History

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Features, Greenwich Village, History, holidays

Village Halloween Parade

Photo via John St John Photography/photopin cc

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.

Find out the stories behind these historic tidbits, as well as others

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Features, History, photography, The urban lens

Jeff Rothstein photography, 1970s NYC

All photos © Jeff Rothstein

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Jeff Rothstein shares a collection of 1970s street photos. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Brooklyn native Jeff Rothstein bought his first 35 mm camera in 1969, hoping to get some good shots at the Yankees and Mets game he frequently attended. But what he found was a love for NYC that turned him into an avid street photographer for the rest of his life. Jeff recently compiled a selection of these black-and-white images in his book “Today’s Special: New York City Images 1969-2006,” and he shared a subset of 1970s photos with 6sqft. From John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Muhammad Ali to protests shows at the Filmore East, and candid shots of everyday New Yorkers, Jeff’s work captures a bygone NYC with a delicate intimacy.

Hear from Jeff and travel back to 1970s NYC with him

History

This block-by-block drawing shows Broadway in 1899

By Michelle Cohen, Thu, October 25, 2018

As part of Archtober, NYC’s annual celebration of the city’s buildings, the New York Public Library (NYPL) has been providing virtual tours of Archtober venues and offering resources to help us learn more about them. One fascinating example: A block-by-block visual record of Broadway at the turn of the 20th century, from Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan to 56th Street. The pictorial description in the library’s digital collection includes advertisements and business indeces that relate to nearby businesses. Published by the Mail & Express Company who also published the Evening Mail daily newspaper, the panoramic drawings give a snapshot of history along “America’s most notable thoroughfare.”

Check it out

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Features, GVSHP, History, Soho

Remembering Soho’s Tunnel Garage: An automobile age marvel

By Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Thu, October 25, 2018

The Tunnel Garage in 1923, via MCNY

As the old saying goes, you win some, you lose some.  That’s particularly true in preservation, where sometimes in spite of the most heroic of efforts and compelling of cases, historic treasures succumb to the wrecking ball. GVSHP is frequently asked, “Which fight do you most regret losing; which building do you mourn the loss of most?” It often comes as a surprise that the answer, inevitably, is a parking garage — one which seemed to almost eerily peer into the future.

But the Tunnel Garage, at Broome and Thompson Streets, where the South Village meets Soho, was no ordinary parking garage. Built in 1922, it was a thing of extraordinary beauty, a sublime ode to the dawn of the automobile age and to the engineering marvel of its time which was the Holland Tunnel.

So, what happened?

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Features, History, yorkville

10 secrets of Gracie Mansion

By Lucie Levine, Wed, October 24, 2018

Gracie Mansion via NYC.gov

Gracie Mansion, the gracious Federal-Style mansion that overlooks the East River from Yorkville’s Carl Schurz Park, has been New York’s Mayoral residence since 1942. But the house had a long history before it started hosting municipal magistrates. Since construction began in 1799, Gracie Mansion has served as a residence, a museum, and even an ice cream stand. From a connection to Alexander Hamilton’s death to the stubborn mayors who refused to live in the residence, here are 10 secrets of the People’s House.

Get all the history

History, Interiors, Upper East Side

 © James and Karla Murray for 6sqft

For those still struggling with the absence of Yorkville institution Glaser’s Bake Shop, which sadly closed its doors in June, there’s a chance to hold on to some of that sweet nostalgia. The complete interior of the beloved bakery, which first opened on the Upper East Side in 1902 and is credited with inventing black-and-white cookies, is for sale. The Demolition Depot announced this week they are selling classic features of Glaser’s, including its apothecary-style wooden showcases, sliding glass doors, original silvered mirrors, milk glass upper panels, marble countertop, and more (h/t Vanishing New York).

Get the details

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Features, History, Hotels, Upper West Side 

The Ansonia, Upper West Side history

The Ansonia in 1904, via Wiki Commons

With the 2018 World Series kicking off today, it’s amazing to think that one of the most iconic landmarks of the Upper West Side played a crucial role in shaping the outcome of the World Series back in 1919. Back then, the Ansonia was a brand new, luxury residential hotel in Manhattan–it opened in 1904 with a grand total of 1,400 rooms and 320 suites. The lavish locale quickly became popular amongst athletes; even Babe Ruth would stay there and come to treat the entire hotel like an extension of his apartment. But in 1919, baseball players and the mafia found a match in the hotel. A small group of players, and one very powerful, moneyed mafioso, came up with a deal that would throw the results of the game pitting the Chicago White Sox against the Cincinnati Reds.

Keep reading about the illicit deal

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Features, History

The Hill-Stead Museum via Flickr cc

Original Plans for Hill-Stead, from McKim, Mead and White papers 1901, designed by Theodate Pope Riddle, via Hill Stead

Theodate Pope Riddle not only made history as New York’s first licensed female architect but also lived it as a passenger aboard the Lusitania, the British ocean liner torpedoed off the coast of Ireland in 1915. The sinking of the Lusitania helped draw the United States into World War One, but neither German torpedoes nor the social strictures of her time could sink Theodate’s indomitable, independent spirit. She would go on to collaborate with McKim, Mead & White on a Colonial Revival masterpiece in Connecticut, as well as reconstruct Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace on East 20th Street.

The whole history

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Features, History

St. Paul’s Chapel via Flickr cc

Tis the season to voluntarily spook oneself out, but if haunted houses and tourist-friendly ghost tours aren’t your thing, New York’s bustling burrows are home to a slew of the more naturally born spirits. You’ll find Dracula’s extended family on 23rd Street, a host of oracles on Orchard Street, and the site of the cruel crime that led to the nation’s first recorded murder trial on Spring Street. If you’re searching for a necropolis in the metropolis, here are ten of the best sites in New York to spot specters.

See all the haunted haunts here!

Greenwich Village, Historic Homes, History

Photo of 14 West 10th Street via Wikimedia; Photo of Mark Twain via Wikimedia

Despite its picturesque exterior, the building at 14 West 10th Street in Greenwich Village has a not-so-cute history. Since being constructed in the 1850s near the start of the Civil War, 22 people have died in the home, referred to as the House of Death. And as the New York Post reported, some of their spirits allegedly have never left. Residents have reported sightings of the spirit of Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain, who lived at the building between 1900 and 1901, and other bone-chilling ghosts who have haunted the Greenwich Village block for over a century.

More on the haunted home here

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