This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of April 19

2024-04-19 TWIR Image-New City Park

April 18, 1874 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

    It costs $10 a year less to supply a hydrant with water than it does a cistern, and the cost of one cistern will pay for five hydrants.
    A squad of Nyack young ladies, who were going down Franklin Street one evening recently, were mistaken for a temperance praying band.
    Persons living near churches are advised not to keep hostile cats, as their plaintive wails do not harmonize well with the exercises of a prayer-meeting.
    The proprietors of our summer boarding houses are beginning to bud, for they are saying, “they will be happy, &e.,” on or about the first of June.
    The endurance of Nyack ladies will be severely tried this year; about ten thousand games of croquet will have to be gone through with. Heaven help them.

       Some of the most thrifty and beautiful flowers we have seen this season were obtained at the conservatories of Mr. James J. Blauvelt, of Pearl River, where may be found at this time a superb collection of roses, fuchsias and verbenas, of the finest and latest varieties. Mr. B is at present making a specialty of the above articles, and respectfully asks the public to call and examine his stock.

       This small but exceedingly useful article is now within reach of every lady in Nyack who prefers health and comfort to the inexorable demands of fashion. The article here referred to is simply a pair of light suspenders to which any number of skirts can be attached without the necessity of sewing on a button, or doing anything more than to hook them on. Go and see them for yourselves at Merritt & Ross’ store.

April 19, 1924 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Times

TO DOUBLE HIGHWAY — Palisade Park Commissioners Planning More Travel Way from Tomkins Cove to Bear Mountain — Nyack-Piermont Road to Be Finished
       Residents of Rockland County from every village and hamlet attended the meeting of the Rockland County Good Roads Association at Supreme Court Chambers last Friday evening, with John Langan, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee in the chair. The speakers included E. C. Getty, representative of the State Highway Department; Calvin T. Allison, County Engineer; Major William A. Welch; Howard Garner, supervisor; George Van Wyck, Orangetown Highway Superintendent; and many others.
       It was announced that work on Route 3 from South Nyack to Sparkill would commence on April 21st according to statements made by Vanderbilt Contracting Company, and the report that Vanderbilt Contracting Company had abandoned the job was denied by the State Department of Highways.
       Both Mr. Allison and Mr. Getty stated that the wooden bridge at Tallmans on the State Highway would be replaced this year by a new concrete bridge to be built by the Erie Railroad and the State. This was first advocated by the Rockland County Good Roads Association about a year ago, and has been urged by them until it was accomplished this year. This will do away with the present dangerous wooden bridge which is so high in the middle that it is impossible to see approaching vehicles.
       The small section from the present proposed state road at the Sparkill end to the Orangeburg road will be constructed this year, as well as the road around the west side of Rockland Lake along Cleveland Avenue through Congers.
       At the meeting, an agreement was made between Mr. C. T. Allison and Major William A. Welch representing the Palisades Interstate Park Commission to do away with the reverse and dangerous curve near the Park property at Congers, just west Rockland Lake, where so many accidents have occurred.
       Very satisfactory and gratifying statements were made by Supervisor Garner, and Mr. Allison as to the County and Town Roads to be constructed or improved this year.
       Major Welch announced that plans were being made to have a double road from Tomkins Cove to Bear Mountain, of 16 feet in width, the present road taking care of north bound traffic. This will not be constructed at present however.
       George Van Wyck, Jr., Highways Superintendent of Orangetown, stated that he would be glad to be notified by any in the town who discover washouts, gulleys, etc. at any time, as though he is on the highways constantly it is impossible for one to cover every town road.

April 18, 1974 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

[Image: Carol Gilmartin, Joan Amendola (from left) at New City Park. Journal News Staff photo — Warren Inglese]
       Little Tor Road is a straightaway like the roads in desert movies, but there is a quick escape from its monotony to a quiet old community of close-knit neighborhoods.
       New City Park, sold to city-bound Scandinavians in the late 1920s as a summer escape, is now a unique home for about 200 families who pay $90 a year to swim, enter talent shows, walk down narrow lanes, or talk to Canada geese in their backyards.
       The land was bought in 1926 by three Scandinavian builders who wanted a summer retreat for themselves and their friends. They bought a farm, complete with a lake, an ice house, and a saw mill, and they sold it off for as little as $100 a lot.
       The park today is still a corporation with a board of directors. The community has its own historian, Mrs. Noreen Schnell, who has lived in an old home on Little Tor for 22 years, and has written a history of the park, complete with old pictures.
       She keeps memorabilia in her home which include an old painting, purportedly of the lake now used as a swim club, a brochure used to sell the lots, and the minutes of the first meeting of the community. She continues to add to the collection.
       “Time and real estate wait on no man,” proclaimed the brochure of 1926. And it went on to paint a lovely picture of the life in New City during the summer months.
       In the early days, according to Mrs. Schnell, there was a “Japan Garden” at one end of the lake and some open land. It has since been developed and the garden is gone. But the lake is intact and the clubhouse shingled in wood, is the original ice house once filled with ice from the lake.
       The first deeds negotiated by the corporation specified that no “flat roofs” be allowed on the homes that would be built and that no businesses be allowed except on the main road.
       But it was also “understood and agreed that the above described premises shall be used, occupied or owned by persons of the white Caucasian, Christian race only.”
       Those covenants have gone the way of other discriminatory practices in real estate transactions. But they kept the park exclusive for many years and it is still white [in 1974]. ...
       The current residents of the park are impressed by the individuality of the homes and the privacy of their own recreation area. Old summer bungalows have been converted to year-round homes and newer houses have been built on lots that had been vacant for years.
       There is a make-believe lighthouse on one end, a man-made waterfall on the other. Bright orange carp (they are like huge goldfish) mill about in the early spring cold of the water. Canada geese and a pair of wild ducks swim on the placid surface, and the geese paddle over to the side as people approach.
       “They’re looking for their handout,” explains Mrs. Carol Baumann, a resident of two years who is planting her front yard garden.
       Mrs. Baumann and her neighbors are keeping that certain charm intact. Other homeowner parks, deeded to buyers by developers, are falling into the hands of town officials because the owners are either unable or unwilling to care for the land, but residents of New City Park are still hooked on togetherness.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. © 2024 by The Historical Society of Rockland County. #FBF Flashback Friday may be reprinted only with written permission from the HSRC. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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