History in the Making: Tea and Peanuts Edition

Local comedian and theatre star Gus Phillips, known professionally as Oofty Gooft , threw on a production of ‘Under The Gaslight’ in New York sometime around 1879, starring himself and his wife Mary Hooper, who once shot him. Christmas Past: The Morgan Library & Museum unveils an early copy of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ […]

Charles Dickens’ guide to New York City low life

Dickens in 1850 What is this dismal-fronted pile of bastard Egyptian, like an enchanter’s palace in a melodrama! – a famous prison, called The Tombs. Shall we go in? And thus in this voice continues the eager, fey, often condescending but spectacularly written account of Charles Dickens’ New York excursion as captured in his “American […]

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“Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Lunacy!

Is there anything more frightening than a insane asylum on fire? Nope. Welcome to America’s first municipal lunatic asylum, its home — you guessed it — is on Roosevelt Island in the 19th century. The 1839 facility was designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, one of the most influential architects of his day and best known for […]

“Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Lunacy!

(ABOVE: Metropolitan Hospital, at the turn of the century, the former site of Blackwell Island’s asylum) Is there anything more frightening than a insane asylum on fire? Nope. Welcome to America’s first municipal lunatic asylum, its home — you guessed it — on Roosevelt Island in the 19th century. The 1839 facility was designed by […]