early 20th century

From Curbed:

New York Transit Museum’s vintage subway trains return for the holidays

You won’t want to miss this

As the holiday season approaches, the New York Transit Museum is once again collaborating with the MTA to offer subway rides on its vintage fleet of subway cars.

And this year, in honor of the one-year anniversary of the Second Avenue Subway opening, this year’s holiday trains will run along the F line between Second Avenue and Lexington Avenue/63rd Street and the Q line between Lexington Avenue / 63rd Street and 96th Street.

Beginning Sunday, November 26, riders can “ride back in time” on a special eight-car subway train from the 1930s that is decked out with ceiling fans, rattan seats, vintage roll signs, incandescent light bulbs, and original subway ads of the time period.

Holiday train rides will be around for just five Sundays, running on November 26, December 3, 10, 17, and 24. On the F line, trains depart at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. while from the 96th Street subway station, trains will depart at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. The best part is that it will only cost you the swipe of your MetroCard.

From The MTA:

Holiday Vintage Buses Take You Down Memory Lane

Take a bus ride down memory lane, or time travel to the past for the first time, this holiday season!

MTA New York City Transit will offer rides on its vintage bus fleet on the M42 route beginning Monday, December 4, to Friday, December 22. A variety of vintage buses will operate along the crosstown route between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, weather permitting.

The annual tradition of running vintage, historic buses continues, as coaches make stops from river to river along 42 Street in Manhattan. Whether you’ve been riding the buses since before they were historic, or this is your first time experiencing the holidays in the city, these vintage buses are fun for everyone.

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The page, http://www.vintag.es/2015/11/rarely-seen-autochrome-photos-of-new.html , claims to display

Rarely Seen Autochrome Photos of New York in the Early 20th Century .

The images themselves span 18 years, from the earliest one dated with the year 1900, to the last, a photo of buildings with banners and signs exhorting the public to buy war bonds, with the date given as 1918. Not all of them are from New York City, several are attributed to places in Upstate New York. Though they are lovely to look at, and a few provide a glimpse of what everyday life for everyday people looked like in the thick of NYC, some people who have written into the comments section have revealed that the provenance of the images is not in all cases what the site represented them to be: some are not genuine Autochrome images at all, but colorized photos or lantern slides, and the one of two men playing chess was reportedly taken in Germany, not New York. Here are the comments, correcting some of the attributions of the images:

Some of these are not original autochromes but colorised black and white photos, e.g. the couple in Saratoga Springs, which is a detail from a colorisation by Sanna Dullaway: http://sannadullaway.com/0r…


A number of critical errors. Image #1 (from the top down) is not an autochrome. Images #2 & 3 are autochromes by Charles Zoller (Rochester, NY). Image #4 is not an autochrome. Image #5 ( Foolish House) is an autochrome by Zoller. Images 6, 7, 8, & 9 are not autochromes. Image #10 (rooftops) is an autochrome in the collection of Wm. B. Becker and should be credited to him. Images 11, 12, 13, & 14 are by Zoller. All the Zoller autochromes are owned by the George Eastman Museum and should be credited to them. Image # 15 (chess players) is probably by Alfred Stieglitz or possibly by Edward Steichen and was taken in Germany. The last image (war bond rally) is an autochrome by J. D. Willis from the collection of Mark Jacobs.
Nearly all the non-autochrome images identified in this post are actually black & white lantern slides that have been digitally colored


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    Right! 6-7-8-9 are not color photographs at all, but Photochrom prints made from black and white negatives. You can see the originals online at the Library of Congress — the process is explained here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures…

    And if you’re interested in real Autochromes, including the rare New York rooftops image (#10 above), see the original postings online at the American Museum of Photography: http://photographymuseum.co…




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From Richard Simpson via facebook:

Another piece of local history was demolished this week. It was the old Richmond Ice Company building on Edgewater Street at the corner of Sylvaton Terrace in Rosebank. The four-story cement building topped with gargoyles was built ca. 1905.

The company’s name Richmond Ice Company is/was inscribed on the waterside of the building which made it a prominent landmark when sailing into New York Harbor.

