The new book The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution (Yale Univ. Press, 2023) by Benjamin L. Carp takes a look at who set the mysterious fire that burned down much of the city of New York shortly after the British took the city during the Revolutionary War. [Read more…] about The Great New York Fire of 1776
New York City
The first known Chinese restaurant in America, Canton Restaurant, is believed to have opened in San Francisco in 1849. Today, according to the Chinese American Restaurant Association, more than 45,000 Chinese restaurants operate across the United States, more than all the McDonald’s, KFCs, Pizza Huts, Taco Bells and Wendy’s combined.
Their story begins with Chinese immigrants to California in the mid-nineteenth century — mostly from Canton province — drawn by the Gold Rush of 1849 and fleeing economic problems and famine in China. Though some headed to the gold fields, most Chinese immigrants to the San Francisco Bay area provided services for the miners as traders, grocers, merchants and restaurant owners. [Read more…] about Chinese Restaurant History in New York City
Around 1800, Philip and Catharine Brotherson arrived in Blue Corners on the western edge of Charlton in Saratoga County. Over the next 40 years, their five children grew to maturity, the last being Benjamin Kissam Brotherson, born in 1819.
At the age of sixteen, Benjamin was hired as a clerk for the dry goods merchant James Winne in Albany, New York. During his time in Albany, he was known as an upstanding young man of good moral character. Three years later, in 1838, he moved to the city of New York and took a job at Union Bank, where he would work for the next twenty years. [Read more…] about Ben Brotherson’s Bank Scheme
The work that historians do influences their lives, especially if they spend a considerable time in a foreign land that they write about. Slowly, their topic of choice becomes an essential part of their identity. Russell Shorto, a renowned writer of narrative history, writes about his own evolution at the intersection of Dutch-American history.
This essay concerns itself with the intersection of Dutch and American history. Previous posts have explored slavery in New Amsterdam, the naming – and renaming – of that city, and John Adams’ role as unofficial ambassador to the Netherlands during the American war of independence. As I pondered the task of contributing to that lineup, and scrolled through a mental list of possible topics, it occurred to me that, as I have lived at the intersection of Dutch and American history for more than twenty years, my own identity, and its evolution over that time, might be a relevant topic. [Read more…] about Russell Shorto: The Dutch-American Perspective
A descendant of Dutch settlers, Jacob Aaron Westervelt began his career in 1814 as an apprentice in Christian Bergh’s shipyard at the point of land on the East River known as Corlears Hook. He left his employer in 1835 to start his own operation along the river. Over a period of three decades, the yard produced 234 vessels.
One of Jacob’s first commissions in 1836 was to build the packet boat Mediator for John Griswold’s Black X Line. Founded in 1823, its ships ran between New York and London displaying a house flag with a black X on a red background. [Read more…] about Restless Roamer: James Smithson’s Final Journey
The most-visited state park in New York City is getting a much-needed update. This project will include the renovation of all locker rooms, resurfacing the outdoor track and replacing the turf field, and upgrading the heating and ventilation system in the performing arts center at Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park in West Harlem . [Read more…] about $26M Renovation Underway At Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park
Pugilistic champions of other days and of the present time passed in rapid review before a crowd of 2,500 sports in the Broadway Athletic Club last night. There was a rare galaxy of them. [Read more…] about An 1896 ‘Old Timers’ Boxing Event in New York City
While carrying a large sum of money on a business trip in 1805, the well-to-do city of New York merchant, David Low Dodge, who had been fast asleep in a tavern, was suddenly awakened by the noise of someone jiggling the lock to his bedroom door. Startled by the rattling doorknob and as the door slowly opened, Dodge, not taking any chances, quietly turned and reached for the pistol he always carried for protection.
And then, just before he was about to discharge his pistol, he recognized the suspected intruder as the innkeeper who had come to prepare the room for other guests. [Read more…] about David Lowe Dodge: The Merchant Peacemaker
The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has announced the hire of the new director of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI). Tiffany Rea-Fisher, who has extensive leadership experience in the arts, activism and community organizing, will be the second director of ADI, an ANCA program that aims to make the Adirondack region a more welcoming and inclusive place for residents and visitors. [Read more…] about New Director for Adirondack Diversity Initiative
The engagement on upper Manhattan Island on September 16th, 1776, was the first successful battle for George Washington’s troops in the quest for independence from Great Britain and presaged the emergence of an effective fighting force among the citizen-soldiers who made up the Continental Army.
The cooperative effort of regiments from New England, Maryland, and Virginia — whose men lacked any sense of national identity before the American Revolution — indicated the potential for this fledgling army to cohere around a common national purpose and affiliation and become the primary instrument for securing America’s right to self-rule. [Read more…] about The Battle of Harlem Heights, 1776