Though such terminology as “fair trade” and “ethical shopping” have become buzzwords in recent years, a business which has engaged in a version of this mindful commerce before it became fashionable is going out of business. By April, NYC will have seen the last of Liberty House. The story, from Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Liberty House


Liberty House, at 112th and Broadway, is vanishing after 49 years in business. And it’s no ordinary local shop.

photo: Jed Egan, New York magazine

It is the last of its kind, a small chain of New York shops first organized in 1965 by Abbie Hoffman and other civil rights workers in Mississippi to sell goods made by poor women of color, with the profits going back to the original communities, and to support the Civil Rights Movement.

I talked to co-owner Martha who told me the shop will shutter at the end of April. They’ll be having a sale until then, from 20% to 50% off.

This time, it’s not the rent. “People aren’t shopping,” Martha said. “They’re going online. It’s convenient. They tell me, ‘I can sit at home and shop in my pajamas.’ But people have to shop local or else there won’t be any stores anymore.”

photo via Liberty House Facebook page

The second-to-last Liberty House shuttered in 2007, also on the Upper West Side. It was a victim of rising rents.

Back then, a customer told the Times, “I don’t know how you stop these people. They’re throwing everyone out right and left, and it’s going to be a neighborhood of Duane Reades and Godiva chocolates. This store should have made it.”

Said one of the shop’s partners, “The diversity of people, both incomes and interests, has lessened and we have more of what we used to call upwardly mobile people, who shop online or drive to malls, or get in cabs and go to Barneys.” …


Continue reading

from InsideHook:

This Train Hasn’t Run Since the 1960s

The long-awaited return of NY’s most scenic autumnal voyage

By Shari Gab

10 October 2016

This is the time of year to relish dwelling in the Northeast.

And while you’ve done the hikes and driven through the Catskills, you’ve never seen the vast autumnal grandeur within a stone’s throw of our city by rail — this rail, at least.

By popular demand, the Autumn Express slow train journey is back. For two days only — tickets on sale now — travelers will day-trip through through parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania completely unreachable by road. You’ll venture through small towns, historic tunnels and landmarks via routes that haven’t been traversed since the 1960s.

And for the nostalgic set, the train will even be switching from electric to diesel power before heading along the former Lehigh Valley Railroad and through the Musconetcong Tunnel, which opened in 1875. From there, it’s over to Allentown along the former Queen of the Valley passenger train route before following the Pennsylvania rail’s historic Blue Ribbon Fleet.

Leaving and returning from Penn Station and Newark, tickets are $149 per adult and half price for children. Each adventure includes a boxed lunch, souvenir tote, lapel pin and bragging rights … without the blistered feet.

Tickets will go fast. Nature waits for no man.


Continue reading

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.  …

Continue reading

Slideshow from the New York Times

On Aug. 8, 1966, The New York Times ran an article about how many Harlem residents wished more white people would visit to see for themselves their community’s reality. The article, by McCandlish Phillips, detailed in an almost anthropological way the Harlem of 1966 to Times readers.

“A curtain of fear, about as forbidding as a wall of brick, has made the black ghetto almost psychologically impenetrable to the white man — at a time when many in the ghetto sense that it needs the white man to help it save itself from a kind of psychological secession from a white society,” Mr. Phillips wrote.

Hence the publication followed of a photo essay showing ordinary people doing ordinary things in Harlem.…

Continue reading

from the NYC MTA: MTA New York City Transit, NY Transit Museum Ring in Holidays with Vintage Buses, Subways

Vintage Train

MTA New York City Transit and the New York Transit Museum are putting extra magic on the tracks with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s annual holiday tradition of rides to the past via its vintage fleet of buses and subway trains – and the chance for transit fans to buy museum merchandise at a special station pop-up shop.

The holiday nostalgia fleet includes subway cars from the 1930s and buses from the late 1940s to the 1980s. The New York Transit Museum typically displays these vehicles during special events at the museum or around the city, but are offering these holiday nostalgia rides to the public for a limited time with the swipe of a MetroCard. Some vintage buses also will be on display at Union Square, Herald Square and at the Circle Line Terminal.

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.”

The “Shoppers Special” will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 6, 13, 20, and 27, making local stops on the 6 Av Line from Queens Plaza to 2 Av. The first run of the day departs from 2 Av, where a special museum pop-up shop will be open every Sunday during the holiday nostalgia rides.

MTA NYC Transit is also putting a fleet of vintage buses on the M42 route for weekday daytime service between November 30 and December 18. The buses, which will operate between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., will only be available weather permitting. The vintage fleet will not operate in rainy, snowy or icy conditions.

This year’s holiday nostalgia buses were manufactured by General Motors, Mack and Flexible, three major firms that no longer manufacture buses.

“Seeing these vintage buses in service again is always a nostalgic event for many New Yorkers. My father and I drove some of these buses, which makes this an especially personal event for me,” said Darryl Irick, President of MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President New York City Transit Department of Buses.

Continue reading

Just like our talks we thought we’d keep this snappy:

  • A simple and relaxed evening that’s open to anyone interested in the quirkier side of life
  • Four curated speakers have ten minutes to give insightful, informative and informal presentations
  • Each month is as random as it comes, there are no set themes or topics for the evening.

