All we know for certain about Frank Johnson’s birthdate is that it preceded the passage of the 1799 Gradual Emancipation Act, thereby making him a “slave for life,” as he was called by the man who owned him according to the law. That man, Alexander Bryan Johnson, born in England in 1786, followed his father to Utica, New York arriving in 1801. There he became an important man, involved with the merchandising business, banking, writing, and gaining recognition as a public intellectual. There is still a park named after him in Utica. [Read more…] about Frank Johnson’s Story: An Enslaved Man’s Experiences
New York City
Daniel Defoe’s The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders (1722) is the story of the notorious life and ultimate repentance of a woman who lived much of her adult life as a prostitute and thief. Set in London, the novel reflects immigrant urban life. It’s a tale told by a woman who does not reveal her real name, but to fellow streetwalkers she is known as Moll Flanders.
She was just six months old when her mother was imprisoned for stealing three pieces of fine “Holland” (imported Dutch fabric) from a draper in Cheapside. The baby was “sold” and spent time in the company of “gypsies” before running off as a child ending up in Colchester. The story starts amid the textile industry of Colchester and Norwich, noted for its refugees from the Low Countries. [Read more…] about Moll Flanders in Manhattan (Daniel Defoe and Martin Scorcese)
Imagine growing up during the early 1960s and traveling to a New York City destination for an all-day, fun-filled history lesson. By car, bus, or train, all roads led to the northeastern section of The Bronx.
Freedomland U.S.A. was an American history theme park where guests experienced Old Chicago as it burned to the ground, dodged cannon fire during a wagon ride through a Civil War battlefield and explored the Northwest Passage, as did Lewis and Clark, on a bull boat. Hundreds of thousands of kids entered this time machine into America’s past with their mothers and fathers, cousins and friends, aunts and uncles, and with their grandmothers and grandfathers. [Read more…] about 1960s Bronx Theme Park Freedomland U.S.A. Celebrated History
In 2002, a small, timeworn leather trunk was discarded for garbage on a sidewalk in Lower Manhattan; it was found replete with the cherished keepsakes of a 19th century New York City woman.
Thus began visual artist Stacy Renee Morrison’s self-proclaimed love affair with Sylvia DeWolf Ostrander, whose early life parallels that of Gertrude Tredwell, who lived at 29 East 4th Street. [Read more…] about Sylvia: A 19th Century Life Unveiled
Caitlin Hawke, long time Bloomingdale resident is set to give a presentation on Civil War actress Maggie Mitchell on Tuesday, January 14th, at Hostelling International, 891 Amsterdam Avenue (at 103rd St.), in Manhattan.
Hawke will tell the story of the St. Andoche, a building constructed for beloved Civil War actor Maggie Mitchell who lived there for two decades until her death at the age of 81 in 1918. [Read more…] about Civil War Actor Maggie Mitchell in NYC
Long before the fictional and shocking “Peyton Place” of TV and film fame came along in the late 1950s, and early 1960s there was an actual suburban community where its residents were roiled by rampant scandal, moral and religious hypocrisy and a sensational a murder in their midst. [Read more…] about The Prophet Matthias and Elijah the Tishbite
It has long been the conventional wisdom that the Irish in America trend Democratic in their voting tendencies. This was more true in the late 19th Century and in the 1880s, Republican Party election committees were hell-bent on mitigating that trend. [Read more…] about Collections Mystery: The Emancipator Newspaper in 1888
In the late summer of 1664, four English frigates arrived off shore New Amsterdam. Rather than resisting, the Director-General of New Netherland, Peter Stuyvesant, surrendered the city and colony to the English.
Although the Dutch briefly regained control of the colony in 1673, it was restored to English rule in the Treaty of Westminster the following year, marking the end of Dutch New York.
Despite the English conquest, the Dutch language continued to thrive in New York and northern New Jersey for generations, persisting into the twentieth century in certain areas. [Read more…] about When Did New York Stop Speaking Dutch?
Historic preservationists will rally Wednesday at the Demarest Building on 5th Avenue in Manhattan in hopes of saving the commercial building built to showcase carriages from demolition.
Th 1890 structure, designed by noted architect James Renwick (Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell), is located across from the Empire State Building at the northeast corner at Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street. It is believed to have been home to the world’s first electric elevator. An announcement of the rally said the building was “an important piece of New York and American history and architecture which should be saved.” [Read more…] about Preservationist Rallying To Save Historic Demarest Building
The Merchant’s House Museum has announced their New Year’s Day 2020 Celebration, set for Wednesday, January 1, 2020, from 2 to 5 pm. Attendees will be able to cheer for the New Year and learn how New Yorkers like the Tredwells celebrated the day in the 1850s.
Paying social calls on friends and family on New Year’s Day was one of Old New York’s most cherished customs. The celebration will feature guided tours of the house and current exhibitions throughout the afternoon, walking tours of the NoHo neighborhood, and hot cider and cookies in the cozy 19th century kitchen. [Read more…] about New Year’s Day Celebration at Merchant’s House