On November 25, 1783, George Washington marched down Broadway in New York City retaking the last British stronghold in the United States. By prearrangement, the British and their many Tory supporters were to leave the City by 12 pm. The American flag was to be raised at the flagpole at the north end of what is today Bowling Green park, officially ending the American Revolution. There was, however, one minor snag. When the American advance guard sought to put up the 13-star American flag, they discovered the British had greased the pole, so that the British flag could not be brought down. Washington said he would not enter the lower part of the City until the American flag was flying. A young sailor John Van Arsdale then bought cleats from a local hardware store and shimmied up the flagpole to raise the American flag, and Washington’s triumphant march to Lower Manhattan continued. Continue reading
The skyscraper can trace its ancestry back many years, millennia in fact, before the existence of New York City. The book of Genesis tells the story of Babel, the Babylonian city in which Noah’s descendants tried to erect the mythological tower: ‘Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into Heaven.’ For their presumption the people were punished: their words were made incomprehensible to one another. This aetiological tale of the diversity of speech could easily be applied to New York, home to the speakers of some 800 languages, a city in which cab drivers routinely set their satnavs to Russian, Bengali or Serbo-Croatian. Continue reading
When it comes to traffic signals, most people overlook them, but many are unaware that there is a history behind them.
Steven Gembara’s new book New York City’s Red and Green Lights: a Brief Look Back in Time (FastPencil, 2015) offers a unique perspective on the two-color traffic signal’s existence in the 20th century in New York City and how it helped evolved the city’s streets to what they are in the modern day. Continue reading
Researchers at Columbia University are conducting a research project to examine the role of historic districts in New York City’s urban life. The project includes an online public survey to better understand how New Yorkers value the social, environmental, and economic aims of historic district preservation. Continue reading
The Lower Manhattan Historical Society as announced the third annual commemoration of the American Revolutionary War victories at the battles of Saratoga and Yorktown, at the Trinity Churchyard, 79 Broadway (at Wall Street), in the City of New York.
The ceremony will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2016, from 2:30 to 3:30 pm, two days before the 239th anniversary of the surrender by British General Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne of his 10,000 man force to American General Horatio Gates, the commanding general at the Battle of Saratoga, on October 17, 1777. Continue reading
On September 5, 1913, Mary Bann, of Woodcliff, New Jersey, and a male companion, were walking near an abandoned dock near the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, when she spotted a bundle resting near the riverbank. It was wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine, and fairly large in size. Though her companion wished to dissuade her from getting near it, Mary had a stubborn mind, thus she hiked down to the side of the river and grabbed the package. She untied the string, unfurled the brown paper and the newspaper under it, and was soon shocked by the sight: it was the upper torso of a young woman. Her companion quickly hurried to find a policeman. Continue reading
About seventeen years ago, inspired by the purchase of several volumes of a popular 19th century journal, John Adler had an idea – make the American narrative more accessible to the public. So upon his retirement, the former advertising executive launched a multi-year endeavor to create a database of articles, images and ads scanned from the iconic Harper’s Weekly Magazine.
Harper’s was the premiere chronicle of political events and literary commentary of its day, and Adler’s invention would help readers navigate thousands of stories from 1857 to 1916. One could find everything from headlines about Lincoln’s election to Thomas Nast’s cartoons denouncing slavery. This online trove christened “HarpWeek” was further complemented by academic essays and materials for educators. In 2003, Adler’s searchable scholarship “HarpWeek Presents Lincoln and the War” won recognition from the prestigious Gilder Lehrman Institute and an E-Lincoln Prize. Continue reading
The Lower Manhattan Historical Society (the LMHS), in conjunction with the Bowling Green Association, the Sons of the Revolution of the State Of New York, The New York Veteran Corps of Artillery, the Sons of the American Revolution and Culture Now, has announced a set of historical activities in Lower Manhattan for the July 4, 2016 weekend. Continue reading
The first exhibit of Lilac’s 2016 season is Defending New York Harbor, a selection of photographs by Richard Golden. An opening reception will be held on board Lilac on Thursday, June 16 from 5 to 7 pm. The exhibit runs through July 31st.
New York Harbor has been a prize worth attacking since the earliest days of European colonization. In the 1790s, the United States responded to threats by building massive coastal defenses around the Harbor. The Upper Bay, the Narrows, the Lower Bay, Long Island Sound and New York City’s Atlantic shore possess more surviving coastal fortifications built over a longer period of time than anywhere else in the country. The striking photographs in this exhibit show the current condition of these historic structures. Continue reading
LaMama Theatre on East Fourth Street is where puppets, monsters and actors cavort, presenting classic and cutting-edge performance, whooping and hollering in many languages to stage just about any variety of theater from around the globe.
In March, in the space named after the founder, Ellen Stewart, the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre partnered with Dvorak American Heritage Association to present “The New World Symphony: Dvorak in America,” by Vit Horejs. A jazz trio led by James Brandon Lewis on sax threaded musical commentary on the live and puppet action, adding a contemporary flavor to tales of Dvorak’s musical journeys through American sounds. Continue reading