Gotham Court and the lost neighborhood of Cherry Hill

Yesterday I went searching for remnants of the old Cherry Hill neighborhood. There are none, as far as I could tell. It’s not the first New York City neighborhood to entirely vanish in the rush of progress — is it, Robert Moses ? — however it may be the one that began with the most… Read More

Gangs of New York

Who were the Short Tails? The crazy, violent habits of the real Lower East Side gang

One of the few photos ever taken of any New York street gang was this image shot in 1887 by Jacob Riis of the Short Tails  under a pier in Corlears Hook.  The Short Tails were a particularly nasty gang of criminals who terrorized the Lower East Side and the docks of Corlears Hook roughly… Read More

Old Willett’s Wharf on the East River promenade

ABOVE: Looking south along a newly opened section of the East River Park promenade, which the city debuted over the July 4th holiday. It now extends down underneath the Williamsburg Bridge and continues slightly south. This section along the water has been closed for what seems like eternity, but the city projects the entire promenade… Read More

100 Years Ago: How New York looked, to somebody

This post will definitely require you to click on the picture below to give it a closer look, and it’s a fairly large picture. This is the Hammonds 1910 map of “New York City and vicinity.” Give it a close look and observe the things the mapmaker thought worthwhile to highlight. — It’s clear that… Read More


Corlears Hook and the Pirate Gangs of the East River

The Short Tail Gang sit underneath a pier at Corlears Hook, picture taken in 1890, long after all the great pirate gangs of the area had disbanded, been eaten by rats, or joined the Confederate army (listen to podcast for explanation!) ___________________________________An illustrated map of the ward system of New York in 1817 highlights the… Read More