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
True Crime

That rascal Daniel Sickles, the beloved politician and veteran who killed the son of Francis Scott Key

We don’t have large, parade-like funeral processions marching up the avenues as they once did during the Gilded Age and in the early years of the 20th century. These events were times of public mourning and a bit of festivity.  Most often they involved the passing of a well-connected political leader or a popular entertainers. […]

Categories
Museums

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, when it was smaller

I’m working on a very art-themed podcast which should be ready for release this Friday.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be a supporting player in this week’s show, so please enjoy these early photos of the original building, opened in 1880 and designed by Calvert Vaux (to better accentuate his park) and Jacob Wray […]

Categories
Uncategorized

The New York monkey fad of 1907: From Fifth Avenue to the fire department, primates were fashionable companions

The wacky IKEA monkey story of the past few days got me to wondering about wild animals as pets here in New York. After all, the wealthiest classes collected all sorts of unusual beasts for their amusement during the 19th century.  So many in fact that the Central Park Zoo — or Menagerie, as it was […]

Julian Fellowes ‘Gilded Age’, New York’s ‘Downton Abbey’: Some suggestions and a few pipe dreams

It’s a different world: Illustrating the difficulty of a New York TV show set in the 1880s, above is a picture of the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The Reservoir is off to the left, where the New York Public Library is today. More on this photo here. Ever since the announcement that […]

Categories
Brooklyn History

No Nonsense: Fifth Avenue lingerie from Brooklyn factories

Store: Kayser Hosiery545 Fifth Avenue at 45th Street German immigrant Julius Kayser didn’t start off being so intimate with women. When he opened his first factory in 1880, he specialized in simple cotton gloves, and soon moved to the silken kind, the sort a proper woman wore to the opera or a masquerade ball. He […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

History in the Making: Double Decker Delight Edition

Ladies in their most decorative hats enjoy a sunny ride from a double-decker in the fleet of the Fifth Avenue Coach Company. Anybody recognize this street corner? There’s an advertisement for McMullen’s White Label Bass Ale, Guinness Stout, Appolinari’s mineral water on the building in the background. (Photo by Alice Austen, courtesy NYPL. Labeled 1896, but most likely […]

Categories
Landmarks Podcasts

St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Stately grace in bustling Midtown, thanks to a fiery archbishop and a venerable hairdresser

During its early years, St Patrick’s neighbors were luxurious mansions. Today the surrounding streets house retail and tourist attractions. (Picture courtesy Library of Congress)PODCAST One of America’s most famous churches and a graceful icon upon the landscape of midtown Manhattan, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was also one of New York’s most arduous building projects, taking decades […]

Categories
Gilded Age New York

The Fifth Avenue Hotel: Opulence atop a potter’s field, and accommodations for heated Republican power brokering

By the date of this photo (1890), the Fifth Avenue Hotel, facing Madison Square Park, had already seen its share of American political drama.The double-breasted, cigar-chewing gentlemen who gathered in the sumptuous rooms of the Fifth Avenue Hotel were occasional connoisseurs of New York City history, and in particular, these amateur historians spoke of the very […]

Two Lions: A centennial for the New York Public Library

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the Earth as the Free Public Library — this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” –Andrew CarnegieThe doors of the main branch of the New York Public Library (a.k.a. the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) opened 100 years ago this […]

Categories
Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Mark Twain in New York, or His Adventures on Fifth Avenue

Photo courtesy LOCPODCAST You hear the name Mark Twain and think of his classic characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, his locales along the Mississippi River and his folksy wit. But he was equal parts New York as well, and the city helped shape his sharp, flamboyant character. Follow his course, from his first visit […]

Technology was so much kinder back then….

The 310 Fifth Avenue storefront of International Business Machines (IBM), back in 1927 when they sold weight scales and coffee and meat grinders. [Courtesy IBM] The original company, the Computing Tabulating Recording (CTR) Corporation, was actually based in New York City when they changed their name to the present IBM in 1924.My computer officially died […]

Categories
Podcasts

PODCAST: Saks Fifth Avenue

A podcast that’s “very Saks Fifth Avenue,” we get to the origins of the famous upscale retailer, follow its path from Washington D.C. to Heralds Square and then to “the most expensive street in the world,” and tell you a little about a glamorous milliner. Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting […]

Fifth Avenue’s Unidentified Flying Ornament

One of Manhattan’s newest holiday traditions concerns that rather exotic looking snowflake hanging with a seeming precariousness 80 feet above the intersection of 57th and 5th Avenue, a crystalline piece of festivity greeting big spenders on their way into Tiffany’s, Bulgari and Louis Vuitton. This delicate knickknack is actually a bit of a linebacker. At […]