Native American

Thu 08 2017 , by

Bygone Stables

From The New York Post:

The fascinating history behind NYC’s stables-turned-real estate

Washington Mews, a little alley north of Washington Square Park, is an urban gem. Still paved with Belgian block and lined with quaint cottages, it’s a Greenwich Village street that might as well be in Europe. In fact, cities like London and Paris are filled with these tiny picturesque thoroughfares, whose cute little homes once stabled horses, carriages and sleighs.

Due to quirks in New York’s history and design, these mews are exceedingly rare in the city, making carriage-house living both scarce and coveted. Often disguised behind modest, original facades, many converted carriage homes contain architectural wonders hidden from view.

Modal Trigger
Washington Mews: One of Manhattan’s rare alleys lined with former stables, this stretch was designed to service a row of 1830s homes along Washington Square Park.Annie Wermiel/NY Post

Take investor David Aldea’s home at 23 Cornelia St., which Taylor Swift rented in 2016. The 5,500-square-foot West Village pad was asking $40,000/month then, and is on the market with Corcoran for $24.5 million. Walking down the street, the home’s massive, arched wooden doors hint at its 1912 carriage house origins, but the unprepossessing facade might not stop passersby in their tracks.

Upon entering, however, it’s clear this is no ordinary stable: today, the garden level is graced by a 25-foot swimming pool, while an ornate Murano glass chandelier hangs from double-height ceilings. But, as Aldea notes, despite these modern touches, original details abound, particularly in the living room, where there are “24-inch square windows that would have been for the horses to stick their heads out for ventilation.”

Considering the fact that New York was a horse-and-carriage town for so many centuries, it’s surprising that there aren’t more such conversions. That’s in part because most remnants of the city’s colonial days are long gone. Also, Manhattan’s populated areas used to be far more compact; their borders barely extended north of today’s City Hall until the 1820s. The majority of New Yorkers, it seems, walked almost everywhere nearly two centuries ago.

A new street layout in the first decades of the 19th century helped the city expand, and travel by private carriage became more common — but only for the city’s elite. So few New Yorkers could afford to maintain a horse that when a commission laid out the city’s famous grid in 1811, the plan purposely excluded rear alleys for stables. Even by the Civil War, a mere 3 percent of NYC residents owned their own horses and carriages.

Modal Trigger
Annie Wermiel/NY Post

A few early mews still exist. Take Washington Mews, which was erected behind the stately homes of “The Row,” one of New York’s first planned “terraces” of homes — a clear sign that the 1832-built Washington Square townhouses were only for the well-heeled.

Continue reading

In: 19th Century , Architecture , Art and Music , Civil War , Colonial Period , Native American , Transit , Visual Documentation , World War I | Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York Now Scavenger Hunt
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Check-in: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Hunt: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Closing Reception: 5:30 – 7:30 PM

Open House New York challenges you to show how much you know about New York’s recent past!

A lot has changed in New York City since the first Open House New York Weekend took place on October 11 and 12, 2003. From the High Line and Hudson Yards to Citibike and the Second Avenue Subway, the city and our experience of it has changed dramatically over the past fifteen years. 40,000 new buildings were built, 450 miles of new bike lanes were laid, and more than a third of New York’s neighborhoods were rezoned.

Through it all, Open House New York was there, opening doors and giving New Yorkers access to the changing city. Now Open House New York invites you to test your knowledge about this vibrant and volatile period in New York’s history! To celebrate the 15th anniversary of OHNY Weekend, Open House New York has organized a citywide scavenger hunt of recent architecture, planning, and development. Travel the five boroughs while answering clues that send you to New York’s most breathtaking new buildings. Relive some of the city’s most heated preservation battles and uncover the policies and politics that shaped contemporary New York. Join us in celebrating a city that remains the greatest metropolis in the world!

To learn more about how the hunt works, click here.

Closing Reception Hosted by

$35 per person. Advance registration is required, and early registration is encouraged as the number of participating teams is limited.




