This postcard may be rare. It is one of the oldest in my grandmother's collection; her New York postcards were separated from the others and must have been special mementos from when the family lived there (1918-1925). I think it is rare based on the lack of information I've been able to find online as I researched for background on this week's old postcard. Thanks to the New York City Parks & Recreation Department I have the following to pass on to you.
Riverside Park, comprised of 266.79 acres, contains within it Claremont Playground, described at the NYC Parks & Recreation Department website:
Rich in history, the plain of Claremont Playground has been the site of a Revolutionary War battle, a country estate, a fashionable inn, and a children’s recreation area. This was the scene of fierce combat during the Battle of Harlem Heights, fought on September 16, 1776. Michael Hogan, a former British Consul in Havana, purchased land here in 1806 and built the Federal-style Claremont Mansion (for which Claremont Avenue was named). Possible sources of the name are the elevated site’s scenic outlook; Hogan’s birthplace in County Clare, Ireland; and the title of his friend Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who would ascend the English throne as King William IV in 1830.
After a series of owners, the mansion came to be used as a popular roadside inn by 1860. The City acquired the property in 1873 for the development of Riverside Park and continued to operate the inn. At the turn of the century, the Claremont Inn and its formal gardens attracted visits from numerous politicians, military officials, socialites, and entertainers including President William McKinley, Admiral George Dewey, Lillian Russell, and members of the Morgan, Vanderbilt, and Whitney families. By 1907 it was a public restaurant, serving house specialties like curry of chicken Claremont to such notables as Cole Porter, George S. Kaufman, George M. Cohan, Fannie Hurst, and James J. Walker. Claremont Inn burned down in 1950, and a new playground was constructed on the site within two years.
There are an impressive array of monuments and structures near the playground. To the west, the Amiable Child Monument (1797) marks the grave of St. Claire Pollock, the five year-old boy who fell to his death on nearby rocks or drowned in the Hudson River. To the south stands majestic Grant’s Tomb, designed by architect John Duncan and sculptor John Massey Rhind. The neoclassical structure, modeled on the tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, was dedicated in memory of U.S. President and General Ulysses S. Grant on April 27, 1897. Other nearby landmarks include the Riverside Drive Viaduct (1901), Sakura Park (acquired in 1896), and a tablet presented by representatives of the Chinese empire in memory of General Grant (1897).
I spent some time looking at vintage recipe sites hoping to find the house specialty mentioned above, but did not find curry chicken Claremont. I did, however, discover a vintage recipe at Lost City for Tavern on the Green's Tavern Chestnut Dressing with this interesting tie to the Claremont Inn (highlighting is mine):
This is the first Recipes of the Lost City to feature a restaurant that still exists. But I figure the Tavern on the Green of 1950—well before the Warner LeRoy era—was a very different beast than the one we know today. It was owned by the management of the Claremont Inn on Riverside Drive at that point.
With the holidays around the corner, you might want to check out the Tavern Chestnut Dressing at the Lost City link above. I'm interested to try it because Mike and I ate at Tavern on the Green on our wedding night in 1995.
The Morningside Heights district of the city has a website with a bit of information about Claremont Inn, that once stood in the area. It includes a vintage photograph of the building that is worth the click to see it. It truly was a spectacular-looking place....... now "vanished," as labeled at Morningside Heights.net.
And this is what remains.
(photo from New York City Parks & Recreation Department website, monuments)