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Gilded Age New York

Chelsea’s former opera house and the murder of a New York robber baron

Our last podcast detailed the scandalous murder of Stanford White in 1906, on the rooftop of the very building be had himself designed — Madison Square Garden.  But another performance venue just a short distance away was also involved in a notorious murder of a prominent New Yorker three decades early. You might be surprised […]

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On The Waterfront Podcasts

Chelsea Piers: New York City in the Age of the Ocean Liner

PODCAST The Chelsea Piers were once New York City’s portal to the world, a series of long docks along the west side of Manhattan that accommodated some of the most luxurious ocean liners of the early 20th century. Passenger ocean travel became feasible in the mid 19th century due to innovations in steam transportation, allowing […]

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Gilded Age New York Neighborhoods

Chelsea and the Chocolate Factory (or rather, Hershey and his Sixth Avenue chewing gum plant)

Hershey’s employees cut and pack chewing gum at Sixth Avenue and 21st Street. For five glorious years in the early 1920s, Hershey’s Chocolate operated a candy plant at Sixth Avenue, in the neighborhood of Chelsea. While chocolate bars and chocolate coating for other candies were produced here, the Chelsea plant primarily focused on a new […]

Categories
Landmarks

The wonder of the Chelsea Hotel: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’ — an interview with author Sherill Tippins

The Hotel Chelsea, August 1936, photograph by Berenice Abbott (NYPL) Inside the Dream Palace The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Few places in New York exist with so many ghosts as the Chelsea Hotel. Oh, I don’t know if it’s really haunted, but the historical […]

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, 190 years ago, that an iconic poem was written in Chelsea

On Christmas Eve, one hundred and ninety years ago today, wealthy landowner and august Columbia professor Clement Clarke Moore completed a seasonal poem to read to his children. He penned the whimsical little tale — a throwaway, really, in comparison to his great and respected writings in Greek and biblical literature — from a desk […]

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, 190 years ago, that an iconic poem was written in Chelsea

On Christmas Eve, one hundred and ninety years ago today, wealthy landowner and august Columbia professor Clement Clarke Moore completed a seasonal poem to read to his children. He penned the whimsical little tale — a throwaway, really, in comparison to his great and respected writings in Greek and biblical literature — from a desk […]

Categories
On The Waterfront

Where golf balls fly: Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers

The West Side Elevated Highway zooms past Pier 59, still in operation but long past her prime. (1951) Courtesy NYPL There are very few angles on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy that aren’t being excessively covered in other places this week. So instead of focusing on the ship and its passengers, I thought […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

The Thermos Building, keeping it hot (and cool) in Chelsea

A charming family enjoys its insulated beverages — just as they like it, just as they need it — in an ad from 1909.  The invention of the vacuum flask in 1892 (by Scottish chemist Sir James Dewar) does not rank high among mankind’s most remarkable inventions, but its longevity relies on being a steady […]

History in the Making: The Final Chelsea Check-Out Edition

Interior of the Hotel Chelsea, photo from 1972, by Carter Tomassi Imagine taking a treasured New York landmark and slowly strangling the very reason it was famous in the first place until nothing was left of it but an empty shell. Welcome to the Chelsea Hotel, August 2011. [New York Times] You can also follow […]

Check-in for “Chelsea On The Rocks” … finally!

Chelsea On The Rocks, that long-lingering Abel Ferarra documentary about life at the Chelsea Hotel that we mentioned here, is finally getting a theatrical release, making its debut this Friday at — no surprise — the Chelsea Clearview Cinema, a couple doors down from the actual hotel. How cool is that? For the full immersive […]

Chelsea’s old Opera House: from robber barons to BBQ

In last Friday’s podcast on the Hotel Chelsea, I mentioned a building that was located very near by called the Grand Opera House, at the northwest corner of 23rd Street and 8th Avenue. Here it is: The opera house sprang up in 1868, the project of Samuel N. Pike, who purchased the land directly from […]

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Podcasts

Chelsea Hotel, the muse of New York counterculture

Berniece Abbott looks up to the Chelsea, 1936 Arguably New York’s least conventional hotel, the Chelsea Hotel (or rather, the Hotel Chelsea) is the one of New York’s culture centers, a glamorous, art-filled Tower of Babel for both creativity and debauchery. From Mark Twain to Andy Warhol, it’s been both inspiration and accommodation for artistic […]

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On The Waterfront Women's History

The Deep Sea Hotel: A nautical housing solution for independent women

Arbuckle’s Deep Sea Hotel was neither in the deep sea, nor was it a hotel.  But for hundreds of young, single women at the end of the Gilded Age, it was home. The Challenges of Living Single Accommodations were indeed limited for the thousands of young single women who arrived in New York City at […]

Categories
Holidays

‘Twas The Night: A New York Christmas tradition in an uptown cemetery

Clement Clarke Moore, the lord of Chelsea (the manor for which the neighborhood is named), lived a long and distinguished life as an educator and land developer, dying in 1863 at his home in Newport, Rhode Island. He was originally buried in the churchyard of St. Luke-in-the-Field (pictured below) in the area of today’s West Village. In […]

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Podcasts Those Were The Days

On the Radio: An early history of the airwaves, from the first broadcasts to ‘War of the Worlds’

Our latest podcast explores the early history of radio in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first commercial radio station (KDKA in Pennsylvania) and its first broadcast — the announcement of presidential election results. (Harding wins!) Amateur radio operators at the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side, 1940. Courtesy the Milstein Archives […]