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Health and Living Podcasts Staten Island History

The Staten Island Quarantine War

EPISODE 325 In 1858, during two terrible nights of violence, the needs of the few outweighed the needs of the many when a community, endangered for decades and ignored by the state, finally reached its breaking point. In Staten Island, just south the spot of today’s St. George Ferry Terminal, where thousands board and disembark […]

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Bridges

A very happy 50th birthday to the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge! Ten facts you may not know about the bridge’s origins

The new span in 1964, photographed by the Wurts Brothers (MCNY) The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge — the first land crossing between Staten Island and the rest of New York City — officially opened for traffic fifty years ago today. It is one of America’s greatest bridges and a graceful monumental presence in New York Harbor.  Below […]

Categories
True Crime Wartime New York

In 1914, a Jersey City fireworks and munitions plant exploded. Was it sabotage by the Germans?

One hundred years ago today, the Detwiller & Street fireworks plant, located in the Greenville section of Jersey City, exploded in a horrible shower of fire and glass.  Four men were killed instantly and dozens of employees were injured.  Several surrounding buildings “fell to pieces like houses of cards.”   The rumble shook buildings throughout […]

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Staten Island History

Forgotten paradise: Welcome to South Beach, Staten Island

South Beach, Staten Island, 1973, photographed by Arthur Tress As a resort and amusement mecca, the time of Staten Island’s South Beach has come and gone.  The waterfront community south of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge still has a classic old boardwalk, built in 1935 as New Deal project and appropriately called the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boardwalk. […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

Why are there so many Henry Streets in New York City?

Manhattan’s Henry Street looking south, 1935, photo by Berenice Abbott (NYPL) Since Manhattan and Brooklyn developed as two separate cities before they were intertwined within consolidated New York City in 1898, it’s not surprising to see similar street names in both boroughs, deriving from different origins.  But the Henrys being honored in these street names […]

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Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Consolidation! The tale of five boroughs and one big city

PODCAST Our 150th episode! Here’s the story of how two very big cities and a whole bunch of small towns and villages — completely different in nature, from farmland to skyscraper — became the greatest city in the world. This is the tale of Greater New York, the forming of the five boroughs into one […]

Staten Island already had a gigantic Ferris wheel — in 1893!

In the spirit of P.T. Barnum, Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday announced plans to build the world’s largest Ferris wheel next to the ferry terminal on Staten Island. The amusement, called the New York Wheel, will stand 84 feet higher than a similar Ferris wheel in Singapore and also nods towards the London Eye, a ride […]

The art of the reservoir, New York’s forgotten architecture

The Fortress of Fifth Avenue: the Murray Hill Reservoir We share a lot of the same needs as New Yorkers of the past, but we’ve just gotten better at hiding the unpleasant ones.  There are a great many mental institutions and specialized medical facilities in the city; they just aren’t in creepy, old Gothic buildings […]

‘Staten Island Has Many Charms Worthy Of Consideration’: Ten ways to sell a borough (and a proposed subway) in 1912

The sky’s the limit: Staten Island from the vantage of a hot air balloon, August 1906. (Courtesy LOC)“God might have made a more beautiful place than Staten Island, but He never did.” — George William Curtis If you’ve ever been slightly bemused by the newspaper profiles of trendy neighborhoods, presented as though the reporters were […]

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Staten Island History

Camera Ready: The Alice Austen House, a rustic reminder of an uncommon artist and a cottage shrine to a life in pictures

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION Until May 21st, you can vote every day in the Partners In Preservation initiative, which will award grant money to certain New York cultural and historical sites among 40 nominees. Having trouble deciding which site to support? I’ll be featuring on a few select sites here on the blog, providing you with a window […]

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Revolutionary History Staten Island History

Aaron Burr, Staten Island, and the tale of his death mask

Yes, Hamilton fans, we are a proud people, judging from the many notes and supportive comments yesterday left on the Facebook page on the birthday of Alexander Hamilton, tinged with strong anti-Aaron Burr sentiment. But, from our comfortable vantage of the future, have we been too harsh on the killer Vice President? Sure, he absolutely […]

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 […]

Was ‘Birth of a Nation’ really filmed in Staten Island?

A rather startling title card from ‘Birth of a Nation’ [courtesy the Liberty Lamp]The question posed in the headline is a fascinating urban legend I’ve been obsessed with proving (or disproving) for about a year. It pops up occasionally during discussions about New York film history. And I think I’ve come up with an answer. […]

Mark those calendars! Big New York anniversaries in 2011

The New York Public Library main branch building in 1911. If you’ll notice, the lions are not on their pedestals. (Courtesy NYPL) With the ringing in of another new year comes a new list of institutions, events and accomplishments marking significant milestones this year. 400 Years AgoHendrick Christiaensen visits Mannahatta 1611Who, you ask? Sure, nobody […]

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Staten Island History

‘Cropsey’: urban legend intersects with unspeakable crime at an abandoned Staten Island children’s institution

Above: Willowbrook State School in central Staten Island. Looks innocent enough…. BOWERY BOYS RECOMMEND is an occasional feature where we find an unusual movie or TV show that — whether by accident or design — uniquely captures an era of New York City as well as any reference or history book. Other entries in this […]