Friday, October 7, 2011
Amster Yard: 49th and 3rd
The book starts with the history of the neighborhood with the dismantling of the infamous El elevated train, which brought light into the neighborhood. Then it describes the development of a surprisingly stylish and elegant neighborhood population that cared about establishing gardens and maintaining the charm of old brownstone- and tree-lined streets. The neighborhood's most renowned included actress Katherine Hepburn, writer Kurt Vonnegut, violinist Efrem Zimbalist, Mrs. Jean Mauze (aka "Babs" Rockefeller), and (key for Amster Yard) Turtle Bay Association founder James Amster.
I've lived in the Turtle Bay area of Manhattan for over 5 years and had never ventured into Amster Yard. It's entrance is not the most inviting, in that it was purchased from the original 20 houses that flanked it on the north and south by the Spanish cultural organization, Instituto Cervantes. However, it is a lush well-maintained garden that is open to (if hidden from) the public.
Korea Society, Ukranian Museum, and the Tibet House) this place has a plethora of resources just waiting for the plucking.