History

Events, History, holidays

Photo by Elena Gaillard on Wikimedia

To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, New Yorkers can take a free paddling tour of the Bronx River this weekend while learning about the experiences of 16th-century indigenous communities. Hosted by the Bronx River Alliance and Moskehtu Consulting, the event takes visitors on a 30-minute canoe paddle through the Mitshubishi River Walk in the Bronx Zoo and explores the life and culture of Native Americans with a living village.

How to sign up

Harlem, History

Mount morris fire watchtower, harlem fire watchtower, renovation, restoration, city landmarks, parks

Photo credit: Daniel Avila / NYC Parks.

The Harlem Fire Watchtower, also known as the Mount Morris Fire Watchtower, is the last structure of its kind in New York City. The 47-foot-tall tower was erected in 1856, the third of 11 fire towers built in Manhattan. Fire watchtowers were discontinued after 1878, but the bell in its tower continued to ring at 9am and noon for years after. The historic cast-iron tower has been restored and reunited with its original surroundings in Marcus Garvey park after having been in storage since 2015.

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Featured Story

Features, Greenwich Village, GVSHP, History

17 legendary musicians who called Greenwich Village home

By Andrew Berman and Hunter Lane of Village Preservation, Thu, October 31, 2019

Photo of Bob Dylan by Chris Hakkens on Wikimedia, Photo of Janis Joplin via Wikimedia, Photo of Buddy Holly via Wikimedia, Photo of Jimi Hendrix via Wikimedia, Photo of Lou Reed by Mick Rock on Wikimedia

For generations, Greenwich Village, and particularly the historic district which lies at its core, has attracted musicians of all stripes. They’ve been inspired by its quaint and charming streets and the lively cultural scene located in and around the neighborhood. It would be a fool’s errand to try to name every great musician who ever laid their head to rest within the Greenwich Village Historic District’s boundaries. But as we round out a year’s worth of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the district’s designation, here are just a few of the greats who at one time or another called it home, from Bob Dylan to John Lennon to Jimi Hendrix to Barbra Streisand.

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Events, Features, History

The lead female runners at 81st Street and 1st Avenue in 2015, photo © 6sqft

The 49th New York City Marathon, taking place this Sunday, November 3rd, is the world’s largest marathon, and this year it will bring together more than 50,000 runners from over 125 countries, plus 10,000 volunteers and one million spectators. It wasn’t always this way, though. Started by the New York Road Runners Club in 1970, the race began as a few loops around Central Park with just over 100 runners. But the passion of its founders, coupled with the spirit of the city, grew the marathon into an event that generates $415 million for New York. In honor of the upcoming 2019 Marathon, 6sqft is taking a look back at the history of the race, its greatest moments, and what’s in store for this year.

All that right this way

Featured Story

Features, History

8 of New York City’s spookiest abandoned sites

By Lucie Levine, Mon, October 28, 2019

It often seems as if the jackhammer is the soundtrack to New York, as construction is a constant in this city. Given the frenetic pace of development in the five boroughs, it feels almost unbelievable that there are abandoned sites all over New York, left to go to seed as the steel skeletons of ever higher, newer, glassier structures rise around them. Here are eight of the most interesting abandoned sites in NYC, from the site of the city’s first airport to a defunct freight line.

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History, Policy

Photo by Si B on Flickr

As part of the city’s plan to diversify public art and recognize figures overlooked by history in New York City, Central Park is getting another statue, as the New York Times reports. The privately-funded monument will commemorate Seneca Village, the predominantly black community that was thriving until the 1850s in what became Central Park. Once again, however, the city’s commemorative statue planning has fallen afoul of historians. The proposed structure won’t be located at the site of Seneca Village, which for nearly three decades stretched between West 83rd and 89th streets in Central Park. Instead, the monument’s home will be in the park, but 20 blocks to the north on 106th street.

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Features, Greenwich Village, History, holidays

Village Halloween Parade

Photo via John St John / Flickr

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.

All the history right here

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Features, Greenwood, History

10 things you didn’t know about Green-Wood Cemetery

By Lucie Levine, Mon, October 21, 2019

“Cherry blossoms falling in front of a mausoleum in Green-Wood Cemetery,” April 2017, by Rhododendrites via wikimedia commons

What do Jean-Michel Basquiat, F.A.O Schwarz, Horace Greeley, Samuel Morse, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Boss Tweed, Peter Cooper, Leonard Bernstein, and Susan Smith McKinney-Steward have in common? All these notable New Yorkers are spending eternity in Brooklyn, specifically Greenwood Cemetery, the stunning 478-acre “rural cemetery” that’s home to 560,000 “permanent residents” (and about as many truly spectacular mausoleums.) Since the best secrets are the ones you take to the grave, come dig up the dirt on Green-Wood, and read on for 10 things you didn’t know about Brooklyn’s most sensational cemetery.

Take it to the grave!

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Features, GVSHP, History, Union Square

Photo by Beyond My Ken / Wiki Commons

The area south of Union Square, on the border between Greenwich Village and the East Village, is changing. The approval of the new 14th Street Tech Hub south of Union Square combined with an explosion of tech-related development in the area has resulted in the demolition of mid-19th-century hotels and Beaux-Arts style tenements, with new office towers like 809 Broadway taking their place.

Aside from being rich in 19th- and early-20th-century architecture, this area is overflowing with history connected to many of the great American artists, writers, musicians, publishers, activists, innovators and artisans of the last century and a half. As part of Village Preservation’s work to document and bring to light some of that often forgotten history, we wrote this piece last year exploring the connections to Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, Alexander Graham Bell and Leroi Jones (among many others). Now, we’ve uncovered even more history-making people and events connected to this area and its buildings, from Hammacher Schlemmer (NYC’s first hardware store) to a slew of influential publishing houses (including that which published the first U.S. edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”) to the Women’s Suffrage League headquarters.

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Architecture, History, Midtown, Midtown East

View looking north, with Central Park and the towers that dot Billionaires’ Row clearly visible; Photo courtesy of Empire State Realty Trust

After four years and $165 million, the revamp of New York City’s first supertall is nearly complete, bringing a more contemporary and visitor-friendly experience to one of the world’s most historic buildings. The Empire State Building’s 102nd-floor observatory, which boasts 360-degree panoramic views at 1,250 feet above street level, officially opens to the public on Saturday, Oct. 12. Building owner Empire State Realty Trust redesigned the observatory to be less obstructive for guests, allowing more picture-perfect views and less time waiting.

All the way up

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