I’ve been delving into New York City history today. Yesterday I found out I had made a wrong assumption in my genealogy and I figured today I should figure out what really happened.
Early this year I wrote about my great grandfather William Ready. He died of injuries resulting from a case of reckless blasting on Christmas eve 1895. I had just always assumed the blasting had something to do with creating the New York City subway system.
I was wrong. I was reading a book and learned the subway construction did not start until 1900. So what was going on? Could have been just construction of a building or maybe it was part of a larger project or it could have been anything.
I had found 2 newspaper articles. One through GenealogyBank. It was pretty easy to find with their search. The second was at the NYC Public Library and my brother had done the hard work of getting the exact reference so I could find it. Both articles were dated December 25, 1895. The first was in the NY Herald; the second was in the NY Morning Journal.
Both articles said it was at “the opening of Hawthorn Street at Amsterdam Avenue”. The Morning Call added that this was near 189th Street. As far as I know there is one Amsterdam Ave in New York. I could be wrong so I’d like to hear from anyone who knows of another.
Amsterdam Ave is probably best known through the upper West Side and Harlem but it continues through Washington Heights. It runs next to Highbridge Park and it does intersect with 189th Street. My problem being there is no Hawthorn Street in the area or apparently in all of Manhattan.
So my working hypothesis is that Hawthorn Street has disappeared into the park as parts of the neighborhood were reclaimed as parkland. The Harlem River Speedway was constructed in the 1890s and this later was incorporated into the Harlem River Drive. It seems very possible that the blasting was part of the construction of the Harlem River Speedway but I’ve found no confirmation of that yet.
I’ll be continuing my research to try to nail that part of the story down. But meanwhile does anyone know about a Hawthorn Street in upper Manhattan?