“Manhattan Island in the Sixteenth Century,” from the Memorial History of New York, 1892, via NYPL
This weekend, Lenape people hosted a Pow Wow on Park Avenue. The event, held at the Park Avenue Armory, was the first Lenape Pow Wow in New York since the 1700s. The gathering represented a homecoming for the Lenape people, who are the original inhabitants of the places we call New Jersey, Delaware, southern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and western Connecticut. Brent Stonefish, a Lenape man who lives in Ontario told WNYC, “It’s home, and today it felt like we were welcomed home.”
Currently, most Lenape belong to the Delaware Nation, and live in New Jersey, Oklahoma and Ontario, but the word Lenape means “Original People,” and the Lenape are the Original New Yorkers. In fact, the name Manhattan comes from the Lenape “Manahatta,” meaning “hilly island.” Although the Lenape stove to “walk so gently on the earth,” without leaving an impact on the land, they influenced the city’s physical geography in ways we can see and feel today. From the Bowling Green to Broadway, Cherry Street to Minetta Lane, here are 10 sites in Manhattan that reflect the legacy of the Lenape.
Learn more about the first
Hardhats aren’t your typical church-going attire, but they were necessary at Trinity Church when Vicar Rev. Philip Jackson led a behind-the-scenes tour of Trinity’s ongoing $112,000,000, two-year restoration. The project, officially known as a “rejuvenation” of the facilities, began on May 7, 2018, and is slated to be finished in the spring of 2020. Now six months underway, the meticulous work, headed by architect Jeff Murphy of Murphy Burnham and Buttrick, will preserve Trinity’s landmarked church building while “enhancing the overall worship experience,” by making the church more accessible and welcoming.
Weaving our way between scaffolding and rubble in one of New York’s most iconic naves, we saw the very foundation of Trinity Church’s past and got a glimpse of its future. From the finer points of organ-voicing to some of the first examples of American stained-glass, check out 10 of the most exciting behind-the-scenes secrets of the Trinity Church Restoration.
Check out the Church!
Ask a group of New Yorkers where to find the best cannolis or cheesecake, and without a doubt, you’ll hear Veniero Pasticceria and Caffé. An East Village institution, Veniero’s is a family-owned and operated Italian pastry shop that was established by Italian immigrant Antonio Veniero in 1894. Veniero, who lived with his family next door, started the business as a candy shop. He then started serving Italian espresso and biscotti and by the 1920s, he had brought in master bakers from Sicily to run the kitchen.
A century later, Veniero’s is still family-owned and is celebrating is 125th anniversary next year. We had the chance to tour the caffé and bakery with Robert Zerilli, the fourth-generation current owner and great-nephew of founder Antonio Veniero. Today, Veniero’s serves more than 150 desserts, from traditional Italian butter cookies and cannolis to some more modern offerings such as red velvet cake and oreo cheesecake. Ahead, go behind the scenes to see how all these tasty treats are made, tour the historic interiors, and learn all about Veniero’s history from Robert.
Hear Robert tell Veniero’s story
Plans for a never-built “Italian Fountain” at the Bronx Zoo, disapproved by the Commission Feb. 10, 1903; DC French’s “Brooklyn” and a Guide to Prospect Park via PDC
On the third floor of City Hall, in what was once an apartment for the building’s caretaker, a small agency known as the Public Design Commission reviews works of public art, architecture, and design proposed on or over city-owned property. Projects as varied as West End Avenue’s Straus Memorial, Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain, Greenpoint’s now-defunct Huron Street Baths, and all of the City’s spectacular WPA murals, have come before the Commission for approval and safeguarding.
Since the Commission was established under the New York City Charter in 1898 and approved its first project, the Maine Monument in Central Park, designed and carved in the Bronx by the great Attillio Piccirilli, the commission has conferred or withheld its blessing on more than 7,000 projects. Thankfully, what those projects are and where you can find them is all a matter of public record. Since 1902, the Commission has maintained a meticulous archive documenting all the projects it has reviewed. The Archive includes original drawings, photographs, and architectural plans of more than a century of the City’s public works.
Set your designs on this Story!
Yorkville Theater, 86th Street between Lexington and Third, via NYHS
Yorkville has been a popular outpost for the young professional crowd for quite some time now, but thanks to the Second Avenue Subway opening two years ago, the neighborhood has been getting on everyone’s radar. But long before the cool subway mosaics, new building developments, and constantly-popping-up restaurants and bars, Yorkville had a diverse history that spanned more than 300 years.