Continue reading


The Women Who Made New York

Julie Scelfo

Author Event
Thursday April 06, 2017 7:00 PM
(History, Cultural Studies)
Event Description
Read any history of New York City and you will read about men. But that’s not the whole story. Julie Scelfo reveals the untold stories of the phenomenal women who made NYC the cultural epicenter of the world. Many were revolutionaries and activists; others were icons and iconoclasts. Some led quiet lives, but were influential. Scelfo reinvigorates not just New York’s history but its very identity.

Special Instructions
Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Books can be purchased after signing. If you have questions or concerns, email or ask a bookseller for more information.

82nd & Broadway

2289 Broadway
New York, NY 10024

Store Hours:

9-10 Every Day

Continue reading

from The West Side Rag:



Focus Festival

Bard Graduate Center’s inaugural Focus Festival, April 8-9, 2017, brings thinkers and artists together for a weekend of interdisciplinary programming that draws inspiration from the key themes of our two spring Focus Project exhibitions: Design by the Book: Chinese Ritual Objects and the Sanli tu and  New York Crystal Palace 1853.

Claudia Rankine, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, poet, and essayist, will join Garnette Cadogan, essayist, in the keynote conversation “Ways of Seeing the City” on April 8 at 7 pm. Additional programs include a talk by Michael Puett, author of the New York Times bestseller The Path (April 9, 5 pm); walking tours of the Seneca Village site in Central Park with archaeologist Cynthia Copeland (April 8, 3 pm) and “Branding Fifth Avenue & the Other NY” with Jack Tchen, co-founder of the Museum of Chinese in America (April 9, 12 pm); and performances of Aaron Landsman’s critically acclaimed Love Story, a theatrical piece about a disappearing city, two people navigating it, and a fidgety, obsessive follower (April 8, 5:30 pm and April 9, 3:30 pm). Curators will offer spotlight tours of the exhibitions (April 8 and 9, 12 pm). Family-friendly workshops will be a special treat for kids (April 8 and 9, 1 pm).

For information, tickets, and the full schedule of events, click here.

Wendy’s Subway Reading Room
In conjunction Focus Project exhibitions, Brooklyn-based literary organization Wendy’s Subway has curated a Reading Room in the ground floor of the Gallery at 18 West 86 Street.

Wendy’s Subway Reading Room at Bard Graduate Center promotes engagement with artists’ books, periodicals, and other publications selected for their relationship to the spring exhibitions and public programming. A series of readings and writing workshops that gather together some of the boldest voices from poetry, literature, and performance will accompany the installation. Over the course of the installation, visitors are invited to drop off books they would like included in the Reading Room. Admission to the reading room is free, as is the wifi. It will be open during all public hours. Book suggestions may also be offered via a feedback box in the Gallery.

Wendy’s Subway launches the first of its monthly Reading Series on April 26 with an evening reading of works by Layli Longsoldier, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, and Wendy Xu. Read more.

Continue reading

As one of the oldest buildings in the five boroughs of New York, 392 West Street has a long and storied past history. Having been among the few wood-frame buildings to have survived the increasing urbanization of Manhattan, the current owner, an individual many would consider a “wealthy eccentric” seeks to transfer the ownership/use of it to a Native American to be used as a “prayer house” under the direction of the Lenape tribe, former original inhabitants/owners of New York.

From The New York Times:
Giving Back a ‘Stolen’ Property to the Original Manhattanites

Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, right, a wealthy activist, wants to turn a house in the West Village into a prayer center. His choice to run it is Anthony Jay Van Dunk, left, a former chief of the Ramapough Lenape Nation. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

The squat clapboard house overlooking the Hudson River in the West Village might not seem like an obvious place for a Native American prayer center.

Its graffiti-strewn facade faces the busy West Side Highway, with a city bus stop out front. It once housed a series of bars, and the back of the building faces tiny Weehawken Street, which has traditionally been a popular gathering spot for gay and transgender people.

The house’s ground floor now sits directly on Manhattan soil, said Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, 76, a wealthy activist who bought the property in 2006. He says he is essentially donating it back to its original owners: the Lenape Indians.

