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Those Were The Days

Ten pictures of the New York winter we haven’t had (yet)

Above: Sledding in Brooklyn Heights, from the corner of Henry and Joralemon Streets, according to the caption, ca. 1872-1887.  (Photographed by George Bernard Brainerd, courtesy Brooklyn Museum) So far this has been pretty much been a low-accumulation winter in New York City, with only a half-inch of measured snow in Central Park so far this […]

Old Swamp Church and the first U.S. Speaker of the House

Federal Hall, home to the first House of Representatives 1789 [NYPL] This week the United States got a new Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, and its first female ex-Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. This changing of the guard got me to wondering how many politicians representing New York had ever held this powerful job. […]

Chester A. Arthur’s Indian food connection

One hundred and twenty-three years ago today, the 21st president of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, died in his Murray Hill home in New York City. That home, 123 Lexington Avenue, holds a unique distinction in American history; it’s the only extant building in New York City bearing witness to the swearing in of […]

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Landmarks Podcasts

Epicenter: The glorious history of New York City Hall

City Hall, year 1900: Looks slightly different, doesn’t it? The tower was rebuilt after a fire in 1917, and the entire exterior was redone in Alabama limestone in the 1950s New York City Hall sits majestically inside a nostalgic, well-manicured park, topped with a beautiful old fountain straight out of gaslight-era New York. But its […]

Happy birthday, American bureaucracy!

Today is an unsung day in American history. Two hundred and twenty years ago today, concept became reality, as the very first assembled United States Congress, as stipulated in the newly ratified Constitution, met at Federal Hall in downtown Manhattan. The illustration above (from 1789) looks west on Wall Street, past the hall to Trinity […]

The First Inauguration: New York’s big party for George

Obama’s inauguration next Tuesday will closely adhere to the traditions of many presidents past, but with some serious leanings towards that other Illinois president Abraham Lincoln. But as ostentasious as some his plans seem — even eating foods that Abe might have noshed on — it can’t possibly top the ‘hope and change’ of the […]

True fear on Wall Street: the terror bombing of 1920

Lunchtime down on Wall Street today is chaotic mess of brokers and bankers on cell phones, tour groups, messengers on bikes, police, construction workers, people delivering lunch and the stray old lady walking her dog. Eighty-eight years ago, in 1920, it would have practically been the same, sans the cell phones. So it’s particularly disturbing […]