I’ve been asked to cover locales selected by Partners in Preservation, an organization sponsored by American Express that, in a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, awards preservation grants to historic locales across the country. After six years in existence, Partners in Preservation has selected New York as its focus in 2012.
Through the partnership, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation seek to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of historic preservation in the United States and to preserve America’s historic and cultural places. The program also hopes to inspire long-term support from local citizens for the historic sites at the heart of their communities.
From April 26 through May 21, 2012, local residents and people across the country are encouraged to vote for their favorite of 40 historic places throughout the five boroughs of New York City to receive preservation funding.
Voters are allotted one vote per day, which can be cast online in three ways: via the desktop website, the mobile website, or Facebook. Additionally, people can post personal stories and share photos on the Facebook page throughout the program. The four projects that receive the most public votes will have their grant requests fully funded, and the remainder of the $3 million in grants will be given to a number of the other sites after review by American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and an advisory committee composed of civic and preservation leaders from New York.
ForgottenTours #9 in May 2002 and #53 in May 2012, pictured above, have visited the City Island Nautical Museum in the Bronx, located on what is likely the Bronx’ remotest point, an island in Eastchester Bay, where the life of the sea from fishing to yachting to sailing (America’s Cup championship sailing vessels were manufactured on the island) has been the calling card from its first European settlement in the 1650s.
The City Island Historical Nautical Museum is at 190 Fordham Street, in City Island’s old PS17 (completed in 1897), with artwork and exhibits chronicling the island’s near-250-year old history of shipbuilders, fishermen and America’s Cup yachtsmen. The Museum owns one of the world’s largest collections of maritime-themed books as well as watercolors of Orchard Beach, City Island, Hunter Island and other local sites by Prof. Harold V. Walsh, painted in the 1930s. The Nautical Room is devoted to City Island’s rich history as a boatbuilding, oystering and yachting mecca, while the School Room depicts a classroom of the 1830s. Its densely packed shelves and walls, filled with newspapers, books, advertisements, scrapbooks and memorabilia are testimony to City Island’s colorful history.
The Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1PM to 5PM and by appointment at (718) 885-0008.
Partners in Preservation is committing $3 million in preservation grants to historic landmarks in the five boroughs of New York City. Any money received from PIP will be used to repair the steep front steps leading to the front entrance (visitors now use ramps for access). The four sites with the most votes will be the popular winners and will be guaranteed a grant.
Some of the historic artifacts packed within CINM’s rooms
Some of the island’s street signs, employed from the 1910s into the 1960s, are on display.
The Museum’s display rooms are devoted to the island’s shipbuilding and sailing industry, reminders of its former use as a public school, and a comprehensive library with emphasis on the “island in the city” and its centuries’ worth of seafaring.
To visit the Museum, take the #6 train to Pelham Bay Park, the end of the line, then switch to the City Island bound BX29 bus, get off at Fordham Street and walk 2 blocks north (to your left).
You can vote for the repair and preservation of the murals and ceiling of CINM, or other sites if you choose, at the Partners in Preservation website and from other devices until May 21st. Remember, you get one vote per day.
I have partnered up with Partners in Preservation as a blog ambassador to help spread the word and raise awareness of select historical sites throughout the tri-state area. Though I am compensated for my time, I have not been instructed to express any particular point of view. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own.