Month :

Nov ,2015

from Spoiled NYC: Have You Ever Wondered What NYC’s Streets Looked Like Way Back in 1855?

You thought the library was supposed to be boring, right? Well, not when the New York Public Library messes around and comes up with some cool stuff for the web.

People seemed to dig the interactive map of Manhattan in 1609 we posted recently, and we have to admit: we did too. Sure, you expect that wherever you search, the results will inevitably be “nature,” but that’s what’s mind blowing about it.

A map of New York City’s businesses as of 1855.  Ever wonder how long your bodega has actually been on that corner? What was there before it?

Now you can see what was what. And all thanks to the NYPL’s Mauricio Giraldo, who compiled a ton of data from the Library’s stacks of maps from 1855.

It’s not just businesses, either. There are horse stables (that’s right, stables used to be all over the place), churches, and lots more.


via Codepen

This is simply another great way to get to know the City throughout time.

Granted, New York City is not that old compared to many other places around the world. But it is a fact that since the Dutch arrived in the early 1600s, it’s all all been going down right there in these streets.

So now check out this amazing map right here. (You might be especially surprised by how many schools there were in Manhattan back in the day.)

Explore Manhattan Way Back in 1609 With This Amazing Interactive Map

Continue reading

from Spoiled NYC: MTA Just Announced Vintage Subways and Buses Will Run Over the Holiday Season in NYC

Because it’s officially the holiday season in New York City, there’s news of this from the wonderful folks over at the MTA:

“For four consecutive Sundays in December, subway customers can catch the “Shoppers Special,” a train consisting of eight cars from the 1930s that ran along the lettered lines until the late 1970s.

The cars, which were ordered for the Independent Subway System (IND), were the first subway cars to be identified by their contract numbers, hence the R1/9 designations.

R1/9 cars, known as ““City-Cars,” have rattan seats, ceiling fans, incandescent light bulbs, and roll signs for passenger information.

Their design of more doors that were also wider and faster, plus increased standing capacity to accommodate crowds, served as the model of modern subway cars, and their dimensions are identical to the latest R160 cars. They were retired from service in 1977.”

“For all intents and purposes, this was the first modern subway car and today’s subway fleets owe a lot to the design,” said Joe Leader, Senior Vice President of Subways.

“They were basic, durable and offered the expected levels of customer comfort for decades after they were introduced into service. We continue to build upon this strong foundation with each new car design.”

Is it just us or do these holiday trains actually make the price of subway ride less… painful on our minds (and wallets)?…

Continue reading

from the New York Times:

An Ancient Stream Under a Manhattan Building Leads to a Dispute


With New York City’s overheated real estate market showing no signs of cooling, disputes over developments tend to sprout like weeds. Many feel familiar: A project is too big or too unsightly and will blight a neighborhood or force out people of modest means or end the long run of a beloved mom-and-pop shop.

But a battle unfolding on the Upper West Side of Manhattan comes with a twist that if not unprecedented, is certainly unusual — a meandering subterranean river that is just one of many such streams that once coursed through the pristine and undeveloped island centuries ago.

Several of the streams flowed west out of what is now Central Park. The path of one crosses Central Park West at 74th Street and runs north to 76th Street, trickling off a faded 19th-century topographical map and into a modern-day dispute over a multimillion-dollar home renovation.

The building, an 1891 Renaissance Revival-style rowhouse at 32 West 76th Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, was bought last year for about $10 million by Dana Lowey Luttway and her husband, David Luttway.

Ms. Lowey Luttway, whose real estate investment firm, Holliswood Development, specializes in buying Manhattan townhouses, renovating them and selling them to wealthy buyers, intends to excavate an existing cellar in the property to add habitable space. She said she and Mr. Luttway, a French-born businessman, were going to move into the house with their three children.

The plan has neighbors on both sides of the building worried that excavation work there may pose structural dangers to it as well as to the adjacent homes, especially because the stream may have weakened the soil in the area.

Louise Magers, whose townhouse is next door, said she was “deeply concerned” about the safety of any excavation planned for below the building.

And Joseph Bolanos, a self-styled neighborhood watchdog who lives in an apartment on the other side of Ms. Lowey Luttway’s building, said that during a street dig in 2001, sewer workers hit running water that he believed was the stream 22 feet down. The stream, he said, had eroded the soil, causing cave-ins over the years.

Ms. Lowey Luttway said tests conducted by experts she hired did not indicate that there was a stream beneath the property. Furthermore, she said, her project would not extend that far below ground and would strengthen the stability of a structure that had been neglected for years. “This building was falling apart,” she said, adding of Mr. Bolanos, “He should be sending me roses, not opposing my restoration.”

