Features

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Features, History, holidays, Top Stories

The history of the Rockettes: From St. Louis to Radio City

By Emily Nonko, Today, December 18, 2017

The Rockettes in 1925, courtesy of The Rockettes

For nearly a century, the Rockettes have been an icon of Christmas in New York. From humble St. Louis origins (no, the troupe was not formed in the Big Apple) to performing when Radio City Music Hall was in disrepair and shuttering for weeks at a time, they’ve managed to continue dancing throughout the decades. Not only that, they’ve emerged as America’s best known dance troupe. Here’s the incredible history of this small team of female dancers, who have pulled off astounding, razor-sharp choreography while also fighting for higher wages and the landmarks designation of Radio City. The Rockettes are a New York icon, but only after a hard-fought battle to keep performing in the city.

Keep reading to learn more

Featured Story

Features, History, photography, The urban lens

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York

Skaters at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, 1935. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, we take a look back at New York City’s ice skating history just days before the Museum of the City of New York’s “New York on Ice” exhibit opens to the public. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

There are few New York winter activities more iconic than ice skating. The rink, the blades, the gliding people attempting to balance – the elements of the pastime are minimal, and so the pictures of it over the centuries are not so very different despite the decades.

On view this Wednesday through April 2018, the Museum of the City of New York will be hosting an exhibit titled “New York on Ice: Skating in the City” featuring many of the images below of ice skating in NYC from the 1800s to the present day. In addition to paintings, postcards, and vintage photographs, the exhibit will also showcase costumes, posters, and more.

See the collection

Featured Story

Features, Greenwich Village, GVSHP, History, More Top Stories, Transportation

NYC’s first elevated train and the world’s first streetcar began in Greenwich Village

By Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Thu, December 14, 2017

A streetcar at Madison and 4th Avenue in 1890. Via MCNY.

Greenwich Village is known as the birthplace of many things – the modern gay rights movement, Off-Broadway theater, the New York School of artists and poets, the “new urbanism” pioneered by Jane Jacobs, among many other trailblazing firsts. Less closely associated with the Village, however, are radical and transformative innovations in transportation technology. But while little known, the Village was in fact home to the first elevated rail line, and the first streetcar.

The whole history right this way

Featured Story

Features, Interviews, People, Policy

Michael Hiller is a zoning and land-use attorney who has represented community groups in seemingly impossible quests for about 20 years. His high-profile cases have often been against the Landmarks Preservation Commission, notably Tribeca’s iconic Clock Tower Building and new construction along historic Gansevoort Street, both of which are pending appeal by the defendants.

As one legal observer commented, “He has become an expert in the nuances of the Landmarks Law from a legal perspective. In court, he is very talented on his feet before a very hot bench, before judges who ask a lot of tough questions.” His successes have won him designation as a Super Lawyer every year since 2009 as well as the 2017 Grassroots Award from the Historic Districts Council. 6sqft recently visited Michael at his office to learn more about his work.

Ahead, hear from Michael and learn more about his current cases

Featured Story

Architecture, building of the year, Features, New Developments, Top Stories

Announcing 6sqft’s 2017 Building of the Year!

By Emily Nonko, Tue, December 12, 2017

one manhattan square, building of the year, 6sqft building of the year

The votes have been tallied, and so it’s time to name the 2017 Building of the Year! The winning title belongs to no other than One Manhattan Square, the Lower East Side meets Chinatown skyscraper that will be home to NYC’s largest outdoor private garden when it opens next year. The 800-foot-tall tower beat out 11 other significant NYC buildings in a competitive two-week competition held by 6sqft. Out of 3,782 votes cast, the Extell-developed, Adamson Associates-designed structure took first place with 959 votes or 25.35% of the total.

More on this year’s winner!

Featured Story

Features, People, Top Stories, Upper East Side, Where I Work, yorkville

All photographs © James and Karla Murray for 6sqft

6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we’re touring Glaser’s Bake Shop, a 115-year-old German bakery in Yorkville.Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!

In the early 20th century, New York’s German immigrants relocated from the East Village to the Upper East Side neighborhood of Yorkville, which soon became known as Germantown. The community was so culturally rich, that German was spoken more than English in this area. 86th Street was dubbed “Sauerkraut Boulevard” and was lined with German butchers, restaurants, and bakeries. After the dismantling of the Second and Third Avenue elevatrated trains in the 1940s and ’50s, most of the German community moved out, but several of these old-time businesses still remain, one of which is Glaser’s Bake Shop.

