St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, and though its modern iteration seems to have devolved into a daylong drinking activity, it’s still a good time to reflect on New York’s Irish heritage. Irish immigrants have been coming to New York since the colonial era, but in the 19th century, they were one of the biggest groups in the city, making up about a quarter of the population. Their cultural influence is everywhere, but there are some spots in town where it shines through the most. Here are our favorites.
St. Paul’s Chapel via Flickr cc
‘Tis the season to voluntarily spook yourself! But if haunted houses and tourist-friendly ghost tours are not for you, New York’s bustling burrows are home to a slew of the more naturally born spirits. You’ll find Dracula’s extended family on 23rd Street, a host of oracles on Orchard Street, and the site of the cruel crime that led to the nation’s first recorded murder trial on Spring Street. If you’re searching for a necropolis in the metropolis, here are ten of the best sites in New York to spot specters.
A young Tenement Museum member was treated to an advance tour after starting her own fundraising for the museum and raising $1,000. Photo by Gemma Solomons
The pandemic has taken its toll on almost every New York City museum, but the Lower East Side’s Tenement Museum has had it especially hard. Because of the cramped quarters of the historic tenement houses that make up the museum, they’ve been unable to reopen indoors. As NY1 reported in late July, the museum laid off 76 part-time employees, 71 of whom were tour guides. But there’s now a glimmer of hope for the museum that educates people on the history of immigration to New York in the 19th and 20th centuries. They will be restarting their outdoor walking tours for single household groups beginning this weekend. Read more
There’s no better way to enjoy the warm weather and see all New York has to offer than by taking a walking tour. Not just for tourists anymore, you can learn more about city history, find a new favorite spot to eat, and even discover some Instagram-worthy views. Ahead, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most fun and information tours in NYC, from superheroes and ghosts to swing dance and pork buns.
Via Tenement Museum
Starting in October, the Tenement Museum will stay open late every Thursday night for exclusive events, programs, and tours. Recently added programming includes a new permanent tour, a pop-up exhibition, and a costumed interpreter tour, all offered on Thursday nights. The Lower East Side museum, which opened in 1992, is a national historic site with a mission to share the stories of immigrants in New York City.
Image via Tenement Museum
The Tenement Museum will open a new kiosk at the Market Line inside the Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side, developer Delancy Street Associates announced on Thursday. The kiosk will feature a screen with tour times and other information about the museum. When it opens later this year, the Market Line will run three city blocks and include 100 locally-sourced food, art, fashion and music vendors. The market, projected to be the largest of its kind in New York City, sits inside Essex Crossing, a 1.9-million-square foot mixed-use development.
For many New Yorkers, the Lower East Side is one neighborhood that still has a lot of authenticities and good ‘ole New York grit left. It has been described as Manhattan’s “last frontier of cool. The promised land of old as well as new… Where the Godfather lives side by side with a hipster movie.” Put more tangibly by Benjamin Baccash of Taconic Investment Partners, the developer of LES’s Essex Crossing, “The Lower East Side has wonderful restaurants, art galleries, and great street life. It’s a real neighborhood and that’s what a lot of people are looking for.”
In addition to great diversity, personality, and transportation, the city is undertaking huge improvements on the east river waterfront, and developers are erecting new developments at all corners of the ‘hood. Ahead, 6sqft takes a look at everything that’s keeping the Lower East Side a vestige of old New York during its contemporary resurgence, from massive projects like Essex Crossing to a booming art gallery scene.
Ever since architects James Ramsey and Dan Barasch announced their plan to turn a forgotten trolley terminal below Delancey Street into an underground park, design enthusiasts, urban planners, locals, celebs, and, well, just about everyone who’s caught wind of it has been waiting in anticipation for what’s to come. The push to make this cool concept a reality continues on strong, even four years after the first unveiling (not that long when you consider that the High Line Park was a 15-year-long project!), and next Wednesday, November 12th at 6:30PM, the Lowline creators will be hosting a brand new event that will give New Yorkers the chance to discover the history of the former subterranean streetcar station built in 1908 and abandoned in 1948. The park’s creators have partnered with historic preservation researchers at Higgins Quasebarth to present their latest research, findings and the science behind the Lowline at a FREE public talk at the Tenement Museum at 103 Orchard Street.
Image courtesy of MNCY
Long considered the capital of Jewish America, this overpoweringly cramped neighborhood was considered by many to be the greatest concentration of Jewish life in nearly 2,000 years.
Between 1880 and 1924, 2.5 million mostly-impoverished Ashkenazi Jews came to the US and nearly 75 percent took up residence on the Lower East Side. According to the Library of Congress, by 1900, more than 700 people per acre were settling in a neighborhood lined with tenements and factories. And as quickly as they descended on the streets, all sharing a common language (mostly Yiddish) and most certainly, similar backgrounds, they quickly established synagogues as early as 1865 (the landmarked Bialystoker Synagogue, whose congregants were mostly Polish immigrants from Bailystok), small shops, pushcarts teeming with goods, social clubs and even financial-aid societies.
By 1910, the Lower East Side’s population was well over the five million mark, but sadly, such congestion habitually caused havoc.