Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So often when we commemorate anniversaries, it is of something tragic or terrible – and this week is no exception. Tomorrow, June 25, marks the 103rd anniversary of the murder of architect Stanford White at the theater at Madison Square Garden. White was killed by his ex-girlfriend’s husband, Pittsburgh millionaire Harry K. Thaw.
(If you read press coverage from 1906, it always refers to Thaw as being from Pittsburgh – as if that explained everything somehow.)
Instead of rehashing the murder itself (which you can read all about in Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City), we thought this week we’d provide a walking tour of some of White’s significant New York buildings. He was one of the greatest Beaux Arts architects and his firm, McKim, Mead & White, is responsible for much of the Neoclassical look of late 19th- and early 20th-century New York.
The tour can be found at http://www.insidetheapple.net/whitewalkingtour.pdf (note: PDF file!)
You’ll notice that some stops refer to chapter numbers; these are chapters in Inside the Apple where we tell the story of a particular Stanford White building in greater depth.
So print out the tour, grab a copy of Inside the Apple, and go explore the Gilded Age!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
The...boat carried families from just about every block of the area surrounding Tompkins Square Park, the heart of the German neighborhood. The boat left from the pier at East Third Street around 9:30 in the morning and trouble developed almost immediately. A spark, probably from a stove, set the stern on fire; as the ship steamed up the
East River, observers on either bank could see smoke and flames billowing from the vessel. Captain William Van Shaick could have headed for Manhattan, the Bronx, or Queens. Instead, he decided to make for North Brother Island, which lies in the East Rivernear the entrance to the Long Island Sound. Captain Van Schaick, who survived the tragedy, later said that he’d hoped in doing this to keep the fire from spreading, but in fact he was piloting into a steady wind and the blaze quickly got out of control, enveloping the ship’s three decks, which then collapsed. Van Schaick may have also picked North Brother Island because of the hospital there (where Typhoid Mary would later spend the last two decades of her life). However, by the time the ship ran aground, the hospital staff could do little to help: most of the passengers had already drowned or burned to death.Compounding the tragedy was the ship’s utter disregard for safety standards. Life preservers that were shoddily constructed in the first place had not been replaced in years. Mothers, hoping to save their children, bundled them into life preservers and threw them over the side only to watch them drown as the defective floatation devices became instantly water-logged and sank. The ship’s lifeboats could not be detached from the vessel and the crew had no instruction on how to handle a fire. Indeed, one of the only things Captain Van Schaik was ever punished for was lack of safety preparedness. (The jury refused to find him guilty of manslaughter.)
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
(While it is true that all access to the crown was cut off after 9/11, the Park Service had, in fact, been limiting visitors throughout the summer of 2001 in an attempt to control crowds and preserve the statue's structural integrity.)
Visitors will be allowed up in groups of 10, guided by a park ranger. The climb is 354 steps and, as the press release points out, the statue's interior can be 20 degrees hotter than the ambient outdoor air temperature. No word yet on how long you'll be allowed to linger at the crown once you're up there.
For all the details, visit http://www.statuecruises.com/ferry-service/pdf/STLI-FAQs_Crown-Tickets_Final.pdf
Monday, June 8, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
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