Inwood History

Stephen “Sonny” Kole: Six-Year-Old Hudson River Swimmer

Sonny Kole cartoon

In a world of helicopter parenting it is hard to imagine letting a child swim across the Hudson River, but in 1939 six-year-old Stephen “Sonny” Kole became a media darling for his dangerous river exploits. That September Sonny, a blue-eyed, fair-haired youngster who weighed just 59-pounds, dove into the Hudson River from the ferry dock […]

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The 1903 Fort George Subway Tunnel Disaster

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“The tunnel with its long row of dimly shining electric bulbs becomes a banging, hissing, vibrating pandemonium; a dozen compressed-air drills thud away in all directions, with boys pouring water into the drill holes, and Italians scrape and shovel away the debris at the bottom of the slowly disappearing wall.” (The World’s Work, Vol. III, […]

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On Thin Ice: A 1932 Drowning on the Spuyen Duyvil

1932 drowning on the Spuyten Duyvil

On Christmas Eve of 1932 some thirty children were skating and sliding on the frozen inlet at the base of Inwood Hill when the ice gave way. Noemie Kennedy, who curated a Native American museum from a cabin near the water’s edge, told reporters that the kids had told her of their plan to play […]

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Inwood’s Dyckman Street Ferry

Dyckman Ferry

On June 17, 1915 a procession of more than fifty automobiles gathered in Inwood to mark an historic occasion—the inauguration of the new Dyckman Street ferry, which would make its maiden voyage across the Hudson River, to the popular recreation sites along the New Jersey Palisades, later that afternoon. “The procession, marshaled by Mr. Thomas […]

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Exile in Inwood: The Max Brauer Story

Max Brauer

In 1933 Nazi storm troopers entered the home of Max Brauer, the Socialist mayor of Altona, a working class German suburb just west of Hamburg. Brauer and other leaders who publicly denounced Hitler had been slated for roundup. But the handsome forty-six-year-old politician with a cleft chin and shock of dark slicked back hair had […]

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Park Terrace Gardens Rises from the Ruins of the Old Seaman Mansion

Seaman mansion, Inwood, New York City

In early November of 1938 newspapers around the globe trained their headlines on a stunning victory on the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The heroic story of Seabiscuit, a small, knobby-kneed horse who preferred sleeping to racing, over War Admiral, the four to one favorite, captured everyone’s imagination. The underdog had slain Goliath and […]

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A Buried City: The Blizzard of 1888

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In March of 1888 New York City was slammed by one of the most devastating blizzards in recorded history.   From March 11th to 15ththe city was buried underneath a fifty-inch blanket of snow. The Great White Hurricane, as it came to be known, disabled transportation and telegraph communication from the Chesapeake Bay to Montreal.  Huge, […]

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Inwood Apartment Rentals in 1936

Isham Garden courtyard thumbnail

As many of you know, I both sell and rent apartments in the Inwood area.  So it was a true joy to come across the following article describing the Inwood rental scene of 1936. I am intimately familiar with many of the buildings described below.  Many are still rental properties.  Others have gone co-op through […]

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