Events

ART AND HISTORY

LOCAL VIEWS AND LASTING LANDSCAPES

A Free Presentation by Historian, Don Rice

on Thursday 11/16 @ 7 PM at Edgehill (2570 Independence Ave)

by Rackstraw Downs, 2008

Across the centuries, the confluence of Spuyten Duyvil Creek and the Hudson River has seen dramatic changes.  From the Lenape to the first Dutch colonists to the Revolution to industrialization and urbanization.  Throughout these changes, artists have long been attracted to this rugged northern part of New York City. Their painted, engraved and drawn interpretations of the local landscape reveal personalized glimpses of the past. It makes for a compelling visual story, and one that continues today.  These local places of historic and contemporary artistic inspiration are where we now make our homes; neighborhoods whose natural beauty, geography and history continue to inspire artists, even in today’s urban landscape.

Join us for a free presentation by historian Don Rice at Edgehill (2570 Independence Ave) of paintings, prints, illustrations, and ceramics on November 16th at 7 PM.  Since Edgehill still lacks a heating system, be sure to dress appropriately!

Jack Lorimer Gray

 

Geology Hike of Riverdale and Spuyten Duyvil

RESCHEDULED FOR:

Saturday October 21st from 2:00 to 5:00

Meet at KHS Headquarters at 2570 Independence Ave

Join us for a fun hike and take a look at the early history of Riverdale–we’re talking really early (like a billion years ago). Believe it or not, when you walk around the neighborhood you can see evidence of events that took place that long ago. But you have to know what to look for. On October 21st at 1:00, join geologist Kim Fendrich as she leads you on a journey through millions of years of natural history right in our backyard. You will also learn how the bedrock geology shaped the human history and early industry in our area.

The hike will begin at the Kingsbridge Historical Society headquarters at Edgehill (2570 Independence Ave) on October 21st at 1:00 PM. The hike will be about 3 miles on streets and in parks and will last almost three hours.

Kim Fendrich worked for NASA on the Mars Curiosity rover’s Chemistry & Mineralogy Instrument team and at the Museum of Natural History, where she studied meteors and comets. She is currently the Educator and Program Coordinator at Rockefeller State Park Preserve.

This is a free event but to keep the group to a manageable size, you will need to register for a ticket. Please only reserve a ticket if you are reasonably certain you will attend.  Boots may be advisable. 

Get your free ticket here.

Past Events:

WWI “Camp Van Cortlandt”

Presentation and Walk

With historian, Vivian Davis

Saturday June 17, 2023 @ 11AM

at Van Cortlandt House Museum

     Ever wonder why the athletic fields in Van Cortlandt Park are called the “Parade Ground?”  It harkens back to the days of WWI, when Van Cortlandt Park was a military camp.

Photo of VC Parade Ground with Soldiers' tents

     Join us at the Van Cortlandt House Museum for a presentation about this little-known history led by historian Vivian Davis.  The presentation will start in the herb cellar of the museum before proceeding outside, where Ms. Davis will highlight relevant features of the park.
 
     Vivian Davis is currently working in the Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs for Bergen County, New Jersey but her past employment as Education Director at the The Bronx County Historical Society has given her opportunities to study New York City during WWI.  She has presented multiple times at the New Jersey and New York State History Conference as well as historic sites in the tri-state area.  In 2017, she first presented her research on Van Cortlandt Park during the Great War.  Since then, she has given multiple walking tours and lectures to commemorate the military and domestic experience of those living in New York, from WWI Van Cortlandt Park to the Camofleurs training in the city to the paramilitary efforts of the Camp Hewitt girls in New Jersey.
 
     This presentation is being made in collaboration with the Van Cortlandt House Museum with funding from the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.

VCHM Logo

 

PINKSTER FESTIVAL in

VAN CORTLANDT PARK (5/6 from 12-4)

 

Riverdale Nature Preservancy Annual Meeting

Kingsbridge Historical Society President, Nick Dembowski, will be speaking about the past, present, and future of Edgehill Church of Spuyten Duyvil at the Annual Meeting of the Riverdale Nature Preservancy.  Other speakers will be Jessica Haller of the RNP, Christina Taylor of the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance, and Eric Dinowitz.  Register here.

