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Neighborhoods

St. Marks Place at MCNY: A talk with Ada Calhoun and Luc Sante

St. Marks Is Dead, the new book by Ada Calhoun on the history of St. Mark’s Place, was one of our favorite books of the year.  Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, a grungy look at New York’s Gilded Age by Luc Sante, is one of our favorite books ever.  Combine the two, […]

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Neighborhoods

Ready-to-Wear: The lofty history of New York’s Garment District

PODCAST The history of the New York City fashion industry and how it found its home south of Times Square aka The Garment District. The Garment District in Midtown Manhattan has been the center for all things American fashion for almost one hundred years.  The lofts and office buildings here still buzz with industry of […]

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Neighborhoods

A trip to Little Syria, New York’s first Middle Eastern neighborhood

Manhattan is profound for the layers of history that exist on even a modest spot of land. And in the case of blocks south of the World Trade Center, you don’t even have to go back far in time to find some surprising stories of the past. One hundred years ago, strolling along the southern ends of Washington and […]

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Neighborhoods

St. Mark’s Place: It’s Party Time in the East Village!

PODCAST: The big, brash history of St. Mark’s Place, the East Village’s most interesting street. St. Mark’s Place may be named for a saint but it’s been a street full of sinners for much of its history. One of the most fascinating streets in the city, St. Mark’s traces its story back to Peter Stuyvesant, meets […]

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Neighborhoods Queens History

The breezy story of Ozone Park, Queens: “the Harlem of Brooklyn”

Ozone Park, a quiet residential Queens neighborhood near Woodhaven, is one of those places created by real estate developers in the 1880s. It happens to have one of the best neighborhood names in all of New York City. So where did it come from? Ozone is a gas that exists as part of the Earth’s atmosphere and, […]

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Neighborhoods

H.P Lovecraft’s very bizarre hatred of Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights

Howard Philip Lovecraft — aka H.P. Lovecraft — was born 125 years ago today in Providence, Rhode Island.  The pulp-fiction storyteller, known for claustrophobic tales of the occult, lived for a time in Brooklyn. He did not enjoy it. In 1924, he moved to  259 Parkside Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, close to Ebbets Field and Prospect Park. When his new wife relocated for […]

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Neighborhoods

H.P Lovecraft’s very bizarre hatred of Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights

Howard Philip Lovecraft — aka H.P. Lovecraft — was born 125 years ago today in Providence, Rhode Island.  The pulp-fiction storyteller, known for claustrophobic tales of the occult, lived for a time in Brooklyn. He did not enjoy it. In 1924, he moved to  259 Parkside Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, close to Ebbets Field and Prospect Park. […]

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Neighborhoods

Summer Streets 2015: Walk Park Avenue Three Saturdays in August

If it’s August in New York City, then it’s time for the annual Summer Streets festival, when traffic is closed down from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, along Lafayette Street and Park Avenue all the way up to 72nd Street. (A copy of the map is below or you can also get one from the […]

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Neighborhoods

Hell’s Kitchen: New York’s Wild West

PODCAST Hell’s Kitchen, on the far west side of Midtown Manhattan, is a neighborhood of many secrets. The unique history of this working class district veers into many tales of New York’s criminal underworld and violent riots which have shaken the streets for over 150 years. This sprawling tenement area was home to some of the most notorious slums in […]

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Neighborhoods

The Grand Tale of Orchard Street and Life on the Lower East Side

PODCAST  The Lower East Side is one of the most important neighborhoods in America with a rich history as dense as its former living quarters.  Thousands of immigrants experienced American life on these many crowded streets. In this podcast, we look at this extraordinary cultural phenomenon through the lens of one of those — Orchard Street. Its […]

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Neighborhoods

Gotham Court and the Lower East Side neighborhood of Cherry Hill

Yesterday I went searching for remnants of the old Cherry Hill neighborhood. There are none, as far as I could tell. It’s not the first New York City neighborhood to entirely vanish in the rush of progress — is it, Robert Moses ? — however it may be the one that began with the most […]

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Neighborhoods

The hole that swallowed Greenpoint and other treasures at Old NYC

The New York Public Library‘s Old NYC interface is pretty much one of the best things to happen to New York City history this year. It selects photographs from their extensive archives and maps them out — all five boroughs and pretty much most major intersections.  It’s like a Google Maps street-view of the past. […]

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Neighborhoods

Finding Pietro

One of you may be related to Pietro, the boy in the picture. He was one of thousands of Italian immigrants who arrived in New York in the 1870s-80s.  He seems to have been intelligent and even exceptional, weathering a set of truly dreary circumstances that would have defeated most men. Pietro was not yet 13 years old […]

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Neighborhoods Podcasts

The big history of Little Italy

PODCAST Little Italy is the pocket-neighborhood reminder of the great wave of Italian immigration which came through New York City starting in the late 1870s.  This was the home of a densely packed, lively neighborhood of pushcarts, cheese shops, barber shops and organ grinders, populated by thousands of new immigrants in dilapidated old tenements. The area has […]

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Neighborhoods Podcasts

The big history of Little Italy

PODCAST Little Italy is the pocket-neighborhood reminder of the great wave of Italian immigration which came through New York City starting in the late 1870s.  This was the home of a densely packed, lively neighborhood of pushcarts, cheese shops, barber shops and organ grinders, populated by thousands of new immigrants in dilapidated old tenements. The area […]