Photo courtesy of James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection of African American Arts and Letters, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Forty-six years before Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech during the March on Washington, nearly 10,000 African-Americans silently marched down Fifth Avenue to protest racial violence in the United States. Organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Silent Protest Parade occurred on Saturday, July 28, 1917, and became the first mass civil rights demonstration of its kind. Protesters walked from 55th and 59th Streets to Madison Square, without so much as a whisper (h/t Hyperallergic).
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If you’ve ever walked by the busy intersection of 7th Avenue South and Christopher Street, you’ve likely seen people snapping photos of the iconic corner-facing Village Cigars, but what you probably didn’t realize is that they were standing on top of New York City’s smallest piece of private land. The Hess Triangle sits in the sidewalk at the southwest corner of this Greenwich Village crossing, a small concrete slab with an embedded mosaic that reads “Property of the Hess Estate Which Has Never Been Dedicated For Public Purposes,” and today marks the 95th anniversary of its installation.
Find out the story behind this cryptic message and one of the city’s best historic remnants
Automat by Berenice Abbott, 1936
In the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s Automats were a New York City dining staple for a hard-working lunch crowd, a modernist icon for a boundless machine-age future. At their height there were over three dozen in the city, serving 800,000 people a day. And nearly everyone who actually experienced Automats in their heyday says the same thing: They never forgot the thrill of being a kid at the Automat.
Created by Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart in Philadelphia in 1902, coin-operated Automats were lovingly-designed Art Deco temples to modern efficiency. Sleek steel and glass vending machine grids displayed sandwiches and main dishes as well as desserts and sides, each in their own little boxes, square and even, clean and well-lit. You put a coin in the slot, opened the door and removed your food—which was reportedly quite good, as the founders took terrific pride in their craft.
What was it about the experience that made for such a lasting memory?
Veterans march through the now-demolished Victory Arch in Madison Square Park on September 10, 1919, via 16th Infantry Regiment Association
Unfortunately, it can be easy to forget that it’s Veterans Day since most offices and schools remain open and New York City’s veterans represent only about 2.6 percent of the total population. But it’s quite an important day, and the city’s Veterans Day Parade, known as “America’s Parade,” is the perfect way to honor our servicemen and women; it’s the country’s largest event marking the holiday. Like most events in New York City, the parade has a history all its own, so 6sqft decided to explore that a bit further as our way of saying thank you to the brave veterans who have fought for our freedom.
Find out the history of the NYC Veteran’s Day parade here
If you read 6sqft’s version of “A History of New York in 101 Objects” you know that we received quite a diverse mix of responses. But there were a few items that proved to be most popular. So we want to know which of these three you think is THE object that defines New York City.
As urbanists we tend to define the city by locations and the historic events that unfolded at them. But what about getting even more specific and looking at New York’s past through tangible objects? That’s exactly what New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts has assembled in a new book, A History of New York in 101 Objects. And a corresponding exhibit at the New York Historical Society puts Roberts’ choices, along with objects from the Society’s collection, on view.
We were so intrigued by this idea that we decided to put together a 6sqft version of the list. From preservationists to architects to real estate brokers, we’ve asked ten people to give us the ten objects that they feel best define New York City’s history. There are definitely some favorites that emerged like cobblestones, Metrocards, and pizza, as well as an eclectic mix of items that speak to our participants’ personal connections to New York.
See the lists here
, Mon, September 15, 2014
- NY Daily News announces the launch of the 7th annual Governors Island Art Fair where “100 artists fill 100 rooms in the island’s former military barracks with their paintings, video installations, sculptures and photography.”
- I Quant NYC maps out where you can find the 25 winning street vendors of the 10th annual Vendy Awards. Time to grub on!
- Supposedly in 1824 it was proposed to saw off part of Manhattan to keep it from sinking. Read the craziness on Untapped Cities.
- Touchy subject, but why is Brooklyn part of New York anyway? Tremr tells the story of The Great Mistake of 1898.
- Climbing into bed – literally. Designboom reports that in celebration of IKEA’s Clermont-Ferrand store in France, they’ve created a climbable apartment wall.
Images: Craffle food truck via their Facebook page; IKEA climbable apartment via Designboom
Images: Copyright Patrick Cashin for MTA courtesy of NYDN (left); MittiCool Refrigerator courtesy of Inhabitat (right)