Certificate of Passage: Last Ride of “The Put”

Certificate of passage on "The Put"
A certificate of passage on the last Northbound passenger train of the “Put” on May 29th, 1958. The Putnam line ran from Brewster in southern Putnam County down to the Bronx for about 80 years. This small document, located in the Yorktown Museum at Yorktown Heights, an old station along the line, is only a testament to the once expansive railway that ran right through the center of Westchester County (above).

Reaching from the High Bridge area of the Bronx up and Brewster in Putnam County, the Putnam line is an old, and possibly forgotten part of history. In 1869, a group of Boston and New York investors sought to connect the two cities via a railway chartered a third set of tracks between the current Hudson and Harlem lines leaving New York City (Kelley 2005). This venture came to fruition in December of 1880, when the fifty-eight miles of track, serving towns that didn’t have immediate access to railways and passengers were able to use the new line by 1881 (Kelley 2005). However, the economic strain that existed on the Putnam line since its beginnings never really disappeared, despite its success as a passenger train. It was passed between companies, shifted around in purpose, and eventually the connection to Boston was removed by rival railways (Kelley 2005). By 1913, the line had undergone several administration changes before finally falling into the control of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, where it gained the name of ‘Putnam Division’.

In its early days, the Putnam Division was a well used rail line by the many growing towns along its path, providing new opportunities to workers and commuters. Daniel R. Gallo states in an interview that “between 1950 and 1955, the population between Ardsley and Yorktown Heights tripled” due to the use of the Putnam line, which allowed for easy travel between the Westchester County towns and New York City (Strauss 1981). Many of the stations along the Putnam Railway were close to parks and attractions, such as the Lincoln Station and Tibbetts Brook Valley, which in 1927 was developed into a park with swimming pools and walking trails (Brause 2007).

Finally, the financial strain of “The Old Put” lead to its eventual closing in 1958. By its seventy-ninth year of toting passengers, the train line had dwindled to around 300 and was accruing annual deficits of up to $400,000 (Folsom 1958). On its final passage north, Train 947 left the Bronx at 5:47 PM and arrived in Brewster at 8:37 PM: a total of five hundred passengers had boarded the train, celebrating and mourning the last ride of “The Old Put” (Folsom 1958; Kelley 2005). The oldest passenger was 81-year old Henry H. Wells, former Mayor of Brewster, the youngest a 12 year old Michael Fox of North Salem; it carried a variety of passengers from railway workers, schoolchildren, and even bankers (Folsom 1958). Despite the discontinuing of service for “The Old Put”, the party commuters and locals had left potent memories in all involved. This unplanned event demonstrates a small scale of the Vincentian desire to create “global harmony” in the world, and that it is possible for strangers to live harmoniously  (“Our Mission” 2019).

Although the passenger train had come to an end, the freight division of the Putnam line ran until 1981. The five stations along the passenger lines that remained, in Elmsford, Briarcliff Manor, Millwood, Yorktown Heights, and Mahopac, were maintained and used as libraries, museums, parks, offices, and even restaurants through the years (Strauss 1981). Various blog posts, outlining the echoes of the train on the land, and books, such as “The Putnam Division” by Daniel R. Gallo, that record its history keep the memory of this railway alive (Strauss 1981). Today the abandoned rail line is actively used as walking trails, parks, and history trails for those interested in learning more about the “Old Put” and its travels.


Brause, Richard. 2007. “Stations Along the Trail on the Putnam Division Right-Of-Way”. Accessed on: March 17th, 2019. Retrieved from:

Folsom, Merrill.  1958, May 30th. “The Wheels of ‘Old Put’ Click Out a Sad Accompaniment to Riders’ ‘Auld Lang Syne’”. New York Times, pp. 23.Accessed on: March 17th, 2019
Retrieved from:

Kelley, Ed. January/February, 2005. “‘THE OLD PUT’ Suburban New York’s Lost Railroad”. Accessed on: March 17th, 2019. Retrieved from:

“Our Mission.” 2019. St. John’s University. Accessed on: March 17th, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.stjohns.edu/about/history-and-facts/our-mission

