Throughout the United States there are traditional Fourth of July parades and backyard barbecues, but in New York City the history of July 4th celebrations have been somewhat different. Although July 4th would appear to be a apolitical patriotic holiday, early July 4th celebrations in the city of New York were anything but nonpartisan. [Read more…] about A History of New York City’s July 4th Celebrations
American artists and illustrators have documented events through the nation’s history, producing a vital visual record of collective experiences. One illustrator, who can still be called upon to look back through time, is Edwin Forbes, who lived in the Long Island village of Flatbush, before it was annexed into Brooklyn, and eventually New York City. He was a noted illustrator of the Civil War and also an inventor of the horse racing starting gate. [Read more…] about Edwin Forbes: Civil War Artist & Starting Gate Inventor
The term paparazzo and its plural form paparazzi were first used in English in a Time magazine article dated April 14th, 1961, entitled “Paparazzi on the Prowl.” The piece put the spotlight on a new type of photographer that was giving Rome’s elegant district around Via Veneto an unpleasant reputation. [Read more…] about Weegee the Famous: Paparazzo of the Nameless
In the mid-20th century, Americans had a great enthusiasm for all manner of keepsakes and mementos cast in bronze. On October 17, 1960, the National Hot Dog Council presented a life-size hot dog cast in bronze on a marble base to Republican vice-presidential candidate Henry Cabot Lodge Jr (1902-1985).
In the blur of events during the hard-fought presidential campaign, Lodge came to mistakenly believe that he had received the unusual gift during a visit to Nathan’s, the famous hot dog emporium in New York City. [Read more…] about Henry Cabot Lodge’s Bronze Hot Dog
Exploding urban populations during the nineteenth century demanded new solutions towards burying the dead. Traditional congregational graveyards were either full or overcrowded. A combination of practical thinking and the wish to commune with nature (inspired by Romantic poetry) led to the development of serene burial grounds outside the city boundaries.
Founded as a “rural” or “garden” cemetery in 1838, Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery is famous for its picturesque landscape features with evocative names such as Camellia Path, Halcyon Lake, Oaken Bluff, or Vista Hill. Elaborate monuments and mausoleums, designed in an array of architectural styles, honor the Lispenard dynasty (Norman), William Niblo (Gothic), the Steinway family (Classical), and others.
And then there is the Feltman mausoleum, the columns of which feature Corinthian capitals. On each side of the doorway stands a trio of mourning figures. Those on the left hold symbols of faith (cross and doves); those on the right show grief and sorrow. The pediment features two cherubs holding a wreath with the initial F in the center. On top of the temple is a cupola with the Archangel Michael standing guard, sword at the ready. The building serves to celebrate the memory of just one man. Who was this person? A Founding Father maybe? A respected politician (if that is not a contradiction in terms)? A celebrated artist? [Read more…] about A Dog’s Tale: Dachshunds, Hot Dogs, Coney Island & Greenwood Cemetery
Coney Island’s development began in the 1840s, when it was still an island. Looking at a map, one can see Coney Island creek, which ends at Shell Road. That’s because the creek used to be a river which flowed into Sheepshead Bay, but through the process of filling in land, Coney Island was connected to the rest of Brooklyn. [Read more…] about Coney Island: A Short History
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
242 years after John Adams’ exhortation, people in the city of New York are still struggling with how to celebrate July 4, and its meaning. In the City of New York July 4 celebrations held after the enactment of the U.S. Constitution were anything but nonpartisan. [Read more…] about Tammany and NYC’s Fourth of July Celebrations
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has designated the Coney Island (Riegelmann) Boardwalk in Brooklyn a Scenic Landmark in recognition of its cultural and historical significance.
Since opening on May 15, 1923, the Coney Island Boardwalk has been one of the best-known waterfront promenades in the world, providing access to the beach, amusements, and ocean views. Scenic landmark designation is expected to protect the boardwalk’s presence along the beachfront and preserve this iconic site for future generations. [Read more…] about Coney Island Boardwalk Designated Landmark
The exhibition will trace the evolution of the Coney Island phenomenon from tourist destination during the Civil War to a site of nostalgia. Covering a period of 150 years, the exhibition will feature 140 objects, including paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, posters, artifacts, carousel animals, ephemera, and film clips. Also on view will be Forever Coney, 42 photographs from the Brooklyn Museum collection. [Read more…] about Major Coney Island Exhibit Planned In Brooklyn
If you’ve ever squealed with delight on legendary amusement park rides like the Whip, Tickler, Wave Pool and Human Roulette Wheel, or enjoyed a gallop on a beautifully carved carousel horse, you can thank William Mangels (1866-1958) – German immigrant, mechanic and permanent resident of Brooklyn’s Historic Green-Wood Cemetery.
To honor this man who played a key role in the creation of great turn-of-the-century American amusement parks, Green-Wood has announced today that it will mount a major exhibition, William F. Mangels: Amusing the Masses on Coney Island and Beyond, funded, in part, by a Kickstarter campaign. [Read more…] about Brooklyn Cemetery Celebrates Amusement Park Pioneer