Posts Tagged ‘Manhattanville’

What remains of Manhattanville’s Claremont Inn

October 14, 2011

The “Claremont, New York” in this turn-of-the-century postcard looks like a Hudson River village, doesn’t it? But it’s actually the site of present-day Riverside Drive and 124th Street.

“Upon the high promontory overlooking the Hudson, on the south side of Manhattanville, is Jones’ Claremont Hotel,” states an 1866 Hudson River guidebook.

“[It’s] a fashionable place of resort for the pleasure-seekers who frequent the Bloomingdale and Kingsbridge roads on pleasant afternoons.”

Originally built as a country estate around 1780, it became a roadside tavern by 1860, a favorite of horsemen, cyclists, and drivers and frequented by wealthy families and celebs of the day, such as Admirable Dewey and Lillian Russell.

Battered by Prohibition and the Depression, the Claremont burned in a mysterious fire in 1951.

The city didn’t completely forget about this remnant of old Manhattanville; a plaque exists in Riverside Park (above), marking the spot where this Hudson River estate turned popular tavern entertained countless New Yorkers.

[Tablet photo from the New York City Parks Department]

Peaceful pink skies along Riverside Drive

March 22, 2010

This postcard, dated 1910, depicts then-new Riverside Drive just past Grant’s Tomb (also new, dedicated in 1897) at 122nd Street. 

Frederick Law Olmsted, who conceptualized Riverside Park and Drive, envisioned rocky outcroppings and winding curves that mimicked the Hudson Valley:

“From 1875 to 1910, architects and horticulturalists such as Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons laid out the stretch of park between 72nd and 125th Streets according to the English gardening ideal, creating the appearance that the Park was an extension of the Hudson River Valley,” according  to the Riverside Park Fund.