Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CANCELLED due to the storm: Sixth It's My Park Day for Volunteers for Isham Park

DUE TO PARKS CLOSURES AFTER HURRICANE SANDY, IMPD is not yet able to be rescheduled.  As soon as NYC Parks deems Isham Park safe for volunteer work, a new poster will be sent out.  We have many bulbs, so please do plan to help!  THANK YOU!

Next Sunday, October 28th will be the sixth It's My Park Day for Volunteers for Isham Park!

As for the fall IMPD VIP held two years ago, the date we chose, Sunday the 28th, is the closest day to Halloween, All Souls or All Saints Day.  (See the VIP blog post for October 31, 2010.)

Also, since bulbs were distributed last Sunday, October 21st, by New Yorkers for Parks, VIP chose next Sunday, October 28th, 10am to 1pm for It's My Park Day bulb planting in Isham Park.

There will be 550+Daffodils from NYers for Parks + many Partnerships for Parks provided bulbs, such as Tulips, Allium, and Spanish Bluebells, so we are hoping to see as many out for the planting as possible.

Kate Gluzberg, Out reach Coordinator for Partnerships for Parks will be on site to work with us.

Family (adult) supervised children are also welcome to assist!

We will meet on the steps above the Ginkgo Tree at the southeast entrance to Isham Park above Isham Street. Planting will begin there (at the former site of the Isham Estate Gardener's Lodge) and
progress up the hill along the paths and to the memorial and its lower terrace.

We hope to plant any remaining bulb in Cooper Street/Park Terrace West tree pits or along sidewalks, including the Margin Garden.

See Spanish language poster below.

Thank you and hope to see you in Isham Park next Sunday morning -
Volunteers for Isham Park

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Centennial Sound Project & links for listening

Kate Gluzberg with VIP Kristine Paulus under the centennial sound tent

Kate Gluzberg, Outreach Coordinator for Northern Manhattan Parks for Partnerships for Parks, took on the project of recording four of the gardeners active in Isham Park for the centennial.  To access these insights into each gardener's thoughts and words go to:


Centennial sound booth
Thanks to Kate and to all of those who worked so hard to make Isham Park's Centennial Celebration a success!!! 

Part IV: Great Centennial performances

Don Rice on stage at Isham Park Centennial
 Don Rice, co-presenter with Cole Thompson of Lost Inwood at the Indian Road Cafe on the first Tuesday of each month came last in the performance schedule for the centennial.

Don played his collection of Edison sound recordings from the era of the 1912 celebration.  These were the pieces that were performed by the musicians in Isham Park on September 28, 1912, but the recordings were not of the actual performances on that day in the park.  Even so, they helped set the tone at the end of the event by reviving marching band music rarely heard anymore. 

Part III: Great Centennial Performances

Luis Ramos on guitar
Luis Ramos (Alkobokutei), who is of the Taino people and who is founder and organizer of Shorakapok Earth Keepers, performed next.

Luis played first a drum and then guitar, accompanying his very profound Traditional & Native American songs, which he translated for the audience, giving us full understanding of each song's intentions.   He was assisted by his beautiful daughter, who patiently held his microphone.   

Luis also brought his Mobile Indigenous Library to Isham Park for the Centennial.

Shorakapok Earth Keepers are also doing great work days in Inwood Hill Park (from his Facebook page):
"Local NYC community group strives to honor the legacy of the Native American history of Inwood Hill Park through volunteer beautification efforts and indigenous cultural events and activities. Learn more about his group and how you can become a volunteer. Shorakapok Earth Keepers recently received a grant from Partnership for Parks. Partnerships for Parks continues to support the efforts of the Shorakapok Earth Keepers mission of service and honoring the earth."

Please see the next and final post on great centennial performances...

Part II: Great Centennial Performances

Nadema Agard was next on the schedule, with Native American Storeytelling on the lawn.  Nadema later also spoke movingly from the main stage of the Lenape people as first residents of the area and of raising her own family in and around Isham Park. 
Nadema Agard on the main stage

Bread & Yoga and ABADA-Caproeira Bronx did a Caproeira Workshop on the lawns between the stage and the children's tent. 