Informational sign about RNP Annual Meeting

 

Thursday, March 23rd, 2023 at 7:00 PM – Register HERE

As spring approaches, we are closing in on the date of Pinkster, a major religious holiday that was celebrated in colonial New York but is little known today.

Pinkster is the Dutch word for the Christian religious holiday of Pentecost that takes place 50 days after Easter. But for the enslaved and free people of African descent, for whom the celebration is most remembered, it began the Monday after and lasted three to five days. It was celebrated all over the Dutch colony of New Netherland and New York from the 17th through the early 19th century. The celebration was unique among New York’s historical holidays as it incorporated rituals and traditions that Africans brought with them to this continent.

Learn about this lesser-known aspect of New York’s early history at a special Zoom presentation with Lavada Nahon, Interpreter of African American History for New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Lavada Nahon is a culinary historian focused on the 17th to 19th centuries, mid-Atlantic region, with an emphasis on the work of enslaved cooks in the homes of the elite class. She is also a generalist in New York African American history from the 19th through the 20th century. She has 20 plus years of public history experience working with a variety of historic sites, societies, and museums across the tri-state region. Her mission is to bring history to life by giving presence to the Africans and people of African descent enslaved and free in the New Netherland/New York in whatever way possible.

Lavada Nahon’s presentation will be made via Zoom on March 23rd at 7 PM. The event is presented as a collaboration between The Kingsbridge Historical Society and the Van Cortlandt House Museum with funding support from New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development.

 

Adventures at the Editor’s Desk:

A Conversation with Bernard Stein, Pulitzer Prize Winning Editor of the Riverdale Press

Free Zoom Presentation of the Kingsbridge Historical Society

Thursday February 16, 2023 at 7:00 PM

Register HERE

From 1978 until he joined the Hunter College faculty in 2005, Bernard Stein served as editor of The Riverdale Press. He remained its co-publisher until he and his brother sold The Press in 2008. Throughout that time, The Press crusaded to preserve the character of the community, safeguard green space, and give residents a voice in the decisions that affected their lives.

It was an unusually adventurous tenure.

The Press’s investigative reporting led to a grand jury probe and the passage of legislation aimed at corrupt practices in the public schools. It played a significant role in exposing the wrongdoing that led to the jailing of virtually the entire leadership of the Bronx Democratic Party in the mid-1980s and the dismantling of the largest medical waste incinerator in the state 10 years later.

In 1989, terrorists firebombed the Press office to retaliate for an editorial defending the right to read Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.

In 1998, Bernard Stein won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for what the Pulitzer board called “his gracefully-written editorials on politics and other issues affecting New York City residents”; It was the third time he had been a finalist for the prize.

Stein will look back at the outsized impact of a little newspaper in a talk sponsored by the Kingsbridge Historical Society on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. The presentation will be via Zoom and you can register for a free ticket here.  There are a limited number of registrations available but a recording of the presentation will be made available to all shortly thereafter.

The KHS would like to thank Councilman Eric Dinowitz and the Dept. of Youth and Community Development for funding this event.
 

 

 

 

 

 

“Sneak Peek” Open House of Our new Headquarters, Sunday 1/29, from 12 noon to 3 PM:

Dear Kingsbridge Historical Society Members, Friends, and Neighbors,

Please join us for an informal “sneak peek” open house of the new Kingsbridge Historical Society Headquarters at Edgehill.  Long closed to the public, we are opening the doors of the former church so that our members, friends, and neighbors can take a look inside Spuyten Duyvil’s only registered historic landmark.  And if you thought it looked nice on the outside, wait until you see the beautiful Tiffany stained-glass windows, the simple but elegant wooden arches, and finely carved woodwork flanking the organ pipes.  It really is a site to behold.  So, please stop by for a cup of coffee, a little conversation, and a chance to see a beautiful and historic local landmark–and spread the word!

