Two signs that Christmas is coming to Audubon Park – an old tradition and a relatively new one – the Church of the Intercession has announced its annual Clement Clarke Moore fete and the Riverside Oval Association has put its 2013 calendar on sale.
Since 1911, the Church of the Intercession has hosted a yearly reading of Moore’s beloved poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” – more commonly known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas – on the Sunday before Christmas, followed by a candlelight procession to Moore’s grave in Trinity Church Cemetery. This year, Pat Battle, a journalist and co-anchor at NBC New York's Weekend Today in New York, will read the poem. The ceremony, which is open to the public free of charge, will begin at 4:00 P.M. on Sunday, December 23 at the Church of the Intercession, 155th Street and Broadway. (For a history of the ceremony, read the Audubon Park Perspectives blog from December 2011.)
Riverside Oval Association (ROA) calendar continues the theme of historic views of lower Washington Heights with thirteen vintage photographs, mainly from the Museum of the City of New York. The sixth in the series, the calendar is a major fund-raiser for the ROA, supporting its programs in the neighborhood, particularly the gardening efforts in the Riverside oval at the foot of 156th Street and the installation of tree guards throughout the historic district. During the last year, the Parks Department installed a new curbstone and fence around the oval, an initiative made possible by city funds allocated by Councilman Robert Jackson.
The calendar itself is a reminder of northern Manhattan’s rich history, featuring a group of photographs taken between about 1910 and 1930, many of them by the prolific photographer Thaddeus Wilkerson. As is often the case with historical photographs, these images bear viewing again and again, so the calendar is valuable both for its utilitarian purpose and as a keepsake.
June, a photograph of the Hispanic Society and its neighbor the Numismatic Museum, illustrates how steep the slope was down to the river, even after five decades of cultivation and construction in Audubon Park. The photograph must have been around 1909 as excavations for the Riviera have not yet begun. At the left, just outside the photographers frame, is the Hemlocks, the home of the Grinnell family, tantalizing in its absence.
The calendar is available for $12.00 plus postage. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (917) 301-1120, or write to V. Ducat, 790 Riverside Drive, Apt. 12A, New York, NY 10032. Please write checks to: Washington-Heights Inwood Coalition (the Riverside Oval Association’s fiscal conduit).