The Richmond Ice Company building was owned by the Richmond County Ice Company, incorporated in 1897 with capital of $5,000. Its directors were John Franzreb, James Guyon Timolat, Charles Jacobsen, John F. Smith, all of New Brighton and Robert G. Solomon of Concord.

Ice harvesting was a big business here in Staten Island. The ice trade also known as the frozen water trade made many men very wealthy. One of the largest ice companies was E.A. Britton & Sons who owed Britton’s Pond. The “E” stood for Elizabeth. The “A” might have stood for her deceased husband, Abraham, who built a grist mill on the pond cr. 1825. About 1880 the mill was turned into an ice house. Elizabeth and Abraham’s sons were Harry C. and Winfield S. Britton.
The Britton’s cut the ice in large chunks sometimes measuring ten feet by ten feet. The chunks were put on a conveyor belt and pulled into the ice house where it was cut into smaller more manageable pieces. The ice was distributed to local businesses, especially beer breweries.

James Guyon Timolat married into the Britton family and took the ice business to the next level. He cut the ice from the pond and transported it by horse and carriage to the company’s ice storage house on Edgewater Street. Every other day a boat or barge (which at that time pulled up to the ice house) was loaded with ice and shipped to Manhattan and other cities in the Metropolitan area where it was sold to food purveyors, restaurants, hospitals and private residences. Many of the wealthy who summered on Long Island built a small ice house on their property and served iced tea and lemonade over ice on a hot summer day.

By the late teens and early 1920s the ice business decreased due to the invention of the ice box (refrigerator).

In the early 1920s the Richmond Ice Company sold the Britton Pond property to the New York City Parks Department and was renamed Clove Lakes.

Ironically, the Richmond Ice Company building is located a few hundred feet from St. Mary’s R.C. Church on Bay Street which unless it is landmarked is also in danger of being demolished.

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from City Reliquary:

Heroes of the Knish: Making a Living and Making a Life

Photo Credit: Barbara Pfeffer

Photo Credit: Barbara Pfeffer

The City Reliquary presents:
Heroes of the Knish: Making a Living and Making a Life
Sunday, Feb. 12 – May 7
Opening reception: Sunday, February 12 @ 2 PM
(Curator’s talk and Knish Trivia @ 3PM)
$10/$8 Reliquary members

Heroes of the Knish: Making a Living and Making a Life tells the story of courageous women and men who churned out potato pies and paved lives for themselves and their families. The exhibit is curated by Laura Silver, award-winning author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (Brandeis, 2014).

At the opening reception on Sunday, February 12, Silver, known as the world’s leading expert on the knish, will deliver an illustrated talk on the sultry side of the potato pie. Aphrodisiac, inspiration for off-color jokes and fount of feminism, the knish has been a hot commodity in New York City for over a decade.

Attendees can cut their teeth on knish trivia while noshing on round and square versions of this classic street food from Knishery NYC and Gabila’s Knishes! Tickets on sale now! Admission includes one knish and pickles. Beverages available by suggested donation.

From the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the Brooklyn seaside, the knish has become a standby on sidewalk carts and at ethnic eateries in the five boroughs and beyond. Since its arrival on these shores with Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century, the knish — whose origins can be traced to rural Poland of the 1600s — has wedged itself into the hearts, guts and psyches of New Yorkers of all stripes.

The exhibit introduces legendary and lesser-known knish kings and queens who have made their mark on New York City over the last century. It showcases a never-before-assembled collection of artifacts, archival materials, and stories from knish purveyors  past and present. Items on display include a stock certificate from Mrs. Stahl’s Knishes of Brighton Beach, the knish correspondence of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; a song about Ruby the Knishman, who sold potato pies to schoolkids in Canarsie; and chronicles of the Knish Crisis of 2013, when, following a factory fire, Gabila’s was forced to stop production of square, Coney Island-style knishes for nearly six months.

About the Curator:
Laura Silver is a third-generation New Yorker and the award-winning author of Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food (Brandeis, 2014). Her research on the humble hunk of dough spanned seven years, three continents and all five boroughs of her hometown. Silver’s work on the knish has been featured on NPR, WNYC,  in major outlets in Canada, Germany and Poland, and on Al-Jazeera America. The New York Times called her book “whimsical, mouthwatering and edifying.”