Please note: the building does not yet have a working bathroom nor a heating system so bundle up.  We are looking forward to meeting you there any time between the hours of 12 noon and 3 PM at 2570 Independence Avenue.  Please check the website for updates in the event of bad winter weather.  The rain date is February 5th from 12 noon to 3 PM.  The building is not yet wheelchair accessible.

Also… 

Mark your calendars: Thursday February 16th at 7 PM – A Zoom Conversation with Buddy Stein, Editor Emeritus of the Riverdale Press.  Details and registration information to follow.

Yonkers Historical Society Annual Meeting

 

 

The Epic History of a NYC Street Corner

Thursday August 18th at 6:30 on the back porch of the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum

Kingsbridge Historical Society President, Nick Dembowski, will present the fascinating history of one of our neighborhood’s most historic locations–the corner of West 230th Street and Broadway.  The event is free and open to the public.

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So far the weather looks good for today’s tour:

“Before the Van Cortlandts” Walking Tour

Thursday, June 9th

7:00 to 7:45 PM

Meet at the flagpole by the Van Cortlandt House Museum
 
Free and Open to the Public
 
    Join us for a walk around the grounds of Van Cortlandt House Museum – to learn how today’s Van Cortlandt Park was home to an indigenous village, a Dutch settlement, English colonists and enslaved Africans.  The 17th century brought these worlds together all in a small patch of ground close to the Van Cortlandt House, making it one of New York City’s best preserved archaeological and historic sites.
   
Presumed portrait of Adriaen Van Der Donck, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Adriaen van der Donck

Kingsbridge Historical Society President, Nick Dembowski, will present new research about the earliest recorded history of this area–the 1600s, when the clash of global empires upended the lives of local residents such as Adriaen van der Donck, Towachkack, Antone and others.  It is a dramatic and sometimes bloody history that is still relatively unknown.

    All are welcome at this free outdoor walking tour.  It will take place in the area around the Van Cortlandt House Museum from 7:00 – 7:45 PM on Thursday, June 9th.  Sunset is at 8:30 so it will remain light out after the event.  The walk will be short in terms of distance traveled.  We will meet at the flagpole between the Van Cortlandt House Museum and the athletic fields.  In case of bad weather please check vchm.org for an update.
    Van Cortlandt House Museum is located in Van Cortlandt Park just north of the 242nd Street #1 train station.  Free parking is available at the Van Cortlandt Parking lot near the Golf House.
    This event is presented in partnership with Van Cortlandt House Museum and the Kingsbridge Historical Society.  Please visit vchm.org or kingsbridgehistoricalsociety.org for more
 
 
 
The area around the Van Cortlandt House Museum in 17th Century Maps
 
 
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WASHINGTON, ROCHAMBEAU AND THE GRAND RECONNAISSANCE
3/16/2022 – 4:00 to 6:00
Saint Joseph’s Seminary & College
 
The Grand Reconnaissance was an intelligence gathering operation that took place in The Bronx in July of 1781, when General Washington and the French General Rochambeau brought their combined armies down from Westchester to face the British in Kingsbridge.  From the heights of Spuyten Duyvil and Kingsbridge Heights, the generals observed British positions on Manhattan to determine if an assault on New York City could be successful–even as they received fire from British cannons.
 
We are excited to hear from presenter Dr. Iris de Rode, who will share information from unpublished French sources about this mission.  This free presentation will take place on Zoom and LIVE at the Main Building auditorium at: Saint Joseph’s Seminary & College, 201 Seminary Ave. in Yonkers. on March 16th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.  We are fortunate to have a beautiful and historic location for the event but seating is limited so you will need to register here to attend in person.  Please see the below announcement from Revolutionary Westchester 250 for additional details:
 
 
 Contact:For Zoom Details
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Honoring Chief Daniel Nimham and the other warriors of the Stockbridge Militia killed in the Battle of Kingsbridge at the Stockbridge Indian Massacre Monument, Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, NY. – Tuesday, August 31, 2021 @ 12:00 PM
  • Wreath Laying
  • Sons of the American Revolution Flag Dedication Ceremony
  • Tobacco and Sage Ceremony
  • Dedication of Seven Wappinger Stones
  • Munsee-Delaware Blessing Song
  • Walking Tour of Battlefield Site (led by Thomas Casey, Officer of the Kingsbridge Historical Society)
Event sponsored by The Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Albuquerque Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution with support from the Kingsbridge Historical Society.
 
