all the places on the route and many more are available to be seen year round.
First the end of my visits. I did show up for the Seneca Village tour in the pouring rain and there were 2 Central Park volunteer docents waiting for me and quite willing to do the tour. We waited for others but when no one showed and I told them I could do the tour at another time. Shortly after they left, fellow tour guide Kevin showed up but we will each do the tour another day.
On Tuesday, I encouraged tour guide Gordon L to join me on my journey to Sandy Ground (this link will also get you to many more African American history sites in NYC) in Staten Island . I took my first ride on the Staten Island Railroad and we did get to see some effects of Hurricane Sandy along the way and we chose to walk 1.5 miles from the train to Sandy Ground. Parts of the road had no sidewalks. Staten Island was a visit to the burbs. Many homes, many cars and no one on the streets.
But, the Sandy Ground Historical Museum is a gem and Sylvia (see left), our guide, is a descendent of the orginial settlers of the first free Black community in the U.S. The pictures around her are members of her family. We also saw a video segment that had recently been broadcast on ABC's Here and Now about Sandy Ground. There were special exhibits about the Underground Railroad and Sandy Ground's connection to it. I am really tempted to return for their annual barbecue festival but you should visit sooner.
We took the S74 bus for the very long ride back to the Ferry Terminal. We passed Historic Richmondtown and several interesting parks and cemeteries. We also saw an incredible variety of Staten Island housing. Garages are important. Sidewalks are less important. We went over highways and passed shopping centers. It was almost like being in New Jersey.
Wednesday I headed for a program at the Schomburg library given by artist and children's book illustrator Bryan Collier. His talk about becoming an artist and creating children's books touched the children and the adults in the audience. I would love to use his book Uptown as the basis for a family tour of Harlem. Visit in the next couple of weeks to see the current exhibit about Emancipation. The exhibit about Africans in India will be on until July. After the lecture, I spoke to a woman outside about my trip to Sandy Ground. She was planning to go too after seeing the piece about Sandy Ground on Here and Now.
I will provide more warning if this special Black History Month tour is repeated next year. NOW on to March!