Goat carriages in Central Park via Library of Congress
1930s New York brought us many things: Superman, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Joe DiMaggio, and, of course, goat beauty pageants in Central Park. Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Brewer’s Board of Trade was eager to revive the springtime tradition of Bock Beer festivals and put out an appeal for the most gorgeous goats in Gotham. The goats would go horn to horn in beauty pageants in Central Park to claim the title of “Mr. Manhattan,” and the right to return to the park for regional competitions to determine which beautiful Billy Goat would be “Mr. Bock Beer,” the brewer’s mascot, and the face of ubiquitous bock beer advertisements.
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All photos included in this post were taken at Co-op City in the early 1970s and are courtesy of Co-op City
When Governor Rockefeller, Robert Moses, Jacob Potofsky of the United Housing Foundation, and Abraham Kazan, known as “the father of US cooperative housing,” broke ground on Co-op City in the Baychester section of the Bronx on May 14, 1966, they were doing something truly groundbreaking. In fact, Rockefeller called it a “completely sound investment in a better society.”
Co-op City is the world’s largest co-operative housing development. Built on 320 acres just north of Freedomland, the sprawling, self-contained development provides homes for over 15,000 families across 35 buildings, and supports its own schools, weekly newspaper, power plant, and planetarium. Originally built by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America and the United Housing Foundation as cooperative, affordable, middle-income workers’ housing, Co-op city has remained dedicated to open membership, democratic control, distribution of surplus, and diversity for half a century.
Students from Camp Henry at the exhibit, courtesy of The Henry Street Settlement
In honor of its 125th anniversary, the Henry Street Settlement, the community hub and social services organization at 265 Henry Street, has mounted a new permanent exhibit in its historic 1830 landmarked headquarters. “The House on Henry Street” is a multi-media exhibit that highlights the legacy of the Settlement’s founder, Lillian Wald, and explores over a century of social activism, urban poverty, and public health on the Lower East Side through the lens of the Settlement’s own history. Incorporating archival photos, video and sound recordings, historic objects, and quotations from both settlement workers and clients, the exhibit distills over a century of history into a stunningly rich and deeply moving meditation on the vital importance of community-oriented social activism.
Ever the New Yorker, Santa catches the trolly to Bloomingdales! Via the NYPL
Saint Nicholas arrived in New York with the Dutch and became the Patron Saint of New York City in the early 19th century, but Santa as we know him is a hometown boy. New York’s writers and artists were the first to depict the modern Santa Claus, transforming the figure of Dutch lore into a cheerful holiday hero. The illustrious Claus gained his sleigh in Chelsea and his red suit on Franklin Square. With a little help from the likes of Washington Irving, Clement Clarke Moore, and Thomas Nast, jolly old St. Nick became the merriest man in Manhattan.
More about Santa’s New York Roots!
Henry Street Nurses, courtesy of The Henry Street Settlement
In 1893, the 26-year-old nurse Lillian Wald founded the Lower East Side’s Henry Street Settlement, and what would become the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Two years of nursing school had given her the “inspiration to be of use some way or somehow,” and she identified “four branches of usefulness” where she could be of service. Those four branches, “visiting nursing, social work, country work and civic work,” helped guide the Settlement’s programming, and turned Wald’s home at 265 Henry Street into a center of progressive advocacy, and community support, that attracted neighbors from around the corner, and reformers from around the world.
Learn about Lillian
Shoppers check out a holiday window, via The Library of Congress
Santa rode in on his sleigh at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and you know what that means: It’s officially the holiday season in New York. It’s fitting that Macy’s heralds the beginning of our collective good cheer since R. H. Macy himself revolutionized the holiday season when he debuted the nation’s very first Christmas Windows at his store on 14th Street in 1874. Since then, all of New York’s major department stores have been turning merchandise into magic with show-stopping holiday window displays. Historically, New York’s holiday windows have deployed a combination of spectacle, science, and art, with cutting-edge technology and the talents of such luminaries as Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and Robert Rauschenberg. From hydraulic lifts to steam-powered windows, take a look back at the history of New York’s holiday windows, the last word in high-tech, high-design holiday cheer.
Look at more holiday history here
Andy Warhol in 1968, via Wiki Commons
The Whitney’s new Andy Warhol retrospective, “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again,” is the first major presentation of the artist’s work in the United States since 1989. The show covers the museum’s entire fifth floor, as well as smaller galleries on the first and third floors. It traces Warhol’s career from his early days as a commercial illustrator, to his role as the world’s most iconic pop artist, and through his resurgence in the 1970s and ‘80s. If Warhol’s work is as famous as a can of Coca-Cola, so too is his relationship with New York City. High profile haunts like the Factory, Studio 54, and Max’s Kansas City are as closely associated with Warhol as any of his artwork. But Andy Warhol lived, worked, and played all over New York. Since Andy’s having his moment, give these 10 lesser-known Warhol haunts their 15 minutes.
These places pop!
“Manhattan Island in the Sixteenth Century,” from the Memorial History of New York, 1892, via NYPL
This weekend, Lenape people hosted a Pow Wow on Park Avenue. The event, held at the Park Avenue Armory, was the first Lenape Pow Wow in New York since the 1700s. The gathering represented a homecoming for the Lenape people, who are the original inhabitants of the places we call New Jersey, Delaware, southern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and western Connecticut. Brent Stonefish, a Lenape man who lives in Ontario told WNYC, “It’s home, and today it felt like we were welcomed home.”
Currently, most Lenape belong to the Delaware Nation, and live in New Jersey, Oklahoma and Ontario, but the word Lenape means “Original People,” and the Lenape are the Original New Yorkers. In fact, the name Manhattan comes from the Lenape “Manahatta,” meaning “hilly island.” Although the Lenape stove to “walk so gently on the earth,” without leaving an impact on the land, they influenced the city’s physical geography in ways we can see and feel today. From the Bowling Green to Broadway, Cherry Street to Minetta Lane, here are 10 sites in Manhattan that reflect the legacy of the Lenape.
Learn more about the first
John, a third generation Mohawk ironworker who helped raise One World Trade, photographed by Melissa Cacciola, via Melisssa Cacciola
“Skywalkers: a Portrait of Mohawk Ironworkers at the World Trade Center,” opens today at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The exhibit features photographer Melissa Cacciola’s tintype portraits of Kahnawake Mohawk ironworkers who volunteered in rescue efforts after 9/11 and helped raise One World Trade Center, Towers 2, 3, and 4, and the Calatrava Transportation Hub.
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Hardhats aren’t your typical church-going attire, but they were necessary at Trinity Church when Vicar Rev. Philip Jackson led a behind-the-scenes tour of Trinity’s ongoing $112,000,000, two-year restoration. The project, officially known as a “rejuvenation” of the facilities, began on May 7, 2018, and is slated to be finished in the spring of 2020. Now six months underway, the meticulous work, headed by architect Jeff Murphy of Murphy Burnham and Buttrick, will preserve Trinity’s landmarked church building while “enhancing the overall worship experience,” by making the church more accessible and welcoming.
Weaving our way between scaffolding and rubble in one of New York’s most iconic naves, we saw the very foundation of Trinity Church’s past and got a glimpse of its future. From the finer points of organ-voicing to some of the first examples of American stained-glass, check out 10 of the most exciting behind-the-scenes secrets of the Trinity Church Restoration.
Check out the Church!