RSVPcbtcregent@gmail.com or 347-275-6959

Revolutionary Walking Tour of Spuyten Duyvil and Kingsbridge 

Saturday June 12, 2021 @ 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

(Membership and Reservation Required)

KHS members are welcome to join us for a walking tour of Spuyten Duyvil and Kingsbridge to follow in the footsteps of the soldiers, officers, spies, and common people who lived and fought in the neighborhood.  We will visit the locations of several small forts, the strategic King’s Bridge, and a prominent local tavern.  We will also stop at the homesites of local residents whose lives were upended and families’ divided by the conflict.

George Washington considered Kingsbridge to be “of the utmost importance” and his visits to the area represent some of the highest and lowest points of his time as Commander-in-Chief.  It was just as important to the British generals and the neighborhood saw constant activity between 1775 and 1783.  Learn about the strategy, the battles, the covert operations, but also the impact of the Revolution on local people.  The tour will be led by KHS President, Nick Dembowski with Peter Ostrander, KHS President Emeritus.

The walk will begin at the Henry Hudson Monument in Henry Hudson Park at W. 227th Street and Independence Avenue.  It will end at W. 231st Street and Broadway, where the MTA Bus (Bx10 or Bx20) can take you back to where the tour began.  Total duration will be almost 2 hours and nearly 2 miles (with numerous breaks).

Capacity is limited so the event is for members only and reservations are required (granted on a first come, first served basis).  You can purchase or renew a membership here and request a reservation by contacting info@kingsbridgehistoricalsociety.org (please provide the names of attendees and you will receive a confirmation).

 
 
Save the Date – KHS October Meeting: Author Talk and Book Signing
 
Thursday – October 17, 2019  7:30PM
Local historians Thomas Casey and Don Rice will talk about their respective books, Northwest Bronx and Lost Inwood.  Both authors will have books available for purchase and signing.  Meeting will be held at The Riverdale Neighborhood House at 5521 Mosholu Avenue.
 
 
 

Revolutionary Kingsbridge and Yonkers – Bus Tour and Event – Nov. 9 & 16

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
History and Culture Fair at the Van Cortlandt House Museum
Saturday – September 21, 2019  11:00AM to 4:00PM
 
The Kingsbridge Historical Society will have a table with artwork, photos, maps, and books at this event, which will feature 18th Century living-history demonstrations.  It will be held on the grounds of the Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park.  You can get free admission to the museum that day by registering here.  More information about the event is available on the Van Cortlandt House Museum website.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Van Cortlandts of Lower Yonkers
A Free Presentation by Nick Dembowski
President of the Kingsbridge Historical Society
Thursday, May 16th @ 7:00 PM
At the historic Van Cortlandt House Museum in Van Cortlandt Park
 
The Van Cortlandt family was one of the most prominent in the history of The Bronx.  Their wealth and influence left behind a legacy that is visible in the street names and landmarks of the area.  But just who were the Van Cortlandts anyway? Unlike many prominent early Americans, they did not leave behind journals nor much correspondence to shed light on their story.  But some informative maps and documents do exist–scattered in various archives and libraries around New York and beyond. These fragments begin to reveal how the Bronx contingent of this family amassed their wealth, expanded their estate, and navigated the turbulence of the American Revolution.  New research and rarely-seen maps reveal the early landscape of today’s Van Cortlandt Park first seen by Jacobus van Cortlandt in the 17th century. Topics discussed will include:the American origins of Santa Claus, Adriaen van der Donck’s homesite, and the Van Cortlandts’ debt to a female single-mother-turned-merchant in New Amsterdam.  Not to mention Washington at the Van Cortlandt House, beaver-pelts, Native Americans, the first Africans in The Bronx, and the plantation that would become today’s park.  Join us at the historic Van Cortlandt House Museum for a visual presentation by Kingsbridge Historical Society president, Nick Dembowski, as he pieces together the clues to understand the early history of Van Cortlandt plantation and the people who lived, labored, and visited its historic grounds.
 