Strauss, Michael. (1981, September 13). “MEMORIES CLICK ALONG THE PUTNAM LINE”. New York Times, pp. 29. Accessed on: March 17th, 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/1981/09/13/nyregion/memories-click-along-the-putnam-line.html

A play by William Harris “I Was Sitting on My Patio This guy appeared I Thought I Was hallucinating”

Authored by Kasey Correll

An Image presented by MaryMount Manahattan College that features a review by William Harris dated June 9 1977 on the play “I Was Sitting on My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating”

This object is a review of the play “I Was Sitting on My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating” (Harris, 1977). Mr. William Harris reviewed this play for the SoHo Weekly News in June 9, 1977, at the Cherry Lane Theatre. He was a famous writer and well known “contributor to The New York Times on dance and theater” (Harris, 2000, par 3). I selected this object for my AS-L project because it shows the beginning of a new type of play that Mr. Robert Wilson produced. It also represents the Vincentian core value of excellence, because of Mr. Wilson’s drive to not give up.

The famous producer was Mr. Robert Wilson who also stared as one of the main actors. He created this production in order to shape new way that plays are viewed, and believed he should take charge of one of the main roles in his play. This action would ensure that his audience would understand the message he was trying to provide, if he was able fully express it himself. Mr. Wilson wanted to show his dream through his play and also show his audience a new form of entertainment. When a producer is first forming a play they usually begin with forming the plot, characters, or dialogue. However, Mr. Wilson was interested in focusing on the setting first for this particular play, and his first ideas about the setting of the play were “I’ve had the idea for a long time of a room with lots of books, all placed neatly on shelves, and something slicing through the shelves. There is a telephone, and a telephone wire. There is a scrim or gauze over the front of the stage, and images are sometimes projected on it” (Kostelanetz, 1977, par 2).

This particular play was different than past plays Robert Wilson produced, simply because he wanted “to get rid of all the theatrical furniture” (Harris, 2000, par 7). This reasoning was referring to how his play’s setting contains zero dancing, little music, and only one small movie screen feed from a backstage projector. The setting was created without any distracting theatrical furniture, so the viewing audience would be able to focus on the vision and the importance of his Mr. Wilson’s play.

This review of Mr. Wilson’s play was a great object because it strongly reflects Vincentian core value of excellence of St. John’s University. This was Mr. Wilson’s first production that was the beginning of many ideas, on how to perform new ways plays were presented and portrayed. Even though theatrical critics including Mr. William Harris reviewed the play as not impressive and dreadfully boring, Mr. Wilson still had the drive and passion to continue creating plays in a different way. He took the criticism from the reviews about his play, learned from his mistakes and began to produce more productions that followed the different style. This particular play was the beginning of what influenced and created what American theater productions became to be, instead of script heavy European theater performances.


Barnes, Clive. 1977. “Patio Is Staged at Cherry Lane; One Must Suspend All Disbelief: Archives.” The New York Times, (May 23, 1977), https://www.nytimes.com/1977/05/23/archives/patio-is-staged-at-cherry-lane-one-must-suspend-all-disbelief.html

Cherry Lane Theater. n.d. “History: Mainstage History.” Accessed March 11, 2019, http://www.cherrylanetheatre.org/history/.

Gilbert, Ruth ed. 1977. “In and around town: A Critical Guide to Entertainment in the New York Area.” New York Magazine 10, no 23 (June 6, 1977): 21. https://books.google.com/books?id=QeQCAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=I+Was+Sitting+on+my+Patio+This+Guy+Appeared+I+Thought+I+Was+Hallucinating+William+OR+Harris&source= .

Kostelanetz, Richard. 1977. “Robert Wilson Builds a New Play: Archives.” The New York Times. (May 8, 1977), https://www.nytimes.com/1977/05/08/archives/robert-wilson-builds-a-new-play-robert-wilson-builds-a-new-play.html

 The New York Times. 2000. “William Harris Writer, 49: Archives.” (July 29, 2000). https://www.nytimes.com/2000/07/29/arts/william-harris-writer-49.html.

Wilson, Robert. 1979. “I Was Sitting on My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating.” Performing Arts Journal 4, no. 1/2 (May, 1979): 200-18. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4623775.