This performance was a nice updated reference to the the many international dances performed by school children for the 1912 celebration.

We are grateful to the New-York Historical Society for providing permission to use scans of the 1912 program in their collection as a guide and reference for the events in 2012.  NYHS gave permission for the images of that program to be published in the Manhattan Times, so that their readers could see that bit of history.  The program cover displays four images of Isham Park in 1912, one of which shows the entrance to the park off of Broadway next to the Ginkgo tree.  The same image was used on the 1912 novelty pin worn to the event by Carol Collins Malone (see earlier posts). 
Bread & Yoga and ABADA-Capoeira workshop
Please go to the next blog for more great Centennial performances...

Part I: Centennial performances and speakers

Isham Park's Centennial was blessed by truly great performances, beginning with Rosanna Perch who sang a lovely rendition of "America the Beautiful," reviving the song from the 1912 celebration program.

Rosanna Perch's performance followed a lovely dedication and prayer by Father Robert J. Abbatiello, pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd, and proceeded speakers including Manhattan Parks Commissioner William Castro; NYC Council Member Robert Jackson, whose generous allocation for Water Service Restoration in Isham Park was made manifest in the display of a NYC Parks design board for the project, which is set to begin in spring of 2013; Elizabeth Ritter, who spoke on behalf of State Senator Adriano Espaillat; Carol Collins Malone (go to http://myinwood.net/inwoods-isham-park-turns-100/ for Cole Thompson's video of Mrs. Malone's remarks), Julia Isham Taylor's great-niece who invited her brother William Bradley Isham Collins to the stage while she spoke on behalf of the Isham family; and finally Pat Courtney, author of this blog and founding member and organizer of Volunteers for Isham Park.

Refreshments were then served, including a beautiful and delicious cake from Darling Coffee and delicious tea-sized sandwiches from the Indian Road Cafe.  New Heights Realty covered the cost of bottled water and lemonade.  We are grateful to Edison Properties for their generous contribution for the centennial that paid for the cake and sandwiches and many other necessary costs for the event.

After the food, afternoon performances and activities began at 1:00pm, with Jamie Hamilton, Joe Hamilton and Michael Tanksley singing Irish Ballads to the great delight and amusement of the crowd.  We were also grateful to the young lady who so expertly held the microphone for the ballad singers!

At the same time as the ballad singing, children's activities began nearby under a tent on the western portion of the lawn, including face painting, games and sports, and art projects managed by Friends of Indian Road Playground and Pre-School on the Planet.

Please see the next post for more great performances...  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Links to video and press coverage of the Centennial

Thanks to Darling Coffee for the cake!
We are indebted to Cole Thompson of "myinwood.net" for his very nice video, to Carla Zanoni of "DNA info" for a great slide show and article, and finally to Robin Elizabeth Kilmer of "The Manhattan Times" for both great previews and reviews, on-line and in paper editions.

Robin Kilmer wrote a preview to accompany the exclusive publication of the cover image of the 1912 celebration program now in the collection of the New York Historical Society (for which VIP had formally attained permission but for publication only in the MT and in the park on the day of the event):

Robin also did a preview interview with me for the on-line MT the week before the event:

and a lovely review following the event:

Cole Thompson was ready with his video camera as the band marched!

Finally, Carla Zanoni wrote an article with a great slide show, both are on-line at:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Two Mounted NYC Police Officers assisted...

We had read in the New-York Herald 1912 review of the opening ceremony of Isham Park, that mounted NYC Police Officers road at the head of the parade.  Ky Williams of Rotary Club of Inwood made the necessary contacts to enable attendance for such officers at the Centennial last Saturday.

They marched ahead of the band and taking a position near the stage made another incredible contribution to the day, as they stood calmly watching the crowds and enabling guests to ask questions and pet their horses.

