Our Next Free Presentation Thursday, February 13, 6:30pm at the Hostel "Andrew Williams of Seneca Village: A Family Visionary and his Descendants" Presented by Cal Jones, Manhattan Borough Historian emeritus.
Cal Jones, Manhattan Borough Historian Emeritus, has traced the history of the Andrew Williams family from the mid 1800s to the present. Williams, a bootblack and cartman, bought land in Seneca Village, a community composed primarily ofAfrican Americans, thatonce thrived onland that is now part of Central Park, from West 83rd Street to West 89th Street. He built a house on the three plots thathe had purchased for $120, moved in with his wife Elizabeth, and eventually raised his family there. The Williams family lived in Seneca Villagefrom 1825 to 1857 when life there came to an abrupt end. The entire villagewas acquiredby the city via eminent domain and all of its homes, two schools and three churches were razed to make room for the new park. Now, after two years of research, Jones has reconstructed the trajectory of the Williams family, all the way to the present day.
Cal Jones served as Manhattan Borough Historian for three Borough Presidents, beginning in 1997. He has been a contributor to The Encyclopedia of New York City and the author of the Manhattan African-American History and Culture Guide, published by the Manhattan Borough President and the Museum of the City of New York; he volunteers at the Museum of the City of New York, teaching history to school children. Among his manyother affiliations, he is a member of the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History. In recognition of his ongoing and energetic support of community historians, Jones was awarded the Jim Torain Award from the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group in 2019.
Free and All Are Welcome Thursday, February 13, 2020 ,630pm Hostelling International-NY 891 Amsterdam Avenue at 103rd Street
Upcoming Free Presentation Tuesday, February 25, 6:30pm at the Hostel "Upper West Side Catholics: the History of Ascension Church on West 107th Street" presented by Monsignor Thomas J. Shelley
Monsignor Shelley, author of the recently published book Upper West Side Catholics: Liberal Catholicism in a Conservative Archdiocese and professor emeritus of Fordham, will tellthestory of this well-knownupper west side church. He sees Ascension as a microcosm of the history of the Catholic Church in the city, a flourishing multi-ethnic bilingual parishand a vital part of the Bloomingdale neighborhood.The church, which began as a small German parish in 1858 and then developed into a large Irish parish, suffered a precipitous decline from the 60s to the 80s, but was rescued from near-extinction by an influx of Puerto Rican and Dominican Catholics. Shelley considersAscension to be a showcase of the success of urban ethnic Catholicism. Hisbook includes more information on the Lion Brewery than any other book about the Upper West Side. The Brewery stood just a few blocks from the church from the mid 1800s to 1944, spanninga huge piece of land that stretched from W107thto W109th Streets, Columbus Avenue to CPW.
Monsignor Shelley has written several books including The Bicentennial History of the Archdiocese of New York and . Fordham, A History of the Jesuit University of New York: 1841-2003, which was described as “a remarkable achievement” by aGotham Center for New York City reviewer.
Free Walking Tours of Historic Bloomingdale Explore the History of the Upper West Side between W. 96th and W. 110th Streets Led by Renowned Local Historian Jim Mackin Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 1pm Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 1pm Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 6pm Meet at Hostelling International-NY 891 Amsterdam Avenue at 103rd Street More info 212-666-9774 or firstname.lastname@example.org sponsored by the Columbus/Amsterdam BID and Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group