Mr. Bourgeois wants the building to be a prayer house, to be owned and operated by the Lenape nation, which inhabited Manhattan before it was appropriated by European settlers.

Mr. Bourgeois pointed to a hole recently jackhammered through the thick concrete flooring of the house, which left black soil exposed underneath.

“You can actually touch Manhattan soil — the idea is to be in touch with Mother Earth,” he said, adding that the plan was to remove the concrete and simply have a dirt floor.

Anthony Jay Van Dunk, a former chief of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, a tribe based in Mahwah, N.J., is Mr. Bourgeois’s choice to start a prayer house, or a Pahtamawiikan, as it is known in one of the languages spoken by the Lenape.


Mr. Bourgeois said he bought the squat clapboard house, at 392 West Street, in 2006 for $2.2 million. It is covered in graffiti and overlooks the Hudson River. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Mr. Bourgeois said he had always been troubled by the well-known and not quite accurate legend that, four centuries ago, the Lenape sold Manhattan to Dutch settlers for the equivalent of $24 worth of goods.

“It’s quite offensive,” he said. “It’s a form of conquest.”

Mr. Van Dunk, 54, a Brooklyn woodworker who is active in Native American issues, pointed out that, if such a transaction had taken place, the Lenape might have meant it as a good-will exchange for sharing the land, and not as transferring ownership, especially because the tribe did not believe anyone could own land or water.

Continue reading

from Bowery Boogie: “Windows on the Bowery”:

Posted on: July 5th, 2016 at 5:14 am by


It’s high time the Bowery receives its due and proper. Grassroots preservationists at the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors implore you to stop, observe, and appreciate the former Native American footpath and onetime boulevard of broken dreams. “Windows on the Bowery,” their new visual walking exhibit, premieres today.

The ambitious undertaking essentially serves as a portal to the rich cultural significance of the Bowery. It’s a creative effort some three years in the making that “highlights remarkable people, events, buildings, and achievements associated with particular addresses” along the Bowery. The ultimate goal is awareness that might help ebb the tide of destruction we’ve seen here in recent years. You see, the thoroughfare is not landmarked, even though it’s recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

As previously reported, poster-sized placards rife with location-based information will reside in their respective Bowery windows, from Chatham to Cooper Square. Each one being a window into the past. (Get it?) In total, there are sixty-four panels (18×24 inches) containing histories penned by eighteen notable historians and researchers (Eric Ferrara, Joyce Mendelsohn, Dan Barry, Kerri Culhane, et al). Hundreds of historical images are also included.

But there’s more. In addition to the display at the Bowery locations, a full exhibition of all the posters is planned for the western windows of the Cooper Union building, as well as inside the landmark HSBC bank branch at 58 Bowery.

We’re told that the project should remain in place for several months, at least.



Continue reading

Here is the text of the editorial from the NY Post concerning proposed modifications to the present Landmark laws…your comments and observations appreciated:

A chance to end NYC’s landmarks lunacy

Die-hard preservationists are frantically trying to thwart a City Council bill to bring some order and common sense to the city’s landmarking process.

For once, the bill is well thought out. It would streamline the way the city designates historic landmarks, allow for timely resolution of all designations and provide financial and other
protections for fiscally ailing owners of properties that get designated.

All in all, it provides the realistic balance between historic preservation and new development opportunities that are both necessary to preserve New York’s character.

The bill was prompted by reports that 95 proposed landmarks had been awaiting city action for more than five years — several decades, in some cases.

That puts owners in bureaucratic limbo, unable to renovate or sell their buildings, since it’s hard to get a mortgage on a property at risk of being landmarked.

The measure would put a one-year time limit on proposals to landmark an individual building, and two years for declaring an entire historic district. In fact, more than 80 percent of
landmarking decisions get made within those limits.

New to the bill since it was first proposed last year is this important change: Gone is the five-year moratorium on reconsidering properties that fail to win landmark status.

That means such properties can immediately be reconsidered — and prevents opponents from “running out the clock.”