Aviation at Farmingdale State College: Bringing the World a Little Closer

Authored by Michael J. Krasnoff

Farmingdale State University of New York

Taken of an unnamed student at Farmingdale State University’s Engineering Technology program. This photo does more than portray a student and a plane, it is a living document of Farmingdale State University as a pioneer in creating a post-World War II college level aviation program that was previously only offered in vocational schools.

World War II played a major role in the evolution of the workforce. “The war left an altered economy that demanded a workforce whose education and training needed to be more technical in nature” (Cavaioli 2012, 139).

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History of a Holocaust Survivor: The Life of Steve Berger

History of a Holocaust Survivor: The Life of Steve Berger

History of a Holocaust Survivor: The Life of Steve Berger

Authored by Ashley Walker

Steve Berger, Holocaust Survivor, on the division between races in the United States today.

Steve Berger is a Holocaust survivor that was born and raised in Debrecen, Hungary. In the year 1941, Jews comprised 7.3 percent of the population (Shoah Resource Center n.d.). Growing up as a Jew in Hungary, Berger has always been aware of Antisemitism. The Jewish population was separated from the rest of the population through the numerus clausus. In fact, as Berger points out, Hungary was the first country after WWI to institute the numerus clauses in universities (Berger 2017). The numerus clauses were passed, “limiting the number of Jews in institutions of higher education” (Kenez 2001).  Additionally, Jewish men were removed from the Hungarian army, instead pushed into the labor services. This further separated the Jewish people from the remainder of the population.

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Does the Melting Pot Still Meld in 2018?

Authored by Ocaria DiMango

A copy of the cover of Forbes Magazine, dated October 30, 1978 displaying the Statue of Liberty. This is currently part of the Endres Collection for the Center for Migration Studies.

This artifact is a copy of the October 30, 1978 issue of Forbes magazine, which portrays the Statue of Liberty in all her glory, a symbol of American’s immigrant heritage. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! (Moreno 2004). However, this sentiment towards new immigrants has changed throughout the life of America. I believe that views towards immigration, over time, have been based on what America was going through in history. It’s important for us to look back on an article like this and see how far we’ve come – so in this case, I wonder, how far have we come since 1978? Continue reading

Mary Statue in St. Albert Hall- St. John’s Queens Campus

Authored by Alicia J. Collumbell

A statue of a “Miraculous Mary” located in the main lobby of St. Albert hall. Created by St. John’s University, Office of University Mission.

A statue of a “Miraculous Mary” located in the main lobby of St. Albert hall. Created by St. John’s University, Office of University Mission.

This sculpture located inside St. Albert Hall is modeled after the image of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. The statue is believed to have belonged to St. John’s University since at least 1958. It is probable that the statue came around the time of construction of the Hill Crest (Queens) Campus, but knowledge about whether the sculpture was commissioned, donated or how it otherwise came to be in the possession of the university has thus far eluded researchers. However, the object’s prominent location in the main lobby of St. Albert Hall should indicate that some one somewhere knows why and possibly when it was placed here. Continue reading

The Holder of Knowledge

Authored by Danielle Griffith


St. Albert Hall Inscription


This inscription, Deus Scientiae est Dominus, translates to “God is the Lord of knowledge”. Artists Ferrenz and Taylor created the inscription that is located at St. John’s University’s Queens campus. It is inscribed outside of St. Albert Hall, which was built in 1956. St. Albert Hall houses the science department. St. John’s University made no mistake in carefully choosing the name of the hall where the science department is housed or the inscription on the building. Each was chosen carefully to depict a powerful, unified message. Continue reading

Take Up And Read

Authored by Ian Ustick

St. Augustine Hall on the Queens campus of St. John's University.

St. Augustine Hall on the Queens campus of St. John’s University.

Saint Augustine was one of the foremost intellectual thinkers of his time. He lived in the Roman Province of Northern Africa, which today would be modern-day Algeria. In a pluralistic society, not unlike ours, there were competing thoughts, ideologies, and religious faiths. With Christianity now legalized and having become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Augustine, who had formerly been a pagan, took it upon himself to become the intellectual defender of the church[1]. Continue reading