Posts Tagged With: Grove Street

The View From Here

Photography is the art of capturing light. Light is the factor that can make an average or mundane scene spectacular by adding splashes of color and contrast.

The Covid-19 pandemic and its enduring lockdown has limited photographic subjects. My home happens to have an interesting view that comes alive with each sunrise or sunset, lit by either reflective or direct light.

Here are some images taken from my kitchen window over the past few months. The first was taken today, May 4, 2020.



Categories: Amsterdam, Amsterdam Photography Club, Media, Photography | Tags: , , , ,

Goddess of Mercy’s Birthday Celebration

While most of the Christian population celebrates Easter, Buddhists celebrate the birth of the Goddess of Mercy (Guanyin). Guanyin is an East Asian spiritual figure of mercy associated with compassion.

Amsterdam, New York’s World Peace and Health Organization celebrated Guanyin’s birthday today in the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street. Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi spoke to a gathering of both Buddhist monks, students and followers from all parts of the world where he encouraged the monks to teach the Dharma practice and spread peace and health throughout the world. He also spoke of his successor who would lead the Sangha in Amsterdam as he prepares to retire. There was singing and demonstrations of Tai Chi as the members shared their talents in honor of Guanyin. The celebration was joyous and the members left invigorated from the new mantra they practiced during the celebration.


Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

The Year of the Ram

Amsterdam’s World Peace and Health Organization celebrated Chinese New Year today at the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street.  2015, according to the Chinese astrological charts, is the year of the Ram. Visitors from as far as New York City as well as Amsterdam residents attended the simple ceremony. Guests were invited to light an incense stick and make a wish for the new year on front of an ornate wall composed of over 1000 images of Buddha. After the incense lighting, guests gathered around a table of traditional sweet treats that all had symbolic meanings. Jennie Wong explained the cultural tradition of the Chinese New Year celebration after which, guests travelled to the Five World Buddha Temple on East Main Street to receive a 2015 Chinese calendar screen printed on bound bamboo.  Buddhist Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi was noticeably absent from today’s ceremony.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, WPHO | Tags: , , , ,

Buddha’s Birthday 2013

East Asian cultures celebrate the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar. The birth of the Supreme Buddha is thought to be 563 BCE and marks the beginning of Buddhist tradition.

In Amsterdam, New York, the World Peace and Health Organization celebrated Buddha’s Birthday on May 17, 2013, at the Goddess of Mercy Temple, The Five Buddha Temple and the Supreme Western Shrine Temple. This blogger was graciously given the opportunity to photograph the lavish and detailed ceremony and performances from the vantage point of the balcony at the Goddess of Mercy Temple. The photos, equally lavish and detailed, may take a while to load, though they are well worth the wait. The ceremony began with a procession of Buddhist Monks singing and chanting as they encircled the interior of the temple. This was followed by greetings to and a message of religious harmony and peace given by Holy Buddhist Master Ziguang Shang Shi. There was also song, dance, Tai Chi, opera, Chinese lions, an American Marine/Buddhist monk singing in Chinese and two Mormon missionaries singing Mormon hymns. After the conclusion of the Goddess of Mercy ceremony, the celebrants were invited to the Five Buddha Temple where they participated in the symbolic bathing of the Buddha.

































Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Music, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

A Very Buddhist Christmas

The World Peace and Health Organization, led by Buddhist Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi and his Monks, put on a very elaborate Holiday celebration this evening at the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street. Accompanied by the most recent class of Buddhist students, the public received two solid hours of entertainment followed by refreshments. The celebration was a blend of eastern and western cultural traditions. There was a Chinese Dragon, Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer and Santa accompanied by an elf passing out candy. There was caroling and Chinese Opera, dance and Tai Chi. There was even an American Marine singing in Chinese! The event ended with the audience joining in on stage for a last dance Gangnam style. Words just cannot adequately express the cavalcade of entertainment, so here are the pictures.

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Categories: Amsterdam, Celebration, Entertainment, Photography, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

Grove Street Pond

It finally rained today! We really needed it; but with the past few rains, Grove Street experienced a phenomenon usually limited to streets closer to the river.

