Month :

Jul ,2016

from Ephemeral New York:

How to outsmart the heat in summer 1899

July 21, 2014

MCNYsodawateradToday we survive summer heat waves with air conditioning and gelato runs.

But the “can’t-get-aways” of the 19th century city had to rely on other ways to keep cool, reports this cheeky New York Times Illustrated Magazine article from July 23, 1899.

One tactic was to loiter near electric fans: in offices, barber shops, and restaurants.

“When [fan loiterers] find a fan that suits them they plant themselves, so to speak, and remain as long as possible in placid enjoyment of the breezes furnished by other people’s money,” wrote the Times.

Fountains, Madison Sq. Park on hot day

“Every proprietor of an electric fan becomes acquainted during the heated term with these electric fan fiends.”

Some people engaged in “violent exercise.” These are the “misguided people who, given a temperature of a hundred in the shade, will choose a century run on a bicycle as the most enjoyable way of passing the time.”

Golf, baseball, and tennis “also have their enthusiastic hot-weather devotees, as a visit to Central Park any afternoon will testify.”


Socializing on a roof garden was an option, or heading to the mall at Central Park to hear free music, or splashing around “gleefully as dolphins” in the fountain at City Hall Park—though the latter was reserved for newsboys.

You could always catch a cool breeze by riding streetcars, transferring from car to car to the farthest and coolest parts of the city.

“The happiest man of the season is one who has just discovered that he can ride from the Battery up to Hastings-on-Hudson for 8 cents,” states the Times.

Streetcarnyc1906Then there was the “soda water habit,” which caused afflicted people to guzzle all kinds of creamy, bubbly concoctions and risk “dyspepsia.”

Finally, the article took New Yorkers to task for dressing inappropriately.

“Young professional men get an idea that dignity is a matter of dress, and go about on hot days wearing high silk hats and frock coats that give one a high fever only to look at them.


“It is true that lanky young men with very lean calves affect knickerbockers in Summer, and stout elderly women appear in light, airy muslins that would be suitable for slender girls of sixteen, but beyond this, and the general appearance of straw hats and shirt waists, there are few indications in the dress of New Yorkers that Summer is with us.”

[Photos: soda water ad, NYPL; splashing in the fountain at Madison Square Park, LOC; the roof garden at the Ritz-Carlton, NYPL; a street car with open windows, NYPL; a free summer concert on the mall, NYC Parks Department]


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from Cool Hunting:

Much can be said of TriBeCa’s Spring Studios. Arguably of greatest importance, it’s an epic 150,000 square foot multi-floor space dedicated to creativity. Recently, a 12,000 square foot, 360-degree-view rooftop was opened and a members’ only club known as Spring Place was announced. Aside from being the headquarters of a production company and offering coworking spaces as well as photo studios for rent, there’s a state-of-the-art private cinema and forthcoming restaurant. The venue has already played host to a fair share of events—especially connected to the fashion world—and there’s plenty more to come. In the midst of it all, there’s an art gallery and Spring Studios’ debut art exhibition.

The Gallery@Spring presently houses an exhibition that affirms Spring Studios’ appreciation of its NYC home. More than 50 photographs, drawn from LIFE magazine’s extensive archives adorn the walls. Each image—captured between the ’40s and ’70s—offers a fascinating glimpse of the city’s fashionable history. Among the photographers represented, three of the four original LIFE team have works on display, including Alfred Eisenstaedt’s now iconic image “V.J. Day.” Many of the images are celebrity-driven and shine a light upon Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando and Audrey Hepburn. Other imagery demonstrates the sheer magnetism of the city and those who filled its streets.

Working with the LIFE archive, Director of SilverLake Photography Eleonora Flammini and photographer Javier Sirvent curated the exhibition. Along with Duggal Visual Solutions (who also helmed some image restoration), Flammini and Sirvent had many of the images on display printed from original negatives. The large-scale works are predominantly black and white, but there are a few colorful exceptions.

As a venue that’s already demonstrated its close proximity to the fashion world, Spring Studios—a relatively new offshoot of an organization that began in London—is affirming their commitment to the industry with this exhibition. The NYC-centric nature of the show also grounds the venue as a new destination. But even more alluring is that during LIFE magazine’s 80th anniversary, this is a classic partnership of new and old: timeless NYC glamour in a very modern setting.