For now, the city’s Buildings Department has prohibited excavation at the site. The agency issued a stop-work order in September, citing a lack of notification before demolition and a failure to monitor vibrations in adjacent buildings.

Mr. Bolanos said he suspected that the agency wanted to review the stream issue because the order came out after he sent officials a detailed description saying that “a significant presence of a freshwater stream in, around and under 32 West 76th Street is clearly evident.”

He said he had contacted the agency after hearing heavy work being done in the building and supported his claim that the area was unstable by providing a list of seven episodes when the ground had sunk or caved in over the years.…

Continue reading

  • Sunday, November 22, 2015, 3:30 PM – 7:00 PM
    The Solemnity of Christ the King
    Sunday, November 22, 2015
    Solemn Vespers
    the dedication of the
    Archbishop John J. Hughes Memorial
    Presiding In November of 1815, The Most Reverend John Connolly,
    the first resident Bishop of the Diocese of New York,
    arrived from Europe to preside over the newly
    completed cathedral on Mott Street.Two hundred years later, Timothy Cardinal Dolan
    will officiate at the blessing of a newly restored
    Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral,
    the Archbishop John J. Hughes Memorial,
    Catacombs, Bell Tower, and new Altagracia Chapel.

Continue reading

A rich history of 19th century opulence lies within the walls of the former Holland House hotel in NoMad, now home to an airy beer hall. According to its present-day website, (the original) “Holland House hotel provided “Life style of the Rich and Famous” until the business closed in 1920.” The present-day iteration of Holland House claims to be the largest beer hall and Asian tapas bar in New York City.

TravelZoo offers a discount voucher for appetizers and drinks for two, through Jan. 30, 2016; Monday-Saturday.

Holland House
276 5th Ave
New York, NY 10001
Tel: 212-685-2727

Continue reading

The Brooklyn Museum revisits the people’s playground with the new exhibition, ‘coney island: visions of an american dreamland, 1861-2008’, a kaleidoscopic visual record of years spent off that mystical last stop on the q train. Works include photos by Arbus and Weegee, art by daze and swoon, and much more. suggested admission: $16 general, $10 students/seniors. free first fridays 5-11pm. Exhibit runs through 3/16.

According to Brooklyn Based, “In addition to Visions Of An American Dreamland, two related exhibitions, Forever Coney: Photographs from the Brooklyn Museum Collection and Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull) will open at the Brooklyn Museum on Nov. 20. All three run through March 13, 2016. Additional programming includes a roundtable with contemporary sideshow performers on Nov. 21, and a banner-making workshop with artist Marie Roberts on Dec. 19″.…

Continue reading

Tenement Talks: The American Dream in NYC

Wednesday, November 18 6:30 PM at the Tenement Museum

Manicurists, nannies, restaurant workers. The majority of these laborers, so critical to the New York economy and many New Yorker’s daily lives, are immigrants. Immigrants make up almost half of the city’s workforce but often have jobs that offer few protections and whose conditions receive little oversight.  A panel comes together to examine these conditions, as well as the opportunities and challenges of immigrant labor in New York City. Journalists Sarah Maslin Nir, who exposed the world of nail salon workers in the New York Times, and Lauren Hilgers, who revealed the inner workings of Chinese restaurant workers network in the New Yorker share the stage with former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse, who moderates the conversation.


This event is free and seating is first-come, first-served. Doors will open at 6pm.


If you have questions, contact Laura Lee at or 212.431.0233 ext. 259.


Photo: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Continue reading

 From New York Adventure Club:

November 15, 2015


Corey William Schneider

South Bronx neighborhood Mott Haven, named after iron works owner Jordan Mott, who purchased the land in 1849, has been home to a range of industries throughout the 19th and 20th centuries including metal works, stone yards, and even pianos. While these manufacturing buildings and facilities are no longer in operation, many historic buildings and infrastructure projects still exist if you know where to look:

#1 – The Mott Haven East Historic District

Located on East 139th and East 140th between Willis and Brooks Avenues, these sets of William O’Gorman & William rowhouses date back to 1877, making them one of the oldest rowhouse developments in the Bronx. Many of the houses have a range of architectural styles including Dutch/Flemish pediments.

#2 – 404–450 East 142nd Street

Located on the south side of East 142nd between Willis and Brooks Avenues, these 42 neo-Grec rowhouses designed by William O’Gorman date back to 1897. While they were originally built of brick with stone ornaments, many are now an array of bright and bold colors.

#3 – United Methodist Church

Located on the corner of 141st Street and Willis Avenue, United Methodist Church, originally called Willis Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, was built in 1900 by George W. Kramer. This 100+ year old Gothic Revial church still boasts impressive colored stained glass, so don’t forget to look up!

