Today, February 21, 1925, The New Yorker released its first issue. The premier cover featuring dandy Eustace Tilley, a creation of artist Rea Irvin. The weekly was the creation of Jane Grant & Harold Ross as a sophisticated foil to the popular humor publications such as Judge or the well established Life Magazine. In the publication prospectus Ross claimed “It has announced that it is not edited for the old lady n Dubuque.” The number of famous writers and artists featured over the past 92 years is staggering! And, yes, cartoons have been a crucial feature since Day One! #bigoniontours#thenewyorker#todayinhistory#happybirthday#eustacetilley#reairvin#janegrant#haroldross#1925#cartoons#satire#nychistory#literary
Frederick Douglass (February 1818 - February 20, 1895). This year we celebrate the 200th birthday of a great American. Born a slave in Maryland, Douglass escaped to become a global leader of the abolitionist movement. A brilliant orator & writer, many had trouble believing someone so articulate could have been born a slave.
He believed that all people, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity, deserved and were entitled to equality under American law. Some of his great & timeless quotes include:
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
“To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer and well as those of the speaker.”
@bigoniontours is celebrating Black History Month all February with our Historic Harlem tour. Join us this Saturday, February 17 at 1 p.m. or Monday, February 26 at 1 p.m. #bigoniontours#harlem#blackhistorymonth#frederickdouglass#slavery#abolitionist#orator#equality#walkingtour#americanhistory
At 9:40 PM on February 15, 1898, the naval ship USS Maine blew up in Havana Harbor. Posted to the Cuban port to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban fight for independence from Spain (known as the Cuban War of Independence, 1895-1898), the sinking of the Maine is typically attributed with catalyzing U.S. involvement in the conflict (known as the Spanish-American War, April 21-August 13, 1898). Built in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, it was the sensationalist press of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York papers (which were caught in a circulation war at the time), that hyped the ship’s destruction. These newspaper magnates were quick to publish unfounded articles pointing the finger of blame at Spain, which caught on with the American public through catchy phrases like “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!” So who really DID blow up the USS Maine? The honest answer is: we don’t know. But many experts believe the ship’s explosion was actually caused by a fire from within the vessel rather than an external attack from without.
Image 1: “Wreck of the U.S.S. Maine,” from the New York Public Library. @nypl
Image 2: Cover of the February 17, 1898 edition of Hearst’s New York Journal.
Ever notice the small door on the west side of the Washington Square Arch? The arch is not a solid stone structure! Inside, a spiral staircase leads to an attic level and the roof. While access to this feature is heavily restricted today, on January 23, 1917, six Greenwich Village artists, writers, and actors (including Gertrude S. Drick, Marcel Duchamp, Frederick Ellis, Allen Russell Mann, John Sloan, and Betty Turner) climbed the 102-step staircase to the top of the arch. On the roof, they lit a fire and paper lanterns, and, in protest against the U.S.’s looming entry into WWI, declared the area “the Free and Independent Republic of Washington Square.” To learn more about the Washington Square Arch, Washington Square Park, and Greenwich Village’s history as an enclave for bohemian artists, join us Tuesday, February 13th @ 1:00 PM or Saturday, February 18th @ 11:00 AM for our “Greenwich Village” tour. #bigoniontours#washingtonsquarearch#secretstairs#arch#archconspirators#johnsloan#marcelduchamp#gertrudedrick#artists#rebellion#january23#1917#wwi#washingtonsquarepark#greenwichvillage#nychistory
Standing across from Calvert Vaux’s splendid Neo-Gothic Jefferson Market Courthouse (1874-1877, now Jefferson Market Library), this much less imposing row of three-story buildings on West 10th Street (built 1835-1836) might easily go unobserved by the passerby. But, the way that these six buildings have been unified, around the sharp angle of the intersection of West 10th Street and Sixth Avenue, through their consistency of form and the one continuous cornice is equally delightful in its simplicity!
