Monday, April 14, 2014

Remembering Vincent Seyfried on the anniversary of his passing

From [horse brook sketch book] by Matthew Kremer:

seyfried's text is most useful
for the insight it provides
into the various changes
in infrastructure that
occur in the latter half
of the 19th century
and beyond in elmhurst.
following an account of the
great storm of october 1903,
he notes, which gorged its
waters with a raging torrent,
horse brook faded gradually
out of the news, and the housing
developments covering its sources
in woodside cut off all flow of water.
to this, the historian laments,
almost all trace of the old-
time brook is obliterated.

as an author reputed to have
written the most formidable history
of the LIRR currently available,
as well as other monographs
about the growth of queens,
it is strange that seyfried's
study of elmhurst doesn't
have an index of any kind--
it just sort of ends after a
series of haphazard photos
of cord meyer and
other local ephemera.
the narrative proper,
alive for centuries of
increase and progress,
draws to a close in the 1920s
in a foreboding prologue:
once the subway structure
was completed, new buildings
arose behind a new curb line
and elmhurst no longer looked
the same. the modern era--for
better or worse--had begun.


Anonymous said...

I have a couple of books edited by Mr. Seyfried in my library. I met him at the Onderdonk House before it was rehabbed and we spoke about the cemeteries in the area and the stealing of Way Ave. by Lutheran Cemetery.

Sergey Kadinsky said...

I reported on the history of Horse Brook for Forgotten-NY a couple of years ago. Also, former Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern restored Horsebrook to the map by naming a traffic triangle in Elmhurst as Horsebrook Island.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that part of the 1873 Beers, Comstock map?