area history

From huck magazine:

The photographer who defined old-school cool

Street symphony

Text by Alex King
Photography © Jamal Shabazz

Jamel Shabazz has spent his life documenting the city that never sleeps. But while his shots of urban street style have become iconic, the bigger picture – a world of police and prostitutes, drifters and dancers – reveals something much deeper: a commitment to community.

It’s early morning in Rikers Island jail and a young corrections officer named Jamel Shabazz has just begun his first inspection. The residential wing is so hot that the stench of stale cigarettes and dead rodents hangs heavily.

There is a line of 30 units on both sides of the corridor, each one of them holding a juvenile inmate who may have trashed his cell, retreated to a corner or hung himself with a bed sheet.

“To make a physical count, you have to make sure a body is in each cell,” Jamel explains. And there is an abundance of bodies.

It’s the mid-1980s and a crack epidemic is sweeping through New York City, generating a wave of violence that’s carrying thousands of young black men into the city’s prisons and morgues.

“It felt like being in a lifeboat watching a sinking ship and you can only help so many people,” says Jamel, thinking back to that time.

“But it didn’t stop me from going to work every single day looking for someone to connect with and provide direction to.”

Working in prison made Jamel’s mission clear to him: he became determined to steer young men away from ruining their lives, feeding a vicious cycle of regret. And it didn’t take long for him to realise how he’d do that.

Think of old-school hip hop and, chances are, you will conjure up one of Jamel Shabazz’s unforgettable portraits. Jamel came of age during the birth of rap in mid-70s New York. He remembers block parties in Coffey Park, Brooklyn, where a group of DJs and MCs would “hot-wire” the electricity supply of a lamppost to keep the party going long into the night.

His photobook Back in the Days immortalises the b-boys, boomboxes and big hair of 1980s New York City in one cornerstone document. But the purpose behind these images has often gone overlooked.

“I don’t get caught up on the fashion,” he says. “My photographs have always been about the personal connections I make in my attempt to communicate what’s going on in the streets.”

Jamel’s new book, Sights in the City, aims to redress that balance by showcasing his street photography in one place for the first time. It spans the duration of his career and illuminates the complex city that has defined his life.

Growing up in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, Jamel discovered photography through his father, a naval combat photographer who taught him to carry a loaded camera at all times.

Initially borrowing his mother’s cheap Kodak, the 15-year-old began directing groups of his friends into poses and developing a signature style.

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From Thought Gallery NYC:
New Yorkers can get out to Queens this fall for walks exploring Steinway Village (November 18) or Richmond Hill North (November 11), a Victorian village that was one of the first suburban communities. The Municipal Art Society will also offer a tour of the South Bronx and its history and recent revival on November 19.…

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From “What To Catch At The New York Public Library This Fall“:

“For more information on New York City and its specific history, head to the Mid-Manhattan library for events on such wide-ranging New York topics as Soho’s gentrification (September 22), New York in the Gilded Age (November 7), Ground Zero and the Remaking of Lower Manhattan (November 8), and a celebration of subway buskers (November 14). To learn more about what makes New York City (and other cities around the world) so essential, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building will host the lecture What Makes a Great City? on September 21. On November 2, the Schwarzman Building will also host The Well-Tempered City, a discussion on how cities can adapt to the problems of the future, including climate change, income inequality, and migration.”


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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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From Untapped Cities: Historic East Village Food Tour (buy tickets online here)

On Sunday August 21st at 12pm, join James and Karla Murray, authors and photographers of the critically acclaimed books, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New YorkNew York Nights and Store Front II-A History Preserved on this walking and tasting tour of some of their favorite East Village food establishmentsDiscover the food, history and diverse culture of the East Village while tasting delicious specialties from at least 6 different tasting stops.

Many family-run businesses started out as traditional mom-and-pop stores passed down from generation to generation, and defined their neighborhoods. Not only are these modest small businesses falling away in the face of modernization, gentrification, and conformity, the once unique appearance and character of New York City’s colorful streets suffers in the process.

On this tour you will learn about the diverse German, Italian, Jewish and Ukranian history of the East Village and try some fresh homemade Italian mozzarella, drink an authentic New York City egg cream or have a freshly roasted cup of coffee, taste a hot Ukranian potato pierogi with toppings, sample a freshly baked Jewish sugar cookie, enjoy an authentic New York hot dog and tropical drink and taste a freshly baked Italian cannoli.

Enough food will be sampled so that for most people lunch afterwards is not needed.”…

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  • Organized by new York Adventure Club

    Thursday, July 21, 2016


  • Indochine

    430 Lafayette Street, New York, NY (map)

  • Tickets: $34-39

    Click the link below to purchase tickets to this event:


    Join New York Adventure Club for a Gilded Age presentation and reception inside the landmarked Colonnade Row, also known as LaGrange Terrace, a landmarked series of Greek revival buildings originally built in the early 1830s on present-day Lafayette Street in New York City.

