Five items from the Village Voice, 50 years ago this week

Washington Square North, looking west, 1950, photo by Walter Sanders, Life Magazine The entire back catalog of the Village Voice, New York’s original alternative weekly, is available online through Google News.  The early issues are especially full of character, a scrappy counter-culture organ which provides an interesting window into downtown Manhattan.  Here are some highlights […]

Health and Living

The world in glasses: Theodore Roosevelt, fictional athletes, glamorous secretaries, even the Bowery Boys!

If glasses are fashionable today, you can thank President Theodore Roosevelt, whose stylish C-bridge pince-nez diminished the reputation as mere apparel for the weak. — The Bowery Boys are featured this week on the official blog of Warby Parker, the fashionable eyewear company specialize in vintage-style prescription frames and sunglasses.  Thanks to Dixie Roberts for […]

The Knick

The Lower East Side went back in time this week

Was this photograph taken yesterday on the set of Steven Soderbergh’s new mini-series The Knick, or was it taken back in the 1910s?  The answer is at the bottom of this blog post! This week, a little stage magic is manifesting in the Lower East Side. The Broome Street of 2013 has been turned briefly into […]

Those Were The Days

Blackout 2003: Where were you when the lights went out?

Photo above courtesy Drew Dies/Flickr He has a cool set of pictures from that day here. Today is the tenth-year anniversary of the Northeast Blackout of 2003 which shut down power for most of New York City (and much of the Northeast) for almost 24 hours, with some areas experiencing outages well into the second day. I […]

Health and Living

The Strangers Hospital: Your special home on Avenue D, brought to you by Boss Tweed’s plumber king

A genuine survivor: The building to the right was once the Strangers Hospital in the 1870s.  This picture, by Berenice Abbott, was taken many decades later, in 1937.  And the building is still around today! (Picture NYPL) New York used to lump the sick, the poor and the homeless into one mass of needy unwanted. […]

Religious History

Day of Atonement indeed: The Yom Kippur riot of 1898

When I hear of riots on the Lower East Side during the late 19th century, my mind goes to disgruntled newsies or agitated garment workers, rising up for fair wages and employment. Or maybe a vicious street gang like the Whyos primed to wreck havoc. I don’t immediately think of the orthodox Jewish community. But […]

The legend of bank robber ‘Red’ Leary, his wife Kate, and the greatest jail break in Lower East Side history

 ‘Red’ Leary was one of the famous bank robbers of the 1870s, assisting in heists all along the Northeast. Above is an illustration of a bank robbery in Montreal, Canada, displaying some of the tools found at the crime scene. They don’t talk about ‘Red’ Leary anymore down in the streets of the Lower East […]

Henry Street Settlement: From the doors of old townhouses springs the compassionate heart of the Lower East Side

Children gallivant and pose for pictures outside 265 Henry Street, date unknown (Courtesy Henry Street Settlement) FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION Until May 21st, you can vote every day in the Partners In Preservation initiative, a program that will award grant money to certain New York cultural and historical sites among 40 nominees. Having trouble deciding which site to […]

Health and Living Preservation

Bialystoker Home, a remarkable Lower East Side treasure and home for assisted living–now in need of some assistance

Bialystoker Home for the Aged may not make it into many tourist guides, but this Lower East Side art deco artifact holds an important link to New York’s immigrant history. It was just born on the wrong side of the street, and because of that, it’s an endangered structure. On the south side of East […]

Mysterious Stories

Notes from the Podcast (#130) Haunted Histories of NYC

We had a terrific time recording this year’s ghost-story show — Haunted Histories of New York. Here’s some extra details about our four subjects that were left out of this week’s show. (By the way, if you wouldn’t mind, please vote for us in this year’s 2011 Podcast Awards. We’re in the Best Travel Podcast […]

Super Local: Captain America and New York’s other heroes

A 1940s antique store carries more than dusty lamps in the summer superhero film, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger,” which transplants its hero’s origins from the Lower East Side to downtown Brooklyn. I know I can be a bit fanatic in my New York-centeredness, but this statement I can make with fact — the comic book […]

Rosie Shapiro, Yetta Goldstein….

You’ll find these written on the sidewalks all throughout the city today….

American History

Where they lived: Victims of the Triangle Factory Fire, the homes they left behind, a hundred years later

Lonely tenement on Avenue C and 13th Street, near many homes of the Triangle Fire victims. photo by Percy Loomis Sperr [NYPL] From cable television to museums and campuses all over the city, you’ve been able to find a host of remembrances of the tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory one hundred years ago. […]

Happy birthday George Burns, child of Rivington Street

George at his 85th birthday party in 1981 [Courtesy Life] Today is the birthday of Nathan “Nattie” Birnbaum, known to classic television audiences and “Oh God!” fanatics as George Burns. Born to Romanian immigrants, Nattie grew up on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side, first at 230 Rivington Street, then at 311 Rivington in […]

Jewish newsies on Delancey Street

(click picture for larger view) Hanukkah starts tomorrow night, but these guys are still on the street selling newspapers. According to the caption, it’s midnight on Delancey Street and (left to right) H. Brown, age 12, Scheer, age 14, and M. Brown, age 10, venture out on the street to sell newspapers, the Jewish publication […]