Categories
Neighborhoods

A look back at Lord & Taylor’s splashy move to Fifth Avenue in 1914

UPDATE FOR 2020: It was announced today that Lord & Taylor, America’s first department store, has announced it will go out of business after 193 years. It began in 1826 as women’s clothing store in Lower Manhattan. In tribute, we are bumping up this article from 1914, framed around its 1914 move to the Fifth […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Parks and Recreation

Nostalgia for Astoria Pool, an early Robert Moses project with a high diving, Olympic-sized history

Astoria Pool is the largest venue for swimmers in New York, outside of the Hudson and East Rivers and, of course, the ocean. Its location in Astoria Park is certainly theatrical, parallel with the river and in sight of two spectacular bridges (the Robert F. Kennedy and the Hell Gate) that sail over to Randall’s Island. […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

H.P Lovecraft’s very bizarre hatred of Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights

Howard Philip Lovecraft — aka H.P. Lovecraft — was born 130 years ago this week (on August 20, 1890) in Providence, Rhode Island.   The pulp-fiction storyteller, known for claustrophobic tales of the occult, lived for a time in Brooklyn. He did not enjoy it. In 1924, he moved to  259 Parkside Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, close to Ebbets Field and Prospect Park. […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

Welcome to Yorkville: German life on the Upper East Side

EPISODE 332 The Manhattan neighborhood of Yorkville has a rich immigrant history that often gets overlooked because of its location on the Upper East Side, a destination usually associated with wealth and high society. But Yorkville, for over 170 years, has been defined by waves of immigrant communities which have settled here, particular those cultures […]

Categories
Holidays Neighborhoods Podcasts

The history of the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights: An electric holiday tradition illuminates Brooklyn

PODCAST: The history of the Dyker Heights Christmas lighting extravaganza, Brooklyn’s fabulous and flashy celebration of the holiday season. EPISODE 305 There’s a special kind of magic to Christmas in New York City. From that colossal Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center to the fanciful holiday displays in department store windows. But in the past three […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

Secret Places of Upper Manhattan: Visit these 20 historic sites in Washington Heights and Inwood

PODCAST A tour of historic sites in Washington Heights and Inwood, an unusual set of landmarks and curious destinations that comprise almost 400 years of Upper Manhattan history. In Washington Heights and Inwood, the two Manhattan neighborhoods above West 155th Street, the New York grid plan begins to become irrelevant, with avenues and streets preferring to conform to northern Manhattan’s more […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

Remembering the General Slocum disaster, one of the greatest tragedies in NYC history

Listen to our podcast on the General Slocum Disaster: The General Slocum Memorial Fountain is one of the sole reminders of one of New York City’s darkest days, and it’s not a very awe-inspiring memorial. This is no dig at the custodians of Tompkins Square Park, where the memorial has been on display since 1906, nor at Bruno Louis […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

The Astor Place Riot of 1849: Bloodshed and Shakespeare splits New York at a busy crossroads

“By the pricking of my thumbs / something wicked this way comes” — Macbeth PODCAST In old New York, one hundred and seventy years ago, a theatrical rivalry between two leading actors of the day sparked a terrible night of violence — one of the most horrible moments in New York City history. England’s great […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

The naming of Times Square: Becoming the Crossroads of the World — 115 years ago today!

On April 8, 1904, the former horse-and-carriage district known as Longacre Square was renamed for a tenant who had just moved to the neighborhood.The New York Times was building a new office tower on the slim odd-shaped block at 42nd Street between Broadway and 7th Avenue. Meanwhile, below ground, the city had built a pivotal new subterranean station for […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts Writers and Artists

Greenwich Village in the 1960s: A nostalgic stroll through an era of preservation and protest

This is the story of Greenwich Village as a character — an eccentric character maybe, but one that changed American life — and how the folky, activist spirit it fostered in arts, culture and the protest movement came back in the end to help itself. This April we’re marking the 50th anniversary of the Greenwich Village […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

Tales from Tribeca: The Hidden History of Manhattan’s Old Market Neighborhood

PODCAST Tribeca (or TriBeCa, Triangle Below Canal) is a breathtaking neighborhood of astounding architectural richness. But how much do you know about this trendy destination and its patchwork of different histories? You’ll be surprised to learn about the many facets of this unusual place, including: — Lispenard’s Meadow, tracing back to the property’s first Dutch settlers; — St. John’s Park, […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

The History of Columbus Circle: A Century of Controversy

Columbus Circle, a center of media and shopping at the entrance to Central Park, has a history that, well, runs against the grain. Counter-clockwise, if you will. LISTEN TO OUR NEW EPISODE HERE: When the park was completed in the mid 19th century, a ‘Grand Circle’ was planned for a busy thoroughfare of horse-drawn carriages. […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

The Story of SoHo: The Iron-Clad History of ‘Hell’s Hundred Acres’

PODCAST The history of SoHo, New York’s 19th century warehouse district turned shopping mecca Picture the neighborhood of SoHo (that’s right, South of Houston) in your head today, and you might get a headache. Crowded sidewalks on the weekend, filled with tourists, shoppers and vendors, could almost distract you from SoHo’s unique appeal as a […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

Two terrific, original NYC films, now streaming for free

Looking for something to watch this week or over the July 4th holiday? Two excellent films about New York City history and culture are now available for streaming for FREE and we are happy to recommend both to you:   Off Track Betty, a short dramatic film by Clayton Dean Smith, is a tribute (and […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Robert Moses

‘Citizen Jane’: A new film explores the legacies of Moses and Jacobs

FILM REVIEW The story of Robert Moses versus Jane Jacobs has grown to such an epic scale by this point that it scarcely represents reality anymore. Their legacies have taken on super heroic form — the Avengers of New York City history, if you will — representing the basic evils of corrupt government and the essential good of […]