History

adaptive reuse, Downtown Brooklyn, History

Brooklyn Paramount Theater

© NYCAGO

Back in the summer we uncovered the history of the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, which has been home to Long Island University’s gymnasium since 1963. But now, the day before the Loew’s Kings Theatre, a fellow historic movie house in Brooklyn, is set to reopen to the public, we’ve learned that the Paramount will follow suite.

Brooklyn Daily reports that the Flushing Avenue theatre in Downtown Brooklyn will once again show live performances to the public, thanks to a deal between LIU and an affiliate of the Barclays Center, which will bring 1,500 seats back to the venue (down from the original 4,000) and showcase musical and comedy performances and boxing matches, all with an emphasis on emerging artists. The remainder of the space will still serve as a practice gym for LIU athletics.

More details ahead

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Brooklyn, Bushwick, Features, History

bushwick graffiti artists

Of Brooklyn’s gentrifying neighborhoods, few have seen such rapid change as Bushwick. The neighborhood, which sits in the northern portion of the borough, running from Flushing Avenue to Broadway to Conway Street and the Cemetery of the Evergreens, has grown as a natural extension of Williamsburg—a haven for creatives and young folks looking for lower rents. But well before its trendy vibe put it on the map, Bushwick was a forested enclave originally settled by the Dutch—its name is derived from a Dutch word “Boswijck,”defined as “little town in the woods”—and later, German immigrants who began building breweries and factories.

Unfortunately, as the breweries along Brewer’s Row and factories closed and farms disappeared, derelict buildings and crime took hold—with the looting, arson and rioting after the city’s blackout during the summer of 1977 playing a starring role. According to the New York Times, “In a five-year period in the late 1960s and early 70s, the Bushwick neighborhood was transformed from a neatly maintained community of wood houses into what often approached a no man’s land of abandoned buildings, empty lots, drugs and arson.”

More on Bushwick’s past… and present

History, photography, Transportation

vintage new york subway photos by stanley kubrick

As one of the world’s most respected film directors, screenwriters, producers, cinematographers and editors, it’s really no surprise that Stanley Kubrick was also quite the shutterbug. Well before creating mind-bending movies like A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick was shooting for New York’s (now defunct) LOOK magazine as a way to help make ends meet. His street photos, which are quite dramatic in subject and composition, give us a look into the mind of a young Kubrick, who at just 17 was already showing a talent for creating atmosphere with a lens.

See more photos ahead

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Features, History, Transportation

Broadway in Brooklyn, Kings County Savings Bank, Williamsburg Savings Bank

Broadway in Brooklyn via wallyg via photopin cc

Last week we took a look at why there are three Broadways in Manhattan–the thoroughfare proper, East Broadway and West Broadway– and learned that Broadway actually extends through the Bronx and into Westchester. There’s even a one-block street in Harlem called Old Broadway. As if that weren’t enough confusion, though, there are four other Broadways in the outer boroughs–one in Brooklyn, one in Staten Island, and two in Queens.

Learn about these outer-borough Broadways

History, Lower East Side, Video

planet ludlow, lower east side historic, lower east side 1990s

It’s hard to imagine the Lower East Side without all of its barflies and bros, but get ready for a blast from the past. Bowery Boogie has found an amazing video that gives us a glimpse into the neighborhood’s quirky past—well before it became a nightlife mecca for New York’s downtown set. The four-minute film, aptly titled “Planet Ludlow,” takes us through the block via Ludlow Street circa 1995.

Watch the video here

Events, History, Long Island City

Patrick Carrajat, Elevator Historical Society

Even true New York City culture buffs may have never heard of the Elevator Historical Society Museum (or known that such a society exists), so if you really want to impress a crowd with your knowledge of little-known urban trivia, be sure to sign up for tomorrow’s tour of the Long Island City museum. The private tour, hosted by the New York Adventure Club, is being led by the museum’s founder and curator Patrick Carrajat, who has collected more than 2,000 pieces of elevator ephemera like manuals, metal identification plates, pop culture paraphernalia, and obscure mechanical parts from the early days of vertical travel.

More on the museum and tour here

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Crown Heights, Features, History, New Developments, real estate trends

crown heights north

Image via the Historic Districts Council

What once seemed unheard-of in terms of where to rent or buy in tertiary neighborhoods is now a thing of the past—be it Harlem, Williamsburg, Hell’s Kitchen, Long Island City, or the Lower East Side. But one of the best examples of rapid transformation is Brooklyn. Certainly there are many coveted communities such as Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, and Park Slope, but there is another neighborhood making what looks like a very successful run at gentrification: Crown Heights.

More on the Crown Heights renaissance here

Art, Brooklyn, History, photography

Dinanda Nooney, NYPL Digital Gallery

Mother and daughter in Flatbush

An online gallery from the New York Public Library provides a stunning glimpse into domestic life in Brooklyn in the 1970s, courtesy of photographer Dinanda Nooney, who traveled through the borough from January 1978 to April 1979, capturing locals in their homes and asking them to then suggest other subjects. The black-and-white photos range from everyday scenes of Brooklynites to the residence of a local celebrity biker to the childhood home of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Take a look at Dinanda Nooney’s photos here

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Features, Historic Homes, History, Upper East Side

Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion, 2 East 79th Street, Ukrainian Institute of America

Earlier this week, the Ukrainian community rang in the new year, so we thought it appropriate to take a look at one of the city’s largest centers of Ukrainian-American life.

Located at 2 East 79th Street at the corner of Fifth Avenue, the Fletcher-Sinclair mansion was built in 1897 by famed architect Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert (C. P. H. Gilbert) as a single-family home for Isaac D. Fletcher, a banker, broker, and railroad investor. Today, the French Gothic masterpiece houses the Ukrainian Institute of America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the art, music and literature of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora. But how did this massive home become home to the Institute?

Find out here

History, maps, Urban Design

Mega-Manhattan, T. Kennard Thomson

Part of the proposal, “A Really Greater New York”, that shows the East River infill and southern Manhattan peninsula

The East River may not be the most beautiful body of water we’ve ever witnessed, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’d like to see it paved over. That’s exactly what T. Kennard Thomson, an engineer and planner, proposed in 1911, hoping to create a mega-Manhattan. Plus, he wanted to add a long hunk of infill at the southern tip of Manhattan, creating a new peninsula bolstered by Governor’s Island, add more new land in the Hudson between Bayonne and Manhattan, and relocated the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Let’s take a closer look at this ambitious, but never realized, plan

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