Free parking is available near the entrance to the Golf Course on Van Cortlandt Park South (take the I-87 entrance and stay left to enter the park).
 

The Below Meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday March 21st @7PM.

A Photographic Tour of the Village of Kingsbridge

circa 1900

a Free presentation of:

The Kingsbridge Historical Society

presented by :

Peter Ostrander

President Emeritus of the Kingsbridge Historical Society

Wednesday February 20th, Thursday March 21st 7:00 PM at The Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Ave

Kingsbridge was a sleepy and active village at the turn of the 20th Century.  Tidal action at high times created an island of Kingsbridge or Paparinemin as native Americans called it.  The presentation will use over 150 photos that each are over a  hundred years old  from the photographic collection of the Kingsbridge Historical Society (KHS).  Attendees will not only learn some history but also about the geography and architecture of the long lost Village of Kingsbridge. Meeting will be held at the Riverdale Neighborhood House Wednesday February 20 Thursday March 21st at 7 PM.  The public is invited, come early for a good seat.  Street parking is available.  Please check the KHS website if weather is a concern at Kingsbridgehistoricalsociety.org .

 

Van Cortlandt Park – The Last Stop Historical Walking Tour

vcmansionimage001Sunday October 14, 2018   11:00 AM to about 12:30.

Meet at the front gate of Van Cortlandt mansion by the Parade Ground

Van Cortlandt Park has been the last stop and End of the Line but not just for the # 1 subway.

About 18,000 Years ago the last glacier wore down the soft marble bedrock giving us the expansive Parade grounds of today’s park.  For almost 10,000 years Native Americans made the Parade Ground their permanent home–leaving artifacts and burying hundreds of their family members under and around the parade grounds.

Adrian Van Der Donck, the rebellious Dutch settler for whom Yonkers is named, was killed during a war with Native Americans and is likely buried close by his homesite in today’s park.  The next earliest owners and settlers, the Tippett and Betts families, also lived and farmed in today’s park.  Their hidden burial ground lies just yards from the oldest house in the Bronx, the Van Cortlandt mansion, built in 1749.  Rediscovered historical evidence suggests that the park was once home to a large number of enslaved Africans, who played a large part in the development of the area.  Newly found documents suggest the location of their burial ground, which will be featured on the tour.  The Van Cortlandt family’s secluded burial vault, which played a top-secret role during the revolution, will be a stop on the tour as you learn what brought British, French, German, and American soldiers–including George Washington–to the property.

The is much more to unearth in Van Cortlandt Park’s past.  Come spend an hour or two in the fresh fall air and learn more about these buried treasures.  Some are quite fitting with Halloween approaching in just a few weeks.

This tour will also be the End of the Line for the Kingsbridge Historical Society’s President, Peter Ostrander.  Peter has been the President for the past 30 Years and will now be the President Emeritus.  After extensive vetting and background checks, Nick Dembowski will take over as the Society’s new President.  Nick had been the Vice President and the society’s webmaster.  So if you’re coming out for the tour, and we hope you do, please congratulate our new President.

We will meet at the front gate of the Van Cortlandt Mansion on the lip of the Parade Ground. We will start assembling at 11:00 and start out soon after.  If you come a bit late, no worries, just look for a large crowd in vicinity of the Mansion. Everyone is welcome and the tour is free.

In case of rain, please check our webpage for updates at:

 Kingsbridgehistoricalsociety.org.

Directions to Van Cortlandt Park and VC House Museum (mansion),

By Bus take the #9 bus to 242 St and walk east to the Mansion.

By Subway take the IRT Train #1 to 242nd St, Yes – Last Stop and End of the Line.

By Car – there is free parking available at the Van Cortlandt Golf Course south parking lot. It is the 1st lot on your left. Walk west past the Lake, over the old Putnam track East to the Mansion.

