There’s no lack of artists deeply associated with New York. But among the many painters who’ve been inspired by our city, perhaps none has had a more enduring and deeper relationship than Edward Hopper, particularly with Greenwich Village. Hopper lived and worked in Greenwich Village during nearly his entire adult life, and drew much inspiration from his surroundings. He rarely painted scenes exactly as they were, but focused on elements that conveyed a mood or a feeling. Hopper also liked to capture scenes which were anachronistic, even in the early 20th century. Fortunately due to the Village’s enduring passion for historic preservation, many, if not all, of the places which inspired Hopper nearly a century ago can still be seen today – or at least evidence of them.
A ladies luncheon at Delmonico’s in 1902; photo via MCNY
Nearly five decades before women were granted the right to vote in New York State, a group of fed-up ladies decided to protest a symbolic law that prohibited them from dining in restaurants without men present. After journalist Jane Cunningham Croly was barred from entering a dinner held at the New York Press Club, she and a group of women founded Sorosis, the first professional women’s club in the United States. On April 20, 1868, Croly and her crew held a luncheon at the historic Delmonico’s Restaurant in the Financial District, which became the first to serve women independently of men. Following the groundbreaking meal, clubs for only women formed all over the country.
With baseball season back in full swing, talk at some point turns to the heartbreak of losing the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles. Modern Mechanix informs us that team owner Walter O’Malley had championed a Brooklyn dome stadium designed by Buckminster Fuller–and how the result is yet another reason to blame Robert Moses. O’Malley took the team to Cali, if you’ll remember, because he got a better deal on land for a stadium–better than he was able to get in the five boroughs. He had wanted to keep the team in Brooklyn, but Ebbets Field was looking down-at-the-heels by then and bad for morale. In 1955 O’Malley wrote dome-obsessed architect Buckminster Fuller requesting a domed stadium design.
New York in the 1960s was a city of news junkies. Even though 10 newspapers fed that appetite, some New Yorkers who read two papers every morning were heard to complain that there was only one in the afternoon. Today, there are only three papers in New York—the Times, the Post, and the Daily News, (The Wall Street Journal is customarily considered a business publication, not a general newspaper.), but of course, one’s media appetite is fed digitally. Back in the 60s, though, there were few other options.
So in 1962, when 17,000 newspaper workers went on strike for 114 days, and then again in 1965 for a whopping 140 days, crippling print publications, the starvation was keenly felt. These two events are also what ultimately led to NYC going from 10 to three newspapers.
Photo by Chris Goldberg/Flickr
The Bronx’s Belmont community can date its history all the way back to 1792, when French tobacconist Pierre Abraham Lorillard opened the Lorillard Snuff Mill as the first tobacco firm in the country, and possibly the world. European influences continued to proliferate in the area, and at the turn of the 19th century, flocks of Italian immigrants moved to Belmont to take jobs in the newly opened Botanical Gardens and Bronx Zoo. By 1913, the neighborhood was referred to as the Italian “colonies” in the Bronx.
Today, Belmont’s main artery, Arthur Avenue, still thrives as a bustling Italian center, with countless restaurants, pastry shops, butchers, and more. But there’s a lot more to Belmont than just spaghetti and cannoli. From the origins of a pasta shop’s sign that’s now featured on Broadway to a Neapolitan restaurant that was born in Cairo, Egypt, the Belmont BID shares six secrets of this saucy neighborhood.
Via NY Transit Museum
Before the Woodlawn station opened a century ago, the surrounding area of Norwood in the Bronx was mostly rural with lots of farmland. While residential development began with the opening of the Woodlawn Cemetery, the neighborhood’s transformation really took off when the subway was extended to reach this part of the city. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first train pulling into the northern terminal of the IRT Jerome Avenue Line, the New York Transit Museum is giving guests the chance to travel on World War I-era cars to relive this important part of subway history.
Photos © James and Karla Murray
The new exhibition at the Brooklyn Historical Society, “The Business of Brooklyn,” celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and tells the fascinating story of the borough’s 100 years of business, detailing its industrial past, large companies, as well as its preponderance of mom-and-pop shops. It also showcases many objects and artifacts, which have their origins in Brooklyn, demonstrating the significant “role that Brooklyn has played in American consumer culture.” The exhibition is on view at the Brooklyn Historical Society’s landmark building in Brooklyn Heights located at 128 Pierrepont Street until Winter 2019. From those iconic yellow pencils to Brillo pads to Cracker Jack, you may be surprised to see what has been made in Brooklyn.
Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. via Wiki Commons
Fifty years ago, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. This ended the life of one of the 20th century’s most revered and influential figures. It also began a 15-year campaign to make Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday — the first-ever honoring an African American. That successful quest began with and was spearheaded by a native son of Greenwich Village, Howard Bennett. Bennett was one of the last residents of a Greenwich Village community known as “Little Africa,” a predominantly African-American section of the neighborhood which was, for much of New York’s history through the 19th century, the largest and most important African-American community in the city. That neighborhood centered around present-day Minetta, Thompson, Cornelia, and Gay Streets.
Photos courtesy the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery
As the city currently tackles a plethora of issues with its public transit system, New Yorkers have been presented with no shortage of innovations to make commuting (hopefully) better. Take a look back at the turn of the 20th century, though, and the moving sidewalk was considered the future of urban transportation. According to Gizmodo, “The moving sidewalk represented a bold new vision for tomorrow… This idea of rolling pavement appealed to people in major cities who didn’t yet see the rise of the automobile as inevitable and were looking for an affordable alternative to more elaborate infrastructure like subway trains.” In 1903, an article in Harper’s Weekly said that moving sidewalks were the perfect solution for the city to tackle congestion issues that would arise with new bridge connections bringing people from Brooklyn into New York City.
The Highlanders play a game at Hilltop Park in 1912, photo via NYPL
Not unlike their current power-house lineup, the most dominant team in American sports got off to quite a rocky start. Not only did the New York Highlanders, now known as the Yankees, have a losing record for many years, the team’s first home field was a mess: it was located near a swamp, the outfield had no grass, and the ballpark sat mostly unfinished. In just six weeks, 500 men hastily built the stadium on Broadway and 168th Street in Washington Heights, known as Hilltop Park, in time for the Highlander’s first home game on April 30, 1903. Due to the unsavory, rock-filled conditions, the last big league game at Hilltop Park was played in October of 1912. Following its closure, the Highlanders changed their name to the Yankees in 1913, moved to the Bronx, and went on to become one of the most successful sports teams in the world.