Amy Fine Collins took a particular interest in them and posed with the officers, inviting Kate Gluzberg to stand with her for the photo op.  One officer gave a demonstration of the horse responding to his communication which he described is done through slight movements of the reigns and not by verbal command or other coercion.

These officers and their horses stayed with us for hours, really adding to the festivities, reminders of the dependency we once had on these beautiful animals before we got hooked on machines that utilize fossil fuel.

See the next post for more on centennial guests, speakers, food, children's activities, and performances...

Isham descendants were present!

Late last week Kate Gluzberg, Outreach Coordinator for Northern Manhattan Parks got an email from the great niece of Julia Isham Taylor, Isham Park's patron or benefactor.  It seems a neighbor who is a friend of their family saw the posters, e-blasts, or the Manhattan Times article in advance and let them know about the impending celebration.

Most fortunately for us, they decided to attend!
Amy Fine Collins, Brad Collins, and Carol Collins Malone 
Carol Collins Malone, her brother William Bradley Isham Collins, and his wife Amy Fine Collins arrived just before the I.S. 52 band and chorus marched into Isham Park from Broadway!

Carol spoke movingly of her discovery of a button made for the original 1912 celebration which she had pinned on her sweater.  She said Isham Park's opening celebration had always fascinated her.  She invited those in attendance to come up and take a close look, especially at the back of the pin because it still has its novelty company paper label in place. 

Brad Collins and Carol Malone descend from Flora Isham Collins, Julia Isham Taylor's younger sister who was the sixth and last child of William Bradley Isham and his wife Julia Burhans Isham.

Saturday the 29th was a full moon and it brought us such amazing experiences!  The Isham descendants were an incredible enhancement for the Centennial Celebration in Isham Park!

Verso of Mrs. Collins' 1912 celebration button.
Recto: the entrance to Isham Park off Broadway.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I.S. 52 Band & Chorus at Isham Park's Centennial!!!

When last Saturday September 29th began with clouds and occasional rain droplets falling, we wondered if I.S. 52's Inwood Tiger Band and Heavenly Voices Chorus would be able to march as scheduled... 

I.S. 52 Inwood Tiger Band on Broadway before their march into Isham Park
At about 10:45am, James Renner, CB12 Manhattan's Official Historian, called to say the band was on Broadway near the former entrance to the Isham estate.  The show would now go on! Descendants of Julia Isham Taylor's family had also just arrived!

Just down the block in front of the stone entrance gate on Broadway, two mounted NYC Police Officers were in position to lead the parade.
At 11:00am, the parade began, building excitement as it went along the curved path - which began its existence as a carriage drive on the land when it was developed in the early 1850s by the Ferris family - up the steep slope to the level lawns at the top of the park where a stage and chairs had been set up by NYC Parks.  On September 28, 1912, this location was still the site of the Isham family residence, which was the anchor of the events on that day.

Isham residence, Archives of NYC Parks
Mr. Brian Moore, Music Instructor and Band Director at I.S. 52, lead the band behind a student faithfully holding its yellow and black banner.  In fact, Mr. Moore wore an all black suit and shirt with a bright yellow tie to sync with the school's uniforms.  The band was AWESOME!   Fueled by doughnuts and juice provided by the Rotary Club of Inwood's tireless representative Kyla Williams, they marched to the stage and performed several numbers. 
Mr. Brian Moore directs I.S. 52s Inwood Tiger Band in Isham Park

Then the Heavenly Voices Chorus, under the direction of Ms. Natasha Bracey, sang.  The band and chorus then departed as it had arrived, leaving the field open for speakers, other performers, and a variety of activities for children.

For the centennial, Volunteers for Isham Park placed laminated history posters throughout the park to share some of the many news articles and images about Isham Park that have been gathered over the past three years.
VIP history sign, at the Broadway entrance, describes the historic Mile Post.

At the time it was given, Isham Park had a transformative effect on Inwood, its neighborhood in northern Manhattan...see the next post for more on Isham Park's Centennial and its history!