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Landmarks

Open House New York 2017: Ten FREE places to visit this weekend — no reservations needed

Clear your calendars people. It’s Open House New York time! On Saturday (October 14) and Sunday (October 15), many historic locations normally are closed to the public  — or available at previously limited hours — will be putting out their welcome mats. This is the most exciting weekend of the year for urban explorers. Historic […]

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Landmarks

A Tour of New York City Through 55 Years of Spider-Man Comic Book Covers

The newest summer blockbuster Spider-Man: Homecoming may be the greatest New York City superhero movie ever. It doesn’t treat New York like a series of famous backdrops (although there certainly are a couple); it has a familiar landscape and there’s a particular care given to depicting Queens, the home of Peter Parker. There’s even a couple scenes […]

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Landmarks Podcasts Politics and Protest

Revisiting the Stonewall Riots: The Evolving Legacy of a Violent Night

PODCAST The legacy of the Stonewall Riots and their aftermath, in a podcast history told over nine years apart (May 2008, June 2017). In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, undercover police officers attempting to raid the Stonewall Inn, a mob-controlled gay bar with darkened windows on Christopher Street, were met with something […]

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Landmarks

A Witness to Violence: Colonnade Row and the Astor Place Riots of 1849

On May 10, 1849, Astor Place erupted into bloody violence as crowds took to the streets and battled it out — over a Shakespearean actor. It was the first time in American history that a state militia trained its muskets upon the very population it had been sworn to protect. Yet of the many structures […]

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Landmarks

Going Up: New York got its first commercial elevator 160 years ago

Cast-iron construction, pioneered in America by architect James Bogardus in the 1850s, became the preferred method of building large dry goods shops and department stores in the mid- and late nineteenth century, thanks to the speed with which these enormous buildings could go up and the savings they presented over heavier, more cumbersome construction methods. Today […]

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Landmarks

Henry Street Settlement and the Legacy of Lillian Wald

Without perhaps intending it, social services pioneer Lillian Wald, in her desire to help thousands of poor immigrant women and children in the Lower East Side, also saved a rare and forgotten part of New York City history. The modern Henry Street Settlement is spread throughout several buildings in the neighborhood, providing health care, shelter, […]

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Landmarks

Courting New York’s Legal Landmarks

Civic buildings are often beautiful architecture in plain sight. Their uniformity — many rendered in classical styles — often finds them less appreciated than other forms of urban architecture.  In a city like New York, skyscrapers, hotels and brownstones are more likely to get the attention of camera-wielding tourists over courthouses. After all, doesn’t every town have a […]

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Landmarks

Fall Foliage Alert! Talk a lovely walk through Green-Wood Cemetery

The stunning colors of autumn are upon us, and  you can appreciate the full glory of fall within the limits of New York City, accessible by public transportation. In past years, I’ve focused on the spectacular leafy vistas at Woodlawn Cemetery, Wave Hill and the New York Botanical Garden, as well as Sailors Snug Harbor in Staten […]

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Landmarks

The Statue of Liberty turns 130 years old: Eleven facts about the near calamity that was her 1886 dedication

The Statue of Liberty celebrates her 130th birthday tomorrow. Technically, I suppose, it’s the anniversary of her dedication, a star-studded, pomp-laden ceremony that took place on Friday, October 28, 1886. But for many months previous, she was a fierce presence in the harbor, as the copper monument was arduously stitched together from far flung pieces — including an arm which […]

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Landmarks

African Burial Ground: New York’s unforgettable monument (NPS 100)

This month America celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the organization which protects the great natural and historical treasures of the United States. There are a number of NPS locations in the five borough areas. Throughout the next few weeks, we will focus on a few of our favorites.   For more information, […]

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Landmarks

Stonewall Inn: The story of New York’s newest National Monument (NPS 100)

This month America celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the organization which protects the great natural and historical treasures of the United States. There are a number of NPS locations in the five borough areas. Throughout the next few weeks, we will focus on a few of our favorites.   For more information, […]

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Landmarks

How to climb the Woolworth Building, courtesy the Historic Districts Council

Ever been to the top of the Woolworth Building? Most people haven’t. There are some good lobby tours but rarely any that take you to the very top of the building which was once the world’s tallest when it was completed in 1913. Well thanks to the Historic Districts Council (along with Sotheby’s International Realty and […]

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Landmarks Podcasts

The Complicated History of the Waldorf-Astoria

PODCAST The surprisingly complex history of one of the world’s most famous hotels. You might think you know this tale, but do we have some surprises for you. The Waldorf-Astoria — or the Waldorf=Astoria or even the Waldorf Astoria — has been a premier name in hotel accommodations since the opening of the very first […]

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Landmarks

The Puck Building and its mischievous tenant, Puck Magazine

PODCAST  A 6-foot plump gold impish figure stares down at you as you look up to observe the gorgeous red-brick design of the Puck Building, built for one of the 19th Century’s most popular illustrated publications. But this architectural masterpiece was very nearly wiped away by a sudden decision by the city. How did it […]

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Landmarks

History in the Making 5/10: After the Riot Edition

The Astor Place Riot erupted onto the streets outside the Astor Place Opera House on this date in 1849.  (You can listen to the thrilling details in our podcast on the subject from 2014.)  The opera house didn’t last much longer and was turned Clinton Hall, site of the New York Mercantile Library. Here are a […]