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January 23, 2022 at 5:42 pm #2521COGGINSSParticipant
After attending the Revolutionary Spuyten Duyvil and Kingsbridge tour on June 12th, led by Nick Dembowski, and then becoming a member of the Stewards of Henry Hudson Park, I wondered why there was no historic signage describing the extensive history of the site where the park now sits, and since the park was established.
In October 2021, I contacted Jonathan Kuhn, Director of Arts and Antiquities at the NYC Parks Department. When I spoke to him, he told me that there should be historic signage for the park, but the actual signage had never been placed in the park. I had read the previous write-up of the park on the Parks website and it seemed to be missing important details such the Native American presence, the Berrian Homestead, Fort No. 1, and the Spuyten Duyvil Baseball League.
I contacted Nick Dembowski and asked him if he could coordinate with Mr. Kuhn on updating the text for the updated signage.
In addition, George Berrian, direct descendant of one of our community’s founding families the Berrians, sent me some materials to turn over to Parks. The Berrian Homestead stood until 1852 when it was demolished by the Parks Department. A tool shed now stands on the site.
Mr. Kuhn worked closely with Nick, and the language for the park, the memorial and the copper plaques at the base of the monument, were successfully updated. The language for the Monument was updated with the help of the daughter of Karl Gruppe, the sculptor of the Henry Hudson statue.
Mr. Kuhn has promised to keep me informed as to the installation of the new signage. I would love to have a small “unveiling” ceremony coordinating the Kingsbridge Historical Society, the Stewards of Henry Hudson Park, and the Parks Department as a way of spotlighting the importance of historical signage, and the history of this landmark park, first by private citizens of Spuyten Duyvil in 1909 and then under Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in 1935.
I’ve attached some photographs, including two provided by Mr. Kuhn showing his preservation interns cleaning the Memorial’s copper plaques.
The language for the signage can be accessed here:
Henry Hudson Park: https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/henry-hudson-park/history
Henry Hudson Memorial: https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/henry-hudson-park/monuments/751
Henry Hudson Monument Plaques: https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/henry-hudson-park/monuments/752
NYC Parks’ Historical Signs Project: https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/historical-signs
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