The LIFE archival photo exhibition will be open to the public 22-24 and 29-30 July 2016 from 10AM to 6PM at Spring Studios, 50 Varick Street, NYC.

Images courtesy of BFA

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Thu 07 2016 , by

Stapleton -Old and New


SVA Students Try to Bridge Divide Between ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Stapleton

By Nicholas Rizzi | July 26, 2016 6:33pm

 The School of Visual Arts started work on their study of Stapleton Tuesday.

SVA Students Study Tries to Bridge Divide Between ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Stapleton View Full Caption

STAPLETON — The redevelopment of Stapleton’s waterfront has some residents fearing a divide between the “new” and “old” neighborhood and a new study aims to help bridge that gap.

The School of Visual Arts partnered with the Historic Tappen Park Community Association to start their two-week “Impact! Design for Social Change” aimed to increase connectivity around Stapleton.

“You got residents that have been here for a really long time and people in Urby. How do you kind of bring them both together and build a better community?” said Mark Randall, program chair. “It’s not like the negative aspect of gentrification.”

The study, which started Tuesday afternoon, has students trying to identify challenges in the design and signage of Stapleton to help find ways to entice new residents of Urby Staten Island to cross the Staten Island Railway tracks and visit their new neighborhood.

For the program, SVA partners with the city’s Small Business Services department to help identify neighborhoods to focus on and chose Stapleton for one class — the other this summer is Brownsville — because of the large amount of developments headed to the borough’s North Shore.

The large 900-unit Urby Staten Island building officially opened in Stapleton this month, taking over the former Navy Homeport site on the waterfront and bringing about 70 news residents to the neighborhood already.

Aside from Urby, the city has also started working on their Bay Street Corridor plan which would change the zoning to bring in more mixed-used developments and add more businesses and affordable housing to a largely industrial stretch.

“The city is creating two different Stapletons,” Ed Polio, owner of 5050 Skatepark across the street from Urby, told DNAinfo New York previously, echoing concerns brought up at a recent community board meeting.

“There’s the Stapleton that I live in towards Bay Street and then there’s the Stapleton on the other side of the tracks.”

Urby has higher rents than the rest of the neighborhood — with studios starting at $1,500 — and will have a coffee shop and restaurants on the grounds that could lead to “creating an elitist, gated community,” according to the SVA’s project overview.

“We have physical boundaries, which is the railroad tracks, and we’re looking to not create a bifurcation between the old neighborhood and the new neighborhood,” said Kamillah Hanks, president of Historic Tappen Park.

“We don’t want to create a privileged section, or a private enclave, we want to integrate as much as possible.”

For their project, students will visit the neighborhood several times, talk to community leaders and business owners and eventually develop a “toolkit” to make changes to the neighborhood.

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Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Screams for Ice Cream!

Event Description

Ice cream is having a “Brooklyn moment.” Join some of the borough’s top ice cream makers for a look at the history, mechanics, and future of ice cream cones, sundaes, and sandwiches in Brooklyn. Moderated by historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman, and featuring Ample Hills and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. Tastings included!

Presented in partnership with Brooklyn Brainery.

Brooklyn Screams for Ice Cream!
Thu, Jul 28, 7 pm
$12 General Admission / $8 for BHS and G-W Members

BHS Members: to reserve tickets at the member price, click on “Get Tickets” and enter your Member ID on the following page after clicking on “Enter Promotional Code.” 

REFUND POLICY Brooklyn Historical Society requires 24 hours notice before the date of the event to refund a ticket. No refunds are provided after that point. No refunds are provided on the day of the event and all subsequent days. 

Brooklyn Historical Society – 128 Pierrepont St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 – View Map
Things to do in Brooklyn, NY Seminar Food & Drink


Brooklyn Historical Society

Organizer of Brooklyn Screams for Ice Cream!

Founded in 1863, Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) functions as a library, museum, and urban education center dedicated to the people of Brooklyn, providing opportunities for civic dialogue and thoughtful engagement. Each year, 70,000 students and teachers use our innovative programs and resources to learn about American History and scholars conduct important academic research in our Library and Archives. Through partnerships with government and community groups, BHS reaches communities throughout New York City, serving as a hub for information and ideas about Brooklyn and its complex history.