About The City Reliquary Museum:
The City Reliquary Museum & Civic Organization preserves the everyday artifacts that connect visitors to the past and present of New York City. It was originally established as an apartment window display in 2002 at the corner of Grand and Havemeyer Streets and relocated to 370 Metropolitan Avenue in 2006.

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From Gothamist:
You Can Live On This Historic Ellis Island Ferry For $1.25 Million

Dreaming of ditching this concrete landmass for a breezy life on the open sea? While there’s no shortage of charming and affordable houseboats on the market, there’s only one Ellis Island ferry-turned-marine mansion. And now it can now be yours for a mere $1.25 million (remember, in this imaginary world where buying a floating home is not a terrible idea, you also have a million bucks lying around).

The 11-bedroom, 150-foot ferry comes with quite the backstory. Built in 1907, the ship spent its first decade ferrying passengers and cargo through different parts of New England. After the United States entered the war in 1917, the Navy commissioned the ship as the USS Machigonne, and used it to move men and supplies between Boston and Bumpkin Island Training Station. The steel hulled ferry was also fit with two one-pounder guns as a defensive measure.

Following the war, the decommissioned ship was purchased by US immigration services and moved to New York Harbor, where it shuttled new immigrants from Ellis Island to Manhattan for much of the 1920s. (It is the oldest existing Ellis Island ferry.) The ship was called back into service for World War II, again as a troop carrier, before spending the next fifty years as a commercial tour boat. In 1990, the decaying ferry was purchased by a private citizen and towed to Pier 25 in Tribeca for repair. Two years later, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Curbed reports that the ferry’s current residents, artists Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs, are looking to sell after 15 years of living off the shores of New York City. The couple, who also run a home decor business, have overseen some major renovations and restorations in that time. Much of the original wood flooring is still in place, but the upper deck has been turned an open living area and a lower level ballroom, accommodating 150 people, has been added.“You could have a huge party on the top deck or passenger deck or both,” broker Michael Franklin of Franklin Ruttan told TODAY Home.

But don’t let the prohibitive cost of this history-rich party boat sink your seafaring dreams. The regular old ferry will do, and it’s getting a dramatic expansion this summer!”


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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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19th Century Society/Steam Punk presents:

Occultism: From the Farthest Reaches to the 19th century Parlor.

In the 19th century, the America was at the forefront of “new, industrial age” challenging old, constrictive notions business, society and etiquette.  New discoveries world wide of ancient civilizations and spirituality, the influx and assimilation of new cultures fanned the flames of what would become the Occult movement.  Drawing from African, Egyptian, Creole, Eastern and Western European & Asian sources:  Divination, Seances, Tarot, Crystal Ball, Palmistry, Phrenology,  Tea Leaves, Runes, Astrology, Intuitive readings of all forms took center stage in the upscale and burgeoning middle class Parlors of America.  Beginning as leisure time entertainment these ancient arts and beliefs laid the groundwork for the “new Occult age” : encouraging Americans to challenge old, constrictive notions of religion, science and society.

Join B.Ber, noted New York City Lecturer, Lightworker, Metaphysical Practitioner & Teacher to explore the multi-layered and intracate causes, effects and ramifications of Occultism in the 1900’s and it’s current incarnation, Spiritualism, today.

B.Ber will be available to read Tarot on site for the remainder of the day.

B teaches Metaphysical Arts & Sciences in private master classes to Healers and Professionals plus open Workshops through Alchemy Moderne in New York City.  B. Ber’s private practice for divination, Lightwork, Life Consultation house is Redboxjadecompany.com   Host of Mystic.NYC podcasts, facilitates her world wide clients and students exploration the diverse and interconnected of the Metaphysical and Physical worlds

Old Stone House – 336 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 – View Map

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From “New York’s Most Useful Citizen” E-Mail Newsletter from Museum of the City of New York:

Now on View

Jacob A. Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half

His images still shock – and demand our attention. Through his pioneering photojournalism, Jacob A. Riis illuminated the squalid living conditions of New York City’s poor, from the cellars of Ludlow Street to the barracks of Mott Street at the turn of the 20th century.