#4 – St. Ann’s Church

Located at 295 St. Ann’s Avenue, St. Ann’s Church and Graveyard was constructed in 1840 by Gouverneur Morris, Jr. as a family memorial on his rural estate (before Jordan Haven purchased the land in 1849). As the oldest church still standing in the Bronx, it contains many of the Morris family members including Gouverneur Morris, Sr., Judge Lewis Morris (first Governor of New Jersey), and Major General Lewis Morris (member of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence).

#5 – Abandoned South Bronx Rail Line

Located from East 163rd Street to East 141st Street by the waterfront (picture taken from Southern Blvd near 142nd Street), the abandoned South Bronx Rail Line’s next life is a current topic of debate, with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. arguing that the site should be turned into a new “lowline” park. Since this strip of vacant land won’t be redeveloped anytime soon, you’ll have plenty of time to visit this 20 block stretch filled with fantastic graffiti, and not so fantastic trash.

Bonus – Mott Haven Substation

Located at 380 Southern Blvd (and boardered by Brucker Avenue and 144th Street), the Mott Haven Substation, operated by Con Edison, is easily mistaken as a gated townhouse community by locals and passersby alike. The aesthetically pleasing concealment of this enormous four story, 125,000 square foot facility, earned it the “Best Manufacturing Facility” title by the Precast / Prestressed Concrete Institute Northeast Covering New England and New York.


mott haven


things to see

Continue reading

BK: Gerard Koeppel presents City on a Grid: How New York Became New York


11/17/2015 – 7:00pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place at our Brooklyn location.

On a scale comparable to the construction of the Erie or Panama canals, transforming the swamps and hills of Manhattan into the illustrious city of today was a project of mammoth proportion. In City on a Grid, Gerard Koeppel tells of how the legendary grid came to be, who did it and why, and what it meant for the growing United States.

RSVP encouraged, but not required.

ISBN: 9780306822841
Availability: In stock at Brooklyn or Jersey City — click for more details
Published: Da Capo Press – November 10th, 2015

Continue reading

From i-D:
photography Emily Manning 12 November, 2015

the changing world of midtown manhattan

Harvey Stein has documented starting shooting in Manhattan on his lunch break in 1974, and hasn’t stopped since.

New York subcultures are always linked to micro-neighbourhoods. Think punks at St. Marks Place, beatniks in Greenwich Village, and now, cyber (or health, or maybe just regular) goths in Bushwick. But you’d be hard pressed to think of a tribe whose village is Midtown. Shaded by skyscrapers, the commercial hub is mostly shared by suits and slow tourists who meet each other only when shuffling through stuffed sidewalks. This anxious, anonymous herd has captivated photographer Harvey Stein for over four decades.

Next week, Stein will release Briefly Seen: New York Street Life, the final volume in his trilogy capturing the Empire City’s enclaves. The series’ first two volumes compiled Stein’s decade-spanning work in Coney Island and Harlem — portrait-style images that chronicle each area’s eccentric communities and vibrant energy. Briefly Seen, however, is a collection of truly candid, frenzied imagery shot smack dab in the middle of Midtown’s most densely packed mobs.

Stein has photographed the same haunts from 6th Ave to 60th Street with the same Leica from 1974 – 2014, but he doesn’t date his images. The only visual clues viewers have to a photograph’s historical moment are subtle: the thickness of glasses frames, the width of lapels, the model of mobile phones — or their absence. We caught up with Stein to find out more about capturing New York’s unique pulse and pace.

How did you begin shooting in Midtown?
I actually worked on Madison Ave and 57th St for about four years before I decided to chuck it all and become a photographer. I would go out every lunch hour in the summer, leave my suit coat and tie in the office, hide my camera under my arm, go walk around and photograph. When the hour was up, I’d sneak back to work — kind of like Clark Kent. It felt like I had a split personality, like I was living a dual life. I was loving what I wasn’t doing enough of and not liking what I was doing too much of! I left that ad agency long ago, but have photographed the area ever since.

How have you seen the neighbourhood change over time?
Times Square has changed amazingly. It used to be full of drug addicts and sex shops. During the day in the 70s or 80s, people would walk from the Port Authority to their office in Midtown, but they’d do so very quickly and with their heads down. You wouldn’t go in at night at all. Around the mid-90s, that started to change, but I really wasn’t that interested in photographing that transition. From 42nd to 57th Street between 3rd and 7th Avenue, things have stayed is pretty much the same. There are modern, ecologically efficient buildings now, but by and large, I haven’t seen a lot of change in Midtown.…

Continue reading

Copyright © 2011-2015 Bygone NYC - All Rights Reserved