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Restored interior of apartment of an Irish-American family, Tenement Museum (Courtesy of The Secret Victorianist).

Old Homes, Historic Homes: Why are We Drawn to Them?

My previous post discussed the Ballantine House in Newark, New Jersey and touched upon the fascination and attraction of such spaces. Why do people decide to spend their leisure time or vacations visiting historic neighborhoods and sites, especially houses and homes? Aren’t they just moldy, musty aging places full of shadows of (largely) dead rich…

Washington Irving, Gibbet Island, and Jersey City

My post from last summer examined the connection between Washington Irving, America’s first international author and a connoisseur of Dutch culture, and the village of Communipaw—a part of contemporary Jersey City. This post has proven to be my most read piece with visitors from around the globe, illustrating the power and the possibility of culture—whether…

Self and Soul … More Thoughts

When I launched this blog, I envisioned it as venue to explore the history and culture of Jersey City, my adopted hometown. However, the blog is evolving into  a sounding board for my musings on culture, literature, the humanities, and other topics within and without my homestead in the Garden State. Never fear, Jersey City…

Don Quixote: Initial Thoughts

The subject of this piece has no relationship with Jersey City. No relationship with New Jersey. Except the subject might be found in a bookstore, a library, or a dusty bookcase and that many New Jerseyans speak the tongue of the author. A few times every year, I try to tackle one of the great,…

From the Pen of Washington Irving

Best known for his classic short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle,” Washington Irving was America’s first man of letters. Being the first American writer to gain a European audience, Irving elevated not only his professional stature but that of American literature.  His position allowed Irving to advocate for emerging authors,…

Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy 15th Annual Preservation Awards Ceremony

On Thursday night—yes, this Thursday May 28, 2015 from 6:00 to 9:00—the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy is hosting its annual preservation awards ceremony at the splendid and magical Loew’s Jersey Theatre. The JCLC will be handing out awards to homeowners, developers, and architects who have renovated or preserved historic property throughout Jersey City and to…

Preservation Month

May is Preservation Month! Celebrate the month by visiting a church, a historic home, a park, a museum, or a cultural institution. Enjoy a space that makes your town or city beautiful, interesting, and worth caring about. Everywhere and everyone in this storied country should have one special place. Find yours. The National Trust for…