New York Islands

Whatever happened to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Island?

Welfare IslandĀ (once the more enticingly named Blackwell’s Island) was New York’s depository of human services, once a dour place of horrifying asylums and miserable workhouses. In the 1960s Mayor John Lindsay was preparing to revitalize the East River island with new housing and increased support for the hospitals there. Architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee… Read More

Mad Men

In Central Park, heated reactions to the assassination of Martin Luther King, while business booms at movie theaters

WARNING The article contains a couple light spoilers about last night’s ‘Mad Men’ on AMC.  If you’re a fan of the show, come back once you’re watched the episode.  But these posts are about a specific element of New York history from the 1960s and can be read even by those who don’t watch the… Read More


Gracie Mansion: How a bucolic summer home survived a couple wars, a society feud and a few live-in mayors

Photo by the Wurts Brothers, date unknown. Courtesy NYPL Archibald Gracie admired the extraordinary vistas at Horn’s Hook — overlooking the East River and the churning waters of Hell’s Gate — and decided to build a house here. Little did he know what an extraordinary journey this comfy little Federal home would take over the… Read More

Mayor John Lindsay returns to New York City

“Not only is New York City the nation’s melting pot, it is also the casserole, the chafing dish and the charcoal grill.” — John V. Lindsay He famously referred to New York as a ‘fun city’, even as he reigned its reality, a metropolis racked with debt, riots and rising crime, a metropolis restless and… Read More