Categories
Museums

“Designing Tomorrow” glimpses the elegance of modernity via the earnestness of the World’s Fairs of the 1930s

The Museum of the City of New York‘s new exhibition “Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s” examines the aspirational vision of the American future in the automobile age, and the use of a mostly-defunct style of public exhibition as a way to sell that vision. There were over two dozen World Fairs in […]

Categories
Museums

“Designing Tomorrow” glimpses the elegance of modernity via the earnestness of the World’s Fairs of the 1930s

The Museum of the City of New York‘s new exhibition “Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s” examines the aspirational vision of the American future in the automobile age, and the use of a mostly-defunct style of public exhibition as a way to sell that vision. There were over two dozen World Fairs in […]

Categories
Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: Between Julia Child and Weight Watchers

WARNING The article contains a couple 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 show […]

Categories
Queens History

Relaxation in Astoria, in the lap of Queens history

You’ll still find a few free-standing homes on the far western end of Astoria — traditionally called Hallet’s Cove — but you won’t find the one above, a veritable (if ramshackle) plantation getaway as photographed by Berenice Abbott in 1937. The caption of this picture places this house in the hands of Joseph Blackwell, an ancestor […]

The other Draft Riots: Brooklyn infernos, Queens bonfires

You probably know something about the Civil War draft riots that kept New York paralyzed during the week of July 13, 1863. But New York only meant Manhattan back then. What about the rest of the future boroughs? The conscription act initiated draft lotteries throughout the area as, by 1863, the Union struggled to fill […]

Categories
Current Events Podcasts Queens History

A short history of Trump: the roots of Donald’s wealth, from quiet Queens beginnings to glitzy Midtown excess

  PODCAST Sick of Donald Trump yet? (Probably.) Figured him out yet? Is he a financial wizard, reality sideshow, or political distraction? Or all of the above? The solution may be contained in the roots of his fortune — a saga that stretches back to the 1880s and begins with a 16-year-old boy named Drumpf who […]

Cheers, College Point; A tribute to kooky Casey Stengel

I love this picture. There are so few century-old images of actual saloons that look like places you’d actually want to go into. This image, from 1905, of a handsome bar and its attentive staff was taken in College Point, Queens. Notice the beautiful cash register, the deer head overlooking any patrons and the food […]

Yes, there really was a FIFTH Madison Square Garden

A packed house at MSGBowl on June 21, 1932, turning out for a prizefight between Max Schmeling and Jack Sharkey Picture courtesy Awesome Stories There was so much to speak about during the Madison Square Garden podcast that we didn’t have time to mention that, for a brief time, the borough of Queens once had […]

100 Years Ago: Beer, tradition and the new Bohemians

Pic by Coney Girl/Flickr FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER To get you in the mood for the weekend, on occasional Fridays we’ll be featuring an old New York nightlife haunt, from the dance halls of 19th Century Bowery, to the massive warehouse clubs of the mid-1990s. Past entries can be found here. LOCATION Bohemian HallOpened: 1910-still open!Astoria, […]

100 Years Ago: Queens and the influence of Penn Station

Pic courtesy Shorpy Over the next few posts, I’m turning back to exactly one hundred years ago, to contrast the beginning of 2010 with the events of 1910. New York City was in the midst of its Gilded Age, at the beginning of the skyscraper era, more confident as a worldwide center of finance, media […]

Rockaway Playland: all our toys are gone

ABOVE: The long-gone Rockaway Playland, Queens answer to Coney Island at Rockaway Beach that was wiped away for condo developments in 1987. A friendly reminder of what could have happened to Coney Island. Look here for a huge selection of postcards remembering this forgotten Queens amusement park. Below: Color saturated nighttime, circa 1939

Bobby Riggs and the early days of the U.S. Open

ABOVE: Tennis’ great star of the 1940s Bobby Riggs takes a spill at the American National Tennis Championships — later to be called the U.S. Open — at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens. Believe it or not, the tournament was played at this Queens country club from 1915-1920 and 1925-1978. It […]

Louis Armstrong: the real king of Queens

Today’s the birthday of music icon Louis Armstrong, a child of New Orleans (born in 1901) but a proud resident of Queens for almost 30 years, until his death in 1971. Above, Louis luxuriates at his local Queens barber in 1965. Below, Armstrong belts out his latter-day hit song ‘Hello Dolly’ at a New York […]

It’s Belmont Park….by a nose!

And they’re off: Belmont racetrack in 1913(Photo by Shorpy) Two separate horses, almost sixty years apart. Today in New York history, two different horses won the Belmont Stakes out on the Belmont Racetrack, and became triple crown winners (i.e. victors of the Belmont, the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby). The first, Sir Barton, won all […]

Queens 1935: now where did I park my car?

Suburban living in Queens, circa 1935 (photo courtesy LIFE images) By the way, thanks to all that came out to our New York History Trivia night on Monday. It was a fabulous turnout! A lot of history buffs came out tried out there knowledge on some really tough questions. The Municipal Art Society website has […]