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 the Christmas Tree is now lit at Rockefeller Center, so 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
Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr
A historic church that has resided in Manhattan for more than 175 years is set to be demolished, as first reported by Crain’s New York. Located at 154 Lexington Avenue in Nomad, the First Moravian Church served as an important meeting space for patriotic societies and women’s groups and played a critical role in welcoming Armenian immigrants to New York City. An application was filed this month for an 11-story mixed-use building at the site, according to city records.
Photo of the 2021 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree courtesy of Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer
New York City’s annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been a favorite holiday tradition for New Yorkers and visitors alike since its inception in the early 1930s. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the festive tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of people daily to the area around Fifth Avenue. From the tree’s humble beginnings as a place to gather during the Great Depression to its 50,000 sparkling lights and 900-pound Swarovski crystal-covered star topper, here are 10 things you might not know about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Get the fun facts here
Street view of the Lesbian Herstory Archives at 484 14th Street in Park Slope; © Google Maps
A row house in Brooklyn that is home to the country’s oldest and largest collection of lesbian-related historic material is New York City’s newest landmark. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on Tuesday voted to designate the Lesbian Herstory Archives building as an individual landmark, the first in Brooklyn designated for its connection to the LGBTQ+ community.
The 369th Infantry (old 15th National Guard of New York City) was the first New York regiment to parade as veterans of Great War; Photo via National Archives / Wikimedia Commons
New York City’s Veterans Day Parade, known as “America’s Parade,” is the perfect way to honor our servicemen and women; it’s the country’s largest event marking the November 11 holiday. Like most events in New York City, the parade has a history all its own, so 6sqft decided to explore that a bit further as our way of saying thank you to the brave veterans who have fought for our freedom.
Find out the history of the NYC Veteran’s Day parade here
Photo of the National Museum of the American Indian courtesy of Wikimedia; Photo of AMNH’s Northwest Coast Hall courses of D. Finnin/AMNH
In November, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month as a way to commemorate the cultures, histories, and traditions of indigenous peoples across the country. Although New York became the first state to recognize “American Indian Day” in 1916, it’s important to remember that the forceful removal of Native people from their homes is inextricably linked to the history of New York City and the surrounding area. Ahead, find ways to honor Native American Heritage Month, from events at the National Museum of the American Indian to nature-inspired tours through city parks.
Get the list
Photo (cropped) by H.L.I.T via Flickr cc
Have you ever noticed a castle in the middle of the water about 50 miles north of New York City? That’s Bannerman Castle, a long-abandoned arsenal turned adventurer’s hotspot. Stationed on Pollepel Island, the early 20th-century structure sat as an abandoned ruin from the time it caught fire in 1969 until 1992 when a resident from nearby Beacon, NY started the Bannerman Castle Trust and subsequently stabilized the structure and opened the island its famous relic up for tours. Ahead, we uncover the sensational history of Bannerman Caste and fill you in on how you can visit.
Catch up on the Castle
Photo via John St John / Flickr
The Village Halloween Parade may not be as completely outrageous as it once was, but this annual holiday extravaganza is quintessential Greenwich Village. Though many parade attendees are there to show off their costumes and check out those of others, there’s a large number of guests who revel in the nostalgia of a New York tradition that’s marched downtown since 1973. But there’s a lot more history to the parade than most people may know. For instance, it didn’t always go up 6th Avenue, and there’s an entire art form behind those supersized puppets.
All the history right here
Photos courtesy of Regional Plan Association
In celebration of its centennial, the civic group Regional Plan Association has opened a free public exhibition in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. Designed by James Sanders Studio and curated by RPA, The Constant Future: A Century of the Regional Plan explores 100 years of New York City’s development from 1922 to the present day. The two-story display will be on view through October 24.
Find out more
Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr
What do Jean-Michel Basquiat, F.A.O Schwarz, Horace Greeley, Samuel Morse, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Boss Tweed, Peter Cooper, Leonard Bernstein, and Susan Smith McKinney-Steward have in common? All these notable New Yorkers are spending eternity in Brooklyn, specifically Green-Wood Cemetery, the stunning 478-acre “rural cemetery” that’s home to 560,000 “permanent residents” (and about as many truly spectacular mausoleums.) Since the best secrets are the ones you take to the grave, come dig up the dirt on Green-Wood, and read on for 10 things you didn’t know about Brooklyn’s most sensational cemetery.
Take it to the grave!