Augustus Van Cortlandt, city clerk

During the Revolutionary War, Augustus Van Cortlandt, city clerk, hid the most valuable of the city’s records in the family burial vault northeast of the house, where they remained for the duration. The Cortlandt family were prominent members of society and resided in the Bronx. Augustus father, Frederick, built the Van Cortlandt mansion which housed George Washington in October of 1776 as he pulled his forces back from the lost city of Manhattan. Washington spent a few nights at Van Cortlandt House on his way to fight the hopeless Battle of White Plains. Lafayette and Rochambeau also stayed in the house… Read More

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John Eberson, theater designer and owner

John Adolph Emil Eberson (1875–1954) was a European born American architect best known for the development and promotion of movie palace designs. He was born in Austria-Hungary and studied electrical engineering at The University of Vienna. In 1901, he traveled to the United States through NYC, but ended up in St. Louis. He started as an engineer with a small company, but eventually joined with Johnson Realty and Construction Company, a theatre architecture and construction company. Eberson and Johnson traveled around the eastern part of America, promoting opera houses in small towns. Once the town was persuaded to build an opera house, Eberson would… Read More

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Lillian Edelstein, tried to save her home in East Tremont

Lillian Edelstein (1916-2015) was a Jewish Housewife living in East Tremont in The Bronx. Her home and the home of her mother and sister’s family were in the proposed path of the Cross Bronx highway proposed by Robert Moses. She became an activist after realizing the highway would destroy her neighborhood and change the lives of people she loved forever. Most of the families in East Tremont were Jewish immigrants escaping persecution in Europe. East Tremont was considered a step up from living in the Lower East side. The homes were well sized and the people of the neighborhood were… Read More

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Nathaniel Britton, botanist

Nathaniel Lord Britton (January 15, 1859 – June 25, 1934) was an American botanist and taxonomist who co-founded the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, New York. He was born on Staten Island in New York City and bound for religious studies, but took to the study of nature early in life and made that his calling. Mr. Britton graduated from Columbia University and taught geology there. He joined the Botanical society there and met his wife,  Elizabeth Gertrude Knight, a bryologist (study of non-vascular plants), in 1885. They were lifelong collaborators in botanical research. She is the one that proposed a Botanical Garden in The Bronx after visiting one in… Read More

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Astin Jacobo, Unofficial Mayor of Crotona, Baseball Academy founder

Astin Jacobo (1929-2002), was a community advocate who played an important role in the renewal of his problem-ridden Bronx neighborhood, Crotona, a neighborhood he had lived in since 1970. He was often called the Unofficial Mayor of Crotona. Besides doing volunteer work and serving as an organizer, Mr. Jacobo worked for decades as the custodian of St. Martin of Tours elementary school in Crotona. After moving to Crotona from his home in the Dominican Republic, he used his knowledge of sports to form children’s sports teams. A baseball academy was eventually begun in his name in The Bronx. He got… Read More

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Arthur Crier, influential Doo-Wop singer

Arthur Crier was born in Manhattan on April 1, 1935, and grew up listening to the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers in the early 1940s.   A glee club singer by the first grade, he was performing gospel with a local amateur quintet called the Heavenly Five in the Morrisania section of the Bronx by age 15. In the winter of 1953, Arthur formed the Chimes and recorded two singles, including “Dearest Darling”, for Royal Roost that year.  In early 1956, he recorded several songs for Old Town Records with a group called the Hummers.  The Mellows had first recorded… Read More

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Arlington Leon Eastman, empire and boiler builder

Arlington Leon Eastmond, CEO of the EASCO Boiler Corporation; the largest minority owned and operated steel boiler and tank manufacturer in the country, learned the boiler trade from his Bajan father, Arlington Leon Eastmond, Sr. In turn, Leon passed on his passion for entrepreneurship and business acumen to his sons Frederick and Leon and his grandson Tyren, EASCO’s COO. Today, the family is collectively building on a nearly 100 year legacy of hard work and devotion to community. EASCO is in the heart of NYC’s most economically challenged borough, the Bronx, and employs over 100 people (98% are Black &… Read More

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