Tag Archives: New York City

Staten Island Ferry History Lecture in NYC


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Staten Island Ferry provided by National Lighthouse MuseumHistorian Patricia Salmon is set to lead a discussion on the history of Staten Island ferries, on November 8th, 2018 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the National Lighthouse Museum, 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island.

Ferries have been running from Staten Island for more than 350 years. The ferry run we know today, ferryboats and classes, the Saint George and Whitehall terminals, ferry calamities, and those individuals who have molded the story of the Staten Island Ferry over the years will be featured. Continue reading

1917 Food Riots Led By Immigrant Women Swept U.S. Cities


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hungry mothersMass organization, non-violent civil disobedience, and a little unlawful protest have been effective ways to draw attention to issues and change public policy. Today’s anti-gun violence, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter activists can learn lessons from both the success and failure of the 1917 food riots led by immigrant women that swept through United States cities.

In February 1917 the United States still had not entered the Great War in Europe. But the week of February 19-23, 1917, there was a wave of food riots in East Coast United States cities attributed to wartime food shortages, profiteering, and hoarding. The New York Times reported riots in New York City’s the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan and in Boston, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Lafayette In New York: A Hero and Aging General Returns


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The New York welcome is famous. Charles Lindbergh was paraded up Broadway under a deluge of ticker tape after flying the Atlantic solo in 1927. The Apollo 11 astronauts received an even grander reception 42 years later when they returned from the moon.

But no one was ever given a welcome like the one that Lafayette received in 1824. He was returning, one last time, to see the country whose independence he had fought for almost a half century earlier. His tour was a sensation. Echoes of it can be seen across New York to this day. Continue reading

Jim Dine: The Black Paintings Open in NYC


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Jim Dine The History of ScreamsRichard Gray Gallery has announced The Black Paintings, a solo exhibition of recent abstract works by Jim Dine, will be on view at the gallery’s City of New York location from October 25 through December 21, 2018. The exhibition opens with a reception for the artist on Thursday, October 25 from 6 to 8 pm.

The Black Paintings are a series of eight large-format works first conceived in 2015 at Jim Dine’s studio in Walla Walla, Washington. Built from a thick impasto of acrylic paint, sand and charcoal, Dine carefully works each canvas with an electric sander to achieve distinct and textured surfaces. A dominant configuration of related black shapes anchors the composition of each painting, which the artist explains “evokes a figurative image that was (and is) human, yet [is] visually concrete so that the black forms can be interpreted unconsciously as many things.” Continue reading

Hell Gate: A Nexus of New York City’s East River


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hell gateMichael Nichols new book Hell Gate: A Nexus of New York City’s East River (Excelsior Editions, 2018) depicts a man’s exploration of the landscape, history, and toponymy of Hell Gate, a notorious stretch of water in New York City’s East River.

Part history and part memoir, Hell Gate tells of excursions along and through Hell Gate, a narrow stretch of water in New York City’s East River, notorious for dangerous currents, shipwrecks, and its melancholic islands and rocks. Continue reading

100 Yrs Ago New Yorkers Breached the Hindenburg Line


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107th Infantry monument in Central ParkA century ago on September 29, 1918, Allied forces breached the formidable 400-mile Hindenburg Line, spelling the beginning of the end for Imperial Germany in World War I. In the vanguard that cool, misty morning were two American divisions under British-Australian command. The 30th division, nicknamed “Old Hickory” after Andrew Jackson, was drawn from North and South Carolina and Tennessee National Guard regiments.

The 27th division, commanded by Major General John F. O’Ryan and nicknamed “O’Ryan’s Roughnecks,” was drawn entirely from New York National Guard units. Fresh but inexperienced, the Americans lost heavily that day in the battle of St. Quentin Canal. Among the fallen was my great uncle, Everett Wallace Baker, not yet 20, who had enlisted with several Newburgh Free Academy classmates the previous year. Continue reading

Harlem WWI Armistice 100th Anniversary Observance Set


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Dorrance Brooks Square photo courtesy Clio A 100th Anniversary Observance of the armistice ending the First World War has been set for Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 11 am at Dorrance Brooks Square Park on Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem.

The segregated 369th United States Infantry, also known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” assigned to fight in the French Army’s 161st Division, served 191 days in front line trenches in France, more than any other American unit, and also suffered the most losses of any American regiment with approximately 1,500 casualties.  Soldiers fought on two fronts, domestically and internationally, to show both their bravery and patriotism to defend America as well as their efforts to have the respect and rights as full citizens free from racial discrimination. Continue reading

Charles Zimmy’s 1937 Swim from Albany to Manhattan


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Charles ZimmyOn August 23, 1937 a physician checked out Charles Zimmy at the Albany Yacht Club, which was located at the bottom of State Street hill. The doc’s approval having been given, some young men from Albany applied a thick layer of grease to Zimmy’s body, he lit a cigar, and hopped off a pier into the water of the Hudson River. As he bobbled a bit in the water, he lost his cigar. That wasn’t a problem, though, as there was a supply of 200 aboard the Penguin, a 50-foot boat which would shadow him as he made his way south towards New York City. The cigars, Zimmy told a reporter, were as much a necessity as the watertight goggles he wore during his swim.

According to an article in the Times-Union on August 24, Zimmy anticipated losing about 80 pounds during the challenge, which he thought would require him to swim the equivalent of 200 miles – more than the actual distance from Albany to Manhattan – because tides would sometimes push him back upstream, through water he’d already swum. He’d be swimming day and night, catching sleep an hour at a time while floating on his back. Continue reading

New York Streets Named for Slave Traders


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slavery in new york city historyIn the 17th and 18th century, as New Amsterdam grew from a trading post into a village, a village into a town, and then a town into the port city of New York, its wealthiest residents were financially invested in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. And because they were among the most prominent of its early citizens, many of the city’s oldest streets are named after slaveholders and slave traders. An online database, New York Slavery Records Index, created by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, opens this forgotten history to public view.

During the past year a mayoral commission held public hearings and recommended that a statue of James Marion Sims, a 19th century American physician who experimented on enslaved African women, be removed from the Central Park wall at 103rd street and 5th Avenue in the City of New York. Unfortunately, the commission ignored much of the city’s deep connection to slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Continue reading