of paintings which it exhibits, demon-
strates the remarkable progress that our coun-
try has made in its patronage and appreciation
of art during the past quarter of a century.
This institution, and the private galleries from
which paintings constantly are being loaned
by their generous owners, possess examples of
the greatest artists of ancient and modern
times, and these are, many of them, the very
best examples. As the general public is per-
mitted frequent access to these potent agents
of civilization, the stimulus necessarily must
permanently increase, and it is to be hoped
that the day is not far distant when our im-
portation of this class of foreign work may not
be impeded by a tariff.

The corridors at the eastern side of the
lower floor are filled with a great variety of
relics from Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and other
foreign countries. Many of these are mortu-


ary, and include mummies and mummy-cases,
sarcophagi, etc. A part of the Cesnola collec-
tion is placed with these curios^ities, the
remaining portion being divided and scattered
about the building.

The Phaeton to Fifth Avenue En-
trance. — The first object to attract atten-
tion after leaving the Museum will be the new
Jewish syngaogue in Fifth Avenue, at 76th
Street. The beauty of this edifice, which is
classical Renaissance in its design, is much
impaired by the gilded frame and black panels
of its dome.

''The Pilgrim," by J. Q.A.Ward, is a
bronze statue, well placed on a rise of ground
at the left of the drive, but not seen to advan-
tage, because the phaeton turns to the right
just before it is reached. This attractive rep-
resentation of our forefathers was a gift from
the New England Society.

A Statue of S. B. Morse, by Byron Picket,
stands east of the 72d Street entrance. It was
erected by telegraphers, in 1871.

The other statues in the park, not seen from
the phaeton are; "Commerce" by Guion, Maz-
zini, the Italian agitator, by Turini, and the
Seventh Regiment Monument, by Ward. The
latter is a bronze figure of a private soldier in
the Seventh Regiment, erected in commemora-


tion of the comrades who fell during the Civil
War. A statue of Columbus, presented by-
Italian r^idents, is to be placed on the plaza,
at I loth Street and Fifth Avenue, and a statue
of Thorwaldsen is another addition which is
proposed as a present from Danish residents.



Liberty, or Bedloe's Island, on which
stands Bartholdi's great statue, " Liberty En-
lightening the World," is situated in New
York Bay, about two miles southwest of the
Battery. From 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. boats leave
hourly for this destination from the Barge Of-
fice pier.

During the later days of the colonial epoch
these thirteen acres of island property belonged
to Captain Archibald Kennedy, then Collector
of the Port, whose summer residence was sit-
uated in this delightful spot; but after the
Revolution a series of transformations took
place, the State first utilizing it as a quaran-
tine station, and Government afterward con-
verting it into a military fortification, which
in turn yielded its possession to the imperial
goddess who keeps watch over our destinies at
the present time. The star-shaped, granite
walls of Fort Wood still remain, forming a
rather ornamental inclosure for the pedestal.
As a military post this island only has been



put to practical service, when, during the Re-
bellion, a number of buildings were erected
and used as hospitals.

When, many years ago, Bartholdi, the


French sculptor, entered the port of New
York, he was so greatly impressed with the
eagerness of the emigrants, who crowded on


deck to obtain a first glimpse of the land of
freedom and opportunity, that he conceived
the idea of symbolizing by a statue of Liberty,
the welcome that foreigners received.

It was not until after the close of the Civil
War, at a social meeting of prominent
Frenchmen in Paris, — on which occasion Bar-
tholdi was present, — that the idea of pre-
senting the statue to America was first
advanced, and received with an amount of
enthusiasm which insured the completion of
the project. Subscriptions subsequently were
received to the extent of over a million of
francs, and the work was finished and con-
veyed to our shores in the month of June,
1885. As the sympathy of France for this
country demonstrated itself by the assistance
of a valiant contingent, in our time of great
struggle for independence, so that bond of
interest again found expression by a gift com-
memorative of our success, and suggestive of
the possibilities of our future. Two hundred
and fifty thousand dollars having been obtained
for a pedestal (through the efforts of the New
York World) the statue was unveiled on the
28th of October 1886, in the presence of the
President and many distinguished guests, with
imposing ceremonies, elaborate decorations,
and the booming of cannon.


