Oyster Inquiry

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    • #3225

        We received an email from Kevin Horbatiuk asking for information about the oyster shack depicted in this 1873 Harpers Print:

        This was the response:

        Thanks for your email.  Mr. Berrian’s oyster shack at the northern end of the King’s Bridge stood there for many years in the 19th century.  According to the Rev. William Tieck, “he used to get his oysters almost outside the windows of his establishment . . . Often he could be seen in his flat-bottomed boat hard at work with his grappling tongs.”  Today that is the intersection of W. 230th and Kingsbridge Avenue and it looks quite a bit different as the creek was filled in and it is a very urban landscape.

        You probably know that was the southern boundary of Yonkers until 1872.

        The Spuyten Duyvil Creek in the Kingsbridge area was quite well-known for producing a great quantity of delicious oysters.  In 1869, a visitor to the area, Genio C. Scott visited the nearby Kingsbridge Hotel and wrote: “This is King’s Bridge, the name of the most spicy and succulent oyster that ever graced the cuisine of a Dorlon.”

        One block to the east of the oyster shack, at W. 230th Street and Broadway, there stood a mansion fronting on the Spuyten Duyvil Creek.  It is depicted in this drawing from the early 1800s by Milbert:

        Note the oystermen fishing on the banks of the creek.  The little island in the center of the drawing was known as Godwin’s island and was “virtually surrounded by lush beds of oysters” according to Tieck.  In colonial times, the mansion was a tavern.  In 1744 a traveller who was staying at the tavern wrote: “I saw about 10 Indians fishing for oysters in the gutt before the door. The wretches waded about stark naked and threw the oysters, as they picked them up with their hands, into baskets that hung upon their left shoulder.”

        So, there is a rich history of oystering at that spot.  Can you believe that is modern W. 230th Street?

      • #3226

          <p style=”text-align: right;”>Wading Place</p>

        • #3230
          Dorothy Dewitz

            What is the location of the plaque, pictured above, that is about the Wading Place?

          • #3241

              The plaque about the Wading Place is located on the exterior of St. Stephen’s Methodist church on Kingsbridge Avenue and W. 228th Street (pictured center left):

              That’s the same approximate view as this turn-of-the-century photo that shows the Kingsbridge over the Spuyten Duyvil Creek with St. Stephen’s in the background behind the trees:

              That’s low tide and it does look like you could wade across.  Before the bridge was built in 1693, farmers would drive their cattle over the creek in low tide.  The plaque states there was a second bridge built in 1713 but I have never been able to find a document explaining that.



            • #3248

              Does anyone have any info about the Old Bridge Tavern that was on the north east corner of 230th Street and Kingsbridge Ave.. I was torn down to make room for the playgrounds for the Manhattan Apartments?

              Dan Mullane

            • #3249

                I don’t know anything about the Old Bridge Tavern, but your description of its location doesn’t jibe with Google Maps that shows the playground being bordered by 230th street, Kingsbridge Ave., 228th street and the apartment buildings. Perhaps you meant the northeast corner of 228th street and Kingsbridge Ave, or the southeast corner of 230th street and Kingsbridge Ave.
                It amazes me that any part of the filled-in Spuyten Duyvil Creek could be a good foundation for multi-story buildings.

              • #3256

                  Somehow I didn’t notice this question before today.  I also wish I knew a little more about the Old Bridge Tavern.  But I do know it was situated at the southeast corner of W. 230th Street and Kingsbridge Avenue.  You can see it in the foreground of this remarkable early 20th century panorama (NYHS):

                  W 230th St panorama

                  The view is looking north from Marble Hill.  That is W. 230th Street runnging across the middle of the photo and Kingsbridge Avenue running perpendicular to it on the left.  Along Kingsbridge Avenue you can clearly see St. John’s-Visitation Roman Catholic Church and the tower of the Church of the Mediator poking out behind it.  On the far right, you can see the elevated train above Broadway with the Godwin Mansion at the corner of W. 230th St. and Broadway (where today there is a Dunkin Donuts).  The lower half of the photo is newly created dry land from the filling in of the old Spuyten Duyvil Creek.

                  The tavern was clearly an old building with a mansard roof as you can see in this 1949 photo (view looking north at the back of the tavern from Kingsbridge Avenue):

                  A view from the other side:

                  That’s the modern day U-Haul Building in the distance.  Today the Old Bridge Tavern property is part of the playground.

                  Here is a great photo of the Old Bridge Tavern on the right with the “old bridge”–the Kingsbridge–still visible, even after the creek had been filled in (municipal archives).

                  Old Bridge Tavern and King's Bridge



                • #3257

                    If you zoom in on the facade of the building, you can almost see the words: “Old Bridge Tavern and Restaurant.”

                  • #3266

                      Here is a thread with more information.

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