Around NYC

Manhattan’s oldest house is in Washington Heights

The recent Broadway show In The Heights helped put Washington Heights in the spotlight. The upper Manhattan neighborhood is a vibrant community with many family owned restaurants serving up Latin cuisine. The area is home to many immigrants from the Dominican Republic and has amazing views of the Hudson River.

Washington Heights is also home to a lot of New York City history. One of the must see sites in the area is the Morris-Jumel Mansion. It is the oldest house in the borough of Manhattan and was built in 1765 by British military officer Roger Morris. The building served as a headquarters for both the British and the Americans during the American Revolution.

The Morris-Jumel Mansion was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and is now open to the public along with a museum.

The museum highlights over 200 years of New York history, art, and culture. The neighborhood surrounding the Mansion is known as the Jumel Terrace Historic District. The hill that Roger Morris once called “Mount Morris” in the 18th century became better known as “Sugar Hill” during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.  Prominent African-Americans and great artists such as Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall lived in this area.

If you would like to explore Washington Heights and The Morris-Jumel Mansion We Can Tour That! wecantourthat.com

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Around NYC

STATEN ISLAND

St. George – Right outside the State Island Ferry Terminal is St. George. With its bustling atmosphere, vibrant community, and cultural attractions, the community of St. George is a great place for you to explore. Instead of returning directly to Manhattan, take the time to eat at one of St. Georges many great restaurants, explore its museums, or watch a Staten Island Yankees ball game!

SNUG HARBOR – Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden was initially built in the 1800s as a home for retired sailors. The 23 historical buildings, nine botanical gardens and 10 acres of wetlands are set on an 83-acre campus. The venue, a Smithsonian affiliate, is home to the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, the Noble Maritime Collection, Staten Island Children’s Museum, the arts school Art Lab and the Staten Island Museum.

LITTLE SRI LANKA – Nestled into the northeast corner of Staten Island, close by the ferry terminal is a small neighborhood known as Little Sri Lanka. It is home to the world’s largest community of Sri Lankans outside the country itself. The area is home to many restaurants and grocers specializing in foods, teas, spices and other products you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the City.  Go there to sample a few of the authentic dishes—like roti, sambols and baked goods.

 

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Around NYC

New York City landmark concert hall is closing

Generations of New Yorkers will be mourning the closing of Webster Hall next month. The concert hall and nightclub in the East Village is being taken over by Barclays Center’s corporate parent, Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment along with AEG-backed The Bowery Presents.

The building on East 11th street was built in 1886 by architect Charles Rentz in the Queen Anne style. Over its first decade the building hosted rallies by labor unions, military functions, dances and events geared towards the working-class and immigrant population of the area.

The venue became known for its hedonistic gatherings during the 1910s and 1920s. It was even nicknamed the “Devil’s Playhouse” by the socialist magazine The Masses.

The hall began presenting concerts in the 1950s. At the same time RCA Records began to use the building as a recording venue for its artists.  Carol Channing recorded Hello Dolly here and big name artists such as Julie Andrews, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra used the studios.

The buildings most historic era began in 1980 when the venue became known as The Ritz. Over that decade acts such as U2, The Pretenders, Guns N’ Roses, the Beastie Boys, the Cure, Prince, Depeche Mode all performed at The Ritz.

When The Ritz moved uptown in 1989 the venue reopened again as Webster Hall. It’s been hosting concerts, raves and themed club nights ever since.

The building was designated a New York City Landmark on March 18, 2008.

General Manager Gerard McNamee posted an official announcement of the venue’s closing on Facebook.

Ready to explore one of New York’s hippest neighborhoods; the East Village? We Can Tour wecantourthat.com

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Hip Hop Hall of Fame coming to Harlem

New York City is credited with being the birthplace of Hip Hop music. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the Hip Hop Hall of Fame and Museum will be located right here in the Big Apple.

The nonprofit group behind the project announced this week that it will build the museum on 125th Street in Harlem. The goal is to open phase one of the future museum by February 2018.

The goal of the museum is to preserve, archive and showcase hip-hop music and culture over the 40 years since the art form began. It will include a gallery, ground floor cafe and a gift shop. The second floor will have a museum, event space, offices and a multimedia studio.

The second phase of the building’s development will include a TV studio, hotel and restaurants.

Some of the more notable names in the New York hip-hop movement will be featured in the museum. The list includes Run-D.M.C., Jay-Z, Nas, Kurtis Blow, The Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan and Doug E. Fresh.

The vision for the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame is similar to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The organizing committee believes the museum could bring in approximately 1 million visitors a year, generate $350 million in economic activity and create jobs.

If you want to visit Harlem and see the future home of the Hip-Hop Hall of Fame, We Can Tour That! Contact us at: wecantourthat.com

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