On this weekend when a “New York” Super Bowl will be played in New Jersey, it seems only fitting that a race named for a man whose racing life was based in the Garden State will be run at Aqueduct. David Withers got his start in New York and lived here for most of his life, but his professional legacy was made in New Jersey.
Withers was born in 1822 in New York City; he and his family lived downtown on Greene Street. When his father married his mother, the couple was given a cottage by the bride’s father as a wedding present. According to Withers’ obituary, the cottage was on “the outskirts of town” and “given up as a place of residence and sold because it was considered too far from the business center to be desirable.” No, the cottage wasn’t on Long Island or in Westchester, or even across the river in Brooklyn. It stood in what is now Union Square.