Saturday, February 16, 2008

George Washington Slept Here


The Morris-Jumel Mansion


----A Postcards from New York Encore----

In celebration of President's Day, below find our premier issue published last March. I cannot believe "Postcards" is almost a year old! We include this in our New York for Kids series Part 4. Kids will find the mansion filled with period furniture like a life size Doll's House. It is a perfect place to bring them face to face with "living" history.

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Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

From the moment you approach the Morris-Jumel Mansion’s graceful Georgian fa├žade of towering white columns, the house comes to life. It is 1770, lively music from violins, cellos, piano and flute float from the house along with the muffled din of dancing feet. The buzz of pleasant conversation and the expectation of light refreshment, force you to hasten your pace to join the party. Inside, wide corridors, double parlors, hand-painted wall paper, handsome portraits, antique Chippendale, Empire, and Classical Revival furniture tell the tale of the entertaining that obviously took place here during the Pre-Revolutionary Period in British New York.

Built in 1765, the mansion was once the country home and summer retreat of Colonel Roger and Mary Morris. When war broke out in 1776, Colonel Morris, a British officer, returned to England to raise money for troops and military supplies. His home, meanwhile, was seized by George Washington’s forces and served as his headquarters because of its key strategic location overlooking both the Harlem and Hudson rivers.

Walk slowly around the parlor, dining room and drawing room downstairs, then imagine the life of the former inhabitants in the comfortable airy bedrooms upstairs. The furniture in Washington’s study and bedroom painstakingly restored, look the way they might have appeared when he lived here. Venture down a narrow staircase, and peek in the kitchen below the main floor; now notice the hearth, odd-shaped curious wrought iron kitchen utensils and cooking accessories once used to toast bread.

The Mansion and beautiful landscaped garden off Roger Morris Park in Harlem is a bit of a hike from midtown, but without a doubt your effort will be pleasantly rewarded. A couple of hours spent here, allows your imagination free rein and transports you to another era.

Best of all, it’s never crowded. This is a museum only the most discerning New Yorkers have discovered. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis engaged the drawing rooms for private luncheons and tea parties, while Katherine Hepburn found the gardens a welcome refuge from her East Side townhouse. If you are lucky, you may find you have the place all to yourself.

Suggestion: To prepare youngsters for a first visit, Dover's beautifully illustrated coloring books make Colonial life exciting. "The American Revolution Coloring Set" features The Story of the American Revolution, Hero's and Heroine's of the Revolution and George Washington. Dover's many engaging 18th Century subject titles will have your child begging for more. Other subjects of interest: "Everyday Dress of the American Colonial Period," "Benjamin Franklin," "Four Colonial Girls-Paper Dolls," "Home life in Colonial Days" and "Uniforms of the American Revolution." Visit http://www.doverpublications.com/ to explore their extensive book list.

For older kids, have them see Mel Gibson's realistic portrait of the Period in "The Patriot," which features a moving performance by Heath Ledger. Then order them a free pocketsize copy of our Constitution from the Heritage Foundation click here.

One final suggestion. When you return to midtown, take a taxi. Ask your driver to drive south through Central Park. The wooded landscape will give you a sense of what this area of the city looked like in the late 18th and early 19th century when cultivated farmland, grazing sheep and cows were commonplace.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

Address to remember: Morris-Jumel Mansion, Roger Morris Park, 65 Jumel Terrace at 160th St, New York, NY 10032, 212-923-8008. http://www.morrisjumel.org/.

Hours: Weds – Sun 10 AM – 4 PM. Closed holidays.

Admission: $ 4.00 Adults, $3.00 Seniors and Students. Children under 12 free when accompanied by an Adult.

Directions: From Times Square MTA C train to 163rd Street, proceed up St. Nicholas to Roger Morris Park, you will see the Mansion.
Bus M2, M18, M101 to 160th Street, short walk to the Mansion.

Photo courtesy of The Morris-Jumel Mansion

Copyright 2008 The Cable Group ©

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

City Bakery Revisited

A passion fruit tart to dream about


Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

Of course, soon after I posted With Marshmallows or Without, a cold front came in and we quickly had to pull on extra sweaters, bulky coats and boots. As I write, snow is falling and it is sticking; it's really quite beautiful--just the perfect weather to savor a steaming cup of hot chocolate or bowl of thick chucky soup.

If you recently read Marshmallows, you know the place to enjoy it best this month is "City Bakery" during their 16th Annual Hot Chocolate Festival. Chili Pepper, Lemon Licorice, Tropical, Ginger, Caramel, Banana Peel, and Mango Tea Hot Chocolate are just a few of the inventive flavors to excite your taste buds.

Guess what I recently did to finally satisfy my desire for the luscious desserts that have tempted me for years? I settled for a demitasse cup of Darkest Dark Hot Chocolate so I could enjoy a passion fruit tart and a couple peanut butter cookies without too much guilt (this is Lent after all).

What can I say? To die for! The tart was delectable--the slightest hint of citrus and the lightest crust ever, while the cookies stuck to the roof of my month, like eating peanut butter from the jar with a spoon. Mmm!

Run don't walk, just be careful not to slip on the snow covered streets, to "City Bakery" before the Festival ends February 29. Check here before you go, for the flavor of the day.

Still don't have dinner plans with the Chocolate lover in your life for Valentine's Day? Consider the Hot Chocolate Festival Party--All you can drink hot chocolate featuring five special flavors, hors d'oeuvres, a special menu and live music. As of today tickets are still available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

Address to remember: The City Bakery, 3 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011, http://www.thecitybakery.com/ , 212-386-1414.

Directions: MTA from 42nd Street Times Square, N, R or W to 23rd Street. Bus M2, M3, M5.

Photo by Joseph Knight

©Copyright 2008 The Cable Group