Come explore Greenwich Village and its historic buildings with us further on our “Greenwich Village” tour this Tuesday, February 13th @ 1:00 PM or Sunday, February 18th @ 11:00 AM. #bigoniontours#west10thstreet#cornice#1835#1836#jeffersonmarketlibrary#greenwichvillage#historicneighborhood#historylover#stopandlook#walkthecity#walkingtour
February 6, 1843, the Virginia Minstrels, America’s first minstrel show, opened at the Bowery Amphitheatre. Four White men - Dan Emmett, Billy Whitlock, Dick Pelham and Frank Brower - in blackface, performed racially charged, elaborate costumed stage shows. They are credited with creating songs “Jimmy Crack Corn” and “Old Dan Tucker”. The Bowery Amphitheatre was located at 37-39 Bowery (now Confucius Plaza) originally opened in 1835. It changed hands & names many times over the years serving a large variety of customers. The cultural “highpoint” probably being the first American performance of Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” on November 21, 1874. It was also a roller skating rink, Yiddish theater, missionary church, and is now long gone and mostly forgotten. Come see the site with us Thursday Feb 8 or Saturday Feb 17, on our Gangs of New York walking tour. #bigoniontours#bowery#1843#minstrels#blackface#johannstrauss#confuciusplaza#nychistory#walkingtour#walkthecity#guidedtour
Built between 1785 and 1789, No. 18 Bowery is the oldest remaining townhouse in Manhattan. The home rests on land that the original owner, Edward Mooney, a merchant, purchased after the American Revolution, when British Loyalist James DeLancey’s property was confiscated and sold at public auction (in 1785). Mooney lived in the house until his death in 1800, and in the 1820s the building ceased to be a public residence. It was converted into a tavern in the 1820s, and went through a series of different uses throughout the 20th century (it was, in turn, a hotel, poolroom, brothel, store, restaurant and a Chinese club). To learn more about the historic neighborhood and the different communities that have called the area around the Mooney House home since it’s construction in the 18th century, join us this Monday, February 5th @ 1:00 PM for our tour of “Immigrant New York.” #bigoniontours#edwardmooneyhouse#bowery#18thcentury#townhouse#federalstyle#georgianstyle#oldest#americanrevolution#historicbuilding#historicneighborhood#historylover#walkingtour
The more neighborhoods change the more they stay the same. South Slope laundromat - Northeast corner 13th Street & 8th Avenue. A bit rundown, Covington lamp post gone, as are laundry prices...and intersection now has a traffic light. First image: June 11, 1961. Photo credit: John D. Morrell collection, V1974.9.248. Brooklyn Historical Society. Second image: February 1, 2018. #bigoniontours#parkslope#yesterdayandtoday#oldphoto ##1961 @brooklynhistory #laundromat#southslope#brooklyn
January 30, 1862, the first American Ironclad, USS Monitor, was launched from the Continental Iron Works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Designed by Swedish immigrant, John Ericsson, it was an extremely novel design - iron hull with a shallow draft, powered by steam only, and with a revolutionary rotating gun turret. Ericsson promised to deliver his ship in 100 days! The deadline was missed by only one day, but the launch was far from successful. While she didn’t sink, the USS Monitor had engine trouble, steering issues, and failed her first sea trials. The USS Monitor took part in the Battle of Hampton Roads, considered the most significant battle of the Civil War. #bigoniontours#ussmonitor#ironclad#civilwar#brooklyn#greenpoint#navalhistory#johnericcson#immigrantengineer#todayinhistory#nychistory#battleofhamptonroads
455 Central Park West between 105th and 106th Streets was built between 1884 and 1886 to serve as the New York Cancer Hospital. This was the first hospital in the country devoted exclusively to care for cancer patients. The building featured circular wards in part to allow for easier observation of patients by a nurse stationed at a central desk. It was also thought that this design might discourage germs and dirt from gathering. The circular wards were worked into the exterior architecture by Charles C. Haight. At the turn of the 20th century, the hospital was renamed General Memorial Hospital. The hospital moved out of the building to a new Upper East Side home in 1955 and it grew to become the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The building was converted into a nursing home in 1955 and to luxury condos in 2001. A startling transformation...when I moved to New York in 1989, I lived just down the street from this place. It was a scary burned out shell of a building. #bigoniontours#upperwestside#hospital#1887#romanesquerevival