The revised bill also removes a loophole that lets owners opposed to landmarking apply for demolition permits before their property is placed on the Landmarks Preservation Commission calendar.
Now such permits would be embargoed as soon as landmarking is proposed.

The measure also expands options to landmark for cultural — as opposed to purely architectural — historic significance.

Other provisions provide more transparency — one of many reasons sensible preservationists are supporting the revised bill.

And why the council should swiftly approve it.


Continue reading

You Can Forage from the Floating Food Forest That’s Heading to NYC


Wyatt Marshall

Restaurants in even the biggest of megalopolises often tout their relationships with tiny idyllic farms, proudly telling you how they work directly with a farmer to bring you fresh fruit and vegetables from Eden—while outside the restaurant’s front door rats and pigeons preside over a kingdom of decay.

For the city-bound resident, fresh produce is almost always delivered through an intermediary. It’s often expensive, too. This summer, though, New Yorkers will have the chance to get in touch with nature and their food when a “floating food forest” moors at various spots around the city. The floating platform full of fruit and vegetable plants, dubbed Swale, is inviting the public aboard to forage for free food.

Swale is part public art and part public service, pushing sustainability in a variety of ways and hoping to challenge the idea that fresh food is a luxury. Its platform is made from repurposed shipping containers from the Port of NY/NJ, and many of the plants are perennials, so perhaps the barge will be around for longer than just the summer. The Swale project will also release a cookbook to help people use what they harvest.

“The question we really want to ask [is] almost utopian: What if healthy, fresh food could be a free public service and not just an expensive commodity?” Mary Mattingly, an NYC artist and Yale fellow who came up with the concept for Swale, told Tech Insider.

Swale will make its debut on June 28, and is currently slated to open at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Visitors will get to wander the barge and harvest food from any of more than 80 species of herbs, trees, and flowers. Among those that will be available for picking are chard, arugula, basil, thyme, bok choy, ramps, ginger, and blueberries.

Mattingly is working with local schools, gardeners, and organizations to pull off the endeavor; when it’s finished, you might see what looks like a weird, moving island on the Hudson or East River. If you do, head for it—a public park that you can eat is the best kind of public park. (And take your reusable grocery bag, as you probably don’t want to be the guy with plastic bags.)


This idea goes back to the pre-industrial idea of the commons, land that is common property upon which anyone in the area could graze livestock or harvest plant matter. This was largely lost to practical use through “scientific farming” and the “enclosure” movement which went through western European society during the 18th and early 19th century, reducing previously subsisting peasants to pauperism, and subjecting them to arrest for vagrancy, until the industrial revolution and factory jobs (at least in part) “solved” the problem.

Continue reading

The Bowery Boys’ The Bowery Boys: Adventures in Old New York: An Unconventional Exploration of Manhattan’s Historic Neighborhoods, Secret Spots and Colorful Characters Book Talk
Thursday, June 2 at 6:30 pm at MCNY

As new skyscrapers shoot up throughout the city, there are still countless nooks and crannies that hide the ghosts of New York’s past. For those that know where to find them, these physical remnants of old New York lurk everywhere from the High Line to upper Manhattan’s craggy cliffs. Greg Young and Tom Meyers, the historians behind the wildly successful Bowery Boys podcast, explore these places in their first-ever book, Adventures in Old New York: An unconventional exploration of Manhattan’s historic neighborhoods, secret spots, and colorful characters. With curator Donald Albrecht as moderator, learn secrets about places you’ve never been and places you’ve always known through tales from the city’s past as a Dutch colony, Gilded Age metropolis, and Prohibition-era mafia war zone.

Greg Young and Tom Meyers, co-founders of the Bowery Boys podcast and
Donald Albrecht (moderator), Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of the City of New York

Reception and book signing to follow!

This program delves into the themes of last year’s popular exhibition, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks.


Free for Museum members; $16 for adults; $12 for seniors and students


Attention, Members: To receive your discount, click on the “Register” button above, then sign in to your account on the ticketing page.

For a user’s guide on checking out through our online ticketing system, click here.


Continue reading

Copyright © 2011-2017 Bygone NYC - All Rights Reserved