Here is part two of my one-year anniversary adventure, which started with a visit to Woodlawn Cemetery. From there, we walked over to the Van Cortlandt House, the oldest building in The Bronx. It was built in 1748 and is located in Van Cortlandt Park, which used to be the estate of the home. We explored the open rooms of the house, with my favorite being the “unfinished chamber” in the attic, cluttered with old chairs and dust.
It wasn’t the most thrilling old house I’ve visited (no secret passageways or hidden rooms), and one of the room descriptions spent about 70% of its words on one clock. However, it has some interesting associations with the Revolutionary War. Lafayette, Rochambeau, and George Washington all used the house during that time. When it was behind British lines, it was occupied as a headquarters for General Howe.
The most interesting thing about old homes in New York is their staying power. This city changes so quickly as to have corners unrecognizable from what they were just a decade ago (or less). So much has sprung up in The Bronx around what used to be the Van Cortlandt House”s plantation. Elsewhere in New York, 19th century houses are wedged in the shadow of new severe glass buildings. It’s not exactly like Rome where it looks like multiple time periods have fallen on top of each other, but there are still areas that feel like that. Or maybe not areas, more like moments.
The last stop on my one-year anniversary adventure is next!