Grove Street in Amsterdam, NY is high enough in elevation not to experience flooding from the nearby Mohawk River. The last few times it has rained, a blocked storm drain changed all that as Grove Street became a pond. Watch as cars, trucks and even a motorcycle try to navigate the waters. The last car in the video decided not to risk it and turns around to go the wrong way down the one-way street.

Categories: Amsterdam, Media | Tags: , , , ,

The Heat is ON!

The summer heat has been hard on lawns but really sparked growth in gardens. With no room for a proper garden, I use the south-western facing porches of my house to grow a potted garden.  Red Geraniums, Portulaca, Sunflowers, Asiatic and Day Lilies help dress up the place while Parsley, Cilantro, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil and Beefsteak Tomatoes serve a practical function.

Categories: Amsterdam, Home, Photography | Tags: , , , , ,

Gas Leak!

If you see an unmarked rental van parked in your neighborhood with two people dressed in green fluorescent vests and white helmets, wielding strange sticks attached to grey boxes, do not be alarmed. They are National Grid employees checking for natural gas leaks.

Such was the case this morning when I questioned the actions of the strange-looking pair poking their sticks around Grove Street.  “We get that all the time” one of them stated as National Grid does not have enough marked vehicles to go around.

When they do find a leak, as they did this morning, it is immediately called in to a repair unit who take action. Within minutes another National Grid vehicle and a backhoe soon appeared to repair a gas leak detected in front of 68 Grove Street.  They told me it was a minor leak that did not need evacuation. Signs were placed and traffic was re-routed through the parking lot next to my house. All was going well until a nosey Amsterdam Water Department employee parked his vehicle in the entrance to the parking lot blocking traffic from going past the work site. Both employees left the vehicle to check on the work that the National Grid employees were doing. I guess they were checking to see that no out of title work was being performed. They finally got back in their vehicle appearing angry as they got on the radio to call for “backup”. The white Water Department vehicle left and two yellow Amsterdam DPW vehicles showed up. One I guess was for moral support because the vehicle and two City employees just watched from the parking lot detour while the driver of the other vehicle got out and supervised the National Grid employees repair the gas main.

Now I know why the CIty needs a fleet of one hundred vehicles! It looks as if they just drive around the City talking to each other on the radio, looking for things to poke their noses into.

While National Grid was here, I had them check the gas meter in my basement where I have on occasion smelled gas. They did find a small leak in the gas main going to my meter which they promptly puttied, taped and scheduled an appointment for next week to repair properly.


National Grid was back on Monday and Tuesday to repair the gas leak in front of 68 Grove Street. Apparently the leak was more extensive, requiring another excavation on the street.  This time National Grid worked without interruption from City DPW or the Water Department.

National Grid’s evening workers repaired my gas leak and installed a new bracket and gas meter.  I was impressed by the job they did as well as the professionalism and courtesy they displayed.

Categories: Amsterdam | Tags: , , , ,

Around the House

Categories: Amsterdam, Cooking, Pets, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Looking Back

Meeting the City Historian Robert von Hasseln last week got me thinking about historic preservation.  How can the average homeowner in Amsterdam afford any type of restoration that is keeping with the original design plan?

I discussed briefly with Mr. von Hasseln about the possibility of preserving any architectural detailing or trim from old homes that were set to be demolished, so they could be reused in home restorations.  He stated his group, the Historic Amsterdam League did discuss such an effort, but put it on the back burner for now for lack of storage space and the necessary labor to recover such items.  I believe the cost of storage and recovery could be offset by resale of these items to those wishing to restore homes and possible receive some type of historic tax credit for doing so.

Restoration can be a very costly process and although it may be more cost effective to demolish,  we lose a bit of our history with every building that is taken down. The detailing on the trim of older homes just cannot be replaced today. This is evidenced by the stripping of detailing and bastardization of older homes by slapping on plastic siding, often removing transoms and porches forever altering the original design plan.

I did some research looking into the history of my house on Grove Street, pictured below as it appeared last summer.