The almost 350-year-old elm tree on the NW corner of Washington Square Park has long been known as “the Hangman’s Elm” or “the Hanging Tree,” stemming from the lore that the aged tree was used for hanging traitors during the American Revolution, and then for hanging prisons from the nearby Newgate Prison thereafter. But is there truth to that legend? No public records documenting hangings from this tree have been found, and there is only one verified execution in the area, but that was about 500 feet away from the elm (Rose Butler was executed for arson in 1820 on a gallows erected on the eastern side of Minetta Creek). The Hanging Tree is, however, typically acknowledged to be the oldest tree in Manhattan (or, at least, the oldest tree that we know of..). For more fun facts about Washington Square Park and the surrounding neighborhood of Greenwich Village, join us this Thursday, February 1st @ 1:00 PM Or next Wednesday, February 7th @ 1:00 PM for our “Greenwich Village” tour! #bigoniontours#hangmanselm#hangingtree#legend#myth#lore#history#historylover#oldesttree#338yearsold#washingtonsquarepark#greenwichvillage#historicneighborhood#walkingtour
The oldest park in NYC, Bowling Green has been public property since 1686. The area around the park also marks the oldest site of European settlement on Manhattan Island, and it was supposedly here at Bowling Green that, 60 years before its official ‘public’ designation (i.e. in 1626), the famous “purchase” of Manhattan Island was made between Peter Minuit and the local Native American population for $24-worth of trade goods. Not to mentions that the fence that still surrounds the green space and fountain of Bowling Green park today is older than the nation itself (it was erected in 1771)! To learn more about the historical significance of Bowling Green Park and the early development of Manhattan and NYC, join us this Monday, January 29th @ 1:00 PM, Tuesday, February 6th @ 1:00 PM, or Saturday, February 10th @ 1:00 PM for our tour of “Lower Manhattan: Forging the Historic Metropolis.” #bigoniontours#bowlinggreen#nycpark#publicpark#financialdistrict#fidi#nychistory#newamsterdam#newyork#oldfence#historylover#historicneighborhood#walkingtour
Happy Birthday to the Apollo Theater! Reborn on this date in 1934. Originally opened in 1914 as Hurtig & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater as a venue for whites-only to enjoy black performers. The space changed ownership a few times and was purchased in 1933, by Sidney Cohen. It was renovated and reborn as the Apollo Theater, welcoming all, black & white, to enjoy the performances. In 1991, the Apollo was purchased by the State of New York and the non-profit Apollo Theater Foundation runs this remarkable Harlem institution. Known as a stage that welcomes the famous and amateurs (not all amateurs welcome…some get “swept” off the stage on Amateur Night) the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame includes an amazing array of performers spanning Ella Fitzgerald to Prince.
Photo credit: Apollo Theater, 2008. Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc. Shahar Azran photographer. #bigoniontours#harlem#apollotheater#onthisday#amateurnight#famousstage#musiclegend#nychistory
Did the Henry Ward Beecher Monument take a road trip? LEFT: JQA Ward statue of Beecher commissioned in 1888 and erected at Borough Hall in 1891. RIGHT: JQA Ward statue of Beecher erected on the Amherst College campus, 1914. Both cast from the same mold by Jno, Williams, Inc. Founders. New York. The Brooklyn statue was ordered immediately following Beecher’s death (1887). The Amherst College statue was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth and the 80th anniversary of his Amherst graduation. Want to learn more about Beecher and see a different statue of the legendary Abolitionist preacher? Join us Sunday Jan 27 at 1 p.m. for Historic Brooklyn Heights. Meeting in front of the Brooklyn Historical Society. Thanks to Big Onion colleague @ilovefranklinave for the Amherst image! #bigoniontours#henrywardbeecher#brooklyn#brooklynheights#jqaward#bronzestatue#roadtrip#amherstcollege @brooklynhistory #abolitionist#walkingtour#brooklynboroughhall#brownstoner
Join us on Sunday January 28, 11 a.m., as we explore the history of the labor movement in New York’s history. Our “We Built New York” walk focuses mostly on the 19th and early 20th centuries as we discuss the 1836 Stonecutters Strike; the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire; Cooper Union; and, of course, Emma Goldman. Goldman (June 27, 1869 - May 14, 1940), immigrant anarchist, feminist, speaker, organizer, author of 35 books, leader of more labor actions than we can count, and author of one of the greatest protest slogans - “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Meet: NE corner Washington Square North & 5th Avenue, across street from the Washington Square Arch. IMAGE: Emma Goldman posing at Kamow & Landa Studios, 365 Grand Street, New York. Circa 1900. Photograph from Emma Goldman Papers. #bigoniontours#emmagoldman#nyhistory#laborhistory#strike#slogan#politics#walkingtour#walkthecity#unionsquare#washingtonsquarepark#cooperunion#anarchist#powerfulwomen#1900#oldphoto
January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) received her medical degree from Geneva Medical College (Hobart College now) becoming the first woman to graduate medical school. In 1853, she created a medical dispensary near Tompkins Square. In 1857, along with Drs. Marie Zakrzewska & Emily Blackwell, it expanded to become the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women & Children (now Lower Manhattan Hospital). During the Civil War, facing gender resistance from male doctors, the Blackwell sisters organized the Woman’s Central Relief Association, and worked with Dorothea Dix to train nurses for the Union cause.
