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Health and Living The Knick

The tale of two hospitals: Enjoy the “inexpressibly nauseating” aromas of Brooklyn’s oldest operating theater

Syms operating theater at Roosevelt Hospital in 1900, perhaps one of the cleanest places in Manhattan! (Picture courtesy Museum of the City of New York) It was not a fair fight. In 1895, in celebrating the innovative new surgery building at Roosevelt Hospital, the New York Times decided to compare its revolutionary new features to […]

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Health and Living

Above Delancey and Allen Streets: a roof garden for the blind and its unfortunate connection to the 1929 stock market crash

Above (and in the photographs below): Young and old alike enjoy the roof garden atop the Bank of the United States building, on the corner of Delancey and Allen Next to the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side on Delancey Street stands an elegant grey building incorporating regal Doric columns on its face. Echoing […]

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Health and Living

America’s first free animal hospital, at 350 Lafayette Street, with a roof garden for sick horses

The first official patient of the Free Hospital and Dispensary for Animals at 350 Lafayette Street, under the care of veterinarian Bruce Blair.The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was formed in 1866 by philanthropist Henry Bergh.  Eight years later, he helped co-found the New York Society for the Prevention of […]

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Health and Living

The world in glasses: Theodore Roosevelt, fictional athletes, glamorous secretaries, even the Bowery Boys!

If glasses are fashionable today, you can thank President Theodore Roosevelt, whose stylish C-bridge pince-nez diminished the reputation as mere apparel for the weak. — The Bowery Boys are featured this week on the official blog of Warby Parker, the fashionable eyewear company specialize in vintage-style prescription frames and sunglasses.  Thanks to Dixie Roberts for […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

The startling history of New York’s Bellevue Hospital

Bellevue from the waterfront, 1879.  Proximity to the shoreline — which once gave the original mansion here that ‘belle vue’ — was key in the early years of Bellevue, as sometimes it was the fastest way to get to the hospital when roads were less than ideal. (Courtesy NYC HHC) PODCAST Bellevue Hospital, you might […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

The startling history of Bellevue Hospital, beyond the horror stories, the last resort for the New York unwanted

Bellevue from the waterfront, 1879.  Proximity to the shoreline — which once gave the original mansion here that ‘belle vue’ — was key in the early years of Bellevue, as sometimes it was the fastest way to get to the hospital when roads were less than ideal. (Courtesy NYC HHC) PODCAST Bellevue Hospital, you might […]

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Health and Living

The Strangers Hospital: Your special home on Avenue D, brought to you by Boss Tweed’s plumber king

A genuine survivor: The building to the right was once the Strangers Hospital in the 1870s.  This picture, by Berenice Abbott, was taken many decades later, in 1937.  And the building is still around today! (Picture NYPL) New York used to lump the sick, the poor and the homeless into one mass of needy unwanted. […]

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Health and Living Those Were The Days

Close shave: A century ago, barbers riot through New York, leaving half-shaved men in vacated barber shops

A barber shop at the Hotel de Gink on the Bowery, circa 1910-15 [LOC] The fight for worker’s rights swept through a variety of occupations over a century ago as New York City laborers rebelled against unfair corporate practices and unsafe working conditions. Garment workers marched the avenues in protest following the tragic Triangle Factory […]

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Health and Living

Dueling ‘perfect babies’ in Brooklyn and Manhattan, pageantry in support of healthy infants in New York

The exaltation of fat, plucky babies via beauty contests stems from a rather grim origin — American infant mortality rates of the 19th century.  During the 1880s, as swelling immigrants and overcrowding in New York created harbors for disease and malnourishment, over one in five infants would die in America, with higher occurrence among poor […]

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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 Podcasts

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, […]