This largest statue of modern times is one
hundred and fifty-one feet in height. In one
hand the figure holds a tablet, while with the
other she uplifts a torch. The body is grace-
fully draped, and the head is surmounted by a
diadem. The material is hammered copper.
A spiral stairway within the statue, leads to
the head, where forty persons can stand
together without material inconvenience. An-
other stairway in the arm leads to the torch-
chamber. No elevators are provided, and the
climb is very trying, but the view afforded
from the top is magnificent. At night the
torch is lighted by electricity, and the base
and pedestal also are illuminated. The fore-
finger of the right hand of the goddess is seven
feet in length, and at the second joint, four
feet in circumference. The nose is over three
feet long, and the statue weighs over twenty-
five tons. The extreme height above low-
water mark is nearly three hundred and six
feet. The pedestal, constructed of granite
and concrete, is one hundred and fifty-five feet
in height. This colossus can be seen from a
distance of many miles.

Ellis Island, once known as Bucking Isl-
and, contained, until 1827, a small circular
fort, called Fort Gibson. The five acres that
constitute this plot of ground belong to the


United States, and have been used as a place
of storage for explosives. At the present time
government officials here receive immigrants
in the landing depot, which was formally
opened on New Year's Day, 1892. The
wooden structure erected for this purpose,
nearly covers the island, is three stories in
height, and has a tower at each corner. The
cost of construction was almost half a million
dollars. The first floor is devoted to baggage-
transfer and local express offices, as well as to
the private offices of the government express.
At the landing of a ship the newcomers are
received on the second floor, the crowd pouring
over the gang-plank in a compact mass, push-
ing, jabbering, gesticulating. Officers calmly
direct the bewildered strangers to desks, where
name, place of birth, age, occupation, and
destination, are registered. Everything here
is so perfectly systematized that from twelve
to fifteen thousand immigrants easily can be
handled at one time, twelve lines being formed,
with a registry clerk in attendance at each line.
From a gallery in this room the public may
view the motley procession. On this floor
there are also rooms for the detention of pau-
pers, lunatics, criminals, and persons suspected
of being contract laborers. Women and
children are provided with separate apart-


ments, and a telegraph station, money ex-
change, postal station, information bureau, and
railroad and steamship office are in convenient
arrangement. The third floor contains sleep-
ing rooms for the accommodation of immi-
grants who are detained over night. None of
the officials reside on the island except the

A ferryboat continually plies between Ellis
Island and the Barge Office, and visitors are
permitted at any time.

The greatest number of immigrants landed
in New York in one year, was four hundred
and fifty-five thousand, four hundred and
fifty. This was in 1883. The greatest num-
ber landed in one day was on May nth, 1887,
when nearly sixteen thousand were registered.
Of late years the immigration from Italy has
far exceeded that of any other country.

Governor's Island. — This egg-shaped plot
of ground, containing nearly sixty-five acres,
is situated about one thousand yards south of
the Battery. It was first purchased from the
Indians by Wouter Van Twiller, the second
Dutch governor of New York, and that worthy
personage whom Irving describes as having
weighed the books of disputing merchants to
discover if their accounts would not balance.
The Indian name of the island was "Pag-


ganck," or Nut Island, for some time called
Nutten Island, but after it became the Van
Twiller residence it was known as Governor's
Island, and has retained that appellative.

Since the War of 1 8 12, at which time the
batteries now found on it were erected, this
property has been exclusively under the con-
trol of the United States War Department. It
is now headquarters for the Military Depart-
ment of the Atlantic, and the Major-General
and his staff are residents. The northern por-
tion of the island is occupied by the Ordnance
Department as the New York Arsenal. Can-
non balls are ranged about it in pyramids, and
on the little wharf is one of the largest guns
owned by the Government. The parade-
ground is adorned with fine old shade-trees,
and the residences of officers. A chapel erected
by the widow of General Hancock, the library
and picture gallery of the Military Service
Institution, and the Military Museum, which
contains battle-flags and other war relics, are
interesting social features of the present occu-
pation. A footpath leads to Fort Columbus,
the stone fortification in the centre of the
island, now utilized as quarters for the soldiers.
Castle William, an old-fashioned stone work,
with three tiers of casemates, is located on the
northwestern shore. In the haste incident to


the War of 1812, even the professors and stu-
dents from college and school were called upon
to assist in the completion of this prominent
fortress. A small triangular battery and two
magazines are situated on the southern point
of the island, and everything is in preparation
for the rapid throwing up of earthworks and
the mounting of heavy guns, Castle William
being considered entirely too old-fashioned to
withstand the fire from modern ships-of-w^ar.



The Jersey City Ferry at the foot of Cort-
landt Street, where also is the dock for the
Glen Island boat, was the one for which Rob-
ert Fulton built the two boats, the " York" and
the "Jersey," in 1812.