Housed in a magnificent Landmark Building in Brooklyn Heights, designed by George Post in 1878, BHS maintains an important collection of historical manuscripts, books, photographs, maps, paintings, objects, and ephemera dating back to the 17th century. BHS is a long-standing yet modern institution in both outlook and action. We are Brooklyn’s preeminent history center, responsible for preserving and presenting Brooklyn’s history; our collection continues to grow through the acquisition of contemporary and historical works of art, photographs, documents, books, and oral histories.

Phone: 718.222.4111




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Thursday, July 28, 6:00-7:30pm

Location: The BraineryFrom the debauched slums of Victorian London to dry martinis and fancy cocktail parties, gin has had a remarkable journey, a story that reflects the ever changing moods and sensibilities of society at large.Like many other spirits, it began life in the alchemist’s workshop as a medicinal cure-all, a link it would retain as a mainstay of European Battlefields and colonial outposts.Gin has had many moments in the sun, but it has had it critics: mothers’ ruin was seen by the puritanical as the scourge of the working classes, and this imagery has informed much of our opinions on its history. But, every time it was proscribed or looked like vanishing it bounced back, re-invented. No time is that more true than today, with a raft of new distilleries popping up – including here in New York.

Join me as I take you on the most incredible voyage across the globe and through every facet of life as we explore the history of Ginand prepare to be surprised! 


Cancellation policy




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from the website of Printed Matter:

Printed Matter presents Realize Your Desires: Underground Press from the Library of Stefan Brecht, an exhibition of alternative and independently-published newsprint periodicals from the early ‘60s to mid ‘70s.  Featuring work from nearly 30 presses with over 400 individual issues, the exhibition highlights both well-recognized and under-known publications, presented from the collection of the late poet, theater critic, and philosopher Stefan Brecht. The exhibition spans across Printed Matter’s back wall and adjoining project room, with hundreds of items available for purchase (several in complete or near-complete runs). The exhibition runs from June 18th through July 31. …

Under the rubric of a loosely affiliated (and sometimes syndicated) ‘Underground Press’, these periodicals trace a powerful shift in a rapidly evolving cultural landscape. Usually published as weeklies – often in large editions – and broadly distributed locally and by subscription, the Underground Press provided a vibrant space for revolutionary ideas which played out on all fronts of politics and culture, and offered a searing response to many issues of the day. For the years it was active, the Underground Press served as a radical agent in the push for civil rights on a host of issues including, the anti-war movement, black power movement, women’s liberation, gay rights, sexual liberation, drug culture, and anti-colonialism/imperialism.

The publications of the ‘Underground Press’ emerged out of a specific historical moment. In 1966 a Supreme Court decision allowing that ‘offensive material’ was permissible if it was seen to have redeeming social value created a relatively tolerant legal climate in which the Underground Press was able to thrive. Within seven years amidst the Nixonian backlash against political and cultural dissent, a Supreme Court Decision in 1973 effectively reversed the previous ruling and a higher threshold of censorship contributed to the squelching of this vibrant cultural phenomenon. Realize Your Desires traces the rise of radical voices via the Underground Press into the early seventies, at which point it is supplanted by a more subdued ‘alternative’ press offering a broader catch-all coverage of news, culture and the arts from a mainstream liberal perspective, with much of its radicality excised.

The periodical format – particularly that of the Underground Press – provides a spontaneous and raw narration of an historic era “in real time”. These tabloids – with writing that was opinionated, heartfelt, and very often outraged – were not merely reporting on the issues of the day, but were the sites of commentary and critique that engendered and progressed the movement itself. This was the revolution in the first person, without an interest in posterity and without the misty lens of history.

Beginning with activist newsweeklies from the early 1960’s such as Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker (founded in the ’30s), the marxist Militant, and the anti-racist and anti-imperialist Muhammad Speaks, the exhibition follows the explosion of countercultural publishing that properly begins in 1967.

In the case of The Black Panther, the newspaper served as the official news service of the Black Panther Party, publishing twice a month on the black liberation movement and its battle with America’s racist legacy.  …

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From Daytonian In Manhattan:
Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Altered 1746 Ye Olde Coffee House — No. 105 Broad Street

In 1746 a three-story brick building was erected at No. 105 Broad Street, on a plot owned by Philip Van Cortlandt. An inn and meeting place called Ye Olde Coffee House, it replaced the Exchange Coffee House, or New Coffee House, that had stood on the northeast corner of Water Street since at least 1709.

On the opposite end of the narrow block, at the corner of Pearl Street, was the elegant home of James DeLancy which would be purchased by Samuel Fraunces in 1762 and converted to the Queens Head Tavern. It was renamed Frances Tavern during the Revolution.

