9780823220731

The Sailor's Snug Harbor

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780823220731

  • ISBN10:

    0823220737

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2000-01-01
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press

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Summary

Four days before his death on June 5th, 1801, Robert Richard Randall signed a remarkable will, which provided that his mansion and 21-acre farm be used to maintain and support "aged, decrepit, and worn out sailors." However, as the 1820's approached, and land values began to soar, the legislature was asked to modify the Randall will so that Sailor's Snug Harbor could be built somewhere other than the Randall farm. In May 1831, a 130-acre farm overlooking Upper New York Bay and the Kill van Kull was purchased on Staten Island for $10,000. Year-by-year, buildings were added until there were 55 major structures. The Harbor produced its own electricity and steam, grew its own food, and had its own water supply, a church, cemetery, hospital, theater, library. At the start of the twentieth century, more than 1,000 old sailors were in residence. Beginning in 1950, as part of a 'modernization and improvement plan,' two dozen buildings on the Staten Island property were bulldozed. Next on the destruction list were the Sailors' Snug Harbor dormitories which would be replaced by a 120-room modern infirmary insisted upon by the State Department of Health. At this point, the city's new Landmarks Preservation Commission stepped in. On October 14, 1965, at its first designation hearing, the Commission landmarked and saved the old dormitories. Property for a new institution for the old sailors was found in Sea Level, North Carolina, down the road from a hospital just taken over by Duke University Medical Center. Citing the proximity of Duke's hospital to the new Harbor site, New York's surrogate court approved relocation. Mayor John Lindsay, in June 1973, announced a plan to turn the Sailors' Snug Harbor buildings into a national showplace of culture and education. Over the years, the Sailors' Snug Harbor has housed various cultural institutions, including the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Arts, the Staten Island Botanical Gardens, and the Staten Island Children's Museum. Today, Snug Harbor is the most important cultural asset on Staten Island, and one of the fastest-growing arts centers in the city.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi
A Note About Street Names xvii
Thomas Randall: Privateer, Patriot, Entrepreneur
1(22)
The Business of Privateering
2(2)
Peace and Prosperity
4(1)
Eve of Revolution
5(3)
Exile and Restoration
8(2)
A Randall or Two, Too Many
10(1)
The Grand Convention
11(1)
Randall's Great Barge
12(1)
The Randall Farm
13(2)
Robert Richard Randall: Gentleman Farmer
15(2)
The Randall Will
17(6)
Getting Underway
23(12)
The Trustees Finally Meet
23(6)
Litigation: Collateral Heirs
29(6)
Randall's Plan Fulfilled: Staten Island
35(10)
Greek Revival Comes to Staten Island
36(5)
Old Seamen in Their Final Harbor
41(2)
The Harbor Expands
43(2)
Manhattan: Moving Uptown
45(30)
Renewed Prosperity
45(3)
The City Moves Uptown
48(2)
Washington Square
50(7)
Beyond the Square
57(1)
A.T. Stewart and Ladies Mile
58(3)
The Anthenaeum Quarter
61(4)
A Parisian Touch: Red Lights and Riots
65(1)
Astor Place: Opera Tragique
66(2)
The Civil War
68(1)
The Draft Riots
69(1)
The Plot to Burn New York
70(5)
Why Men Go Down to the Sea
75(34)
Meeting the Residents
78(3)
A Visit to the Haror
81(8)
Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle
89(6)
The Governors
95(14)
Putting Down and Building Up
109(16)
Henry George and the Randall Farm
111(2)
Washington Square in Transition
113(1)
Bourgeois and Bohemian
113(4)
Fires and a Subway
117(8)
Depression and War
125(10)
Surviving at Sailors' Snug Harbor
128(1)
Getting Out the Vote, Finally
129(1)
World War II
130(5)
Landmarking
135(14)
Victory for the Ladies in Tennis Shoes
136(4)
Troubles in the postwar Years
140(1)
The New York Times Scoops The Harbor
141(1)
Downsizing
142(1)
Overhauling Management
143(2)
Troubled Neighbors and Lawsuits
145(4)
The Voyage to Sea Level
149(20)
The Mayor Comes Aboard
153(1)
The Choice: Scylla or Charybdis
154(1)
The Search Begins
155(1)
Challenging Randall's Will
156(3)
Action at Sea Level
159(2)
Shipping Out
161(1)
The New Home
162(3)
A Changing Cast
165(4)
New Directions
169(16)
The Options
170(2)
A Case Study
172(1)
Change of Course
173(1)
New Life at the Old Home
174(1)
Back Home
174(1)
Visiting the Cultural Center
174(11)
Appendix 1: Last Will and Testament of the Late Robert R. Randall, Esq 185(4)
Appendix 2: Good Times/Hard Times 189(2)
Bibliography 191(10)
Picture Credits 201(2)
Index 203

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