Cities are always changing. In architecture everything gives way and nothing is fixed. Impermanence is the only constant. Every new generation tinkers with the aesthetics of urban space (or lack of it) to create its own place. At the same time, the fabric of the city is resilient and able to harness its own transformative power which gives it a unique character. The history of Second Avenue is a vibrant example. [Read more…] about NYC History: The Stuyvesant Farm to East Village Punk
“The most famous of American almanacs, Benjamin Franklin‘s Poor Richard’s Almanack, which was published annually from 1732 to 1758, begins each edition by invoking its year’s distance from both the birth of Christ and the year of Creation as calculated by varying ancient cultures,” says historian Jill Spivey Caddell. [Read more…] about Confederate Almanacs: Harvests and Histories
In August of 2015, the Liberty Museum and Arts Center’s 14th annual conference on the history of the Catskills was entitled, “Small but Grand Hotels: The Backbone of the Catskills Tourism Economy.” The focus of the conference was the hundreds of smaller hotels — those accommodating 300 or fewer guests — that had a major economic impact on the area’s downtowns, as their guests, absent the 24-hour-a-day entertainment found in their larger competitors, made their way to the main streets of neighboring communities for movies and an occasional meal in a delicatessen or diner. [Read more…] about A Catskill Carnival: A New Book On Borscht Belt Life
Southern secession was a disaster for American nationalists with a pro-slavery vision. Few were as virulent as John Van Evrie (1814–1896), a Canadian educated as a physician, who spent the 1850s building a publishing company that churned out pro-slavery works, including the notorious New York Weekly Day Book newspaper.
Van Evrie’s pseudoscience theories, which lacked evidence even for the time, claimed black people were inferior to white people, defended slavery as practiced in the United States, and attacked abolitionism. [Read more…] about Professional Racist John Van Evrie & The New York Weekly Day Book
Over time, there have been numerous taverns and pubs in England that carried the name of Hole-in-the-Wall. It has been suggested that the name is a biblical reference to Ezekiel 8:7: “And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.”
There is, in other words, an access to every secret which no man can seal off – there is “a crack in everything.” [Read more…] about Roguery & Mythmaking: Criminal Biographies From Claude Duval to Herbert Asbury
In the [New York] Press Club lot in Cypress Hills Cemetery [located at 833 Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn], Saturday [February February 21, 1891], the clods rattled on the coffin of one who, when alive, was the best informed man about old New York of any who dwelt within its limits. [Read more…] about Colonel Thomas Picton: Fillibuster, Historian, Editor, Sports Writer & Man About Town
Daniel Manning was born in Albany, NY, on August 16, 1831, the second son of John and Eleanor Manning. The Mannings were of Irish, English, and Dutch descent.
Daniel was six at the time of the Panic of 1837 when his father died, causing financial strain on the politically connected family. When Daniel was ten he was appointed a page in the New York State Assembly where he served for two years. During the second year, he also got a job distributing the Albany Atlas newspaper. [Read more…] about Albany’s Daniel Manning: Newspaperman & Secretary of the Treasury
On July 23, 1788, a colorful “Federal Procession” of nearly 5,000 citizens marched through Lower Manhattan in celebration of the ratification of the Constitution. The Order of the Procession was divided in ten divisions representing various trades and professions. One of those involved in the manifestation was a young Federalist and lexicographer by the name of Noah Webster.
Noah was a member of the Philological Society of New York. Founded in March 1788 for the purpose of “improving the American Tongue,” the Society was eager to take part in the event. Solemnly dressed in black, the philologists paraded in the Ninth Division with lawyers, college students and merchants. [Read more…] about Noah Webster’s Dictionary for Independence
I recently came across copies of Adirondack Voices from the 1990s, published by the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA). This organization was founded in 1990 by full-time residents of the Adirondack Park intent on trying to keep some peace in the Adirondacks.
RCPA believed that the integrity and economic viability of the Adirondack communities they lived and worked in could be enhanced while preserving their unique wilderness and wild forest landscape. [Read more…] about Adirondack Voices: Residents Speaking Out For Environmental Protection
Allison M. Stagg’s first book, Prints of a New Kind: Political Caricature in the United States, 1789–1828 (Penn State University Press, 2023) details the political strategies and scandals that inspired the first generation of American caricaturists to share news and opinions with their audiences in shockingly radical ways. [Read more…] about Prints of a New Kind: Political Caricature in the United States