Both structures would be important in the conflict with the British. According to the New-York Tribune a century and a half later, “The Sons of Liberty, who later became bolder and changed their name to the Liberty Boys, organized and held meetings at ‘Ye Olde Coffee House’ in 1765.”

A large iron bell hung outside a neighboring building, according to the New York Herald on September 2, 1920, “in the early days of New Amsterdam, when the clangor of its iron tongue rang out joyful news on special occasions or announced the safe arrival of merchant vessels from the Fatherland. Later, when Ye Olde Coffee House had become the meeting place of the Sons of Liberty, so tradition hath it, this time-pocked old relic summoned them to assembly, and in 1776 it rang for them the call to arms against the mother country.”

Following the Revolution, the building became home to businesses related to the shipping industry. By 1856 L. B. Crocker & Co., had its office here. The firm, consisting of L. B. Crocker and George Jennison, operated a line of Erie Canal barges. The extent of its business was reflected in the $2,000 note the Lake Erie, Wabash and St. Louis Railway Company sent to it in July that year. The payment would amount to nearly $58,000 in 2016 dollars.

Ship chandler George W. Hadden had problems with theft that same month. On Saturday, July 12 he appeared before Justice Davidson, charging that “William Thomson and John Johnson had stolen from him 350 lbs. of boat lines, hawsers and two hatch cloths, worth $40,” as reported by The New York Times. “The accused were committed for trial.”

Also in the building was the lighterage firm of John S. Conklin. His job, the moving of cargo from large ships to smaller vessels so they could be off-loaded in port, became dangerous in 1858 when New York City was terrorized by an outbreak of yellow fever. The panic was so great that rumors spread that Castle Garden, the “Emigrant Depot,” would be burned.

The 43-year old Conklin joined with eight other “lightermen” and presented a list of increased charges for “lightering infected cargoes from Quarantine.” Among the group were well-known businessmen like John McCreery and Cornelius Vanderbilt.

Following the Civil War M.…

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From Daytonian in Manhattan, “The Travesty of St. Ann’s Church 120 East 12th Street”, 2011,

“In 1870 St. Ann’s Catholic Church was the religious equivalent of a hermit crab – having successively taken over structures built by previous congregations.

The parish was formed in 1852 by Bishop Hughes in the fashionable Lower East Side – the Bond Street neighborhood – with Rev. John Murray Forbes as pastor. Forbes secured a church on East 8th Street, opposite Lafayette Place, built by an Episcopalian group and later used by Presbyterians.

“Its purchase by the Catholics gave rise to much comment,” noted The Times.

By the time the Civil War had ended, St. Ann had outgrown the building and also needed to build a school. Rev. Thomas S. Preston, finding no suitable property in the immediate area, purchased the 1847 church at 120 East 12th Street. The 1914 edition of “The Catholic Church in the United States” maintains the church was built by Episcopalians while The New York Times maintained it was erected by Baptists. In either case, it was subsequently renovated into a synagogue, the Temple Emanu-El, before Preston acquired it.

The land stretched through the block to East 11th Street, allowing for the construction of a school building.”

“It was later the “National Shrine of St. Ann” (apparently one of several), the Armenian Catholic Cathedral and, in the 1980′s, home to the first “official” regularly celebrated Traditional mass in New York.”

Today, only the 1847 facade of the church remains in front of a modernist high-rise building which is a dormitory for NYU. More on how that happened, from Untapped Cities: 3/14/2016, “10 Controversial NYC Historical Buildings that were Demolished Or Redeveloped”:

NYU Founders Hall Residence

When St. Anne’s Church opened in 1852, it was among the wealthiest congregations in the city. Over the past two centuries the evolving demographics of the neighborhood caused the church to experience a drop in membership. In 2003 the Archdiocese of New York announced that the church would be permanently closed. A developer bought the building in 2005, and plans were announced for a new dormitory for New York University to be built on the site. This announcement was met with public outcry, particularly from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

However, without landmark status from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, St. Anne’s was demolished except for its front facade which remains attached to NYU’s Founders Hall Residence. The AIA Guide to New York City described the result of the project as a “futile exercise where no connection is made, or even attempted, between the old church and the 26-story hulk … the effect is of a majestic elk, shot and stuffed.”

