History

City Living, History, Transportation

times square shuttle, times square curved tracks, nyc subway

The Times Square shuttle platform, Photo by Helvetica Fanatic on Wikimedia 

At the platform of the Times Square-Grand Central shuttle, a train track is hidden in plain sight. At both ends of the two-station line, tracks are numbered 1, 3 and 4, with no Track 2 to be found. As the New York Times explained, Track 2 once ran in its appropriate spot, between Tracks 1 and 3, but was taken out of operation nearly 100 years ago. After an attempt to expand the original 1904 line turned to major confusion for commuters, transit officials covered Track 2 with wooden flooring to make it easier for New Yorkers to walk to the new tracks.

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Events, History, Lower East Side, Museums

daily forward, museum at eldridge street, lower east side, jewish culture, history, newspapers, media, museums

Lower East Side Matzoh Line, 1930; image courtesy of the Museum at Eldridge Street.

An exhibition now on view at the Museum at Eldridge Street shares a treasure trove of photographs and documents from the Jewish Daily Forward, a newspaper that has been published on the Lower East Sid since 1897–and today still thrives in digital format. For over 120 years, the Forward was the go-to source for news, culture, and opinion both global and everyday for New York City’s Jewish community. The printed paper’s deep archives trace its history and the stories it covered in “Pressed: Images from the Jewish Daily Forward.”

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Features, History, Upstate

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

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East Village, Features, Greenwich Village, GVSHP, History, Noho

The history of how the New York Public Library got its start Downtown

By Andrew Berman of Village Preservation, Fri, January 31, 2020

This year, the New York Public Library is celebrating its 125th anniversary. With 53 million items and 92 locations across Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, the NYPL is the largest municipal library in the world. It’s also the steward of some of New York’s greatest landmarks, reflecting a century and a quarter of Gotham’s history, and in some cases even more.

The roots of this library system can be found in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and Noho. The main antecedents of the NYPL which formed the foundation of today’s system— the Astor Library, the Lenox Library, and the New York Free Circulating Library – all began in these neighborhoods just below 14th Street. As a result, this is where New York’s oldest public library buildings and the oldest building housing an NYPL branch are located — the latter ironically having been where great works of literature were banned and censored before it became a library.

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Features, History

Travel back to the Roaring Twenties at these 10 NYC spots

By Lucie Levine, Mon, January 27, 2020

Recently, 6sqft brought you 20 fascinating photos of New York in the ’20s, and now, we invite you to celebrate the new decade by following in the footsteps of the fanciest flappers in the five boroughs. Ahead, check out 10 places in NYC today to relive the Roaring Twenties. On this list, you’ll find theaters, bars, and hotels; Art Deco masterpieces; addresses favored by the Follies and Fitzgerald; and at least one spot where New York offers up “its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.”

Roar right here

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Behind the Scenes, Features, History, Morningside Heights

Exterior photo via Wikimedia; Photo of bell tower © 6sqft

After nearly 20 years, the iconic bell tower of the Riverside Church in Morningside Heights has officially reopened. The impressive Gothic-style cathedral is home to the 74-bell Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon, which includes a 40,000 pound Bourdon bell, the largest tuned bell in the world. The tower closed to the public almost two decades ago following 9/11 but reopened for public tours earlier this month. 6sqft recently took a tour of the stunning Riverside Church, known for its interdenominational services and dedication to social justice causes.

Take the tour

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Features, Greenwich Village, GVSHP, History

14-16th fifth avenue, gvshp, greenwich village historic district

Streetview of 14-16 Fifth Avenue, Map data © 2020 Google; Painting of Henry Breevort via public domain, Photo of General Daniel Edgar Sickles courtesy of the Library of Congress, and photo of Celeste Holm via public domain

Madison Realty Capital filed plans last month to demolish 14-16 Fifth Avenue, a five-story apartment building constructed in 1848, and replace it with a 244-foot-tall tower. Because it is located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, it can only be demolished if the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission rules that the building itself is of no historic or architectural merit, and does not contribute to the character of the district (the public hearings where this would be debated and decided have not yet been scheduled). What may seem like a nondescript apartment building actually has an incredibly rich and varied history. Throughout its 170-year history, 14-16 Fifth Avenue was home to Civil War generals, Gold Rush writers, Oscar-winning actors, railroad magnates, pioneering industrialists, inventors, and politicians. What follows is just some of the history behind this easily-overlooked lower Fifth Avenue landmark.

One building, tons of history

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Features, History

20 fascinating photos of New York City in the 1920s

By Lucie Levine, Tue, January 14, 2020

Welcome back to the Roaring ’20s, New York! Now that the new decade has officially dawned, we’re turning the clock back 100 years to see what the city was like the last time the calendar struck 20. If you’re looking for a little inspiration for your next Great Gatsby-themed bash, ahead find 20 fantastic photos of New York during the Jazz Age, depicting everything from old Ebbets Field to the height of Prohibition.

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Art, History, Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island’s Nellie Bly memorial revealed

By Devin Gannon, Fri, January 3, 2020

Design by Amanda Matthews; courtesy of RIOC

The design of a new memorial honoring investigative journalist Nellie Bly has been officially unveiled. Tapped by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, artist Amanda Matthews of Prometheus Art presented during a town hall last month “The Girl Puzzle” memorial, which will feature sculptures of Bly and four faces of women and girls who she interviewed. The memorial, whose design was first spotted by THE CITY, will be installed in late 2020 at the tip of Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island.

See it here

History, holidays

Image of the first Christmas tree in City Hall park in 1913; via Library of Congress

In 1912, the nation’s first public Christmas tree went up in Madison Square Park and sparked a new trend that would soon spread to parks across the city and beyond. The following year, acting Mayor Ardolph Kline initiated a similar tradition when he asked a young boy to help him light a Christmas tree in City Hall Park. By 1934, tree lighting celebrations became a citywide effort, with the Parks Department putting up 14 fifty-foot Norway Spruce trees throughout the city. Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia dedicated the trees from City Hall Park and broadcasted the ceremony to sites across the city.

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