Tag Archives: NYC

The Double Life of Father Schmidt


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father hans schmidtOn 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

1797 Fort Jay Letter Acquired By Jay Heritage Center


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john adler and his familyAbout 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

Stonewall National Monument Dedicated In NYC


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The Stonewall Inn, taken September 1969On Monday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and White House Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett joined federal, state and local officials and LGBT leaders to participate in a public dedication ceremony to commemorate the designation of Stonewall National Monument in New York City.

President Obama designated Christopher Park in Greenwich Village as Stonewall National Monument using his authority under the Antiquities Act. The monument’s boundary also encompasses the Stonewall Inn, a seminal location in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) history, as well as the surrounding streets and sidewalks integral to the Stonewall Uprising. Continue reading

Defending NY Harbor Exhibit Opens At Museum Ship Lilac


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Fort Wood and World Trade Center Bedloe Liberty IslandThe 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

Lt. Joseph Petrosino And The Italian Squad


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joseph petrosinoOn Tuesday, April 14, 1903, an Irish woman named Frances Connors leaned out of her window from the fifth floor tenement house at 743 East 11th Street on Avenue D, New York City, and discovered a man’s body stashed inside a wooden barrel.

The man, who sported a thick mustache speckled with gray hairs and a scar shaped like the letter ‘v’ on his left cheek, had been viciously stabbed, his neck almost severed from side to side. Inspectors on the scene had an inkling the man was one of the many Italian immigrants who had recently made their way into New York, and who perhaps had become involved with La Mala Vita, the bad life. Continue reading

Chestnut Street, Kingston: The Street That Built NYC


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the street that built a city book coverLowell Thing’s book The Street that Built a City: McEntee’s Chestnut Street, Kingston, and the Rise of New York (Black Dome, 2015) takes a look at the city of New York and the street that built it — or much of it. The street is on a quiet hilltop overlooking the Hudson River a hundred miles north of New York’s harbor.

Chestnut Street’s first resident, James McEntee, was an engineer who helped build the Delaware and Hudson Canal, which brought millions of tons of coal from Pennsylvania to the port at Rondout to be hauled down the Hudson River on barges pulled by steamboats belonging to another Chestnut Street resident, Samuel Coykendall, to fuel a rapidly growing New York City. Seven owners of brickyards lived on the street, and their hundreds of millions of bricks rose skyward in New York while bluestone slabs shipped from nearby Wilbur paved the city’s sidewalks. Continue reading

Red Hook’s Waterfront Museum Barge Hosts Port Cities Performance


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jabari brisport at port cities workshop at dixon place in 2015The Port/Cities Project will present the World Premiere of Port Cities NYC, written, directed and choreographed by Talya Chalef. This theatrical journey begins at Pier 11 in the Financial District, where audiences ferry across the harbor accompanied by an original soundscape. After docking in Red Hook’s working port, the performance continues on board The Waterfront Museum Barge. This limited engagement runs May 5 – 19. Continue reading

Brooklyn Heights: An Industrial History


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brooklyn heights book coverRobert Furman’s book Brooklyn Heights: the Rise, Fall and Rebirth of America’s First Suburb (The History Press, 2015) is a substantial illustrated history of Brooklyn. The book takes a look at the moving forces of history, and shows that technology is the great creator and destroyer, especially in the rise and fall of cities.

Brooklyn was once a great industrial city, like many others. It was enabled by transportation technology: steam ferries, railroads, canals. It was once the largest freight port in the world, in particular in Red Hook’s Atlantic and Erie Basins. They were the discharging end of the Erie Canal, and later expanded into international shipping. Continue reading