    Our behind-the-scenes experience inside the historic Colonnade Row apartments will focus on the construction of La Grange Terrace (Colonnade Row), the first residents who became the foundation of Victorian & Edwardian Society, and a look at New York City antebellum history, society, and architecture.

    “Mrs. Astor’s Gilded Age” Roman punch and snacks will be served throughout the evening.

    Cocktail or business casual attire preferred.




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Talk at the Tenement Museum

Wednesday, May 25 6:30 PM

New York Times food critic and cookbook author Melissa Clark helps us untangle a century-old gastronomic mystery. In 1901, an enterprising Lower East Side restaurant keeper named Hinde Amchanitzky published America’s first Yiddish language cookbook. Mysteriously, eight years after Hinde’s death, a “new and augmented edition” of her cookbook, a departure from the original in both tone and content, appeared in neighborhood bookstores. From schmaltz-laden noodle puddings and stuffed breast of veal to “hygienic” bread and celery cutlets, the two cookbooks could hardly be written by the same woman. Or were they?  Jane Ziegelman, author of 97 Orchard and the Tenement Museum’s Annie Polland present the culinary clues–translations of the recipes, newspaper ads, and food samples from the cookbooks as we try to solve the mystery, and at the very least, learn more about immigrant women and cooking.


This event is free and seating is first-come, first-served. Doors will open at 6 p.m.


If you have questions, contact Laura Lee at llee@tenement.org or 646.518.3032.


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Jane’s Walk NYC 2016

Take your eyes to the street May 6-8 for the sixth annual Jane’s Walk! Jane’s Walk NYC brings together thousands of New Yorkers for an annual weekend long festival of 200+ free volunteer-led neighborhood walking tours across all five boroughs. Each walk provides a unique snapshot of New York City, and an opportunity to celebrate its vibrant past, present, and future.

Held annually in over 180 cities across the globe during the first weekend of May, Jane’s Walk is an international movement that honors legendary urban activist Jane Jacobs. MAS is the proud local organizer of Jane’s Walk NYC, which has grown from 23 walks into the largest Jane’s Walk festival in the world! In 2015, Jane’s Walk NYC featured 211 walks.

This year, as we gear up for what would have been Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday, we’re aiming for the biggest and best Jane’s Walk yet.

Volunteer on A Walk

Interested in helping with Jane’s Walk? Sign up to be a volunteer on a walk! Volunteers help to manage the crowd, and document the walk through videos and photos. Please contact janeswalknyc@mas.org to volunteer.

Find A Walk

Find the basics about this year’s walks below. Click here for detailed listings.

Download printable versions of this year’s walks.

Unless otherwise noted, walks have no advanced registration. To attend a walk, simply meet the walk leader at the designated meeting location.

Jane’s Walk 2016: May 6-8   
JW2016_LeadAWalk          JW2016_FindAWalk

Get updates


Email: janeswalknyc@mas.org
Phone: 212.935.3960 x1282

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Date Time Walk Name Borough
May 6, 2016 10:00 am Garment District History Walk Manhattan Above 14th Street
May 6, 2016 10:00 am Randall’s Island: The City Within the City Manhattan Above 14th Street
May 6, 2016 10:30 am Mansions, Money, and Scandal: Gilded Age Splendor on the Upper East Side Manhattan Above 14th Street
May 6, 2016 11:00 am Meet under the “Eyes” of the Dragon – Where Jane met Bob! Manhattan Below 14th Street
May 6, 2016 11:00 am CIVITAS Reimagines the Waterfront: 90th to 114th Street, Manhattan’s East Side Manhattan Above 14th Street
May 6, 2016 11:00 am CANCELED: Jane Jacobs’ West Village Manhattan Below 14th Street
May 6, 2016 11:00 am Arthur Ave: the “real” Little Italy in the Bronx Bronx
May 6, 2016 11:00 am New Bedford Historic District Brooklyn
May 6, 2016 11:00 am WONDERFUL TOWNhouses Manhattan Below 14th Street
May 6, 2016 11:00 am Charles Pratt, Pratt Institute and their impact on the built environment of Clinton Hill Brooklyn
May 6, 2016 11:00 am CANCELED: Yum Yum MET Culinary Art Tour Manhattan Above 14th Street
May 6, 2016 12:00 pm The Hills are Alive! Manhattan Below 14th Street
May 6, 2016 12:00 pm Community Garden Ramble…Off-the-Beaten-Path in the East Village Manhattan Below 14th Street
May 6, 2016 12:30 pm “The Grand Tour: Landmarks of Midtown East” Manhattan Above 14th Street
May 6, 2016 1:00 pm Hudson River Urban Wildlife Walk Manhattan Below 14th Street
May 6, 2016 1:00 pm Two Bridges NeighborFood: Tour The Diverse Markets of Two Bridges & Chinatown Through a Local Lens Manhattan Below 14th Street
May 6, 2016 1:00 pm Collect Pond Urban Water Walk Manhattan Below 14th Street
May 6, 2016 1:00 pm Greetings from Gowanus!

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