Dr. Blackwell also spent time in her homeland of Britain to help establish a women’s medical school in London. Her professional impact as a doctor, educator and social reformer, over the course of her 40+ year career, was felt throughout Europe & the Americas. #bigoniontours#elizabethblackwell#todayinhistory#1849#eastvillage#hobartcollege#tompkinssquare#nyhistory#downtownhospital#civilwar#womenpioneers#womenwholead#immigrants#femaledoctor#caringforothers
The South Street Seaport, 1900.
Featuring the largest concentration of restored 19th century commercial buildings in New York City. This neighborhood is Manhattans first commercial district. The Dutch West India Company built the first shipping pier in 1625. It was the central shipping hub for Manhattan until the advent of the steamship. Carefully restored over the past few decades, join us on Wednesday January 25 @ 1 p.m. as we explore the neighborhood. We will discuss the area history, architecture, and the many personalities over the centuries. The rise & fall of the Seaport and post-Hurricane Sandy revitalization. Brooklyn Bridge stands in the distance...Seaport offers amazing East River and Bridge views. Bridge walks return in early March! #bigoniontours#southstreetseaport#walkingtour#nychistory#nycarchitecture#brooklynbridge#1900#nyclandmarks#historicdistrict#guidedtour
The Williamsburgh Savings Bank is one of the great architectural icons of Brooklyn. Standing 37 stories (512 feet) tall, it was until recently the tallest building in Brooklyn. Built between 1927-19 by architects Halsey, McCormack and Helmer. Loosely designed in the Byzantine-Romanesque style, the WSB exterior was landmarked in 1977 and received interior designation in 1996. Throughout the facade are numerous examples of architecture parlante, symbols of thrift, security and savings. These lions are protecting the bank lockbox and the WSB logo is on the secure lock. Depositors would understand, before FDIC protection, money was safe and secure behind the 60-ton vault doors! #bigoniontours#williamsburghsavingsbank#skyscrapers#brooklyn#byzantinearchitecture#1927#tallest#nycarchitecture#nyclandmarks
January 19, 1915, French engineer Georges Claude (1870-1960), the “Edison of France” patented the neon discharge tube for use in advertising. First demonstrated at the 1910 Paris Motor Show, neon lighting truly changed how we see the world! His company, Claude Neon, introduces neon gas signs to America in 1923…at a Los Angeles Packard dealer.
Without neon, Times Square would be so much less interesting! The heyday of neon was the 1960s into the 1970s. Image #1 : Times Square, early 1970s. Image #2 : Times Square, 1965. #bigoniontours#timessquare#neon#todayinhistory#georgesclaude#france#inventors#1965#1970s#oldphoto#advertising
One of the first color photographs of American “scenes”. Mulberry Street, 1900. Created by a remarkable Photochrom technique pioneered by Photoglob Zurich AG, it manually “sees” color added to black & white negatives. The Swiss firm licensed the process to the Detroit Photographic Company.
Where did all the pushcarts go? Join us on Friday Jan 19, Sunday Jan 21, and throughout the year on “The Original Multi-Ethnic Eating Tour”. The first food tour in New York City (ca. 1993) we explore the relationship between immigrants, the Lower East Side, and food! We even walk down contemporary Neopolitan Mulberry Street. #bigoniontours#mulberrystreet#1900#pushcart#walkingtour#foodtour#immigration#littleitaly#lowereastside#multiethnic#photochromic#detroitphotographiccompany
The Anglican church of St Martin-in-the-Fields on the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square in London has been a site of Christian worship since at least the Middle Ages, and has a long history and close relationship with the Royal Family (it is their official parish church). Not the original building (the first recording of a church on this site was in 1222, which King Henry VIII rebuilt in 1542, which was in a state of decay by the 18th century), the current structure was built from 1721–1726 in the Neoclassical, or Georgian, style. St Martin-in-the-Fields was such an important structure for the Anglican church (the English monarch is, after all, the head of the Anglican church), that, just 40 years later, when the Parish of Trinity Church in NYC built St. Paul’s Chapel on the northern end of the British colony, in 1766, they modeled the structure of their “chapel-of-ease” off of this famous London church.
