The partnership of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux pioneered American landscape architecture. Their work in Manhattan’s Central Park, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and Boston’s Franklin Park set new standards for outdoor spaces which some Upstate New York cities such as Buffalo sought to emulate, albeit on a reduced scale. [Read more…] about Genesee Valley Park & The Barge Canal: Roman Arches Over Indian Rivers
The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has four “giveaway” days planned for the 2023 Saratoga Racing season, which kicked-off today. This tradition, while the supply lasts, has been a standard at the Spa for decades. This year’s red and white swag includes a cooler jug, a T-shirt, a bucket hat and a tote bag.
Souvenirs date back to the earliest visitors at Saratoga Springs, wanting to return home with a tangible memento of their visit to the Spa, in the foothills of the Adirondacks. The Saratoga Association for the Improvement of the Breed of Horses early on recognized this desire of visitors, and devised of a plan for a valuable keepsake early in the twentieth century. [Read more…] about A Remarkable Saratoga Race Track Souvenir
American artists and illustrators have documented events through the nation’s history, producing a vital visual record of collective experiences. One illustrator, who can still be called upon to look back through time, is Edwin Forbes, who lived in the Long Island village of Flatbush, before it was annexed into Brooklyn, and eventually New York City. He was a noted illustrator of the Civil War and also an inventor of the horse racing starting gate. [Read more…] about Edwin Forbes: Civil War Artist & Starting Gate Inventor
It may be Paris in April, and Miami or the Riviera in January, but it has always been Saratoga in August. This fostered a necessity to house guests, whether they were seeking the curing waters, or the fickle whims of fortune at the track or faro tables.
Accommodating guests in Saratoga Springs was the fruitful brain-child of the municipal founder Gideon Putnam, who somehow fantastically envisioned a resort community only a scant few years after the the United States shed the bonds of Colonial rule. Putnam’s Tavern and Boarding House, later called Union Hall, and then the Grand Union Hotel, was the well-spring of Saratoga. [Read more…] about Saratoga’s Grand Union Hotel, the Leland Brothers & A.T. Stewart
The Hudson River in New York’s Capital Region has always been a vital transportation link, and it also provides a conduit to undertakings of the past. The area presently occupied by Interstate-787 and its connectors to NY-378 were constructed on what had been a cluster of islands in the Hudson River, near Menands, between Albany and Watervliet.
Even in the 1820s, the road here became noted for unofficial, and illegal, horse racing. [Read more…] about The Capitol Region’s Race Course: Island Park
The Saratoga Race Course is instantly recognizable by its iconic roofline and unique treatment. The Gilded Age survives to our time through the turret-spiked, finial capped, slate roof of the grandstand.
The very distinguishable noble crown of racing’s dowager queen places one instantly at the Spa in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, and announces “Saratoga Springs.” [Read more…] about Saratoga Race Course’s Grandstand: Some History
Early April saw New York State lawmakers adopt the 2022 budget and approve a plan to accelerate the siting of three new full casinos in the metropolitan New York area. This plan will see the casino licenses awarded to those able to cover the $500 million fee and be approved in a selection process.
Both locations for many years have successfully demonstrated their feasibility by conducting horse sports, and each of the casino facilities are managed by experienced operators, Resorts World at the Big A, and MGM at Empire City. With Aqueduct in the Big Apple so well known, perhaps this is a good opportunity to delve into the origins of Empire City. [Read more…] about Empire City Race Track in Yonkers: Some History
Saratoga Springs has been gifted with many unique attributes by both nature and the hand of man. The artesian fountains have been an attraction since the dawn of habitation and have endowed the area with an important role in the development of our nation.
It’s admirable that residents and interested visitors combine with a fervent dedication to the history of the community. We have recently witnessed this in the efforts by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation to secure a historic residence, designed and built in the nineteenth century by Alexander A. Patterson, at 65 Phila Street in the Spa City. [Read more…] about Old Man Patterson’s Spring in Saratoga
The New York Racing Association has recently announced a revised configuration for the historic Saratoga Race Course for the 2022 race meet. A chute, or straight-away will return, allowing for a start directly into the clubhouse turn for races of one mile in distance. Known as the Wilson Chute, it had been a regular feature of the track until 1972, when the area was converted to additional parking.
The Wilson Chute is named in honor of Richard T. Wilson, Jr. who had been the President of the Saratoga Racing Association beginning in 1909. As an executive and an investor, he was integral in saving racing at the Spa and then developing the sport and the racing plant that so many are familiar with today. [Read more…] about Saratoga Race Track’s Wilson Chute is Returning; Here’s Some History
In the early 1800s it was unusual for Americans to be interested in sporting matters on their own shores. News from Europe was the only sporting news of merit, and publishing an American sporting journal was considered a risky use of capital.
The first attempt along these lines may have been in 1829 Baltimore, where John S. Skinner published a monthly magazine which focused on race horse pedigrees called The American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine. Another early attempt was published in New York by the recognized writer and horseman Cadwallader R. Colden, whose organ was called The New-York Sporting Magazine and Annals of the American and English Turf, first published in 1833.
Among the most notable of the sporting press arrived in 1831, when William T. Porter and James Haw published the first issue of The Spirit of the Times, focusing on horse literature and sporting subjects. They had chosen the name for their broadsheet from a quotation in Shakespeare’s King John, “The spirit of the times shall teach me speed.” [Read more…] about The Spirit of the Times: A 19th Century Chronicle of American Sports