St. Mark's Church, at Second Avenue and 11th Street, stands on the site of a private chapel built by Governor Stuyvesant. The land was given (1687) to the Dutch Church by Judith Stuyvesant, upon condition that the vault be preserved. The old governor's tomb is beneath the tablet erected to his memory. From time to time his descendants are laid beside him. In the wall of the Second Avenue side of this sacred edifice can be seen the stone tablet marking his last resting place which reads as follows:
"In this vault lies buried
Late Captain-General and Governor in Chief of Amsterdam in New Netherland, now called New York, and the Dutch West India Islands. Died February A. D. 1672, aged 80 years."
There are also the graves of Governor Stoughton (1691), Governor Tompkins, Mayor Philip Hone, whose famous Diary is a mirror of New York Society in the '40's and '50's. Dr. Harris, one of the earliest presidents of Columbia College; Thomas Addis Emmett, a brother of the great Irish patriot and founder of the great wealth of the Emmett family in New York today, and A. T. Stewart, the great dry goods merchant whose body was stolen. There are interesting memorial windows in the old church, erected by the Holland Dames in honor of Stuyvesant, Nicholas Fish, and Col. Tallmadge, whose generosity secured old Fraunces' Tavern to the city.
The Friends Meeting House and School face St. George's on the South. Occasionally there is still a fashionable wedding solemnized here, after the custom of the Friends. There is no minister or other religious ceremony. The bride and groom simply proclaim be-fore their friends their intention hereafter to live together as man and wife and sign a declaration to that effect.
The section around old St. Mark's—Second Avenue, Stuyvesant Square, etc., was at one time an exceedingly exclusive residential district. Hamilton Fish, a member of Grant's Cabinet, Wm. M. Evarts, See'y of State under Hayes, and a very eminent lawyer, besides many prominent families, lived here. Most of these old houses have disappeared—some have been torn down, others re-modeled into tenements, and two cf them into moving picture houses. Nowhere in the city has a neighborhood changed so completely.
There is another of the old milestones on Third Avenue near 16th Street, and in the corner of 13th Street is a tablet marking the site of a Pear Tree brought over from Holland by Stuyvesant himself. It bore fruit and survived the storms of over two centuries, but finally succumbed to old age in 1868. Stuyvesant Square, once a private park and part of the Stuyvesant estate, is now a public possession. St. George's Church, facing the Square, is the one in which the late J. Pierpont Morgan served as vestryman for over fifty years, and is the successor of St. George's Chapel in Beekman Street, the first Chapel erected by Trinity.
The Middle Dutch Church nearby, corner Second Avenue and 7th Street, is worth a visit. It is the successor of old Rip Van Dam's Church on Nassau Street, where the Mutual Life Building now stands. It has interesting tablets to old Dutch officials. Peter Minuit, first Director General and Elder in the original church then in the
Fort; to Rev. Jonas Michaelius, first minister, and to J. C. Lamphier, founder of the famous Fulton Street daily noonday prayer meeting. A tablet to the victims of the sad Slocum disaster is also here. Most of the children in that tragedy lived in this neighborhood, and a thousand families were plunged into mourning.
There is another church nearly at 7th Street, the Seventh Street M. E. Church, recalling early days. It was formerly the Bowery village church, built in 1795. Two very old and very respectable cemeteries are hard by. The New York Marble Cemetery now almost forgotten, (41 Second Avenue) but containing the graves of many prominent families—Judsons, Bloodgoods, Lorillards, Grosvenor, Wyckoff and Hollands. The New York City Marble Cemetery on 2nd Street, east of Second Avenue (note the similarity of names), is another half forgotten God's Acre. In it lie James Lenox, Mrs. Paran Stevens, Pre-served Fish. President Monroe and John Ericsson were here for a while, but Monroe was removed to his native State and Ericsson to Sweden. There is an interesting old sun dial in the yard; and a scarcely decipherable tablet which records that it was intended as a "place of interment for gentlemen."
The good old days of this part of town are still interesting to read about, but as in much else historical in New York, the imagination must play an important part, as there is nothing tangible left to look at.
Coming up Ninth Street, we reach Lafayette Place, where part of La Grange's famous house old "Colonnade Row" still stands. President Tyler married Julia Gardiner, of Gardiner's Island, here. John Jacob Astor lived where the old library is; Washington Irving, FitzGreene Hallock and other celebrities lived in this "Row." The Episcopal Diocesan House is also on this street. The whole section stretching from Broadway to the Bowery was formerly Vauxhall Gardens' a fashionable resort, and frequently mentioned in old stories of New York.
Opposite Colonnade Row still stands the old Astor Library. This building was abandoned when the consolidation with the New York Public Library was formed and the books of the old Astor are now housed in the beautiful building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
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