History

History

Photo by Tdorante10 via Wikimedia Commons

One of the surest ways to know an out-of-towner is if they pronounce it “HUE-stun” instead of “HOW-stun” Street. But have you ever wondered why we don’t say it like the Texas city? The Times received this question from a reader and turned to Gerard Koeppel‘s book “City on a Grid: How New York Became New York” for the answer. According to Koeppel, “Houston the city is named after Sam Houston. Our street was named after a fellow named William Houstoun, who was a prominent Georgian, from a long line of Scotsmen.”

The whole history right this way

Featured Story

Features, Financial District, History, Transportation

Photo © James and Karla Murray

When the New York City subway opened on October 27th, 1904, it was the magnificent City Hall station that served as the backdrop for the festivities, with its arched Guastavino-tiled ceiling and skylights. But by 1945, the newer, longer subway cars could no longer fit on the station’s curved tracks, so it was closed. Today, the New York City Transit Museum occasionally offers tours of the abandoned station, which is how photographers James and Karla Murray were able to capture these beautiful photos. Ahead, see more of the station and learn all about its history.

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Featured Story

Features, History, Transportation, Video, Washington Heights

All photos and video © James and Karla Murray

The deepest subway station in New York City lies 173 feet below ground (18 stories!) at the 191st Street stop of the 1 train. This stop is also known for the 1,000-foot-long tunnel that connects its station at St. Nicholas Avenue to an entrance on Broadway. Called “Tunnel Street,” this is technically the only underground street in the city. For years, however, it was a dark and dingy passageway that troubled locals, so about six years ago, the city commissioned six artists to paint the tunnel with colorful murals. Ahead, photographers James and Karla Murray give us a video tour of the tunnel, along with the insanely deep subway station. Read more

GVSHP, History, maps

Screenshot of the 19th Amendment Centennial StoryMap, courtesy of Village Preservation

Next week, on August 18th, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Though the fight to give women the right to vote was a national effort, much of the movement had roots in New York City. And like most 20th-century advocacy efforts, a lot of that action was centered downtown. To mark this momentous occasion, Village Preservation has created an interactive 19th Amendment Centennial StoryMap that showcases the remarkable number of people and places in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and Noho that played a key role in the women’s suffrage movement.

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Brooklyn, History, maps

Created by the Olmsted and Vaux firm, this map shows the original plans for Prospect Park, as well as the historic reservoir at Grand Army Plaza (1871); Courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society

The Brooklyn Historical Society on Thursday launched a user-friendly online portal that contains the institution’s collection of nearly 1,500 maps of Brooklyn dating back to 1562. While researchers will no doubt appreciate the new accessibility to the unique maps, the tool is also a fun way for all residents of the borough to explore the evolution of their neighborhood over the last four centuries. From rare Revolutionary War maps and original plans for Prospect Park to a subway map detailing how to get to Ebbets Field, the maps span more than 450 years and include transit maps, cultural maps, survey charts, and more.

More this way

History, Landmarks Preservation Commission

Photo of the Stonewall Inn, a cultural landmark, by NPCA via Flickr cc

When it comes to landmarking in NYC, some of the biggest news as of late is that the LPC has calendared a building in Downtown Brooklyn that was home to abolitionists before the Civil War. If landmarked, the decision will be based on the structure’s cultural merit, not necessarily its historic architecture. And with more and more people realizing the importance of preserving cultural history, the Historic Districts Council is asking New Yorkers to suggest the cultural sites that they believe are worthy of landmark designation.

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Featured Story

Coney Island, Features, History

Feltman's Coney Island, Coney Island hot dogs, Coney Island red hots, hot dog history, Charles Feltman

Feltman’s via Boston Public Library

The name Nathan’s has become synonymous with Coney Island, whether it be for the annual hot dog-eating contest or the childhood nostalgia of the boardwalk. It’s also become arguably the biggest name in the hot dog world in general. But, believe it or not, Nathan’s was not the first place to serve up franks in the seaside neighborhood. That distinction goes to Feltman’s, which was begun in 1867 as a pushcart by German immigrant Charles Feltman, considered the inventor of the hot dog on a bun.

Find out how the Coney Island hot dog got its start

Downtown Brooklyn, History, Landmarks Preservation Commission

227 Duffield Street; Map data © 2020 Google

The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday voted to calendar a property in Downtown Brooklyn that was home to abolitionists in a move that could potentially save the historic home from demolition. Harriet and Thomas Truesdell, known members of the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War, lived at the Greek-Revival row house at 227 Duffield Street from 1851 to 1863. Last year, preservationists and local officials called on the LPC to designate the building after a developer filed permits to raze the three-story structure and replace it with a much taller mixed-use building.

Learn more

Featured Story

Architecture, Features, Financial District, History

Woolworth Building, historic photos of the Woolworth Building, NYC then and now photos, historic NYC photos

The Woolworth Building, then and now. L: Image courtesy of Library of Congress via Wiki cc; r: Image Norbert Nagel via Wiki cc.

When the neo-Gothic Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway was erected in 1913 as the world’s tallest building, it cost a total of $13.5 million to construct. Though many have surpassed it in height, the instantly-recognizable Lower Manhattan landmark has remained one of the world’s most iconic buildings, admired for its terra cotta facade and detailed ornamentation–and its representation of the ambitious era in which it arose. Developer and five-and-dime store entrepreneur Frank Winfield Woolworth dreamed of an unforgettable skyscraper; the building’s architect, Cass Gilbert, designed and delivered just that, even as Woolworth’s vision grew progressively loftier. The Woolworth Building has remained an anchor of New York City life with its storied past and still-impressive 792-foot height.

Find the city’s history in the Woolworth Building

History, New Jersey

Loew’s Jersey Theatre, Rapp and Rapp, Journal Square theater, Journal Square history, Loew's Jersey City, Loew's Wonder Theatres, Wonder Theatre Jersey City, Jersey City historic theater

All photos taken by James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft.

The historic Loew’s Wonder Theatre in Jersey City is finally set to receive the restoration it’s waited years for. Built in 1929 by architect George Rapp in a gilded, Baroque-Rococo style, the Loew’s Jersey was as a lavish entertainment destination for decades, until it was converted to a triplex movie theater in the ’70s and almost faced the wrecking ball in the ’80s. But through a grassroots preservation effort, the city bought the theater in 1987, allowing the nonprofit Friends of the Loew’s to begin restoration and operate as a nonprofit arts center. Though the group has made incredible progress, a significant amount of work remains. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop is searching for a commercial operator to help with the $40 million restoration and modernization effort of the 3,000-seat theater.

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Archtober2020