New York Historical Society

Policy

Photo by Glenn Castellano. Courtesy of NYC Public Design Commission

A 7-foot-tall statue of Thomas Jefferson will be removed from the New York City Council’s legislative chambers after residing there for nearly 100 years. The city’s Public Design Commission voted on Monday to take down the statue from the chambers but did not decide where it should be relocated. Calls to remove the statue of Jefferson, who owned more than 600 slaves, first came about two decades ago but intensified in recent years as more attention was paid to memorials and monuments honoring racists and racist symbols.

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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Museums, Upper West Side 

View along West 76th Street looking northeast. Rendering by Alden Studios for Robert A.M. Stern Architects, courtesy of the New-York Historical Society and NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The New-York Historical Society, the oldest museum in the city, recently unveiled to the Landmarks Preservation Commission plans to expand by more than 70,000 square feet with a five-story extension at the rear of its Upper West Side lot. The $140 million expansion will be designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern and include additional classrooms and gallery space, as well as a permanent home for the American L.G.B.T.Q.+ Museum, the city’s first museum dedicated to L.G.B.T.Q. history and culture, as the New York Times first reported.

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Museums

Chief Justice William Rehnquist Administers the Oath of Office to Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg as Associate Supreme Court Justice at the White House (1993); Courtesy of the National Archives

A special exhibit dedicated to Ruth Bader Ginsburg will open at the New-York Historical Society next fall. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on view from October 1, 2021, to January 23, 2022, will include archival photos and documents, a robe from Ginsburg’s Supreme Court dress, and three-dimensional “reimaginations” of significant places of her life, including her childhood home in Midwood, Brooklyn. Ginsburg passed away at her home in D.C. on September 18.

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Art, Roosevelt Island

Courtesy of FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy

A massive field of sunflowers has been installed at the monumental staircase at FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island. The park’s new exhibit, which was created together with the New-York Historical Society and the League of Women Voters, comes ahead of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment’s ratification and aims to symbolize the continued push for full equality today. The installation measures 12 feet by 100 feet and features text from the amendment, which was ratified on August 18, 1920: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

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Museums

Business sign 3.20.20, photo by Stephen Harmon, courtesy of New-York Historical

The New-York Historical Society is asking New Yorkers to donate any materials related to the coronavirus pandemic as a way to preserve this moment in the city’s history. First created during September 11, the museum’s History Responds initiative has collected objects related to movements like Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, marriage equality, and others.

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Events, History, Museums

Photo by Glenn Castellano, New-York Historical Society

This Presidents’ Day, visit Washington, D.C. without leaving New York City. The New-York Historical Society on Friday opened a special permanent gallery that features a detailed replica of the White House Oval Office. The “Meet the Presidents” exhibit allows visitors to play POTUS for a day, with the classic Resolute Desk set up for photo ops.

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Events, Upper West Side 

Photo courtesy of Dandy Wellington

The New-York Historical Society is calling all “fabulous flappers and dapper dandies” for a Roaring 20s-themed fete this Saturday. The Jazz Age soiree will come to life with music from Dandy Wellington and encouragement for attendees to wear their most festive costumes. There will also be an open bar, snacks, and a photo booth.

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Art, Events

Mort Gerberg, “No, not a ‘D’ – it’s a ‘B’! You know, like in Beowulf…Botticelli…Brahams…”, cartoon for the Saturday Review, 1965 Courtesy of the New York Historical Society

Sometimes, the daily grind of  New York City life – from waiting for the subway, to getting hit with unidentified “New York Drip,” to sharing an apartment with God-knows-how-many people, can be overwhelming. Other times, you just have to laugh. Beloved cartoonist Mort Gerberg has been helping New Yorkers laugh about the various predicaments of city life, current events, politics, and even sports for more than 50 years. Now through May 5th, the New-York Historical Society is hosting “Mort Gerberg Cartoons: A New Yorker’s Perspective,” a retrospective of his work that offers over 120 cartoons, drawings, and pieces of sketch reportage spanning the whole of Gerberg’s career.

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Featured Story

Art, Events, Features, Museums, NYC Guides

NYC’s 10 best art exhibits and events this spring

By Michelle Sinclair Colman, Mon, April 23, 2018

The flowers are finally blooming, spring is in the air, and there are tons of awesome art exhibits popping up all over the city. Although we recently highlighted some amazing art day trips from New York City, there is always art at our doorstep that we should take advantage of, so we’ve rounded up 10 terrific exhibits and events that will not last long. So take an extra long lunch break or sneak out of work early to catch these temporary shows that are all worth a visit.

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Events, History

The history of tattooing in NYC – and its 36-year ban

By Michelle Cohen, Thu, March 2, 2017

Charlie Wagner tattooing Millie Hull, 1939; Image courtesy of the New-York Historical Society.

We think of 1960s, ’70s and ’80s New York City as a freewheeling island of individuality and an alternative lifestyle haven, but the practice of body tattooing–more popular throughout history than many realize–was banned from 1961 until 1997. The ban was blamed on a Hepatitis B outbreak but could have had its origins in a number of things from a pre-World’s Fair crackdown to a health inspector’s personal vendetta. “Tattooed New York,” a current exhibition at the New-York Historical Society traces the practice of tattooing from its use among Native American tribes through its history with sailors, trendy victorian ladies and more recent ink aficionados. One of the more fascinating detours of that history tells of how the scene changed with the ban, when NYC’s tattoo artists set up private shops in their apartments.

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