After leaving its pier the steamer must first
round the Battery, the southern terminus of
Manhattan Island. At the west and south lie
the Ellis and Bedloe Islands, and the shores
of New Jersey, whereon the Jersey City docks
are more conspicuous than pleasing. Robin's
Reef Lighthouse is below these, on a reef of
rocks that once was a resort for seals.

Staten Island, at the south, is a richly
wooded and hilly tract of country, containing
about sixty square miles of land that are occu-
pied chiefly by the villas of New York business
men. A point of the eastern shore forms,
with the western coast of Long Island, the
Narrows, or entrance to New York Harbor, — a
passage protected by Fort Wadsworth and a


line of water batteries on the Staten Island
vside, and by the two forts, Hamilton and
Lafayette, on the opposite shore.

Staten Island was purchased from the In-
dians in 1657, for ten shirts, thirty pairs of
stockings, ten guns, thirty bars of lead, thirty
pounds of powder, twelve coats, twelve pieces
of duffel, thirty hatchets, twenty hoes, and a
case of knives.

New York Harbor is a body of water about
nine miles in length and three miles in width.
From the ocean at Sandy Hook to the metrop-
olis at the head of the bay it is about twenty-
eight miles. No city in the world has a more
majestic approach or a more agreeable situa-
tion. The waters of its harbor are deep
enough to float the largest vessels, and from
their contiguity to the ocean, are never frozen
in the winter. The wide expanse of the lower
and upper bays, the wooded slopes that format
once a shelter and a picture of rare beauty,
the islands, and the rivers that, like encircling
arms, hold in their caress the fairest city of the
freest country on the earth, and the proud, city
itself, — uplifting spires and domes on stately
buildings that tell of prosperous times and un-
exampled greatness of achievement, — enthuse
and melt the heart of the returning patriot, or
inspire with new sense of possibility the mind

184 A/A Nil A TTA N.

of the foreigner who watches from the deck of
an incoming steamer this panorama of nature
and display of human progress.

Quarantine Station is on the eastern coast
of Staten Island. Governor's Island, which
will be remembeied, is separated from Long
Island by Buttermilk Channel, east of which
are located the docks and piers of South
Brooklyn. The New York shore, for a con-
siderable distance along the East River, is
crowded with merchant ships from every
country, river and sound steamers, and ferry-
boats loaded with passengers, plying between
two of the busiest of cities.

The Wharfage Facilities of New York
excel those of any city in the world, and the
cost of handling the cargoes is much less than
in Liverpool or London. Over one hundred
steamers, belonging to the trans- Atlantic fleet,
ply between New York and European ports.
Twenty distinct lines, exclusive of the local,
are in operation between this and the coast
and Gulf ports. The yearly average of foreign
vessels entered during the last five years is
eight thousand. The number of vessels re-
ceived and despatched annually aggregates
about thirty-four thousand. The imports of
merchandise in 163 1 amounted to about
twenty-three thousand dollars ; the exports in


the same year, twenty-seven thousand dollars.
In the year 1891 nearly six million dollars'
worth of merchandise was received, and near-
ly four million dollars' worth of material was
exported. The first wharf was constructed in
1648, when the population of New York num-
bered less than one thousand. In 1687 the
total shipping amounted to but three ships and
fifteen sloops and barks. In 1807 Fulton's
steamboat, the "Clermont," made its first trip
to Albany, in thirty-two hours. The first
steamship, the " Savannah," crossed the Atlan-
tic in 1 8 19, taking twenty-five days, the usual
time for fast clipper-ships having been from
sixteen to twenty-one days.

J E ANNETTE Park is a Small space between
Pearl Street and the river, above Broad Street,
— formerly designated " Coenties Slip," in
honor of an influential Dutch shoemaker
whose shop once occupied a corner in this
locality. Here stood the clumsy stone tavern,
or city hall, of the Dutch administration. A
corporation pier, erected at this point in 175 i,
was the first public improvement for which
money w^as borrowed, the bond given having
borne an interest of six per cent.

The water front, from the Battery to Fulton
Street, is artificially-made ground, the natural
riverside having been at Pearl Street, along



which the little village of New Amsterdam
first extended itself. This was a favorite local-
ity for markets, the old " Fly Market " having


been the most celebrated. The Dutch word
vly, meaning valley, was the original appella-
tion. Near Fulton Street the first ferr}^ to
Long Island was established in 1638, a small
skiff having been used to convey the passen-
gers, who sometimes had to wait an entire
day before crossing.

Brooklyn Bridge, the history and propor-
tions of which already have been described,
spans the East River as it bends eastward,
and is seen to crreat advantagfe from the boat.

