The most recent episode of Empire State Engagements features a conversation with Dr. Thomas J. Balcerski of Eastern Connecticut State University about his New York History journal article “‘The Little Spark of Manhood I Have Left’: Governor Thomas Melville and the Aged Seamen of Sailors’ Snug Harbor,” and his recent monograph Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019). [Read more…] about Sailors’ Snug Harbor on Staten Island (Author Interview)
Because I teach urban history, immigration history, and in particular New York history, I often have students inquire about the merits of Martin Scorsese’s 2002 film “Gangs of New York.”
Here are a few observations about the movie and about New York history. [Read more…] about Scorsese’s ‘Gangs of New York’ and New York History
Readers will recall that one of the most important periods of reform in New York history was spurred by the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of March, 1911: in the wake of this horror, protective labor legislation was passed at a frenzied pace, informed by the State Factory Investigating Commission and shepherded through the legislature by Assemblyman Alfred E. Smith and Senator Robert F. Wagner.
It is a tragic, even shameful irony that the Empire State’s major initiative for improving one aspect of its health care infrastructure was to be inspired by another, less well known conflagration. On February 18, 1923, only seven weeks after Al Smith was inaugurated for his second tenure as governor, a fire at a hospital for the mentally ill on Ward’s Island in New York killed twenty-four patients and three state employees. [Read more…] about Ward’s Island Fire And New York’s Charitable Hospitals