Photo showing storefront stands on Ninth Ave. looking south from just north of West 40th St., 1936.(Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy, The New York Public Library.
Gov. Kathy Hochul last week announced 21 nominations for possible placement on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The list of nominations includes a diverse set of locations that are intricate to the history of New York. Nominations include early automobile manufacturing sites in Buffalo and Syracuse, a Mohawk Valley cemetery home to the author of the Pledge of Allegiance, and the only remaining 19-century textile mile in Troy. Of the total nominated places, five are located in New York City, including an abandoned Bronx train station designed by Cass Gilbert and an area in Hell’s Kitchen once home to a famed open-air market.
See more here
The Cornelius Vanderbilt II Mansion on 57th Street and 5th Avenue, now demolished. Photo via A.D. White Architectural Photographs, Cornell University Library.
New York City’s Fifth Avenue has always been pretty special, although you’d probably never guess that it began with a rather ordinary and functional name: Middle Road. Like the 1811 Commissioner’s Plan for Manhattan, which laid out the city’s future expansion in a rational manner, Middle Road was part of an earlier real estate plan by the City Council. As its name suggests, Middle Road was situated in the middle of a large land parcel that was sold by the council in 1785 to raise municipal funds for the newly established nation. Initially, it was the only road to provide access to this yet-undeveloped portion of Manhattan, but two additional roads were built later (eventually becoming Park Avenue and Sixth Avenue). The steady northwards march of upscale residences, and the retail to match, has its origins where Fifth Avenue literally begins: in the mansions on Washington Square Park. Madison Square was next, but it would take a combination of real-estate clairvoyance and social standing to firmly establish Fifth Avenue as the center of society.
More on how the gilded mansions of 5th Avenue came to be
All images courtesy of Guernsey’s
Thousands of historical items illustrating the Black experience in America are going up for auction. Compiled over 60 years by former New York City teacher Elizabeth Meaders, the collection is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive, surpassing collections belonging to museums and other private institutions. The Elizabeth Meaders Collection of African American Historical and Cultural Artifacts will be put up for an online auction as a single collection through Guernsey’s on March 15.
Find out more
St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, and though its modern iteration seems to have devolved into a daylong drinking activity, it’s still a good time to reflect on New York’s Irish heritage. Irish immigrants have been coming to New York since the colonial era, but in the 19th century, they were one of the biggest groups in the city, making up about a quarter of the population. Their cultural influence is everywhere, but there are some spots in town where it shines through the most. Here are our favorites.
Check ’em out
Photo courtesy of the Locker Room
March is Women’s History Month, an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of American women–and March 8 is International Women’s Day. The origins of the month-long celebration–and the suffrage movement itself, have their roots in New York City, and the city is a great place to learn more about the women who shaped the world as we know it. Top local arts and culture organizations are offering lectures, festivals, tours, and art exhibits in the five boroughs, all month long. More reason to celebrate and mark your calendar: Most hosts have returned to in-person events.
Find out more
All images courtesy of Alfonso Lozano
The Hispanic Society Museum & Library has opened a new exhibition that brings attention to the wide variety of art, literature, and history from the Iberian Peninsula and South America. Curated by art historian Dr. Madeleine Haddon, Nuestra Casa: Rediscovering the Treasures of The Hispanic Society Museum & Library features select “hidden gems” from the museum’s expansive collection of more than 750,000 pieces, including artworks by El Greco and Goya to masterpieces by lesser-known Latin American artists. The exhibition is open at the Washington Heights museum now through April 17.
Details this way
Photo by Jermaine Ee on Unsplash
To celebrate Presidents Day weekend, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is hosting a free special walking tour that explores the connection between U.S. presidents and the rich history of the Flatiron District. On February 20 at 11 a.m., tour guide Mike Kaback will embark on a 90-minute tour with guests, pointing out landmarks and providing context on how former presidents like Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant are tied to the historic area.
Find out more
“Renaming Project” Exhibition, Photo Credit: Daniel Avila / NYC Parks
In the United States, February is a month dedicated to the celebration of African American history and culture. Ahead find a variety of events to commemorate Black History Month in New York City, ranging from community service and walking tours to jazz concerts and live performances.
Full list ahead
Image courtesy of Gregg Richards
The first-ever Lenape-curated exhibition in New York is coming to Brooklyn. Presented by the Brooklyn Public Library and The Lenape Center, Lenapehoking features a collection of masterworks by Lenape artists and educational programs that teach visitors the story of the Lenape community. The collection is curated by Joe Baker, the co-founder and executive director of the Lenape Center and enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians. The exhibition opens on Thursday, January 20 at the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center and runs through April 30.
Find out more
Left: Carte-de-visite of Frederick Douglass, late 19th century. Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, New-York Historical Society. Right: Douglass scrapbook, Beinecke Library, New-York Historical Society
The work of one of America’s most influential advocates for liberty and equality will be on view in New York City this Black History Month. On February 11, the New-York Historical Society will open Our Composite Nation: Frederick Douglass’ America, a special installation that honors the legacy of one of America’s most prolific freedom fighters. Named after one of Frederick Douglass’ most iconic speeches written at the end of the Civil War, the installation aims to paint a picture of Douglass’ optimistic vision of a new America during the era of Reconstruction.