 

Upcoming FREE Presentation – Thursday 5/10/18 7:00 PM @ Riverdale Neighborhood House

The Natural History of

Kingsbridge, Spuyten Duyvil, Riverdale, Marble Hill, and Inwood

featuring author:

Eric Sanderson

Senior Conservation Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society, author of Mannahatta

Thursday, May 10th, 7:00 PM at The Riverdale Neighborhood House, 5521 Mosholu Ave

In the event of bad weather, please check this site for rain date information.

Image: Jesse Moy and Eric Sanderson
Tibbett’s Brook, 1609 – Image: Jesse Moy and Eric Sanderson


Tibbett Avenue, Today
Tibbett Avenue, Today

Hundreds of years before city buses and livery cabs clogged West 230th Street and Broadway, Native Americans pulled fresh oysters out of the creek that once flowed there.  Join the Kingsbridge Historical Society at a presentation by Eric Sanderson, Senior Conservation Ecologist at Wildlife Conservation Society and author of Mannahatta:  A Natural History of New York City, as he uncovers the original natural ecology of the area around Kingsbridge, Riverdale,Spuyten Duyvil, Inwood, and Marble Hill.  For years his group at the WCS worked to uncover the natural ecology of Manhattan as it first appeared to Henry Hudson in 1609.  But more recently, using sophisticated computer models and rarely seen historical maps, they have focused on our part of The Bronx and are developing a picture of the interconnected web of plants, animals, humans that once existed in this neighborhood.  Rediscover this lost world with the Kingsbridge Historical Society at our

first meeting of 2018 at 7:00 on May 10th at the Riverdale Neighborhood House at 5521 Mosholu Ave Bronx, NY near 256th St (diagonally across from the Riverdale branch of the NYPL).  The meeting is free and open to the public and Street parking is available.

Seating is limited so please RSVP at info@kingsbridgehistoricalsociety.org.

Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and adjunct faculty at New York and Columbia Universities.  He is the author of the bestseller about the historical ecology of New York, Mannahatta:  A Natural History of New York City (2009), and also Terra Nova:  The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs (2013), and editor of three other books, including the recently published, Prospects for Resilience:  Insights from New York City’s Jamaica Bay (2016), about climate resilience along an urban coastline.  Sanderson is co-inventor of Visionmaker, an on-line ecological planning forum for New York City.  He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles or book chapters in ecology, remote sensing, and conservation biology.  He led the team that mapped the human footprint on Earth at 1 km scale for the first time and recently contributed to an effort to update the map 15 years later.  In addition, he has contributed to planning efforts for many wildlife species, including jaguars, tigers, American crocodiles, North American bison, snow leopards, tapirs and peccaries; and developed a wildlife based conservation planning framework at the landscape scale (Landscape Species Approach).  His work has been profiled in The New Yorker, National Geographic, the New York Times, National Public Radio, El Mundo, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), The Times (London), and other media.  He currently serves on the board of the Natural Areas Conservancy, a non-profit focused on the conservation of the green and blue natural areas of New York City and the Executive Council of the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, also in New York.  Sanderson earned a Ph.D. in Ecology (1998) and a B.A.S. in English and Biochemistry (1989) at the University of California, Davis.  He is also an Eagle Scout (1985).

Past Presentations:

Flyer12102017

Upcoming Presentation – Thursday 5/18/17 @ Riverdale Neighborhood House

The Kingsbridge Historical Society (founded 1949) will be holding its first meeting for 2017 on Thursday May 18th at 7:30 PM at the Riverdale Neighborhood House. The presentation is free and the public is invited.

The subject will be The History of Riverdale, Kingsbrige, Spuyten Duyvil & Marble Hill in maps. The presentation will be by Nick Dembowski of the Kingsbridge Historical Society. Discover the natural features hidden under the urban landscape that made the area a land of plenty for Native Americans, a defensive stronghold for revolutionary armies, and a base for industry. Trace the evolution of the neighborhoods over the centuries looking at rarely seen maps and images. What remains from the days of early colonial settlers? What has vanished without a trace? Come and discover.

The Riverdale Neighborhood House is located 5521 Mosholu Ave Bronx, NY near 256th St and diagonally across from the Riverdale branch of the NYPL. Street parking is available. Please also view our web page at KingsbridgeHistoricalSociety.org

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