Categories
Landmarks

It’s Open House New York 2015! Adventures await at these free sites

 Open House New York is the absolute best time of the year to wander the city and visit dozens of New York City’s greatest historical landmarks and architectural wonders.  Unfortunately, reservations for some of those places pretty much filled up within ten minutes. But never fear! This year, it seems that a great number of the most interesting […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

The Horror Underground: New York’s first subway disaster — during rush hour, one hundred years ago today

On January 6, 1915, a seemingly minor incident under the streets of Midtown caused a terrible panic, “the worst disaster in the history of the New York subway” up to that date, injuring hundreds of commuters and killing one.  That morning, two electrical cables feeding into manholes at Broadway and 52nd Street suddenly shorted out, […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

History in the Making 4/25: In Memory of a Horrible Fire

Above: A dramatic depiction of a fire which took place 160 years ago today. W. T. Jennings was a fine gentleman’s clothing store located at 231 Broadway, on the site of today’s Woolworth Building.  A tremendous fire took the building on the evening of April 25, 1854, causing thousands of dollars in damage and destroying the […]

Categories
Podcasts

At The Ready: The History of the New York City Fire Department

The distinguished members of New York’s various volunteer fire brigades, posing for the photographer Matthew Brady in 1858PODCAST  The New York City Fire Department (or FDNY) protects the five boroughs from a host of disasters and mishaps — five-alarm blazes, a kitchen fire run amok, rescue operations and even those dastardly midtown elevators, always getting […]

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 […]

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 […]

Who were the first kids to break open a fire hydrant?

Happy first day of summer! Who doesn’t want to run down a street, streaking through bursts of water emanating from old-style fire hydrants? Although I’m pretty sure nobody has ever tried to guess the identity of the very first ragamuffins to break into a fire hydrant, common sense and a rote knowledge of teenage behavior can […]