"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Where & When: Game 14

Welcome one and all to the latest episode of Where & When; the Banter’s unique version of Lost & Found where you get lost in thought and find a drink at the end of the road. I like that better than any that involves mittens or Mittens or… you get the picture.

Speaking of getting the picture, get a load of this:

Where & When Game 14

Hmm, what does that look like? Looks pretty old. Yet, I’ll bet some may have see that during an off day or may have caught a glimpse of it it during a commute. I have to tell you, the date was not attached to this, but a reference implied that this depicts an earlier version of the structure that exists today, which apparently is a restored version of this. It could depict the year that this structure became part of local and eventually national folklore. Still too hard to tell? I’m sure you’ll get it before Congress gets it </political sarcasm>…

For all newcomers to this game, the object is simple: use your detective skills to determine the location and the date of the picture, using visual and written clues that are either in the picture or hinted by me (or others). Display how you tracked down the answers when you respond and you might win.  A guess is okay, but “showing your math” will garner more credit. Using the internet is okay as well, but don’t click on the photo credit for the answer.

An Old Fashioned Glass of Old Town  for the first person to decipher my nonsense correctly, and a Moxie for those who follow.  As a treat, I’m going to let you post your answers in the comments today, as it is a special day, plus it might get you accustomed to a new feature of this post starting next week.  Don’t worry, you’ll appreciate what I add to it as much as you appreciate what is already here.  Comment away, if need be I will confirm the answer later this afternoon.  Feel free to discuss whatever comes to mind. Good luck!

[Photo Credit: The Historical Society, Inc.]


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1 JDM   ~  Oct 31, 2013 8:14 am

The Flemish gambrel roof may help zero in on the location.

2 RIYank   ~  Oct 31, 2013 8:16 am

I definitely know what it is. I don't have a serious guess for the year, though. And I think I won't say yet, because this is a fun one to ponder.

3 rbj   ~  Oct 31, 2013 8:27 am

Clearly a church.
Similar to St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, especially with the graveyard around it (and rumors of it being haunted http://liparanormalinvestigators.com/nyc.shtml.)
But that would have to be a heck of a remodeling job.

Old Dutch Reform Church, Flatbush and Church Aves, Brooklyn, N.Y.?

I'll have to keep searching

4 RIYank   ~  Oct 31, 2013 8:41 am

Now that I've read over Will's text carefully, I see he might be asking for a different date from the one I was assuming he was asking for. Oh, I'll just say it. Will, your remarks are about the date depicted. If I understand you right, that would be a year some significant time before there were photographs. (Even before daguerreotypes.)

My date guess, for the date the photograph was taken, is 1897. It's fairly clear just from the quality of the photo, the attire of the man, and the horse carriage, that it must be approximately that date. 1897 is a significant year in this building's history, so I'll go with that.

5 rbj   ~  Oct 31, 2013 8:48 am

[1] Ah yes. Makes perfect sense. Got it.
[4] Yes on the date.
Thing is, the years I've lived in New York were all spent north of that town, or on the other side of the Hudson. Always though of the Sleepy Hollow story as being on the other side of Albany.

6 rbj   ~  Oct 31, 2013 8:53 am

From Wikipedia:
"Originally incorporated as North Tarrytown in the late 19th century, in 1996 the village officially adopted the traditional name for the area"

North Tarrytown changed its name?!

7 JDM   ~  Oct 31, 2013 8:56 am

the original engraving on the bell said "If God be for us, who can be against us". They didn't yet know about the headless dude in the graveyard.

8 JDM   ~  Oct 31, 2013 9:05 am

Tough to know about the date, but i think RIYank must be close. I first thought it was pre 1837, when the church burned. But as RIYank points out, the picture couldn't have been taken then as it was pre-daguerreotype. The post fire re-model changed the location of the front door. 60 years later, they remodeled again, back to the original design. So this must be post 1897.

9 RIYank   ~  Oct 31, 2013 9:14 am

This photo, by the way, is not a daguerreotype.
And the horse carriage suggests it couldn't be much after 1897. Also the top hat.

Washington Irving visited the area in 1797 (though the story was written in 1819), so the centenary seems appropriate.

10 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Oct 31, 2013 9:25 am

Well, you knew Mr. Blah Blah Can't Shut Up About Westchester was going to spot this right away as the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow.

Wikipedia says it was damaged by fire in 1837 and renovated "sixty years later for its bicentennial," so I'll go with 1897. The year the building "entered folklore" was 1820, when photography like this wasn't possible.

The adjacent Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, which is separate from this church's graveyard, contains what's left of Washington Irving hizzownself.

My daughter came home from school the other day a little freaked out by a "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" movie they showed (thanks, lazy library ladies). The cure: 99 cents later on the Kindle, I started reading to her from the actual text. A little early 19th century prose goes a long way toward convincing an eight-year-old something is actually more boring than scary.

Boo, everyone!

11 TheGreenMan   ~  Oct 31, 2013 9:37 am

I've never been through Sleepy Hollow, nor have I ever seen a picture of the Old Dutch Church there. But Sleepy Hollow was the first thing to cross my mind when I saw that picture it being Halloween and all. Very cool pic.