Daytonian in Manhattan, “The Travesty of St. Ann’s Church 120 East 12th Street”, 2011, has the answers to such questions as What Was It Like Inside? What were some notable events in its time as a house of worship? And the Comments Section displays queries concerning the whereabouts of parish records, and of a relic of St.…

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from Bowery Boogie:
Debbie Harry and Martin Scorsese Support Landmarking 239 Elizabeth Street in Little Italy and so Should You [OP-ED]

Posted on: July 12th, 2016 at 5:19 am by


What follows is a selection from a “Request for Evaluation” sent to the Landmarks Preservation Commission last week to calendar 239 Elizabeth Street for landmarking. Author of the pitch, building resident Beth Joy Knutsen-Papaleo, even received letters of endorsement from Debbie Harry and Martin Scorsese.

“I am dead sick of tasteless developers who never wanted to live in NYC deciding what’s right for a neighborhood. The neighborhoods are like small towns and have their own histories and identities which are vitally important to maintain and remember. Let’s keep the many flavors and colors that make New York City such a special place, not just another bland expression of greedy commercialism and bad architecture.” –Debbie Harry

“For over 25 years, I have advocated for the preservation of our cultural heritage through film preservation because it is so important to understand and appreciate our past. Elizabeth Street between East Houston and Prince is a crucial piece of Little Italy’s history and an important landmark of New York’s unique immigrant heritage.” –Martin Scorsese

We, the 239 Elizabeth Street’s Tenant’s Association, believe the time is now to landmark our building’s incredible history, alongside its pivotal location, for generations to come. Our rent-stabilized tenants span decades, living here in our building and neighborhood by sharing great stories of times past.

A reflection of community for me for the past 18 years, and for my daughter’s future residing here, has been woven into the fabric of unique, outstanding memories of years past and yet to come with excitement. A sense of fortitude and family values flourishes when I open the door to our distinctly historic and soulful building.

It is not only our building, but the block of Elizabeth Street between Prince and East Houston that must be preserved for the sake of what made our little street so incredibly important.

Scorsese and De Niro filming Taxi Driver

Landmarking our outstanding building is the first step. Generations of Italians spanning 9 decades still call this home and are asking you, The Landmarks Preservation Commission, to listen to our request with an open heart and mind.

Conceptualizing our building in 1904 collaborated in the form of the greatest architectural trio at the turn of the century. The 3 brilliant designers: William Kurtzer, Charles Rentz & Stanford White. It was commissioned by Peter P. Acritelli.

  • William Kurtzer: was famous for his specialized cast iron ornamentation and foundation work on building’s interiors and exteriors. It was his dedication to the German Renaissance & Neo-Grec style. He also designed/built properties for The Astor & Vanderbilt families around New York City.
  • Charles Rentz: a prolific architect was known best for designing and building the now land-marked Webster Hall with terra cotta facade and his specialty of Renaissance Revival.
  • Stanford White: an inspiring and instrumental builder of our great city. In being the pioneering expert of Beaux-Arts American Renaissance Architecture, he chose our building to be his first and only tenement work.

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from Bowery Boogie:
After 90 Years on the Block, the Streit’s Matzo Factory Buildings Getting Demolished

Posted on: July 12th, 2016 at 5:12 am by

Demolition of Streit's begins

Unleavened past, unaffordable future. That should be the tagline at 150 Rivington Street.

After months of speculation and released renderings, the Streit’s Matzo Factory, on the block for decades, is now officially coming down. Sidewalk bridge, rat-baiting stations, and other pre-demolition appendages have been threatening as much since Passover.

The above image was submitted by a neighbor across the street, in which workers are seen sawing through the century-old fire escapes for removal. Now just scraps in a dustbin.


It’s only a matter of time before this glass monstrosity invades the block. As previously reported, there will be 45 one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos for sale, including four duplexes penthouses on the seventh/eighth floor. Prices are listed at $995,000, $1.7 million, $2.75 million, and $3.8 million respectively. Building amenities include bike room, gym, laundry, storage, and rooftop terrace.


The family-owned Streit’s Matzo Factory finally surrendered to real estate pressures in January 2015, and sold the Rivington Street buildings to Cogswell Realty for $30.5 million. (A prior deal to sell the properties for $25 million fell through in 2008.) They’ve since purchased a new facility in Rockland County, which is the new headquarters for matzo production. And remember, not even the mayor really cared that this institution was departing the city after more than ninety years.



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