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Jul ,2017

Mon 07 2017 , by

Up On The Roof

From the blog of The Museum of the City of New York:

Up on the roof, entertainment en plein air

Spring in New York City is glorious.  Allergy issues aside, the season of rebirth is especially welcome after this winter’s polar vortex shenanigans.  And though I celebrate the sunny days and refreshing rain of spring, I can see the heat waves forming on the horizon.  Summer is coming and with it a suffocating wall of humidity.

One of my best strategies to beat the heat is going to the theater. Be it a movie, musical, or play,  the cool darkness of a theater combined with a few hours of entertainment is my preferred place to be on an unbearably hot day.  A hundred years ago, this wasn’t so much the case.  Without air conditioning, the heat of the lights and the crush of fellow audience members could make visiting the theater  intolerable.  Not wishing to lose business during the summer months, theater owners came up with a new strategy: the roof!

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) [Roof Garden, Madison Square Garden Theatre.] ca. 1900.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, Madison Square Garden Theatre. ca. 1900. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.10866.

In the photograph above, a rooftop audience enjoys some light entertainment on the Madison Square Garden roof.  This MSG was located at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.  Designed by Stanford White, it was the second tallest building in the City at the time construction finished in 1890. Part of the fun for the audience was the chance to watch musical comedies and operettas from 32 stories off the ground. (Check out Mia’s early blog on the theater’s Diana statue.)

Further uptown at 44th and Broadway, the New York Theatre roof offered similar entertainment fare. The New York Theatre was originally built as the Olympia Theatre by  Oscar Hammerstein I (the grandfather of the Oscar Hammerstein from musical theater’s famous “Rodgers & Hammerstein”).

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, New York Theatre. ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.10880.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, New York Theatre. ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.10880.

Though a financial failure for Hammerstein I, the theater was only the second to be built in what would become the Times Square Theater District.  In 1895, the area was known as Longacre Square.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, New York Theatre. ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.10877.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden, New York Theatre. ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.10877.

Hammerstein I’s second effort at extravagant outdoor entertainment was the  Paradise Roof Garden at 201 West 42nd Street.  Part enclosed space and part open air, the Garden spanned the roofs of  the Victoria Theatre and the Theatre Republic next door.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). [Roof Garden, Paradise atop Hammerstein's Victoria.] ca. 1904.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). Roof Garden, Paradise atop Hammerstein’s Victoria.]ca. 1901. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.10856.

The Paradise Roof Garden was run by Hammerstein I’s son Willie.  As the noise of an ever expanding New York drifted upward, the vaudeville shows presented on the roof adapted to include wordless routines and pantomime.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) [Roof Garden, Paradise atop Hammerstein's Victoria.] ca. 1904.

Byron Company (New York, N.Y.). Roof Garden, Paradise atop Hammerstein’s Victoria. ca.

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From Museum of the City of New York blog: Summer in the City

Now that summer is in full swing, we look back at the ways New Yorkers have either escaped or embraced the heat.

The Drive in Central Park was a place to see and be seen, particularly for the wealthiest New Yorkers, who dressed in their finest attire and rode carriages through the park.

Byron Company. Central Park: The Drive, Summer. 1894. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17778

At the turn of the century, long black stockings typically accompanied women’s bathing suits (or bathing gowns, as they were called). Bathing suits became less restrictive a few years later, when women began participating in competitive swimming.

Byron Company. Sports, Bathing, Midland Beach. 1898. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17470

Before air conditioning, it was not uncommon for tenement dwellers to put their mattresses on the roof and sleep through the season’s hottest nights.

John Sloan. Roofs, Summer Night. 1906. Museum of the City of New York. 82.200.1

The Jackie Robinson Pool originally opened as the Colonial Park Pool in Harlem on August 8, 1936. It was one of 11 swimming pools opened throughout the city that year and funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a New Deal agency created to combat the Great Depression.

Sid Grossman. Federal Art Project. Colonial Park Swimming Pool, Harlem. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.9.58

Some New Yorkers preferred water hoses to swimming pools.

United States. Office of War Information. Children spraying a hose from a porch. 1944. Museum of the City of New York. 90.28.88

Every summer, Coney Island’s boardwalk bustles with city dwellers seeking a respite from the heat.

Andrew Herman. Federal Art Project. Feeding Ice-Cream to the Dog. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.5.34

Nathan’s Famous opened in Coney Island at Surf and Stillwell Avenues in 1916, where it still stands today and attracts scores of New Yorkers and tourists alike.

Andrew Herman. Federal Art Project. Nathan’s Hot Dog Stand, Coney Island. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 43.131.5.13

Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park began hosting an annual poolside beauty contest called Modern Venus in 1913. Beauty contests flourished as bathing suits became skimpier.

Reginald Marsh. Modern Venus Contest at Steeplechase Park. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 90.36.2.2.2F

After World War II, folk singers began congregating in Washington Square. The singers and their audience clashed with some residents of the neighborhood, who thought they were a nuisance. In 1947, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation started issuing permits for public performances in city parks. In 1961, Parks Commissioner Newbold Morris rejected folk singers’ applications to play in Washington Square. Protests ensued, culminating in a fight between the musicians and their supporters and the police seeking to clear the crowds. In the end, a compromise was reached, with folk singers being allowed in the park on Sunday afternoons.

Frederick Kelly. Musicians – Washington Square. 1962.

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Uptown Bounce: Latin Disco
Wednesday, August 9, 6:00 pm
Join us for the season finale of Uptown Bounce at a Latin-infused ’70s dance party inspired by the Museum’s exhibition, Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York.
his program is presented in collaboration with El Museo Del Barrio and produced with Rebecca Lynn of Mobile Mondays! Special thanks to the New York International Salsa Congress and our media sponsors, Gothamist and WKTU.

For more information, including funding credits, please visit mcny.org.

* If you’re interested in purchasing alcoholic drinks, please bring your ID.

Images: Photos by Filip Wolak | Byron Company (New York, N.Y.) Roof Garden – American Roof Garden 1898 Eighth Ave at 42nd Street S.E. Cor. 1898. Museum of the City of New York, 93.1.1.18358. | Byron Company. Sports, Bathing, Midland Beach. 1898. Museum of the City of New York. 93.1.1.17470

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Uptown Bounce: Icons of the ’80s
Wednesday, August 2, 6:00 pmCelebrate the decade when hair was big, fashion was bold, and pop superstars reigned in this tribute to late great musical legends Whitney Houston, David Bowie, and George Michael. Enjoy cocktails* and dancing out on the Terrace, and tour the Museum’s exhibitions after hours.This event is free and open to the public but pre-registration is required. Includes Museum admission.
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Vanishing New York, the book, was officially released this past Tuesday, after having been available for pre-order. However, assorted independent book shops in the New York area are scheduling book-launch events at their individual locations.

From Vanishing New York, the blog:

You can also get a copy at the launch party this Thursday night at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, or next Thursday night at the Brooklyn launch party at powerHouse Arena. For a full list of book events, click here.

In the meantime, check out two exclusive excerpts: the East Village chapter at Longreads and the tourism chapter at Vice.

 …

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From Hyperallergic:


Aerial view up the East River (May 27, 1960, photo by Theodore V. Donaldson)
Aerial view up the East River (May 27, 1960, photo by Theodore V. Donaldson) (all images courtesy NYC Municipal Archives)

The Brooklyn waterfront is radically changing. The Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg is transforming into residential and commercial space, both inside its hollowed-out brick building and outside with new glassy high-rises. Towers are pending for long-quiet Greenpoint. And Brooklyn Bridge Park is altering the former industrial area of Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights with green space and, naturally, condos. It’s from the perspective of that park that the NYC Municipal Archives examined the East River shore’s long history of change.

A Century on the Brooklyn Waterfront was one of the shipping container exhibitions at Photoville, held earlier this month in the Pier 5 Uplands in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Curated by Public Records Officer Quinn Berkman and Paper and Archival Conservator Cynthia Brenwall, the exhibition drew on the NYC Municipal Archives’ 221,000 cubic feet of material, particularly its collections on the WPA Federal Writers’ and Art projects (1935–43) and the Department of Bridges (1901–39).

“The ability to appreciate what parks were before they were public recreational areas is important, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park is so relevant because the transformation is so recent,” Berkman told Hyperallergic. Many of the photographs were printed from glass plate negatives, and date from between 1870 and 1974, revealing the rise of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the concentration of maritime commercial activity on the Brooklyn piers long before they were replaced with parks.

View of Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge (1890)
View of Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge (1890) (click to enlarge)

“I think it is important to remember that Brooklyn was the heart of the city’s import business,” Berkman explained. “What is now seen as real estate opportunity was once used purely for the ports and trade industry.” It was only in the 1970s that the area was designated as a landmarked neighborhood and the repurposing of warehouses began. “It’s pretty incredible because once the Brooklyn Bridge opened, this part of Brooklyn was considered Manhattan’s first suburb, however by the 60s it cycled back into an industrial zone and now it is back to being a residential neighborhood,” she added.

The NYC Municipal Archives has recently been making more of its photographs accessible online, from the documentation of the NYPD’s “Alien Squad,” which monitored potentially subversive political groups in the 1930s and ’40s, to the around 30,000 crime photographs from 1914 to 1975 released earlier this year. As the photographs were taken for municipal government use — during the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway or the renovation of the Brooklyn Piers, for instance — some of the creators’ names are now lost. In addition to their original purposes, they now form an essential record of the city’s changing character.

“These photographs are not just ‘iconic’ images of old NYC, they are used to understand and preserve the history of the city,” Berkman said. “Photography is one of the best mediums to use to tell a story and send a message, which is also why it has just as complex of a history as New York does.”

View of the Manhattan Bridge from Jay and York Streets (January 4, 1912, photo by Eugene de Salignac)
View of the Manhattan Bridge from Jay and York Streets (January 4, 1912, photo by Eugene de Salignac)
Aerial view of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Atlantic Avenue (September 19, 1956)
Aerial view of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Atlantic Avenue (September 19, 1956)
Aerial view taken above Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park was once home to the New York Dock Company. (September 19, 1956) (photo by Theodore V. Donaldson)
Aerial view taken above Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

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Monday July 24

 

6:30 PM  –  8:00 PM

Nuyorican Poets Café, 236 E 3rd St

Since it opened in 1854, McSorley’s Old Ale House has been a New York institution. This is the landmark watering hole where Abraham Lincoln campaigned and Boss Tweed kicked back with the Tammany Hall machine; where a pair of Houdini’s handcuffs found their final resting place;and where soldiers left behind wishbones before departing for the First World War, never to return and collect them. Many of the bar’s traditions remain intact, from the newspaper-covered walls to the plates of cheese and raw onions, the sawdust-covered floors to the tall-tales told by its bartenders.

McSorley’s is also home to deep, personal stories – including that of Geoffrey “Bart” Bartholomew, a career bartender of 45 years, and his son Rafe who grew up helping his dad at the landmark bar. Join Rafe to talk about his new book on the topic, where he explores McSorley’s bizarre rituals, bawdy humor, and eccentric tasks, including protecting decades-old dust on treasured artifacts and defending a 150-year-old space against the worst of Hurricane Sandy.

Free. Reservations required.
[This event is not accessible.]

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Book Talk at McNally-Jackson Bookstore:

From scouring flea markets and eBay to maxing out their credit cards, record collectors will do just about anything to score a long-sought-after album. In Vinyl Freak, music writer, curator, and collector John Corbett burrows deep inside the record fiend’s mind, documenting and reflecting on his decades-long love affair with vinyl. Discussing more than 200 rare and out-of-print LPs, Vinyl Freak is composed in part of Corbett’s long-running DownBeat magazine column of the same name, which was devoted to records that had not appeared on CD. In other essays where he combines memoir and criticism, Corbett considers the current vinyl boom, explains why vinyl is his preferred medium, profiles collector subcultures, and recounts his adventures assembling the Alton Abraham Sun Ra Archive, an event so all-consuming that he claims it cured his record-collecting addiction. Perfect for vinyl newbies and veteran crate diggers alike, Vinyl Freak plumbs the motivations that drive Corbett and collectors everywhere. Corbett appears in conversation with musician, composer, and writer David Grubbs.

John Corbett is a music critic, record producer, and curator. He is the author of Microgroove: Forays into Other Music and Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein, both also published by Duke University Press, and A Listener’s Guide to Free Improvisation. His writing has appeared in DownBeatBombNka, and numerous other publications. He is the co-owner of Corbett vs. Dempsey, an art gallery in Chicago.

David Grubbs is a musician, composer, and author of Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording, from Duke University Press.

Event date:

Monday, July 24, 2017 – 7:00pm

Event address:

Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780822363668
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Duke University Press – June 2nd, 2017

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When: Wed., July 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm

In honor of the 2017 New York State Centennial of Women’s Suffrage, Humanities New York invites you to converse with a panel of women from the fields of journalism, history and community organizing to look back on the history of women’s rights and discuss what’s next.

Our panelists are Tamika Mallory, one of the co-chairs of last January’s Women’s March; Jessa Crispin, author of Why I Am Not a Feminist; Kim Phillips-Fein, Associate Professor of American History at New York University; and Sarah Seidman, historian and curator at the Museum of the City of New York. Jia Tolentino of The New Yorker will moderate. Presented in Partnership with the National Park Service and the Museum of the City of New York.

Complimentary refreshments prior to the event.

Presented in partnership with National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy and the Museum of the City of New York.

Federal Hall
26 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005

212-233-1131

Free

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From Bowery Boogie:

Breaking: ‘Cup & Saucer’ Ending Service on Monday After Decades on Canal Street

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 at 12:39 pm by

Say goodbye to that classic 1940s Coca-Cola sign at the corner of Eldridge and Canal Streets. Word on the block is that the fabled luncheonette, Cup & Saucer, is hanging it up. It’s closing shop after decades serving the neighborhood, thanks to a steep rent hike.

And there’s no time for you to process this information, either, as the last day of business is Monday.

Every few years, rumors surface detailing a demise that was continuously eluded. Especially after the building reportedly sold several years ago, creating much uncertainty whether the business would actually survive. Co-owner John Vasilopoulos told Metro in 2015 that he hoped the new owner would maintain the 5-year lease arrangement of the predecessor to keep afloat. Then there was the recent upstairs fire back in January, which no doubt threatened the operation. This time, however, it appears the talk is true. A tipster who frequents the establishment daily was informed by staff of the closure. Apparently, they started telling all the regular customers today.

We don’t really know what to say. The Cup & Saucer is a no-frills Lower East Side treasure that serves all strata of the community. “Giving the people of New York quality food, fast delivery, and great customer service,” as its website prominently touts. On any given morning, you find construction workers, commuters, travelers, and locals mingling at the countertop.

It’s been under the same ownership for nearly thirty years. Partners Nick Castanos (also a cook) and John Vasilopoulos took over the business in 1988, yet local lore suggests the corner kitchen dates back some 77 years. The duo also owns a diner in Ridgewood, Queens.

Our tipster surmises that the luncheonette also fell victim to the effects of failed development (i.e. the Canal Tower) and the encroaching Chinatown Bus situation that’s multiplying along Canal Street between Forsyth and Allen.


Visual Documentation of the distinguishing interior features of the now-bygone The Cup & Saucer Luncheonette (from Untapped Cities.com)

Iconic NYC Diner “The Cup & Saucer” Closing Down After Nearly 70 Years

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