Read the paragraph about what year it was supposed to depict a couple of times now, and I have no idea what Chyll is talking about. :)

12 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 31, 2013 3:21 pm

Oh, what a fun game!

My first thought (based on what seems to be the Palisades visible on the horizon at the left-hand side of the image), is that we're maybe talking about Riverside Drive somewhere? Or maybe the Henry Hudson somewhere?

13 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 31, 2013 3:26 pm

Oh, so that's the answer? (Just read up.) I just assumed we were talking about the city, so didn't even think about going north. I was right about the Palisades, though!

(And I said "left-hand" side of the image. Clearly I meant right-hand side.)

14 RIYank   ~  Oct 31, 2013 6:17 pm

Geez, you [12] recognize that as the Palisades? Looks like a blotch to me.

Okay, Will, come on and fill us in! You promised.

15 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 31, 2013 6:21 pm

Sure, it is a blotch, but I guess I recognize it by the height or the distance or the perspective or something.

16 RIYank   ~  Oct 31, 2013 6:39 pm

Oh, right.
You should go look at the earlier ones. I think this is the first -- no, the second one that's not in NYC proper.

17 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 31, 2013 6:53 pm

(Where be they located?)

18 RIYank   ~  Oct 31, 2013 7:01 pm

You can just put "where & when" in the search box.

Oh, fine, here. (I did one of the early ones!)

19 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 31, 2013 7:29 pm

Hey, I kinda like how this has played out. A little teamwork, a little more banter and people reminiscing about their times in the area. I might like to keep this format going for a while longer to see how it develops.

The answer, of course, is: The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, date of the photo was unknown when I posted, but is is speculated to be c. 1897. However, that date is not the one I was looking for...

I mentioned that the structure at some point entered into local and national folklore at a certain point. Some of you knew what I was hinting at, but to make a clever point without totally giving it away, I remarked that one would get it before Congress gets it; a non-sexual double entendre regarding the recent shutdown of federal activities in Washington... Washington... Washington Irving? Halloween? Headless Horseman? Sleepy Hollow?

Yeah, I know...

Washington Irving wrote his legendary masterpiece in 1819, and the legend has continued onto this day. Hey, how many of you know that the bridge where Ichabod Crane met his fate exists today, not it's original form of course, but as the stone, concrete and asphalt crossing of the Pocantico River (*snicker*) along Broadway, aka Rt. 9. The present crossing has a historical marker to note the original location of the wooden bridge that inspired Irving during one of his visits to the region. The crossing is actually known as The Headless Horseman Bridge!

The Old Dutch Church was originally built between 1685-1697; the latter date being given as the completion date, though a tablet with the date states 1699. There were several renovations over time, most significantly after the church burned down in 1837, then when some of the renovations were reversed in 1897, then further work again was done in 1960. The photo seems to indicate a date after the 1897 due to the high resolution of the photo itself as well as the manner of dress and the horse-drawn carriage. Daguerreotypes were developed over a period of several years in the 1830s, culminating with the publication of the full daguerrotype photo-making process in 1839 in Europe and around the world, thus rendering it unlikely that the picture was taken before the first renovations, plus the quality of such photos would not be so widespread until after the Civil War; the fact the the photo closely resembles what the church looks like today sees to indicate that this was taken anytime after the second renovation in 1897.

The church was built and financed by Frederick Philipse, who at that time owned the expansion of land between Spuyten Duyvil and the Croton River in mid-Westchester County as a manorship. He established his manor seat in North Tarrytown; the Philipse Manor exists today as a state park along the Pocantico next to Broadway. The church served as the Church of Philips Manor until sometime after the end of the American Revolution, when the family's lands, which now included all the lands as far north as modern Putnam County were confiscated by the state for their loyalty to the British Crown (which goes to show you, RC Cola might be good, but it's likely not good for you >;)

Of course we could go on about the church, but I'm sure you want to begin the celebrations, so:

JDM once again lays claim to the root beer, while everyone else gets a cream soda. I like this particular challenge because I got to mention something about the town I was born in, though there's a whole lot more to say about it; yes, North Tarrytown was changed to Sleepy Hollow after the GMAD Tarryton plant was closed in 1996, which was bittersweet on many levels. Perhaps I can write a post on the history of the plant some day in a future post, but for now we'll celebrate the reenactment of bribing demons not to possess your body with sugary sweets that will instead possess their bodies and save you from mortal destruction. Cheers!

20 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 31, 2013 7:30 pm

[18] Toot, toot! >;)

21 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Oct 31, 2013 7:44 pm

This was fun, thanks!

22 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 31, 2013 7:45 pm

[15] I don't think that's the Palisades in the back. I don't think you'd be able to see the Hudson that close to the church if I recall; it's more likely the tops of trees and the hills would be blocking the view of the river.

23 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 31, 2013 7:47 pm

[21] You're welcome! I also welcome submissions and suggestions for new challenges.

24 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Nov 1, 2013 4:53 pm

[22] sigh

Oh well.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver