Nosogeography: Renwick Ruins, Roosevelt Island, Manhattan

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Today I took a guided tour of Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island as part of Open House New York (OHNY). This 14 acre parcel of land is the site of the ruins of the James Renwick, Jr. Smallpox Hospital (1856) and the Strecker Laboratory (1892).


More information on the Renwick Ruins from the RIHS >>

More information on Open House New York >>

Open City: Lilac Preservation Project, Manhattan

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Lilac’s significance as a naval vessel is indeed that she is the only surviving example of a vessel that once served a vital role in the navigable waters of every coastline of this country. She is unique in that she is the last unaltered steam propelled and steam hoisting lighthouse tender designed for work on the open sea and connecting bays and sounds. She is also the last such vessel to survive that was operated by the United States Lighthouse Service, the civilian manned agency responsible for maintaining aids to navigation from 1910 to 1939, when this work was assumed by the United States Coast Guard.

For more information visit:

Open City: Castle Clinton, Manhattan

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Located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, Castle Clinton represents not only the growth of New York City, the the growth of a Nation. First intended to keep out a British invasion in 1812, the Castle has transformed over the years to welcome theater goers, immigrants, sightseers and now millions of visitors to New York Harbor.

For more information:

Audile: Hua Mei Birds, Chinatown, Manhattan

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While listening to “All Things Considered” this afternoon on WNYC a brief but fascinating segment came on about Hua Mei birds in Chinatown. With a little further research it seems that it has been an ongoing activity for owners of these songbirds to bring them to Sara Delano Roosevelt Park most every morning.

It is now at the top of my list to make a stop downtown this week to record the chirping for audile.

Governors Island, Manhattan

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At the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers, in New York Harbor, sits Governors Island. A mystery to most New Yorkers, the Island served as the longest continuously active military post in the United States, from 1794 until 1997.

Governors Island Map

  • w:Governors Island U.S. General Services Administration map; indicates U.S. Coast Guard usage, 1995.

Open City: Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan

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“Originally inhabited by the Weckquaesgeek Tribe, who lived in the area until the early 17th century, this densely forested high ground at the northern end of Manhattan was Lang Bergh or Long Hill to the early Dutch colonists. The Continental Army called the strategic series of posts along the Hudson River Fort Washingtonâ€? during the summer of 1776, until Hessian mercenaries fighting for the British forced the troops to retreat. The British then renamed the area for Sir William Tryon (1729-1788), Major General and the last British governor of colonial New York.”

“Containing one of the highest points in Manhattan, Fort Tryon Park towers above the Hudson River, offering magnificent views of the Palisades and the lower Hudson Valley that challenge the notion that Manhattan’s best vistas are experienced from its skyscrapers.”

– from the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation website >>

World Trade Center, Manhattan

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With reluctance and anticipation, I trudge down to the World Trade Center with my microphone and recorder to listen. I feel somewhat liberated and invisible without a camera, the sensation of witnessing a site with such a horrific story to tell shifts when my ears are responsible for leading the way. With all of the clutter of this new form of tragedy-tourism, I am trying to find a charged audile experience that will resonate. I record a grizzled, bearded man playing Auld Lang San from beginning to end, at the same time that a group of Midwestern tourists chat comfortably about the falling bodies they never saw.

Meet the Makers @ The New York Public Library

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Meet the Makers
Thursday, May 17 – 6:00 PM
The New York Public Library: Donnell Library Center
20 West 53rd Street – New York, NY – 10019 – 212.621.0619

Filmmakers and multi-media artists Lynne Sachs and Susan Agliata will discuss their originally-conceived web-based, interactive project Abecedarium: NYC. An abecedarium is a book designed to teach the ABC’s; using this as a model, this interactive website is a semiotic exploration of NYC in the form of 26 one minute videos, and mounted on The New York Public Library’s web site. Ms. Sachs will also present and discuss some of her cine-essay works.

Recalling the mystery that the alphabet once was for all of us, Abecedarium: NYC uses animation and original video material to explore evocative relationships between words and their meanings. Inspired by the complex and dynamic history of books designed to teach the alphabet, Abecedarium: NYC encourages participants to reflect on the history, politics, and culture – both above and below ground — of New York City through the exploration of a series of 26 unfamiliar, yet intriguing, words and their definitions.

Funded by the New York State Council on the Arts.

Meet the Makers @ The New York Public Library