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Health and Living

The sitting-out bag: Nobody wore this winter look for fun

Hopefully New Yorkers will never pick up the sitting-out bag as a trendy winter fashion trend. In their day, no teenager wore this cumbersome device for fun. Below: “Boy wearing coat with attached bag covering feet, seated at table, outside of classroom, reading, New York City.” Courtesy Library of Congress The sitting-out bag was basically […]

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Health and Living

It’s time to shape up New Yorkers! Retro fitness madness

I was perusing the New York State video archives and came across the following 1985 video from the New York State Health Department, a “public service announcement encouraging New Yorkers to exercise.” Truly a masterpiece of font and graphic art, rendered even more amazing by the mono quality of the tape.   An unrelated by […]

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Health and Living Preservation

Bialystoker Home, a remarkable Lower East Side treasure and home for assisted living–now in need of some assistance

Bialystoker Home for the Aged may not make it into many tourist guides, but this Lower East Side art deco artifact holds an important link to New York’s immigrant history. It was just born on the wrong side of the street, and because of that, it’s an endangered structure. On the south side of East […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

Notes from the podcast (#131) The First Apartment Building

The Stuyvesant Apartments in 1934, already being dwarfed with a newer structure on the right. Please note the ornate entrance to the Third Avenue elevated train to the left of the picture, as well as the streetcar tracks, no longer in use along East 18th Street in 1934, running down the cobblestone street. And I’m fairly sure […]

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Health and Living

Hot as Hell: Surviving the deadly heat wave of July 1911

The New York Tribune of July 7, 1911, says it all: “Heat’s Scythe Mows Down 56 On Fifth Day.” The city was in the midst of a devastating heatwave gripping in the entire Northeast during the first two weeks of July 1911. There was little escape from the scorching temperatures among the cramped tenements. New […]

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Health and Living

Building Blocks: The Commissioners Plan of 1811, inventing a New York grid of streets and avenues

The simplicity of the New York grid system, seen overhead in a 1939 classic photo by Margaret Bourke-White. PODCAST The Commissioners Plan of 1811 How did Manhattan get its orderly rows of numbered streets and avenues? In the early 19th century, New York was growing rapidly, but the new development was confined on an island, […]