Since launching in London in May 2013 over 75 speakers have taken to The Greenwich Series stage. We have heard about the possibility of parallel universes from an astronomer, we’ve myth busted the Freemasons and then had a pirate spook us with local ghost stories. Oh and this was all on one night!


Next Event

27th October

6.30pm Doors, 7pm Show

Jimmy’s No 43, 43 E 7th St

$5 on the door

*One of this month’s speakers deals with the design revolution of the mid-1960s as it was applied to the NYC subway system.

Jesse Reed

Exploring the hectic tangle of New York’s subway system was once an even more overwhelming task. A mess of signage and designs that varied station to station.


Then in the mid 1960’s a design revolution occurred that changed the very look of the Subway itself.


Jesse Reed will talk us through the process of designing how the subway’s signage looks and the successful Kickstarter project to bring that design guide back to life.

Continue reading

Photos from Gothamist: Inside The Empty 1960s TWA Building

“This year OHNY opened up the doors to the gorgeous TWA building at JFK Airport, a mid-century time capsule that sits abandoned across from Terminal 5. Over there, you’re reminded of a time when air travel had a bit of dignity and elegance. You could sit down at a sleek bar and drink a dirty martini, instead of waiting on line at Starbucks for a $13 scone. Goddamn it was a beautiful time to be launched 30,000 feet in the air. ”

Only one little problem: back in the day, there was no such thing as a “dirty” (with deliberately added olive juice) martini.  Old-school martinis were made with gin. James Bond was a bit of a rebel asking for one with vodka, shaken, not stirred.

I missed the OHNY tour, but there is hope to see it before it becomes a hotel, according to Gothamist:

“The building is closed to the public, but you can expect more tours like the one at OHNY before it reopens as a hotel. You can also gaze upon it as you depart Terminal 5… but they need to fire whoever put that light pole there.”


Continue reading

New York: THE SALON: Playboy Swings – an Antique Cocktail Party

October 2 from 7pm Playboy Club recreation party at the Players Club. Description of the party-for-pay at Best Events NY:

An exclusive Antique Cocktail party celebrating the Playboy Clubs of the 1960’s with live music, DJs, classic burlesque, bunnies, and antique cocktails (made from unopened vintage bottles of 1960s spirits), in honor of the book release of “PLAYBOY SWINGS: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music” by Patty Farmer and Will Friedwald.

Our “Mansion” is the beautiful & historic olde-world private club, The Players. Like each Playboy Club of the era, guests receive a key upon arrival and have three rooms to frolick, dance and imbibe – THE PLAYPEN, THE LIVING ROOM, and THE LIBRARY. …

Dancing, Burlesque, and Live Music

* Matthew Piazzi and The Debonairs (8:30-11:45pm)
1950’s & 1960’s Doo Wop, 50’s pop, Rhythm & Blues and Soul, vocalist Mr. Piazzi was also a Top 10 Finalist on “America’s Got Talent”

* DJs Jack Fetterman & Gina of the Jungle
Spinning music of the 1950s and 60’s including Exotica, Bachelor Pad, Electrolounge, Bossa Nova, and similarly sultry soundtracks.

classic burlesque by
* Gal Friday
* Hazel Honeysuckle
* VooDoo Onyx

* Vintage GoGo Dancing Bunnies!
* BUNNY HOP lesson by Bunny Voon!

Lounging and Live Music

* Alexis Cole – pianist & singer
* Eric Yves Garcia – pianist & singer

Conversation, Cabaret and Live Music

* Playboy Swings Panel Discussion (7:30-8:15pm)
Moderated by preeminent Jazz scholar and co-author of PLAYBOY SWINGS, Will Friedwald will discuss with special guests the Playboy Clubs and how they influnced the music and culture of the era.

* The Hef-Tones (9:00pm-12:15am)
An all star band playing music of the era including Jazz, Soul, Broadway, Cabaret, The Great American Songbook, and more featuring Jon Weber on piano, Thomas Beckham on vibes, and more.

guest vocalists:
* Lianne Marie Dobbs
* Christine Pedi Show Biz
* Brianna Thomas


* Velvetina Taylor
* Karina Libido

guest bartenders mixing the Antique Cocktails
DAMON DYER – Clover Club, Rum House, Flatiron Lounge

In addition to the Antique Bar, a full ‘regular’ bar will be serving on each floor all night. No food will be served at this event.

Following our sold out MAD MEN party last Spring, we’re offering a classic cocktail menu made from unopened bottles of vintage 1960’s liquor – the same stash used as props on the set of MAD MEN (and purchased directly from the props department by Edgar Harden of Old Spirits Company). The cocktail menu is designed based on drinks served at the early Playboy Clubs. In addition to these full-size antique cocktails, straight pours of select antique spirits will also be available neat or on the rocks.

Continue reading

New York magazine has compiled “A Public Transformation” an online slideshow of photos documenting several prominent public spaces in New York City (read: Manhattan) during two different periods in history, in honor of an upcoming television series, TNT’s new cop-and-crime series Public Morals (premiering August 25 at 10/9c). Without further ado, here is the link to the feature which uses online technology to enable immediate comparisons between photos of well-known public spaces in New York City taken 50 years ago with those taken in our own time: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/07/a-public-transformation.html?mid=facebook_nymag

Continue reading

Copyright © 2011-2017 Bygone NYC - All Rights Reserved