Inwood History

57 Park Terrace West: The Houdini Connection

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On the evening of October 6, 1962, Dr. Leopold Weiss, the estranged brother of Harry Houdini, stood on the parapet of his northern Manhattan apartment building. He inhaled one last breath of cool autumn air then plunged to his death. 57 Park Terrace West sits on a tree-lined street one half block north of Isham Park […]

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Vikings in Our Midst: The Legend of the “Inwood Stone”

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“Two heads cut off and thrown high into the tree have only the winds with which to scheme.” –Old Norse Proverb In the early-1890’s Alexander Crawford Chenoweth uncovered a curious stone while excavating a high knoll near his Inwood home. Chenoweth was a respected engineer who designed the Croton Aqueduct and the base for the […]

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The Sea Captain of Dyckman Street: William Ladd Flitner

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There was a time when everyone in northern Manhattan was familiar with the name William Ladd Flitner.  He was after all a bona-fide sea captain who lived on Dyckman Street several blocks east of the Hudson River. Early in his career Flitner captained the slave ship Choktaw on transatlantic voyages between Gambia and slave markets […]

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Inwood Hill Park: Historical Timeline

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Inwood Hill is a 196-acre park located on the northern tip of Manhattan.  The words “wild” and “untamed” are often used to describe the meandering trails, caves, cliffs and otherworldly geological formations that together make Inwood Hill so unique. The history of Inwood Hill, like that of the surrounding city, is fascinating and can be […]

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1935 Police Beat: Babe Ruth Hits Pedestrian on Seaman Avenue

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On a summer evening in 1935 Julia Straus, a fifty-eight year old resident of 72 Seaman Avenue had a run in with the most famous athlete in baseball—Babe Ruth. As it happened Ruth was driving southbound on Seaman Avenue when Straus walked into the path of his car near the intersection of Seaman Avenue and […]

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“The Acapulco Divers of the Spuyten Duyvil” : An Oral History with Former Inwood Resident Mike Boland

Columbia C on Spuyten Duyvil

Former Inwood resident Mike Boland recalls cliff diving into the Spuyten Duyvil:

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

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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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