In celebration of this history, FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts is releasing today a new neighborhood history book, “Shaped by Immigrants: A History of Yorkville.” And after getting a sneak peek, we couldn’t resist sharing some juicy neighborhood history gems. From having its own “piano ferry” and the largest brewery in the country to revolutionizing apartment living, this Upper East Side enclave is bursting with exciting secrets!
10 things you probably didn’t know about Yorkville
New York City women’s march, October 23 ,1915. Photo: Library of Congress.
Just as the rain shouldn’t be an excuse not to vote today, it’s hard to imagine that being female would be a reason to skip the polls, though we know that until a hundred years ago today, it was. Exactly a century ago, Catherine Ann Smith was among the first women to vote in the state of New York, as the New York Times reminds us. Ms. Smith joined Mary Waver at the front of the line, both cast their ballots in the early hours of November 5th, 1918.
Earlier this year, 6sqft got an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the majestic Loew’s Jersey City Theatre, as well as the United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights. In 2016, we joined Untapped Cities and NYCEDC on a tour of Brooklyn Kings Theatre, and just last month, as part of Untapped Cities Insider’s Tours, we were lucky enough to tour and photograph the former Loew’s Valencia Theatre on Jamaica Avenue in Queens, which is now home to the Tabernacle of Prayer for All People church.
The majestic Loew’s Valencia Theatre opened on Saturday, January 12, 1929, as the first, largest, and most famous of the five flagship Loew’s “Wonder” Theatres established in the New York City area from 1929-30. All of the grand movie palaces were built by Marcus Loew of the Loew’s Theatres chain to establish the firm as a leader in film exhibition and to simultaneously serve as a fantastical yet affordable escape for people of all classes from the tedium and anxieties of their daily lives. The Valencia most definitely did not shy away from this fantastical approach, with its Spanish/Mexican Baroque architecture, gilded ornamentation, rich jewel-tone colors, and elaborate carvings.
Take the grand tour
If you’ve ever tried to research an old building–to find out the history of your home for renovation purposes or just to see what it used to look like–you may have found yourself tasked with a trip to the Municipal Archives for an in-person search or having to order up a large, glossy photo by mail, sight unseen. Access to one of the city’s most thorough documentation efforts, the black-and-white tax photos taken of every building in the city between 1939 and 1941, just got a lot easier, as Brownstoner reports. The New York City Department of Records & Information Services has released 720,000 digitized images made from the original negatives, meaning that a photograph of every building in the city that was standing at the time is now available to look up online.
Check it out
Members of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage March in a 1915 Suffrage Parade, via the Carrie Chapman Catt Papers at Bryn Mawr College
James Lees Laidlaw, the president of the National Chapter of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage, wrote in 1912, “The great educational work in the woman’s movement has been done by women, through a vast expenditure of energy and against great odds. There is still work to be done and hard work. We men can make it easier and happier work if we join in it, and no longer stand aside, as too many men have done, leaving the women to toil and struggle, making up in vital energy what they lack in political power.”
Thanks to an ongoing great expenditure of energy, American men and women will vote tomorrow. In our own time, there is still work to be done, and hard work, in the fight for equality, justice and universal dignity. The history of the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage, founded in New York in 1909, offers the reminder that we all can make it easier and happier work if we join in it, and provides a stirring example of how anybody might offer organized, meaningful support to a vital cause.
The Story of Support Continues
“Bird’s-eye View of the Southern End of New York and Brooklyn, Showing the Projected Suspension–bridge over the East River from the Western Terminus in Printing-House Square,” drawn by Theodore Russell Davis (1870)
If you want to go on a visual journey that begins with Manhattan’s first European settlement, way back in the seventeenth century, up through the skyscrapers and urban planning of the late twentieth century, look no further than New York Rising: An Illustrated History from the Durst Collection. The book, set to come out on November 13th, originates from the sprawling Durst Collection at Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Incredible photography captures the most definitive parts of New York history, accompanied by the thoughts of ten scholars who were asked to reflect on the images. Their writing ranges from the emergence of public transit to the “race for height” to affordable housing.
6sqft spoke with Thomas Mellins, who edited the book with Kate Ascher, on their efforts delving into the Durst Collection — which has its own unique history — to come up with this comprehensive visual history. See a selection of photos from the book, along with thoughts from Mellins, after the jump.