To learn more about St. Paul’s Chapel, 18th-century British-American relations in the former British colony of New York, and NYC’s place in the history of the American Revolution, join us next Monday, January 15th @ 1:00 PM for our tour of “Revolutionary New York!” #bigoniontours#stmartininthefields#london#trafalgarsquare#anglicanchurch#stpaulschapel#nyc#episcopalian#churchhistory#britishcolony#americanrevolution#neoclassical#georgian#18thcentury#imitationisthesincerestformofflattery
June 12, 1963
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Commencement Speaker at City College graduation.
The previous evening, President Kennedy announced that he would propose civil rights legislation in Congress; LBJ would pass the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Then, the morning King was slated to speak, he found out that NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers had been murdered in Mississippi. The air was heavy and intense, as King began by telling the graduates that they would be “moving into a world of catastrophic change and calamitous uncertainty.”
The commencement took place at CCNY’s Lewisohn Stadium, an amphitheater on West 136th Street that was razed a decade later. In one must have been one of the incredible commencement mornings in New York City history, addresses were given at other college campuses by Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver, Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg and U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson. Photo Credit: Stephen Somerstein
To learn more about the relationship between Dr. King and Harlem join us Monday January 15 at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. for our Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Historic Harlem walking tour. Meet: in front of the Schomburg Center (NW corner 135th & Malcolm X Blvd.) #bigoniontours#harlem#drmartinlutherkingjr#citycollege#1963#civilrightsmovement#commencementspeaker#walkingtour#guidedtour#nychistory#johnfkennedy#lyndonbjohnson#medgarevers#martinlutherking
1844 marble bust of William Charles Macready (1793-1873). One of Britian’s foremost actors. His career spanned 1819 to 1851 and he was best known for his leading roles in Shakespearian dramas. The William Behnes crafted bust is described as “captured Macready’s powerfully expressive face, which was described as featuring a ‘capacious forehead, full and flashing eye’ and delicately chiselled lips’. The bust was carved a few years before Macready’s extensive tour of America. A tour highlighted perhaps by his role in the May, 10, 1849 Astor Place Riots. A major street battle that was, on the surface, over who was a better Macbeth - Macready or American-born Edwin Forrest. The riot, at the now demolished Astor Place Theater, left more than 25 dead and 120+ injured.
Join us Friday Jan 12 at 1 p.m. or Saturday Feb 3 at 11 a.m. on our East Village tour to learn more.
William Behnes marble bust, 1844. Item 1504, National Portrait Gallery, London UK Photo by our traveling colleague - @alicejwalk #bigoniontours#astorplace#shakespeare#macbeth#williammacready#edwinforrest#astorplaceriot#1849#nychistory#walkingtour#guidedtour#eastvillage @nationalportraitgallery
Ever notice that there are in fact two men, not just one, in the statue dedicated to Lafayette at the 9th Street entrance to Prospect Park? The second man, shown as the Marquis’ groom, is James Armistead, who was born into slavery in the colony of Virginia. During the American Revolution, Armistead worked under the Marquis de Lafayette as a spy for the Continental army. He posed as a runaway slave, joining the camps of Brigadier General Benedict Arnold (after the turncoat had defected to the British), followed by Lord Charles Cornwallis, and reported their activities back to Lafayette. In particular, the information he gathered while in Cornwallis’ camp was instrumental in the Patriot victory at Yorktown. In 1786, Armistead petitioned the Virginia Assembly for his freedom in honor of his war service, submitting a testimonial written by the Marquis de Lafayette in 1784 commending his service as evidence. On January 9, 1787 the Virginia Assembly granted James Armistead’s petition, and Armistead chose to amend his name to “James Armistead Lafayette” in honor of the frenchman (a staunch supporter of emancipation).
