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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 […]

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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

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 […]

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Neighborhoods

The Astor Place Cube is going away (but, really, don’t panic)

The Alamo, aka the Astor Place Cube, 1978. Photographed by Manel Armegol/Flickr Like many remaining stalwarts of the East Village, the Astor Place Cube is headed into a “rehabilitation” of sorts. Alamo, the sculpture by Tony Rosenthal, is being removed as Astor Place goes through an extensive $16 million renovation. The blog Bedford + Bowery observed […]

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Amusements and Thrills

Wanamaker’s Airship: That one time in 1911 they launched a hydrogen balloon from Astor Place

A view of the balloon launch, looking north towards the Metropolitan Life Tower, which can be seen jutting up in the background. The Met Tower was the world’s tallest building in 1911. Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker turned an abandoned train station in Philadelphia into the lavish department bearing his name in 1876, just in time […]

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Neighborhoods

This woman’s work: Exhausting images of Astor Place and Lafayette Street

Gritty streets, circa 1912. Looking up Lafayette Street, below Astor Place. “The breaking point. A heavy load for an old woman.” The building to the right is the DeVinne Press Building, built in the 1880s, and today home to Astor Center Wine & Spirits. In the distance: the Wanamaker Department Store building, today the home to […]

Harvey Milk lives on in Astor Place

Harvey Milk in high school (Bay Shore, Long Island, to be exact). Picture courtesy of Brother Brian Judging from the lines at the movie theater, New Yorkers had a little Milk with their turkey over the holiday weekend. It made $1.8 million in five days, almost a quarter of that just from eight New York […]

When Jupiter aligned with Mars: Hair on Broadway

Forty years ago today, April 29, 1968, the musical Hair debuted on Broadway and basically changed New York’s theater industry — where shows come from, how they’re staged, what you can even doon stage. Here’s ten reasons why Broadway’s first rock musical is so important, and why today you should probably fish out your Fifth […]

Time’s up for Astor Place’s famous clock

Before we leave Cooper Union, I thought I was draw your attention a rather controversial decision they’ve made in the past few years that has marred an institution of Astor Place — the Carl Fischer note clock. Carl Fischer, still a leader in printed sheet music, began as a tiny musical instrument store on East […]

Do the Astors own you?

On the passing yesterday of the 800 year old Astor family monarch Brooke Astor, I thought I’d give you a brief rundown on all the places in which they’ve left a literal impression. Okay, ole Brooke was really 105, but in New York anyway, her passing has the feeling of an institution having left the […]