FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER: El Morocco

(Top and bottom photos: Garry Winogrand – taken on the El Morocco dance floor – 1955) To get you in the mood for the weekend, every Friday we’ll be celebrating ‘FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER’, featuring an old New York nightlife haunt, from the dance halls of 19th Century Bowery, to the massive warehouse spaces of the … Continue reading FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER: El Morocco

“Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Lunacy!

(ABOVE: Metropolitan Hospital, at the turn of the century, the former site of Blackwell Island’s asylum) Is there anything more frightening than a insane asylum on fire? Nope. Welcome to America’s first municipal lunatic asylum, its home — you guessed it — on Roosevelt Island in the 19th century. The 1839 facility was designed by … Continue reading “Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Lunacy!

“Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Grampa Al

Before going any further, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention its most famous monster man, the godfather of Roosevelt Island and one of the most original New Yorkers who ever lived – Al ‘Grampa Munster’ Lewis. Perhaps these days it’s difficult to understand a man like Al. He’s a crusty mix of old … Continue reading “Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Grampa Al

“Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Renwick Ruins

With apologies to the people who reside there, I must admit that Roosevelt Island has always freaked me out. Which is why I like it actually. Over the next few days, I’ll highlight some of my favorite Roosevelt Island places and people, some familiar to New Yorkers who have never ventured there. The “little Apple”, … Continue reading “Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Renwick Ruins

FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER: McGurk’s Suicide Hall

To get you in the mood for the weekend, every Friday we’ll be celebrating ‘FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER’, featuring an old New York nightlife haunt, from the dance halls of 19th Century Bowery, to the massive warehouse spaces of the mid-90s. Past entries can be found here . To stick with our morbid spooky theme this … Continue reading FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER: McGurk’s Suicide Hall

A ‘Door of Return’ opens near City Hall

The ground underfoot downtown Manhattan gave the developers of the new federal courthouse in 1991 a rather morbid surprise — the remains of 415 people, in a burial ground for enslaved and free blacks in the 17th and 18th century. Unknown and unmarked for decades, the site was declared a national landmark in 1993, and … Continue reading A ‘Door of Return’ opens near City Hall