When German immigrant John Glaser opened his bakery in 1902, there were half a dozen nearby competitors. 115 years later, the perfectly preserved storefront on First Avenue and 87th Street is the last of its kind in Yorkville, but it’s still filled everyday with new neighbors and long-time residents alike, eager to satisfy their sweet tooths with the extra chocolately brownies, jelly donuts, Bavarian pastries, and their famous black-and-white cookies. Glaser’s is now owned by John’s grandsons Herbert and John, who are committed to keeping their family’s traditions alive. 6sqft recently stopped by to watch Herb work on massive gingerbread village and chat with him more about the baker’s history and how he’s seen Yorkville change over the years.

Get a behind-the-scenes look and hear from Herb

Featured Story

building of the year, Features

Last day to vote for 6sqft’s 2017 Building of the Year!

By Emily Nonko, Mon, December 11, 2017

This year was all about new development redefining the New York City skyline. Construction moved along at a rapid pace, whether it be the topping out of Richard Meier’s tower at 685 First Avenue or foundational work kicking off at Brooklyn’s first supertall 9 Dekalb. In the next several years we’ll see these buildings open and show off apartments at sky-high prices, but for now, we get to enjoy the construction process on some of the most notable new architecture to come to New York.

We’ve narrowed down a list of 12 news-making residential structures for the year. Which do you think deserves 6sqft’s title of 2017 Building of the Year? To have your say, polls for our third annual competition will be open up until midnight on Monday, December 11th and we will announce the winner on Tuesday, December 12th.

VOTE HERE! And learn more about the choices.

Featured Story

Features, Green Design, More Top Stories, photography, Sunset Park, The urban lens

Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, Sunset Park, recycling plants, NYC recycling

All photographs © James and Karla Murray for 6sqft

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, we take a look at the inner workings of Sunset Park’s Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, from trash heaps to machinery to a learning center. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

The beauty of trash is not often lauded, but out on the Brooklyn waterfront, at Sunset Park’s Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, the process is oddly mesmerizing. En masse, the glass and plastic shards processed in the building’s bowels become a disposable rainbow, the sharp shapes of residential recyclables a testament to the mesmerizing aesthetic of large-scale sustainability.

Sims is located on the 11-acre 30th Street Pier, which also contains the city’s first commercial-scale wind turbine. On Sims’ second story is a recycling education center; surrounding its exterior are a number of nature-harboring reefs, moorings, and native plants; and on the roof is an observation deck. The plant sorts 800 tons of recyclables on 2.5 miles worth of conveyor belts and machines daily, the majority of NYC’s “commingled curbside material,” its site proudly purports. In total, the plant processes 200,000 tons of plastic, glass, and metal a year. Ahead, take a look at the Sims world, where trash is heaped so high it really does look like treasure if you squint.

Take a tour

Featured Story

apartment living 101, Features

“Vintage” furniture and decor is no stranger to young, urban professionals, with the proliferation of markets like Brooklyn Flea and do-good stores like Housing Works. But rarely do fine antiques enter the equation, often being tossed aside for their higher price points. But the antiques market has undergone a major shift in recent years, and no one has been more privy to it than Ben Macklowe, the second-generation president of the Macklowe Gallery who describes collecting as “the intersection of passion, taste and happenstance.”

After standing as a fixture on Madison Avenue for nearly 50 years, gaining international recognition for its collection of French Art Nouveau furniture and objects, Tiffany lamps and glassware, and antique and estate jewelry, the gallery recently relocated to a 6,000-square-foot space on 57th Street and Park Avenue, which, according to Ben is “thanks to our existing clients and a new generation of passionate collectors.” For this new generation, Ben believes the time is ripe to start collecting. Antiques are sustainable by nature, they lend themselves to cultural exploration, and, because of a generational shift, are more affordable than ever.

Ahead, we break down the top-three reasons to start an antique collection.

Read more

Featured Story

Features, History, holidays, Top Stories

Hanukkah celebration by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association at the Academy of Music in New York City, 1880, via Wikimedia Commons

Hanukkah is engrained into New York’s holiday season, but roughly 100 years ago the Festival of Lights was big news to many New Yorkers. Look at the newspaper coverage back in the day regarding the holiday, and most “took an arms-length approach,” as Bowery Boys puts it. “More than one old Tribune or World carried a variant of the headline “Jews Celebrate Chanukah,” as though there might have been some doubt. A 1905 headline even informed readers that, “Chanukah, Commemorating Syrian Defeat, Lasts Eight Days.”

Such headlines weren’t just the result of ignorance–New York’s Jewish population was low through the 1800s, and even within the religion, Hanukkah has traditionally been a minor festival. But a boom in Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe and a reassertion of religious traditions in a new country completely changed the fabric of New York. Eventually, the eight-day festival of light–which commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks over 2,000 years ago–emerged as an important tradition of the city.

Here’s what happened

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