The Heartland Passage Tour - A Celebration of the Erie Canal. Sunday, September 3rd.
In 1817, workers in New York State shoved the first spade into the dirt to create the Erie Canal connecting New York City to the Great Lakes and the Midwest. Detractors called it “Clinton’s folly,” they said it couldn’t be done, they said it was foolish, but as folklorist Bruce Jackson asserts in Paul Wagner's documentary Boom and Bust: America’s Journey on the Erie Canal, “it made America rich.”
It’s been said that with that first thrust of dirt the North won the Civil War, and New York City solidified it role as a world port and America’s greatest city. When it opened in 1825, the cities of Syracuse, Rochester, Utica, and Buffalo took shape along its celebrated towpath.
Two hundred years later, City Lore, Livingston Arts and the Erie Canal Museum are marking the bicentennial with the Heartland Passage Tour. In September, a dozen screenings of the new documentary film, Boom and Bust, along with tug boat captains, storytellers and musicians will take place at ports of call along the Erie Canal from Buffalo’s historic Commercial Slip to the Waterfront Barge Museum in Brooklyn, near the Erie Basin where the canal boats were loaded for their trip up the Hudson to the Canal.
Five of the concerts and screenings will be headlined by Jay and Molly Ungar, famous for the Ashokan Farewell, the theme song for Ken Burns’ Civil War series. Some of the concerts will take place in the restored Vaudeville houses built during the early days of the Canal.