Home   |  Order  |  Tours  |  The Blog  |  Appearances  |  About Us  |  Press  |  Contact Us/Join our Mailing List


COMING APRIL 15th

Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New Yorkers.

Check out our new book online at www.footprintsinnewyork.com.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Where New York Began" at the Transit Museum Annex, Grand Central

If you are in Grand Central any time between now and July 5 and you have a few minutes to spare, it's worth your while to check out the new exhibition at the Transit Museum's gallery. The show, titled "Where New York Began: Archaeology at the South Ferry Terminal," explores some of the 50,000 artifacts unearthed during the building of the new South Ferry subway station.

When an 18th-century portion of the old Battery wall* was unearthed in 2005, it made headlines around the city. Less talked about, however, was the trove of artifacts uncovered during the excavation, including fragments of building materials and lovely tile and ceramics, some of which date back to the Dutch Colonial era. While only a small portion of the finds are on view at Grand Central, the well-laid out exhibition takes viewers through all the different types of finds that archaeologists discovered at the site, including more recent relics, like a soda bottle and remnants of the original subway station.


* Portions of the wall itself are on view in Castle Clinton in Battery Park.



 * * *

Read more about Battery Park -- from the Dutch Colonial era to the present --
To get RSS feeds from this blog, point your reader to this link.
Or, to subscribe via email,
 follow this link.
Also, you can now
 follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Central Park Walking Tour + "Inside the Apple" Book Talk

On Sunday, March 28, at 4:00PM the Borders bookstore at Columbus Circle is sponsoring a walking tour and book signing with us where we'll be talking about the history, architecture, and art of Central Park. We'll be sharing stories from Inside the Apple, which is celebrating its first year in print this week.


We'll meet inside the store (which is on the second floor of the Time Warner Center) over at the special events section. From the store, we'll walk into the park and spend approximately 90 minutes looking at the history of the park, its development in the mid-19th century, and the role that Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's original master plan still plays today. The tour will conclude back at Borders for a question and answer session and book signing.


In order to make sure that tour starts on time, please try to be in Borders by 3:50PM. No reservations are necessary.



 * * *

To get RSS feeds from this blog, point your reader to this link.
Or, to subscribe via email,
 follow this link.
Also, you can now
 follow us on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New York Stock Exchange Reaches an All-Time Low

Today, the number of shares traded daily at the New York Stock Exchange numbers in the billions. But 180 years ago today – on March 16, 1830 – only thirty-one shares changed hands in both the morning and afternoon sessions, an all-time low. A typical day in the 1830s saw well over 1,000 shares traded and by 1835 daily volume would reach 8,500 shares.

In 1830, the exchange was located in rented quarters at 40 Wall Street. Five years later that building – along with most of Wall Street – would be engulfed by the Great Fire of 1835, a huge conflagration that destroyed 600  buildings downtown.

After moving a couple of times in the 19th century, the exchange finally settled on Broad Street; its current home, designed by George B. Post, opened in 1903.

 * * *






Read more about the New York Stock Exchange
in
 Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City
.
To get RSS feeds from this blog, point your reader to this link.
Or, to subscribe via email,
 follow this link.
Also, you can now
 follow us on Twitter.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Area Code Blues


Norman Mailer called it "Probably the worst news to hit Brooklyn since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles." No, he wasn't back from the dead to pronounce judgment on the new Nets arena -- he was talking about the 718 area code, which was introduced 25 years ago.

When area codes were first established in 1947, all of New York was given 212. Due to its large population, the city was assigned the area code that was considered easiest to dial on a rotary telephone. However, by the early 1980s, it was becoming clear to Public Service Commission that New York's continued growth would soon create the need for a new area code. (Not only was the population rising, fax machines were becoming affordable for the first time and the country's first 1G cell phone network had just been established.)

The commission decided to allow Manhattan and the Bronx to retain the 212 area code, assigning 718 to Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Public reaction was swift and furious. Businesses complained about the costs of reprinting stationery and letterhead; residents kvetched about being pushed further into the realm of the "outer boroughs." As Brooklyn College's president, Robert Hess, remarked to the New York Times: "It's a giant step backwards. For 80-odd years we've been striving to make New York a single city out of the five boroughs. To solve a problem in New York where there are not enough lines by essentially evicting the outer boroughs is really an affront."

Today, of course, 718 seems old fashioned. In 1992, the Bronx (and the Marble Hill section of Manhattan) joined the other boroughs by switching to 718; that was the same year that the 917 area code was added to Manhattan. (Fun fact: originally, 917 was used more for beepers and pagers than for cell phones.) Area codes 646 and 347 were added in 1999 to further lighten to load, but there still aren’t enough numbers -- area code 929 will be introduced in early 2011 to provide more service in the outer boroughs.

* * *




Read more about New York's role in the creation of the telephone
in
 Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City
.
To get RSS feeds from this blog, point your reader to this link.
Or, to subscribe via email,
 follow this link.
Also, you can now
 follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Congress Meets for the First Time on Wall Street


On March 4, 1789 -- 221 years ago today -- the first United States Congress convened at the old Federal Hall on Wall Street.
Beginning in 1774, with the gathering of the First Continental Congress, there has been some sort of representative body governing the United States. What makes the Congress of March 4, 1789, important is that it was the first to convene after the ratification of the Constitution,* and thus marks the beginning of modern American governance. The first meeting of Congress had 21 senators (representing 11 states – New York only had one senator until July 1789) and 58 members of the House of Representatives.
As we discuss in Inside the Apple, choosing New York as the first (albeit temporary) capital of the fledgling country was not a universally supported move. However, Alexander Hamilton -- who would soon be appointed by George Washington as the nation's first Treasury Secretary and its de facto Prime Minister -- lobbied hard for New York to be the seat of government.

During the 16 months that Congress met in New York, they passed landmark legislation, none bigger than the Bill of Rights. But they also established the U.S. Census, provided laws to protect patents and copyrights, and promulgated the first regulations to allow naturalization of immigrants. One of the last laws Congress passed in New York created Washington, D.C., as a federal district and the new national capital. Since that city would be built from the ground up, the legislators had to find somewhere else to meet in the meantime. While Hamilton would have favored that they remain in New York, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson successfully persuaded Congress to move the capital to Philadelphia in the interim.


The original Federal Hall, which was at corner of Wall and Nassau streets, no longer stands. In its place is the old Custom House (1842), now called Federal Hall National Memorial. If you are in the Financial District today, stop by; it is free and open to the public.


* In truth, only 11 states had ratified the Constitution: North Carolina
and Rhode Island would both do so during Congress's first session.
* * *



Read more about New York's role as America's capital
in
 Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City
.
To get RSS feeds from this blog, point your reader to this link.
Or, to subscribe via email,
 follow this link.Also, you can now follow us on Twitter.

Search This Blog

Loading...

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Blog Archive