A little distance beyond, at the Brooklyn
side, the steamer passes the United States
Navy Yard, situated in Wallabout Bay, the
name of which is a corruption of *' Waale



Boght." The United States. Naval Lyceum
and the United States Marine Hospital are
located at this point. Preparations for ship-
building are conducted within the enormous
sheds near the river; the cob-dock occupies
the bay.

Corlear's Hook. — This point of land, be-
low Grand Street and opposite the Navy Yard,
has been called Corlear's Hook since Stuyve-
sant granted the property to one sturdy Van
Corlear, for faithful services rendered. In
1643 3- number of Indians having encamped
at this place, awakened the fear of the white
settlers, who surprised the red men at mid-


night, killing over thirty and inflicting atro-
cious barbarities. This action was the direct
cause of the revolt of eleven tribes of previ-


ously peaceful Indians. The locality now is
headquarters for the most daring river

Bellevue Hospital, at 26th Street, is easily
discerned from the river. The Morgue, where
dead bodies are left for identification, is near
the water's edge.

Kip's Bay. — According to Washington Irv-
ing, this indentation at the foot of 36th Street
received its name from the following advent-
ure; " ... At the bow of the commodore's
boat was stationed a very valiant man named
Hendrick Kip. . . . No sooner did he behold
these varlet heathens" (Indians) " then he
trembled with excessive valor, and although a
good half mile distant, he seized a musketoon
that lay at hand and, turning away his head,
fired it most intrepidly in the face of the
blessed sun. The blundering weapon re-
coiled and gave the valiant Kip an ignominious
kick, which laid him prostrate with uplifted
heels in the bottom of the boat. But such was
the effect of this tremendous fire that the wild
men of the woods, struck with consternation,
seized hastily upon their paddles and shot
away into one of the deep inlets of the Long
Island shore.

" This signal victory gave new spirits to the
voyagers; and in honor of the achievement


they gave the name of the valiant Kip to the
surrounding bay."

It was here that the British landed when, in
September 1776, they made their first attack
on Washington's army, and caused the precip-
itate retreat of American soldiers stationed at
this point.

Long Island City, which begins directly
opposite Kip's Bay, and extends northward for
a considerable distance, comprises the formerly
separated districts of Ravens wood, Astoria,
and Hunter's Point, — a locality occupied by
oil-refineries and factories. The former sec-
tions, however, contain country villas and
handsome residences, and do not in reality
fuse with their hardworking sister.

Blackwell's Island. — This long and
narrow strip of land, the next point of in-
terest on the route, was once the country
seat of John Manning, the captain in charge
of the fort at the time of its capture by the
Dutch in 1673. A more delightful place of
residence scarcely can be imagined. Graceful
in form, with moss-covered rocks, swaying
trees, flowers, and abundance of greensward,
this charming island was a home of which its
owner might well be proud. It was not until
1828 that the city purchased the property for
its charitable and correctional institutions.


These now include the charity hospital, pen-
itentiary, almshouse, hospital for incurables,
female lunatic asylum, convalescent hospital,
workhouse, and blind asylum. The buildings
all have been constructed of stone quarried
from the island by convict labor; the general
style of architecture is somewhat feudal in
its character. Residences occupied by the
officials in charge are surrounded with lawns
and gardens, that are kept in perfect order by
the inmates of the prison, almshouse, etc.
These individuals also farm certain portions
of this fertile land, row the officials and their
families to and from the city, and have built
and kept in repair the heavy granite sea-wall
that protects the shores of the entire one hun-
dred and twenty acres of land.

Hell Gate. — This celebrated strait is en-
tered shortly after leaving Blackwell's Island.
By reason of numerous rocks, shelves, and
whirlpools, — known under the various appella-
tions of "Flood Rock," "Negrohead," "Grid-
iron," " Hogsback" (on which his satanic maj-
esty often was seen astride), "Fryingpan," (in
which the same well-known individual always
cooked his fish before a storm), "Pot Rock,"
etc., — this narrow passage was very dangerous
to shipping, and only could be entered with
skilful pilots. Since 1876, however, the


channel has been opened, the United States
Government having expended nearly two
millions of dollars to render it safe. The
final explosion of this great work occurred
at Flood Rock in 1885, at which time over
fifty-two thousand pounds of dynamite were

Ward's Island, at the left of Hell Gate,
contains about two hundred acres of ground
owned by the city, the Commissioners of Emi-
gration, and private individuals. Under the
care of the city are the insane asylums for
males, and the homoeopathic hospital here lo-

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Online LibraryCorolyn Faville OberManhattan: historic and artistic; a six day tour of New York city; → online text (page 9 of 12)