Categories
Wartime New York

The Arches of Madison Square Park

Memorial arches have been a dramatic way to honor military victories, dating back to the Roman times. Naturally, in a city with abundant Beaux-Arts classical-style architecture, New York has erected its share of grand archways. Two spectacular examples exist today — the Washington Square Arch and the Soldiers and Sailors and Sailors Memorial Arch in Brooklyn. But […]

Categories
True Crime Wartime New York

In 1914, a Jersey City fireworks and munitions plant exploded. Was it sabotage by the Germans?

One hundred years ago today, the Detwiller & Street fireworks plant, located in the Greenville section of Jersey City, exploded in a horrible shower of fire and glass.  Four men were killed instantly and dozens of employees were injured.  Several surrounding buildings “fell to pieces like houses of cards.”   The rumble shook buildings throughout […]

Categories
Wartime New York

History in the Making 9/25: Music Made For War Edition

During World War II, Steinway and Sons produced specially-built pianos for the American troops.  Called the Victory Vertical or G.I. Steinways, the pianos were sometimes airdropped onto battlefields to provide a bit of relaxation to troops.  They were manufactured in Steinway’s Queen-based factory and mostly sold to the U.S. government.  More pictures below of the […]

Categories
Wartime New York

The Women’s Peace Parade, a moody anti-war protest in 1914

Give Peace A Chance: Women take to the streets in a stunning parade of mourning Below are some pictures of what’s possibly New York City’s first anti-war protest organized by women, on August 29, 1914. War had erupted that summer in Europe, sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in late June and unfurling […]

Categories
The Knick Wartime New York

Knickerbocker Hospital: An inspiration for Cinemax’s The Knick

Photographed dated 1886, the institution was called Manhattan Hospital then, changing its name to J. Hood Wright Memorial Hospital, then to Knickerbocker Hospital in 1913 (Picture courtesy the Museum of the City of New York) On Friday begins The Knick on Cinemax, a historical drama set in the turn-of-the-century Knickerbocker Hospital. . Last year, Tom […]

Categories
Wartime New York

Voyage into war: New Yorkers enlist for France a century ago

Men and women aboard La Lorraine, heading to France and the prospects of a grave war. War was newly ablaze in Europe one hundred years ago today. A latticework of alliances was slowly drawing virtually country on the continent into a conflict which would rage for years and later become known as World War I. […]

Categories
Those Were The Days Wartime New York

The adventures of Tony Pizzo, the sailor handcuffed to a bike

It’s Fleet Week!  The streets of New York are filled with hundreds of Marines and sailors who arrived yesterday in New York Harbor.  I’m pretty sure, however, that none of them hit the streets handcuffed to a bicycle. That distinction goes to the enigmatic Tony Pizzo who, in 1919, rode his bicycle from Los Angeles […]

Categories
Wartime New York

Charlie Chaplin on Wall Street: The tale behind the 1918 photo

The comedy legend Charlie Chaplin was born 125 years ago today in London, so I thought I’d use the opportunity to re-post one of my favorite photographs of Wall Street. In the 1918 photo above, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks draw tens of thousands to Wall Street and the foot of the United States Sub Treasury building […]

Categories
Wartime New York

Decorating the Flatiron Building with cannons and silver coins

At the very first-floor corner of the Flatiron Building once sat the trusty United Cigar Store.  Being so striking a location in such an unusual building, the cigar store was often decorated occasions. For instance, one hundred years ago today (April 1, 1914), the windows were filled with 7,150 silver dollars as part of a […]

Categories
Wartime New York

The end of war: New York newspapers celebrate Armistice Day and the end of World War I

Armistice Day 1918: An impromptu gathering of New Yorkers gathered in front of City Hall. (NYPL) Today is Veterans Day in the United States, a holiday devoted to the memory and service of those in the American armed forces.  While this is a commemoration of all men and woman who have served — during war […]

Categories
American History Wartime New York

It’s the 150th anniversary of the 1863 Civil War Draft Riots. Why should we care?

Police try to restore order in front of the New York Tribune building, a pro-Lincoln publication being attacked by rioters. Why are there no permanent remembrances of any significant kind in New York City to the Civil War Draft Riots?   It was the most grave, the most tumultuous event in New York City history […]

Categories
American History Wartime New York

Calm before the storm: Saturday before the Draft Riots, an ominous silence before New York’s most violent days

   A list of the nine draft offices where lotteries would occur that Monday, July 13th. It would have already begun in Jamaica and at the Ninth District Office that Saturday. One hundred and fifty years ago today, on July 11, 1863, the first round of lotteries to select able-bodied men for conscription into the Union Army […]

Categories
Wartime New York

From a Bowery tattoo parlor: “Remember Pearl Harbor!”

Charlie Wagner (seen above, in the sombrero) was New York’s most skilled and revolutionary tattoo artist of his day, plying his ink trade behind the partition of a “five-chair barber shop” on the Bowery, according to a 1943 New York Times article. His shop was at 11 Chatham Square (pictured below), unsurprisingly located beneath the elevated […]

Categories
Podcasts Wartime New York

Fernando Wood, the scoundrel mayor during the Civil War: Will New York and Brooklyn secede from the Union?

  His Honor, one of the most ambitious, most duplicitous leaders of New York in its history — as photographed by no less than Matthew Brady. PODCAST The first part of our Bowery Boys Go To War! trilogy of podcasts set during the years of the American Civil War. Fernando Wood, New York’s mayor at […]