This very prevalent design housed Amsterdam’s working class. This particular home dates back to the 1860’s and is one of the oldest of its style remaining on Grove Street. Brittle asbestos siding covers the original wood and decorative window transoms along with shutters have been removed. The original staircase is missing decorative balusters. All of these items exist in properties slated for demolition.

This image of the same house was scanned from a Xerox copy of an old property record card in City Hall. This was before urban renewal. Notice the close proximity of the house next door and behind. The car and antenna wires date the photo to the late 40’s or early 50’s.

The next undated photo was the home of David S. Dunlap located on 33 Grove Street, which no longer exists. It was located in the area that is now a parking lot on the north side of the Amsterdam Mall. This similar style home has a wrap around porch that we do not see in other homes of this style.

According to the 1900 census, Dunlap lived in the residence with his wife and children while operating the Dunlap Dry Goods Company on 51 East Main Street. As Dunlap became more prosperous, he moved to 280 Guy Park Ave and became a member of the school board.

I discovered an 1868 Map of Amsterdam from which is a great source of documentation for places as well as people. Notice how Amsterdam only occupied a very small section of the map. This is before Amsterdam was chartered as a city in 1885, before the Sanfords, before it acquired Port Jackson and Rock City and other surrounding properties. This is how Grove Street looked in 1868. My house is highlighted.

The next map is Amsterdam in 1905. In the 37 years that separate the two maps, the City of Amsterdam experienced the greatest increase in land, population and housing that it will ever have.  This is how Grove Street appeared in 1905.

1868 – The earliest owner I could find of my Grove Street home is listed on the 1868 map as F. Burke, although there were no other details available.

1870 – Prior to 1880 the US Census did not include street information

1880 – John Kennedy, his wife Mary Ann, daughters Mary and Kittie, twin sons George and John lived in 63 Grove Street. John was a carder at a woolen mill, his wife kept house and the children attended school.

1890 – US Census records destroyed by fire.

1900 – Checking the US Census information from 1900, I found the McNally family, born in Ireland, occupied the single family home at 63 Grove Street. Thomas McNally was a printer, his wife Elaine a homemaker, daughter Loretta a milliner, Catherine a dressmaker while Jessica and son Thomas were still in school.

1910 – A native NY family, the Dutchers lived in my house and converted the single family home into a two family, sharing it with the Powell and Calary families.  John Dutcher was a carpenter, his wife Sarah a homemaker. Son Fred Dutcher worked as a laborer, John Jr worked as a needlemaker in the needle factory. Alfred Powell (son in law) worked as a cutter in the knitting mill with his wife Alvirah a folder. Their three year old son Dewitt stayed home with his grandmother Sarah. Fifteen year old daughter Ida worked as a lacer in the knitting mill while twelve year old Hattie did not work. Ross Calary worked as a stainer in the knitting mill and his two sisters Sarah and Tressie worked as finishers. There were twelve people living in the house now occupied by me and my two cats!

1920 – The Hopkins family from Germany occupied one floor of my house. August Hopkins worked in the broom factory, his wife Frieda kept house while Lawrence and Charlotte worked in the knitting mill, daughter Grace worked as a clerk in ten cent store and Reinhardt, Elisabeth and Alice attended school.  Alexander Dressler, also from Germany lived on in the other half of the house with his Irish wife Helen and American son Sammy.  Alexander was an engineer who worked in the knitting mill.

1930 – Joseph Rios from Spain lived in my house with his Italian wife Lorrie and her brother Joseph Campanile.  Rios was a caretaker at the cemetery, his wife worked as a waitress in a hotel and her brother a clerk. The second apartment was occupied by Philip Webber from Russia who was employed as a retail clerk.

This map shows how the Grove Street area looks today after major restructuring from urban renewal that eliminated Maple Street, most of Liberty Street and the homes on either side and behind my house.

I have tried to illustrate the historic significance of the buildings that housed Amsterdam’s working class by describing the variety of ethnicities and work contributions of the people that passed through a single home. These are the people comprising the fabric of Amsterdam.

Can a home be considered historic even if it is not a mansion built by a millionaire? Do you know the history of your home? Is historic restoration even a possibility in Amsterdam? The answer is up to you.

Categories: Amsterdam, History | Tags: , , , ,

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