Our Riis retrospective opened this week to critical acclaim, and serves as a precursor to Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy, with Riis as one of the city’s early champions of housing reform. His photos, articles, and illustrated lectures of the slums prompted fellow reformer Theodore Roosevelt to call Riis “New York’s most useful citizen.” They also provide a unique lens for viewing New York’s persistent, ongoing struggles with inequality.

This is the first major retrospective of Riis’s photographic work in the U.S. in more than six decades, and for the first time unites his photographs and his archive, which belongs to the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library. Plan your visit.

Riis Photo Collection

Our Jacob A. Riis Collection encompasses more than 1,000 photos and serves as the sole archive of Riis’s images. Browse the collection.

New Book Release
Jacob A. Riis: Revealing New York’s Other Half

The first comprehensive study and complete catalogue of Riis’s world-famous images, curator Bonnie Yochelson’s newly released book places him at the forefront of early-20th-century social reform photography. It is the culmination of more than two decades of research on Riis, assembling materials from five repositories (the Riis Collection at the Museum of the City of New York, the Library of Congress, the New-York Historical Society, the New York Public Library, and the Museum of South West Jutland, Denmark) as well as previously unpublished photographs and notes.Price: $65
Members save 20%

Upcoming Jacob A. Riis Public Programs

Examining Urban Poverty Today, A Century after Riis

Weds., Nov. 4, 6:30 pm

Join us for a panel exploring the legacy of Riis’s journalism and photography on the work of contemporary activists committed to raising public consciousness about urban poverty. Panelists include historian and Riis expert Daniel Czitrom leads a discussion with New York Times journalist Andrea Elliott, Mark Levitan, formerly of the Center for Economic Opportunity, Nancy Wackstein of United Neighborhood Houses, and historian Craig Steven Wilder.
Tickets: FREE for members, $12 & up for all others

Danish Modernity: Jacob Riis and Vilhelm Hammershøi in 1900

Mon., November 16, 6:30 pm

Join two art historians and experts on Riis and Hammershøi, Bonnie Yochelson (exhibition curator) and Thor Mednick, for an exploration of their work. After their presentations, Danish Ambassador Anne Dorte Riggelson will lead a conversation about Riis and Hammershoi’s contrasting lives and perspectives.
Tickets: FREE for members, $12 & up for all others

A Victorian Christmas Magic-Lantern Show with the American Magic-Lantern Theater

Sun., Dec. 6, 3:00 pm

Celebrate this holiday season with a magic lantern performance – a technique used by Jacob Riis – that features Hans Christian Anderson’s famous Christmas story, “The Little Match Girl,” and holiday carols like “O Holy Night.” Perfect for families with kids ages 6 and up.

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from Brooklyn Based e-newsletter:

“If you haven’t been watching The Knick, it’s well worth cozying up to someone with Cinemax (yes, they’ve got more than soft-core porn). As the initiated know, it’s an unsparingly gruesome portrait of Gilded Age New York, told through the framework of The Knickerbocker, a Victorian hulk of a hospital, which is struggling to modernize as its star surgeon, played by Clive Owen, battles the limitations of technology, and his raging drug addiction, to move medicine forward into the newly-hatched twentieth century.

The New York depicted on The Knick is both utterly recognizable to present-day inhabitants and also another place all together. And a lot of it is filmed in Brooklyn, from The Knick itself to the sets at the show’s Greenpoint studio. ”

Boys’ High School in Bed-Stuy is used for the exterior of the old hospital.

Howard Cummings: The heart of the story is the hospital, and the fact that the hospital had to be modernized and it was struggling. For me it was very important to choose an exterior that represented the Gilded Age, which was fading, going away in 1901. Manufacturing and the sense of uniformity was starting to become part of society, and I thought our hospital had to reflect that. The Boys’ High School is a really great example of kind of Romanesque, Victorian architecture. All the windows are all different and there lots of hand detailing and different carvings like terra cotta lions heads, which meant to me the interior could have things that were unique to itself, and a little bit chaotic, as opposed to a modern vision of hospitals, more uniform.”

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