Friday, November 28, 2008

In Search Of ...

I was in search of unanswered questions in Nyack recently. I stopped there on the way back from New Paltz. Nyack has always been a favorite town of mine. Little did I know I was so close to Rosie O'Donnell.
More on Rosie later. Music is Tappan Zee by Bob James
Nyack is a village in the Town of Orangetown in Rockland County, New York, United States, located north of South Nyack; east of Central Nyack; south of Upper Nyack and west of the Hudson River, approximately 19 miles north of the Manhattan boundary, it is an inner suburb of New York City, directly across from Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow and Nyack are on either bank of the largest expanse of the Tappan Zee, in the lower Hudson Valley. The village is the most urban community (village or hamlet) in Rockland County. Nyack had a population of 6,737 as of the 2000 census. Nyack is a Suburb of New York City
Nyack is one of five villages and hamlets (Nyack, Central Nyack, South Nyack, Upper Nyack and West Nyack) that make up an area of southeastern Rockland County called The Nyacks. Named after the Native Americans who resided there prior to colonization, the village itself lies on the hilly terrain that meets the western shore of the Hudson River.
The village takes up approximately 1.6 square miles (4.1 square kilometers), with over 50% of the area consisting of the water of the Hudson River. Nyack consists mostly of low-rise buildings that lie along the river's western shore. It is in the Nyack School District.
Nyack was originally settled by Native Americans known locally as the Nyack Indians, from whom the village takes its name.
Stone Indian relics and heaps of oyster shells found along the shore of the Hudson indicate that this was a favorite fishing spot of the natives. In 1675, the first white man settled in Rockland County at Nyack. Three major industries once thrived here: sandstone quarrying for New York City building (ca. 1800-40), boat building - sloops, steamboats, and then pleasure craft and WWI & WWII submarine chasers (ca. l8l5-l948), and shoe manufacturing (ca. 1828-1900).
Nyack was incorporated as a village in 1782. Throughout the 18th century and 19th centuries, Nyack was known for its shipbuilding and was the commercial center of Rockland County. In the 19th century, a number of factories manufactured shoes. The West Shore Railroad connected the village with Weehawken, New Jersey, where ferries took passengers to New York City, until it was discontinued in the second half of the 20th century. With the completion of the Tappan Zee Bridge in December 1955, connecting Nyack with Tarrytown in Westchester County, the population increased and Nyack's commercial sector expanded.
In the 1980s, the village underwent a major urban revitalization project to commercialize the downtown area and to expand its economy. It was at that time when the Helen Hayes Theater was built and the downtown area became home to many new business establishments.
As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 6,737 people, 3,188 households, and 1,511 families residing in the village.
Nyack is also home to Modern Metro Studios and Rockland World Radio, which includes a 49-seat multimedia black box theatre in the historic F.W. Woolworth Way Building. The Village of Nyack's Mayor John Shields hosts a weekly radio program on the station.
The Blank-Fest Annual Benefit Concert series, which now takes place in 5 metropolitan areas across three U.S. states and three countries to raise blankets and public awareness for the homeless was founded in Nyack in 1997. Blankets, collected at the door, are distributed among NYC's (as well as other Cities') homeless, beginning each Christmas Eve. Blank-Fest's flagship show continues to be held in Nyack, each December, usually two Sunday's before Christmas Eve.
Landmarks and places of interest
* Edward Hopper House Art Center - 82 North Broadway - This home of the realist painter Edward Hopper was built in 1858. One room is devoted to materials about Hopper’s work and life in Nyack. Three other rooms provide space for monthly exhibits by local artists. The restored garden is the setting for jazz concerts on summer evenings.
* John Green House - Main Street - Built in 1817 by John Green of local sandstone, now covered with stucco, painted yellow. This is the oldest house standing in Nyack. Green started the first lumber yard in Nyack and later opened a store. House is a private residence.
* Julius Petersen Inc. - Foot of Van Houten Street - Old Nyack families held ownership of the yard. The John Van Houten Family, owners since the early 1800s, originally founded the yard. Then James P. Voris and passed it onto Samuel Ayers and finally it was purchased in the 1940’s by Julius Petersen who built government crafts during the war effort. Young Edward Hopper spent time drawing and sketching here.
* Nyack Library - 59 South Broadway, the 1903 Carnegie Library building.
* Nyack-Tarrytown Ferry - Foot of Main Street - Begun 1834 by Isaac S Blauvelt on vessel named "Donkey," an anglo corruption of Dutch "donk ya," or 'thank you." Ferry remained in service until the opening of Tappan Zee Bridge in the l950s. This spot was also the start of the Nyack Turnpike, first direct highway across Rockland County.
* Oak Hill Cemetery - 140 N. Highland Avenue (Rte. 9W) - 1840-present. Dedicated on June 27, 1848, it reflected a change from small family and religious burial grounds to community cemeteries. Graves include founders of Nyack, playwright Charles MacArthur and his wife, actress Helen Hayes, scientist and inventor William Hand, and artist Edward Hopper.
* Red Cross Center - 143 North Broadway, A cross gable Queen Anne building, it was built by Julia and Garret Blauvelt, a physician, surgeon and director of Nyack Hospital, in 1882 and given to the Red Cross in 1915. During World War I, World War II and the Korean War, the center was a hub for food and blood drives, gathering of clothes and supplies for shipment overseas. Helen Hayes, who lived nearby was chairwomen of the war fund drive during WWII. Camp Shanks, one of the military's major wartime staging areas, rely heavily on the Red Cross volunteers and services. Today the center continues to provide clothing, food and shelter in times necessity and emergencies. The center also provides certification courses in first aid & lifesaving skills since 9/11.
* Riverspace Arts in Nyack - 119 Main Street. Home of the Rockland Symphony Orchestra
* Tappan Zee Playhouse - 20 South Broadway
* Camp Ramah Day Camp in Nyack is located in Nyack.
Notable residents
* Joseph Alessi - trombonist
* Stephen Baldwin - actor/producer
* Dennis Boutsikaris - actor
* Ellen Burstyn - actress
* Joseph Cornell - artist
* Jonathan Demme - film director
* Horton Foote - playwright/screenwriter
* Helen Hayes - actress
* Edward Hopper - artist
* Van Johnson - actor
* Princess Vera Konstantinovna of Russia
* Charles MacArthur - playwright
* Carson McCullers - author
* Greg Mitchell - editor of Editor & Publisher
* Larry Mullen Jr. - drummer for the rock band U2
* Rosie O'Donnell - actress/comedian
* Jerry Only - singer
* Mark Patterson - trombonist
* Harold Perrineau - actor
* Michael Rumaker - author
* Russell Rizner - musician
* Glint - cosmic rock band
* Bill Irwin - actor
* Noah Michael Levine - actor, writer
* Jordan Rudess - musician
* Kenn Rowell - musician, songwriter; founder, Blank-Fest international Benefit Concerts for the Homeless
* Rupert Holmes - pop singer; Nyack High School, class of 1964

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