Inwood: Heavy Industry

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Passing through the lush parks and tree-lined streets of Inwood it is hard to imagine that the area was once home to heavy industry. But, for most of Inwood’s modern history, the air was choked with smoke and soot. Huge coal burning furnaces once powered foundries, generated electricity and incinerated garbage. “I well remember the […]

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Edward van Sloan: The Vampire Slayer of Seaman Avenue

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If current Inwood residents were transported back to the 1930’s they might find the area a bit strange, if not spooky.  Ramshackle homes and ancient mansions stood next to newly constructed apartment houses.  An “Indian Princess” held court beneath a dying tulip tree in Inwood Hill Park.   The hulking remains of long abandoned asylums still […]

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Inwood on Canvas: Two Centuries of Art

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For more than a century artists have visited Manhattan’s northern end to sketch, paint and photograph. Today artistic interpretations of Inwood Hill Park, the Spuyten Duyvil, the Harlem River, and the ever-popular Dyckman Farmhouse, grace the walls of museums throughout the world. Remarkably, in an ever-changing Manhattan, many of these spectacular views can still be […]

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Tony Sbarbaro: Thayer Street Jazz Legend

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As early as 1940 drummer Antonio Sparbaro lived inside 35 Thayer Street in the Inwood section of Manhattan.  The 43-year-old  likely stood out in the blue collar building a block south of Dyckman Street.  He was an Italian-American whereas most neighboring apartments were occupied by Irish. He wore tuxedos to work while most in the […]

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Masters of Pulp: The First Residents of Park Terrace Gardens

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In the spring of 1940 Federal Census taker Katherine Lee began knocking on doors in Park Terrace Gardens.   The sprawling five-building brick apartment complex sat on a hilltop in the Inwood section of northern Manhattan. The rental complex designed by architect Albert Goldhammer had been constructed the previous year.  The apartments and occupying tenants were […]

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El Gallito: 1935 Sixto Escobar Fight in the Dyckman Oval

Sixto Escobar

On a summer evening in 1935 some fifteen thousand boxing fans gathered under the floodlights of the Dyckman Oval to witness Puerto Rican Sixto Escobar and Coney Island kid Lou Salica battle for the world bantamweight championship title.  The two fighters, at the peak of their careers, each weighed 117-½ pounds—one half pound less than […]

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Inwood Real Estate

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My name is Cole Thompson and I hope you enjoy my website. Delving into Inwood’s history has been a labor of love. If you are a neighborhood resident you likely know me from the local history talks I co-host in the Indian Road Café on the first Tuesday of every month. As a licensed real […]

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The Greening of Inwood: The Children’s Garden of P.S. 52

Inwood farming

Inwood boomed with the thump of heavy equipment at the dawn of 1905.  The newly arrived elevated subway had ushered in unprecedented development. Apartment houses were erected at a dizzying pace. The chaotic environment grated one’s nerves. Early residents, lured  uptown with hollow promises of “Country Quiet and Pure Air,” found themselves living amid a […]

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