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The Jay Heritage Center
at The Jay Estate
Celebrating 25 Years of Stewardship!

September 2017 Newsletter

These photos show some of the work we have done in the last 

25 years to transform the Jay Estate and fill it with people and ideas! We have had enormous support from all of you and for that we are truly grateful!

The 1838 Jay Mansion, Front Portico prior to column removal and stabilization, asbestos remediation and copper roof replacement
Aerial photo of the Jay Mansion 2017 - A Geothermal Heating & Cooling System protects collections and is friendly to the wildlife habitat behind the house (Photo credit - Carl Svernlov)

The Jay Mansion, Rear Veranda prior to restoration of windows, structural shoring, new MEPS (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) through a Save Americas's grant, new fire suppression system and re-installation of original carved pediment

Jay Day 2016

First year of New York State Transportation Grants helps bring over 1000 students to site

September means back to school for many and the Jay Heritage Center is no exception.  While part of our organization's mission is the ongoing restoration of our buildings and grounds, our other equally significant task as stewards of a National Historic Landmark site is education. Who lived here? What happened here? How is this place relevant today? Why do heritage sites matter to you and ALL Americans? 

For example, did you know that the Boston Post Road Historic District is one of the most important archaeological sites in all of New York? These are some of the questions we answer all calendar year through a rich curriculum of programs, workshops and phenomenal speakers.  (Scroll down to learn how Eagle Scouts may have uncovered a smokehouse or dwelling on the Jay Estate dating back to the 1700s, possible pre-Jay and Rye's Budd Family era! )

The Jay Heritage Center is on Westchester County's African American Heritage Trail. For thousands of students, our play "Striving For Freedom" has been their first discussion of the institution of slavery in New York State, its complexities and its abolition.

As we celebrate our 25th Anniversary, we look back on a few of our past guests* and invite you to meet this year's stellar faculty. We also encourage you to participate in our two largest events of the year, Jay Day and our 25th Anniversary Jay Soirée - each is sure to be bigger than ever before!   

We hope you will join us, celebrate and support all these amazing resources in our community and your own backyard. We couldn't have done it and can't do it without you! 

President, Jay Heritage Center

* How many can you identify? How many of these exceptional speakers did you meet? Pulitzer winners, actors, naturalists and more. Scroll down or go to our website for a recap of the topics they covered from Thomas Jefferson to our star system! 

Tickets For Jay Day and 25th Anniversary Soiree 

Now Available for Purchase Online!

Are you ready to Ramble? Jay Day is one of  New York State's premiere destinations for the 
2017 Hudson River Valley Ramble. 
Over 1200 visitors will join us this year! 
Be one of them!

We're over the moon happy to share news that once more we'll have two very talented children's authors for you to meet and two hands on workshops! 

#1 New York Times best-selling children's book creator Robert Sabuda will be joining us this year at Jay Day. 

Robert Sabuda is a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York City. He has also been an associate professor at Pratt, where he began a program in Paper Engineering that continues to encourage the next generation of paper artists. He is a two-time recipient of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award and has over five million books in print translated into 26 languages worldwide. Robert appears regularly on the TV programs The Today Show and Good Morning America, and travels the world extensively to share his enthusiasm for creativity, children's book art and literature.

Also bringing her child friendly horticultural lessons from the New York Botanical Garden's Edible Academy is Rye's favorite school garden creator, Anne Mottola. She and her sister Maria Mottola, a deft illustrator and graduate of the Art Students League, have launched their first trio of children's books with NYBG Press, collectively called "Wonders in the Garden." Anne will read from these engaging and whimsically drawn books and teach kids why kohlrabi is one of the coolest vegetables they can grow!
Don't miss the sights and tastes of autumn while drinking in the views and history of New York's gorgeous Hudson Valley! Sample bites from the Melt MobileBoxcar Cantina, Lobstercraft Jimmy's Soft Serve and Reddi Rooster. Purchase fresh offerings from our farmers market and unique gifts from vendors like The Cheese GuyChez HedwigeCoach FarmsWillie Mitchell Designs, Circle 7 Framing 
and more. Treat the kids to facepainting or dive into garden activities. 

We are especially grateful to Reed's, Inc
for providing "the Best Sodas in the World, Naturally" for all our JAY DAY volunteers.  Kudos to Tracy Edwards, Betsy White, Emma Hanratty, Caroline Wallach and Alison Heaton 
for pulling it all together!

2017 Co-Chairs

Kelly & Vishal Bakshi      Angie & Drew Nadler  
Kingsley & Mark Rooney     Kathryn & Matt Schnaars

How to celebrate 25 years of preservation and education? By pulling out all the stops! Our dynamic 
Co-Chairs and their Committee are tenting out the Jay Meadow and creating a glorious night under the stars for 250 very special guests!

