ˈfōtō ˈfôrtˌnīt frīdē
Morris-Jumel Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace, New York, NY 10032
For this Friday’s photo I am going to step back in time, very recent photographs but an old subject…
A couple of days ago I headed to the West Side for a soiree at The Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights. Enjoying top billing as “Washington slept here” the mansion house is also Manhattan’s oldest, having been built built in 1765, the Colonial Era.
As I approached, the afternoon sun was just catching the top of the house but had made the surrounding trees, with their autumn leaves, a luminous ring around it. I’m not sure if the trees actually hid the city beyond or whether the glow of the leaves was just so mesmerizing that it was hard to look past them. It was very odd to get out of the subway, walk past the bustling C-Town supermarket and then barely a blink of the eye later to be so transported to a different time and place through the effects of light, architecture and nature.
Entering the building I was faced with decorous after decorous room, all sized to make even a wealthy New Yorker jealous, and I ended up drawn to Madame Jumel’s bedchamber. A room that she had occupied from 1810 onwards, 203 years ago from today and 45 years after it was built!
I have to say though that the Colonial Kitchen piqued my interest even more than the classical rooms. With its rough brick and industrial sized pots I found it hard to equate the elegant upstairs with the primitive cooking arrangements. It make me pause to consider just how much time and activity this house has stood through.
Such a contrast and each room inviting exploration.
I imagine with staff, both domestic and field, an estate of that size had a great number of people to provide for, hence the industrial sized cookware. The use of brickwork was necessary to retain heat when cooking, necessary despite the primitive look. And I doubt Mr. or Mrs. Jumel spent much time there. Still it does provide a contrast.
Even the most elegant car is handed over to the grungiest mechanic’s shop when repair becomes necessary.
Thanks for the great website and blog.