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19th century culture

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 The New York Adventure Club e-newsletter:

Crime In NYC: A History Of Vice And Murder (Sat)
Corrupt politicians. Crooked cops. Gangsters so terrifying that they’re known only as “Murder, Incorporated.” These are the men and women that have made New York City’s underworld the stuff of legend. But there is so much more to this legend than you’ve ever heard.
$15-25. Corner of Centre & Chambers Sts . Ticketed event through the New York Adventure Club.…

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Corrupt politicians. Crooked cops. Gangsters so terrifying that they’re known only as “Murder, Incorporated.”

These are the men and women that have made New York City’s underworld the stuff of legend. But there is so much more to this legend than you’ve ever heard. Why is it that New York had such a violent past? What drove these people to a life of crime? This is the story of a broken and corrupt system and the clever individuals smart enough to exploit it.

On this walking tour, we’ll explore Lower Manhattan where we’ll discuss the evolution of orphan street gangs into the mafia, con men and bank robbers so rich they rubbed elbows with the Vanderbilts, gun fights that would make the Wild West blush and the politicians that encouraged it. We’ll visit the old Five Points District, Chinatown, the Bowery and of course the Lower East Side. Let us show you how New York’s crime history began.

ticketed event: Sat Aug. 13th 11am-1pm ticket prices: $15.00-$25.00

Corner of Centre & Chambers Sts

Centre Street and Chambers Street
New York, NY

Electronic ticketing though Big Maven

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Sunday, August 14 (and Second Sunday of the Month: September 11, October 9, November 13)
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
A Walking Tour of Historic 19th Century Noho

Join us for a journey back in time to the elite ‘Bond Street area,’ home to Astors, Vanderbilts, Delanos — and the Tredwells, who lived in the Merchant’s House. You’ll walk the footsteps of these wealthy mercantile families whose elegant Federal mansions once lined the tranquil cobblestone streets. Our tour passes by iconic landmarks such as the imposing Colonnade Row, the Public Theater, and The Cooper Union, where Lincoln gave his ‘right makes might’ speech. On the bustling Astor Place, imagine the drama of events that led to the Opera House riot of 1849, among the bloodiest in American history. And visit the site of the scandalous 1857 Bond Street murder of Harvey Burdell, one of the City’s still unsolved crimes.
$10, FREE for Members.

NOTE: Tours are one hour and begin promptly.
Limited to 20 people (first come, first served). No reservations.
Tours are canceled in the case of heavy rain, snow, or extreme heat and cold advisories.…

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Saturday, August 13, 2016 | 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m., 1:15–2:30 p.m., or 3:30–4:45 p.m.
Preregistration Required
On a walk through the Herb Garden, discover the colorful history of this maligned spirit—from sordid tales of the past to its myth-busting recent revival. See, smell, and touch the plants that flavor this herbal concoction, and afterward, sample a local distiller’s absinthe served in the classic fashion.$30 member; $32 nonmember. (Fee includes $7 materials charge.)

Note: Must be 21+ to attend.

Section A: Saturday, August 13, 2016 | 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Register Now

Section B: Saturday, August 1, 2015 | 1:15–2:30 p.m.
Register Now

Section C: Saturday, August 1, 2015 | 1:15–2:30 p.m.
Register Now

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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! 

21+! 

Cancellation policy

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Join the New York Nineteenth Century Society Parlorcraft Circle as we explore cravats, jabots, and ties! From sailors to schoolgirls, gentlemen of leisure to “New Women,” neckties were an essential part of the 19th-century wardrobe. Since the 17th-century French king Louis XIII made them fashionable, neckties have been de rigeur in Western society. From the voluminous white Regency stock to Navy officer’s black neck-cloth, the loose working-man’s kerchief to the thin four-tingered ties worn in the American West, no 19th-century man’s wardrobe was complete without one. Neckwear was also part of women’s attire. Lacy jabots and collars allowed them to change the look of a limited wardrobe. Sailor collars and narrow ties were often part of school uniforms for girls, and the “New Woman” made famous by Charles Dana Gibson frequently sported a tie along with her shirtwaist and walking skirt.Materials, supplies, and instruction will be provided to make a 1907 jabot, a bow tie, and an ascot or cravat. You are welcome to bring your own fabrics. Cotton works well for bow ties – heavier for bow ties, light cotton batiste or lawn for the jabot. Ascots and cravats can be of any material but we find cotton to be most comfortable around the neck. Old sheets and pillowcases are ideal for these projects.Tea and light refreshments will be served but you may bring your own treats to share if you wish. Please leave your laptops and modern sewing/craft projects
at home for this event – we’re all about the historic hand work!Moderated by Rachel Klingberg and Morgana Toglia, we heartily invite you to craft and design to your hearts content!

If you have a special craft or skill from history that you would like to share, please let us know: letters@nyncs

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Summer Garden Concert: Harp

6pm

Sarah Loveland Gill, Juilliard and Mannes College of Music, will perform classical and Celtic music on her harp in the Museum garden. Just for fun, she’ll also play a pennywhistle tune for us. Museum tour, complimentary beverages, and historic cocktail tasting included.
$15 Adults, Free for Members, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free

To purchase tickets call the Museum or go to Brown Paper Tickets.  Get all three concerts for the price of two!

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Summer Garden Concert: STOUT

6pm

Frank Hendricks and Bob Conroy of STOUT will perform an evening of tavern tunes, combining hearty vocal harmonies and acoustic instruments. It will feature traditional American music, including popular songs of the 19th-century, drinking tunes, war tributes and sea chanteys, all encouraging you to sing along. Museum tour, complimentary beverages, and historic cocktail tasting included.
$15 Adults, Free for Members, $5 Children under 12, Babies under 1 free

To purchase tickets call the Museum or go to Brown Paper Tickets. Get all three concerts for the price of two!

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