Enjoy  Cocktails from 7 - 8pm while exploring our latest restoration work. Preview new additions to our collections - from  18th and 19th century silver, furniture and portraits to handwritten documents that reveal new chapters of our country's evolution. Next savor a delicious Buffet Dinner prepared especially by Scarborough Fair Catering or hit the dance floor with music from Hank Lane and the Clara Jordan Band (Rock, Motown, Salsa, Contemporary - a high energy blend!) Enchanting Party Attire is encouraged  from festive cocktail dresses to suits and/or sharp blazers and pants. 

Click here to buy tickets online

Sunday, September 10 at 5:30pm

An Introduction to Rye's African American Cemetery

Pictured above, members of the Bell/Purdy Family, courtesy of Carol J. Ubosi. New research suggests the family may have been related to known enslaved and freed people at the Jay Estate.
Dave Thomas, Founder of the Friends of the African American Cemetery, will give a talk about the current state of the efforts to preserve this National Historic Register site. The event is co-sponsored by the Jay Heritage Center, and will take place at the Jay Mansion. The program is FREE however seating is limited so RSVPs are requested. Please email Barbara Specht at
bjsjhc@gmail.com  to respond. Great event for high school students, teachers and volunteers.

Learn how ongoing genealogical research is expanding an understanding of the families that are buried there and their place in the narrative of Westchester's history. Follow a journey to trace and link the Purdy family of Harrison and Rye to two generations of an emancipated family at the Jay Estate. Light  refreshments will be served afterwards.

Friday, September 22 at 6:30pm

The Sea is Not Full: Ocean Sailing Revelations & Misadventures

Charlie has completed seven transatlantic voyages and is one of  many accomplished sailors in the Jay family, including John Clarkson Jay, one of the founders of New York Yacht Club.
Join us for a brief Annual Meeting recap and forecast followed by a lively talk and book signing with Charlie Doane, Cruising Editor of SAIL Magazine, the largest sailing magazine in the US. Charlie will share chapters and personal experiences from his newest book, "The Sea is Not Full." He has published articles in The New York Times, Yachting World and Cruising World, among many others. Read more about Charlie here 

The program is FREE however seating is limited so RSVPs are requested. Please email Barbara Specht at bjsjhc@gmail.com to respond. Wine and cheese reception following. 
 Eagle Scouts Unearth 17th and 18th Century Artifacts with Professor Eugene Boesch! 
Does this collapsed brick chimney mark the site of a dwelling or smokehouse from the 1700s? Does the discovery of Dutch bricks typical of structures from the 1600s indicate a pre-Jay building that may have belonged to the Budd Family, founders of Rye. Fordham Prep senior and Eagle Scout Chris Parker organized a small archaeology test with volunteers this August. More of their findings will be revealed at Jay Day. Stay tuned! Find weekly updates and photos on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

New Volunteers, Schools and Partners Welcome -
Check out our website  to see who's helping us make a difference! It's updated weekly!

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Jay Heritage Center Speakers Key:
Row 1: Author and Forager Tama Matsuoka Wong; Historian of Modern Chinese and US History, Joseph Ho; Parks Advocate and Garden Designer Lynden Miller; American Art and Antiques Expert Jay Cantor   

Row 2: NY City Parks Advocate Ira Millstein; Pulitzer Winning Author, Historian and Harvard Law School Professor Annette Gordon-Reed; Jefferson Scholar, Historian and UVA Professor Peter S. Onuf; Lincoln Scholar and Author Harold Holzer

Row 3   Children's Author and Artist Herve Tullet; Astronomer and Educator Jason Kendall; Pulitzer Winning Author Joseph Ellis; Hamilton Scholar, Historian and Yale Professor Joanne Freeman 

Row 4 ASLA Winning Landscape Architect Thoma Woltz; Landscape Architect and Meadow Designer Larry Weaner; NY State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey; Award Winning Interior Designer Alexa Hampton 

Row 5 Historical Fiction Author Jean Zimmerman; Environmental Writer and Long Island Sound Advocate Tom Andersen; Children's Author Jonah Winter; Author and New Yorker Illustrator Barry Blitt; Author, Constitutional Scholar and Yale Law School Professor Akhil Reed Amar
Row 6 Two Time Pulitzer Winning Author Alan Taylor; TCLF Founder and Landscape Advocate Charles Birnbaum; Historian Barry Lewis; Broadway Actor Jefferson Mays, New Yorker Writer and Author Adam Gopnik, Obie Winner John Douglas Thompson and Shakespearean Actor Sean McNall.