The Original West Sider: Cyrus Clark with special guest speaker Tom Miller Tuesday, November 9th 6:00-7:00pm via Zoom
The development of the rocky, hilly Upper West Side into the community we know today was due in great part to the tireless work of someone practically unknown to many today: Cyrus Clark. Clark, a wealthy trader, had already made a massive fortune and retired to his Riverside Drive mansion when he turned his energies to civic planning and development in the area of the city that had captured his heart.
Learn the story of “The Father of the West Side” as only Tom Miller (internationally known for his "Daytonian in Manhattan" blog of fascinating social and architectural histories of NYC) can tell it.
Miller rewinds the clock to 1880s Manhattan, when Clark pushed for the creation of Riverside Drive and staunchly protected the Hudson River waterfront for the public. He organized the community for action and lobbied for critical infrastructure and improvements for the UWS.
Come wander (virtually) the streets of those early days on the “Wild West Side” and visit the Clark’s first mansion on Riverside Drive that cost a cool $2 million in today’s dollars to construct. (Note that elsewhere, as his contemporaries recalled, "the district was covered with market gardens, shanties, and desolate lots, where vagrant dogs and goats reigned supreme.") Then grab a hansom cab down to W. 76th Street to see the stately 8,000-square-foot second mansion where the Clark family downsized in 1898. (Landmarked, so still here!)
There will be history and politics and tales of UWS shenanigans. Of course there will be fabulous architecture. But most important, there will be an incredible person, the city he envisioned and the very special neighborhood we know today. Speaker Tom Miller, a historian and preservationist, is the voice of Daytonian in Manhattan, a hugely popular blog started twelve years ago, in which he has covered more than 3,000 Manhattan buildings, statues, fountains and other points of interest that make Manhattan fascinating. His research and reporting focus as much on the social histories of buildings - the tragedies, triumphs and scandals of the people who built and lived there - as on their architecture and styles. Miller is the author of Seeking New York: The Stories Behind the Historic Architecture of Manhattan--One Building at a Time (Pimpernel Press, 2015) and his companion book, Seeking Chicago (Rizzoli International, 2018).
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