Monday, March 18, 2013
Walking Broadway 5
David Chapin, Hirofumi Minami and I are carrying out a psychoanalysis of Broadway in five sessions. Session 5 on March 1, 2013, took us to the Dyckman Farmhouse, a Dutch colonial farmhouse built about 1784. It sits on a small hill, just above Broadway, surrounded by stone retaining walls topped with an iron fence. It is a place that takes us from colonial times to the present, in the life of New York City. It was the home of family that ran a working farm until development in the early 1900s ate up the land and changed the area's way of life. The farmhouse was saved from destruction and made into a museum, helping us get a sense of the story of Manhattan. Some of it is marvel at: cooking over an open fireplace, sleeping in the big open attic or in small rooms with no heat! The presence of slavery in New York State reminds us of the long struggle for abolition, which we celebrate this year, with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Looking out the windows or strolling the garden, the apartment buildings that took over the farmlands are all around. Once the farmhouse had a view to the Harlem River, but no glimpse can be had at this point. After learning about Colonial era cooking and sleeping, we went out to lunch in the neighborhood at Chacapas on Dyckman Street, named for the family that owned the farm. The leap forward into our own intensely inhabited, multi-ethnic world was eased by yummy yummy food.