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Neighborhoods Wartime New York

Two strange secrets of DeWitt Clinton Park in Hell’s Kitchen

DeWitt Clinton Park, far west in Hell’s Kitchen between West 52nd and West 54th Streets, has two unusual features that harken to a time one hundred years ago — and millions of years ago! The park’s most striking feature is an unusual rock formation that juts out just west of the sports field. This unique […]

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Neighborhoods

Open House New York 2016: Ten fascinating FREE places to visit

This weekend is the 14th Annual Open House New York, the city’s annual celebration of history, architecture and design.  Hundreds of places throughout the five boroughs will throw open their doors to visitors. So that weird old church you’ve always wanted to visit? It’s probably open.  Ever wanted to explore a neighborhood you’ve never been to but […]

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Neighborhoods

Pokemon Go is indirectly an excellent mobile app for history buffs

This weekend I strolled around Carroll Park in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and observed at least 8 or 9 people staring intently at their phones, occasionally wiping their index fingers rapidly at the screen. In the center of the park is an 18-foot-tall World War I memorial dedicated in 1921, emblazoned with the names of those […]

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Neighborhoods Preservation

Jane Jacobs, born 100 years ago today! Celebrate with a weekend walk.

Jane Butzner was born 100 years ago in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Jane Jacobs died on April 25, 2006, in Toronto, Canada. But for much of her life in between, she changed the way people thought about cities from her perch in North America’s largest — New York City. Jane Jacobs was a revolutionary thinker in an age where […]

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Neighborhoods

PODCAST REWIND: The Great Fire of 1835

The Great Fire of 1835 devastated the city during one freezing December evening, destroying hundreds of buildings and changing the face of Manhattan forever. It underscored the city’s need for a functioning water system and permanent fire department. So why were there so many people drinking champagne in the street? Listen in as we recount this […]

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Neighborhoods Podcasts

A Culinary Tour of the Lower East Side

PODCAST A flavorful walk through the Lower East Side, exploring the neighborhood’s most famous foods. Join Tom as he experience the tastes of another era by visiting some of the oldest culinary institutions of the Lower East Side. From McSorley’s to Katz’s, Russ & Daughters and Economy Candy — when did these shops open, who […]

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Brooklyn History Neighborhoods Podcasts

GOWANUS! Brooklyn’s Troubled Waters

PODCAST The history of the Gowanus Canal, at the heart of a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood today, once used to be quite beautiful and non-toxic. Brooklyn’s Gowanus — both the creek and the canal — is one of the most mysterious and historically important waterways in New York City. By coincidence, it also happens to be […]

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Neighborhoods

Where They Lived: Remembering the victims of The Triangle Factory Fire

On this day in 1911, late in the afternoon, fire swept through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, located on the upper floors of a ten-story building near Washington Square Park. Due to odious practices by the factory’s supervisors, the doorways were blocked and the fire escapes were in poor shape. Hundreds of employees, mostly young immigrant women, […]

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Neighborhoods

St. Marks Place at MCNY: A talk with Ada Calhoun and Luc Sante

St. Marks Is Dead, the new book by Ada Calhoun on the history of St. Mark’s Place, was one of our favorite books of the year.  Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York, a grungy look at New York’s Gilded Age by Luc Sante, is one of our favorite books ever.  Combine the two, […]

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Neighborhoods Podcasts

Ready-to-Wear: The lofty history of New York’s Garment District

PODCAST The history of the New York City fashion industry and how it found its home south of Times Square aka The Garment District. The Garment District in Midtown Manhattan has been the center for all things American fashion for almost one hundred years. The lofts and office buildings here still buzz with industry of […]

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Neighborhoods

A trip to Little Syria, New York’s first Middle Eastern neighborhood

Manhattan is profound for the layers of history that exist on even a modest spot of land. And in the case of blocks south of the World Trade Center, you don’t even have to go back far in time to find some surprising stories of the past. One hundred years ago, strolling along the southern ends of Washington and […]

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Neighborhoods Podcasts

St. Mark’s Place: It’s Party Time in the East Village!

PODCAST: The big, brash history of St. Mark’s Place, the East Village’s most interesting street. St. Mark’s Place may be named for a saint but it’s been a street full of sinners for much of its history. One of the most fascinating streets in the city, St. Mark’s traces its story back to Peter Stuyvesant, […]

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Neighborhoods Queens History

The breezy story of Ozone Park, Queens: “the Harlem of Brooklyn”

Ozone Park, a quiet residential Queens neighborhood near Woodhaven, is one of those places created by real estate developers in the 1880s. It happens to have one of the best neighborhood names in all of New York City. So where did it come from? Ozone is a gas that exists as part of the Earth’s atmosphere and, […]

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Neighborhoods

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

Howard Philip Lovecraft — aka H.P. Lovecraft — was born 125 years ago today 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. […]

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Neighborhoods

Summer Streets 2015: Walk Park Avenue Three Saturdays in August

If it’s August in New York City, then it’s time for the annual Summer Streets festival, when traffic is closed down from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, along Lafayette Street and Park Avenue all the way up to 72nd Street. (A copy of the map is below or you can also get one from the […]