Categories
Museums

Here’s how to view the new display ‘New York 1942’ at Gracie Mansion

Seventy-five years ago, in 1942, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to move his family from their home in East Harlem (Fifth Avenue and 109th Street) to an old mansion in Carl Schurz Park. It was the former home to merchant Archibald Gracie, built in 1799, to look out at the ships […]

Categories
Holidays

Midnight in Times Square: The history of New Year’s Eve in New York City

PODCAST The tale of New York City’s biggest annual party from its inception on New Years Eve 1904 to the magnificent spectacle of the 21st century.  In this episode, we look back on the one day of the year that New Yorkers look forward. New Years Eve is the one night that millions of people […]

Categories
American History

Life in New York City 1935-1945: Heavenly images from Yale University

Yale University has sprung a beautiful present onto the Internet — a searchable database of over 170,000 public-domain photographs created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information, documenting the aftermath of America of the Great Depression and World War II. The photos, dating from between the years 1935 to 1945, include of […]

Categories
Wartime New York

History in the Making 9/25: Music Made For War Edition

During World War II, Steinway and Sons produced specially-built pianos for the American troops.  Called the Victory Vertical or G.I. Steinways, the pianos were sometimes airdropped onto battlefields to provide a bit of relaxation to troops.  They were manufactured in Steinway’s Queen-based factory and mostly sold to the U.S. government.  More pictures below of the […]

Categories
Pop Culture

IT’S ALIVE! How the American teenager took over the world

College girls at Maryland State, 1923 (courtesy Shorpy) The captivating tone-poem documentary Teenage makes a convincing case for one of the 20th century’s most powerful organic inventions — the teenager.  Like the telephone or Coca-Cola, the teenager was principally an American invention which took hold throughout the Western world, a product of modernity and modern […]

A giant Coke bottle atop the Empire State Building? Almost.

Did you see the spectacular debut of the Empire State Building‘s new LED lights last night, choreographed to the music of Alicia Keys, being simultaneously broadcast on four New York radio stations?    The allure of the Empire State Building as a glamorous light spectacle has been around almost since the mast — originally designed, […]

New York gas rationing 1942: “The taxi driver’s golden age?”

Today begins mandatory gas rationing in New York City due to shortages caused by Hurricane Sandy. There was limited gas rationing during the 1970s, but the longest a gas ration was ever sustained in New York City was 70 years ago, during World War II, officially becoming a nationwide policy in December 1942. It was […]

History In The Making (8/10) The Other Kiss Edition

You’ve seen the V-J Day celebration photos of Times Square from August 14, 1945, the streets filled with relief, joy and revelry. And kissing, lots and lots of kissing, possibly the greatest kiss ever photographed. But photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt was hopping all over midtown that day, documenting kisses. In fact, Eisenstaedt himself got into the act […]

Categories
Parks and Recreation

That time Christopher Columbus annoyed Robert Moses

Christopher Columbus is among the most honored figures in New York statuary, appearing abundantly throughout the five boroughs — standing prominently, nestled in parks and squares, peering from building features. I’ve located a seemingly complete list of New York Columbus monuments, strangely enough, on a German website, inclusive even of Chris’s appearance of 8th Avenue subway […]

Mural grande: War bonds in Grand Central Terminal

This gigantic mural display — at the time, some said, the ‘world’s greatest photo mural‘ and I have little reason to doubt — hung over the heads of commuters in the main hall at Grand Central, debuting with great fanfare (and a special radio broadcast) in December 1941. The 85-foot tall mural, featuring photographers employed […]

New York’s love affair with ticker tape

Above: Golfer Bobby Jones assailed with wild strings of paper Whenever New Yorkers get really, really excited about something — as we are this week with the thrilling victory of the New York Giants over the New England Patriots — we like to take serpentine strips of paper and throw them out a window, primarily […]

A brief history of New York Giants

I’ve had a couple emails asking us to do a New York Giants podcast this week. Oh, had I known! We would have planned one. However, by the end of next month, we will unveil another major sports-themed podcast. In the meantime, here’s a few New York Giants’ non-statistical, history-related factoids to chew on and […]