IMAGES: 1. Lafayette Statue on 9th Street and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn; 2. “Lafayette Testimonial to James Armistead Lafayette, November 21, 1784, Marquis de Lafayette Collections, Skillman Library, Lafayette College. #bigoniontours#jamesarmistead#jamesarmisteadlafayette#americanrevolution#spy#marquisdelafayette#emancipation#onthisday#january9#americanhistory
Charlotte Canda died on her 17th birthday, Feb 3, 1845. Thrown from a carriage on Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, she passed away in her fathers arms. First buried in Old St. Patrick’s Cemetery in today’s NoLiTa, her adoptive parents built this ornate Gothic Revival monument to her out of Carrara marble. The monument is 17 feet high, 17 feet long. She is sculpted wearing her birthday gown. In 1848, it cost $45,000. The grave is consecrated Catholic ground. To the side is buried her fiancé, Charles Albert Jarrett de la Marie. He committed suicide a year after her death. @historicgreenwood #bigoniontours#greenwoodcemetery#charlottecanda#gardencemetery#gothicrevival#cemeteryart#winterwalk#brooklyn#greenwichvillage#diedyoung
A little color on a chilly day! When Harlem was still a rustic getaway, John James Audubon lived in the neighborhood in a cabin on the shores of the Hudson River. Audubon was a celebrated 19th- century painter of bird life. Avi Gitler, a local gallery owner, has helped keep Audubon's legacy alive by commissioning artists to produce murals of endangered birds on buildings, alleys, and security gates in the Harlem neighborhood. Most of the murals are in the West 150s, near both Audubon's former estate and his final resting place. This mural of a hooded warbler by muralist GERALUZ can be found on the side of a residential building on 147th between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. #bigoniontours#hamiltonheights#johnjamesaudubon#streetart#streetartist#geraluz#birds#hoodedwarbler#nationalbirdday
Created by the NYS Legislature in April 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art @metmuseum opened on February 20, 1872. Designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, the first building, in High Victorian Gothic style, was not well received. Within 20 years the Vaux building would be encased within Richard Morris Hunt’s Beaux-Arts structure. But remnants of the original brick and stone building exist!
Join us on Friday January 5 @ 1 p.m. for “America’s Museum: Art and History of the Metropolitan”. Lead by Big Onion Art Historians, this is also our only fully indoor tour (!) Please reserve your spot on our website. Photo: MET Museum circa 1880. #bigoniontours#indoortour#nycarchitecture#nychistory#metropolitanmuseumofart#walkingtour#arthistory#calvertvaux#jacobwreymould#gothicrevival
Who wore it better? American sculptor Henry Kirk Brown was commissioned by the independent cities of Brooklyn and New York to create statues of the recently assassinated Abraham Lincoln, which, together, comprise the first public monuments to the 16th President. Though the Union Square/New York statue was the first to be completed by the artist, it was cast and dedicated in September 1870, almost a full year after the Brooklyn/Prospect Park sculpture (which was dedicated in October 1869).
To learn more about the history of Brown’s statue of Lincoln in Union Square—as well as Lincoln’s relationship with the City of New York during the American Civil War—join us this (or any!) Saturday @ 2:00 PM for our free 90-minute tour of Union Square, offered in partnership with @unionsquareny. Tour meets in front of the Lincoln Statue (along the 16th Street transverse of Union Square Park). IMAGES: 1. Lincoln in Union Square, photo by @drella920; 2. Lincoln in Prospect Park, photo by @alicejwalk. #bigoniontours#abrahamlincoln#lincoln#lincolnstatue#16thpresident#henrykirkebrown#whoworeitbetter#unionsquare#manhattan#prospectpark#brooklyn#publicart#arthistory#historylover#nychistory#walkingtour
This 1954 canvas mural by American painter Julian Binford currently resides in a former bank building on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in Chelsea. Titled “A Memory of 14th Street and 6th Avenue,” the 110-foot scene depicts just that: an imaginary view of the Chelsea intersection at the end of the 19th century. A delightful record of memory and history of a place 50 years removed, the mural’s own fate after half a century is currently held in question, as the former bank building is converted into condominiums and retail space.
Interested in taking your own stroll down Chelsea’s memory lane? Join us this Friday, December 29th @ 11:00 AM or Saturday, January 6th @ 11:00 AM for our “Chelsea and High Line” tour! #bigoniontours#chelsea#mural#memory#14thstreet#6thavenue#intersection#manhattan#nyc#nyhistory
First Warsaw Congregation. Rivington & Eldridge Streets. 1930 & 2017.
Designed by 32 year old Emery Roth. Originally Congregation of Jassy (Romanian). According to the New York Times, the opening procession on Sept 4, 1904 included: 2 bands, 30 horse-drawn open carriages that carried the Torah scrolls. 1000 people followed on foot. All protected by 300 policemen. There were speeches on front step of building followed by singing of “Star Spangled Banner” and “Home Sweet Home”.
