Categories
On The Waterfront

Troubled Waters: The story of the Grand Republic steamboat, the cursed sister ship of the General Slocum

Above: The Grand Republic steamship. As you can see from its paddlewheel, it was a twin to the General Slocum [source] This could not have made New Yorkers feel very safe about even the briefest of river excursions. Days after the General Slocum excursion steamer caught fire and sank in the East River, killing over 1,000 people, […]

Categories
Revolutionary History

Aaron Burr’s cousin built the first bridge over the Hudson River – in the same year Burr shot Alexander Hamilton

Above: A wooden bridge in Kentucky using the Burr truss, invented by Theodore Burr and first used over the Hudson River’s first bridge span. (Courtesy LOC) People has schemed to put a bridge over the Hudson River for over two hundred years.  That task would prove most difficult to those in Manhattan, given the distance […]

Categories
On The Waterfront

Arbuckle’s Deep Sea Hotel, aka ‘the Working Girls Hotel’, a coffee king’s housing solution for independent women

The boat hotel built by a coffee manufacturer, photo from January 1913 (courtesy LOC)Arbuckle’s Deep Sea Hotel was neither in the deep sea, nor was it a hotel.  But for hundreds of young, single women at the end of the Gilded Age, it was home. Accommodations were indeed limited for the thousands of women who […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

How to make a mermaid: A chat with Mark Siegel, the creator of ‘Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson’

A passenger steamer passes along the Hudson, early 1900s. (Courtesy LOC)As a kick-off to the Bowery Boys Book of the Month section, I thought I’d ask Mark Siegel, the author of “Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson,” a few questions on his inspiration for the graphic novel.  I was especially interested in the […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘Sailor Twain’ : A mystery at the bottom of a haunted river (Bowery Boys Book of the Month)

We’re trying out a new feature here on the blog by debuting our very first ever Bowery Boys Book of the Month selection!  Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles Podcasts

The High Line: The wild, wild West Side, cowboys included, inspires an elevated railroad and a remarkable park

Joel Sternfeld’s extraordinary four-seasons photographs of the High Line — displayed in his 2002 show Walking The High Line — revealed a ribbon of nature surrounded by urbanity and presented a peek into forgotten history. These images greatly influenced the later design of the park, a mix of seamless design and tastefully untethered flora. Courtesy […]

Fun on the ice: Party time atop the frozen East River

Daredevils trespassing the ice between New York and Brooklyn in 1871. I spent much of New York’s Christmas blizzard nightmare in various airports throughout the country, unable to get back to La Guardia Airport, where it appears I would have just been stranded anyway. With all the transportation fiascoes, the unplowed streets and the mounting […]

Henry Hudson and the European Discovery of Mannahatta

We turn the clock back to the very beginnings of New York history — to the European discovery of Manahatta and the voyages of Henry Hudson. Originally looking for a passage to Asia, Hudson fell upon New York harbor and the Lenape inhabitants of lands that would later make up New York City. The river […]

New York Fleet Week: 25 years of sailors, everywhere

New York’s first Fleet Week was 25 years ago in a city presumably a lot less kind to men and women in all-white uniforms. When they arrive this Wednesday, however, they’ll have an extra-special landmark to greet them — the newly reopened at the Sea, Air & Space Museum on the USS Intrepid. You might […]

The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: not just another party

Four hundred years ago, on September 12, Henry Hudson sailed into New York harbor and casually discovered the island of Mannahatta, the future home of New Amsterdam, Wall Street, and the New York Yankees. Two hundred years later, ferry mogul Robert Fulton patented the steamboat, an engineering marvel he perfected, but did not invent. Fulton, […]

Name That Neighborhood: TriBeCa not so triangular

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated real-estate designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this series can be found here. For all the New York City neighborhoods with wonderful old […]