Robert Moses is the man many New Yorkers love to hate. This is in no small part due to his own hubris and the impact he had on the people living in the path of his massive construction projects. Add to that Robert Caro’s hard hitting 1974 biography The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (Vintage Book, 1975) and you’ve got a reputation that is hard to live down. [Read more…] about Robert Moses: The Man New Yorkers Love to Hate
The Fulton Fish Market stands out as an iconic New York institution. At first a neighborhood retail market for many different kinds of food, it became the nation’s largest fish and seafood wholesaling center by the late nineteenth century.
Waves of immigrants worked at the Fulton Fish Market and then introduced the rest of the city to their seafood traditions. In popular culture, the market — celebrated by Joseph Mitchell in The New Yorker — conjures up images of the bustling East River waterfront, late-night fishmongering, organized crime, and a vanished working-class New York. [Read more…] about The Fulton Fish Market: A History
The Hudson Area Library has announced that the Koweek family has donated the Arthur Koweek Urban Renewal Papers to the library’s History Room. Arthur Koweek chaired the Hudson City Planning Commission during the urban renewal project of 1971-1973.
With Hudson again in a debate about housing and business development, much can be learned from the Koweek Papers about the history of urban renewal in the city. The collection is an invaluable resource for Hudson and its residents as they seek to create a city that meets the needs of all the diverse people who live and work in its environs. [Read more…] about Hudson Area Library Acquires Urban Renewal Papers
The Downtown Oneonta Historic District is representative of more than two centuries of economic activity and urban development. The district remains largely intact, and contains an architecturally significant collection of commercial, converted residential, and civic buildings.
The downtown district characterizes broader trends in small urban areas where disinvestment and rural poverty are a direct threat to historic resources. Small cities like Oneonta represent important parts of the overall historic tapestry of New York State that without creative solutions could be lost forever. [Read more…] about Under Threat: The Downtown Oneonta Historic District
A chronology of cultural interactions between Europe and the United States tends to be a narrative about identity formation. It concerns the transfer of the American artist from a pilgrim to the shrines of European achievement to an active participant in redefining the boundaries of art and literature.
European modernism was the spontaneous expression of gifted but rebellious youngsters. It was rooted in urban settings and the post-war influx of young American writers fleeing the puritanical spirit at home added energy to the avant-garde. The presence of African-American performers and musicians boosted the raucous mood amongst the cosmopolitan mix of artists in Paris and Berlin.
Modernism had started with joyful artistic irreverence, it suffered in the trenches and, under the repression of the 1930s, was forced to seek asylum in New York. As war in Europe became inevitable, most cultural exiles returned to America, bringing with them a bounty of experience to fructify the cultural landscape at home (the term “lost generation” is a misnomer).
Such an account however obscures the fact that young and curious visitors to the United States – unlike their elders who resented the prospect of “Americanization” – returned home inspired by what they had experienced whilst questioning Europe’s haughty pretension of cultural superiority. [Read more…] about Architect Adolf Loos and the American Legacy in Vienna
As control of the American economy became increasingly centralized in trusts located on Wall Street after the Civil War, and the wealth of men like J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller grew exponentially, there developed an increasing backlash against such concentrations of wealth. In the 1880s, through an investigation by a committee of the New York State Legislature, Americans became aware that Standard Oil secretly controlled a number of supposedly competing oil companies. By 1910 almost 90% of the world’s oil supply was controlled from the company’s headquarters at 26 Broadway in Manhattan. [Read more…] about Trust Busting: William Jennings Bryan & Theodore Roosevelt
This week on The Historians Podcast, New York City attorney and walking tour guide Jim Kaplan explains the role played by Democratic Party district leader Jimmy McManus in reviving the Broadway theater industry and the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan.
An online version of Kaplan’s story was published in New York Almanack.
[Read more…] about Saving the Broadway Theater Business (Podcast)
The Clinton Avenue project involved the careful rehabilitation of 70 historic rowhouses spread across a one-mile span in Albany’s Clinton Avenue and Arbor Hill Historic Districts. The development includes 3 studios, 123 one-bedrooms, 68 two-bedrooms, and 16 three-bedrooms – a total of 210 apartments.
Tenants include households who earn from 50%-90% of the area median income, providing much-needed affordable housing in the city of Albany. Supportive housing has also been included, with 40 units reserved in partnership with DePaul, who provides services under contract with the Office of Mental Health. [Read more…] about Albany’s Clinton Ave Historic Apartments Wins Preservation Award
The relationship between politics and science has always been complicated, and at times, disastrous.
The term eugenics was coined in 1883 by the British scientist Francis Galton who advocated that society should promote the marriage of the “fittest” individuals by providing monetary incentives.
Numerous intellectuals and political leaders (Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes in Britain; Woodrow Wilson and Alexander Graham Bell in the United States) came to accept the idea that society should strive for the improvement of the human race through governmental intervention. [Read more…] about Lethal Chambers: The Curse of Anglo-American Eugenics
In 1984, longtime Tammany politician and leader of McManus Democratic Club James R. McManus was challenged for his position as Hell’s Kitchen’s District Leader by a reform politician named Hamed Houssain. Houssain argued that it was time for the district’s voters to retire the last vestige of Tammany Hall and throw out the organization affiliated with the corrupt disgraced Camine DeSapio.
McManus however, was overwhelmingly reelected and Mayor Ed Koch attended his victory party. For the next 33 years, until his retirement in 2017, there would be no other challenges to Jimmy McManus for the position of District Leader in Hell’s Kitchen. [Read more…] about Tammany’s McManus Club: The Final Decades