Congregation moved to the Bronx in 1912 and sold to a Warsaw community who renamed site First Warsaw. In 1979 local artist Hale Gurland saved the abandoned building from destruction and converted it into his art studio and residence.
Come see this wonderful site - and more - on Monday, December 25 @ 1 p.m. on our 27th Annual Christmas Day Jewish Lower East Side walk! A wonderful Big Onion tradition! #bigoniontours#christmasday#lowereastside#emeryroth#nychistory#nycarchitecture#artstudio#halegurland#savingoldbuildings#synagogue#immigrants#walkingtour#guidedtour#nycgo @nycgo
Happy Winter Solstice! While there is no snow, today is the official start of winter & the shortest day of the year. One of our favorite Central Park in Winter paintings - Skating in Central Park, by Agnes Tait. Tait was born in New York City in 1894. Trained at the National Academy of Design and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. She was employed by the Public Works of Art Project during the Depression. This is considered her most famous painting. Tait passed away, in Santa Fe, NM, 1981.
Join us today at 1 p.m. for the last Central Park walk of the winter season. We meet on the NE corner of 66 & CPW. Our Central Park tours will return in early March.
Agnes Tait, Skating in Central Park, 1934. Smithsonian American Art Museum. #bigoniontours#centralpark#wintersolstice#agnestait#1934#skating#winter#wpa#walkingtour @smithsonian #americanart
“These are the times that try men’s souls.” The American Crisis No. 1. Published #OTD in Pennsylvania Journal, December 19, 1776. Authored by philosopher & writer Thomas Paine (1737-1809). Read aloud to the Continental Army on December 23, 1776, three days before the Battle of Trenton, it was a rallying cry to the beleaguered American troops. “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” Learn more about Paine in our Greenwich Village and Revolutionary New York walks.
Portrait: Thomas Paine by Laurent Dabos. 1792. @nationalportraitgallery #bigoniontours#thomaspaine#thecrisis#1776#onthisday#americanrevolution#nychistory#battleoftrenton#walkingtour#quotes
December 15, 1791. With the ratification by the Virginia General Assembly, the United States Bill of Rights became law. Crafted primarily by James Madison and debated heavily here in New York City as Congress was based here at the time. It took compromise, discussion and a willingness to listen to the diverse and varied voices of the newly formed 13 States to finalize the foundation of American personal freedoms and rights.
Also, on this date in 21st Amendment officially into effect. So, raise a glass of something tonight! #bigoniontours#billofrights#otd#jamesmadison#usconstitution#federalhall#21stamendment#1791
Happy Birthday Old Blue Eyes - Francis “Frank” Albert Sinatra. Born @OTD 1915, in Hoboken, New Jersey. The only child to Italian immigrants, a difficult birth (he weighed over 13 pounds) left him with scars & a burst eardrum. Despite the eardrum injury he learned music by ear (never learned to read music) and was singing professionally as a teenager. The question is not - who, in his long career, did he work with? The question is - who DIDN’T he work with? His list of awards range from 11 Grammys, 3 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award. Critics have called him “the greatest singer of the 20th century”. Sinatra died at the age of 82 on May 14, 1998. He was buried in Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, CA, alongside his parents. #bigoniontours#franksinatra#onthisday#bornonthisday#hoboken#singer#americanhistory#happybirthday#oldblueeyes#grammys#academyawards#naacp#ididitmyway
#fbf with 17 Grove Street in Greenwich Village. Built in 1822, this wood-frame house is one of the few that remain in New York. Though at one point the city boasted numerous wooden structures, following a series of massive fires in Manhattan in 1776, 1835, and 1845, the city’s building codes systematically banned them throughout the 19th-century: in 1816, they were banned below Canal Street; in 1849, the ban was extended to below 32nd Street; and in 1882, the ban was applied to all buildings below 155th.
To learn more about 17 Grove—and many more of the remarkable and historic buildings in Greenwich Village—join us tomorrow, December 9th @ 11:00 AM or Thursday, December 14th @ 1:00 PM!
Image 2: Berenice Abbott, “Frame House,” May 12, 1936. In the collection of the Museum of the City of New York. @museumofcityny #bigoniontours#17grovestreet#1822#framehouse#woodenhouse#woodbuilding#greatfireofnewyork#1776#1835#1845#buildingcode#bereniceabbott#historicneighborhood#historylover#nyhistory#walkthecity#walkingtour