Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy 50th Birthday to the Delacorte Theater

James Earl Jones in the inaugural production of
Merchant of Venice at the Delacorte Theater;
courtesy of the New York Public Library
On June 19, 1962, the Delacorte Theater held its first public performance--The Merchant of Venice with George C. Scott and James Earl Jones--and Shakespeare in the Park as we know it was born. (The actual first performance had been the night before; it was a benefit preview for donors and city officials.)

In 1954, Joseph Papp was granted a charter from New York State to create what was then called the "Shakespeare Workshop." In 1956, the workshop -- now dubbed the Shakespearean Workshop Theater -- began performances. These early shows were at a variety of venues, including an amphitheater on the Lower East Side on Grand Street, outdoors in Central Park near Turtle Pond (close by the current site of the Delacorte) and at Wollman Rink before Robert Moses finally agreed to Papp's request that the company be given a permanent home in the park. First, however, Papp had to sue Moses, who insisted that the Shakespearean Workshop charge admission -- at least a dollar or two -- to offset the extra costs that would be involved in hosting the plays in the park. The courts sided with Papp's desire to keep his performances free, and soon work on the Delacorte began.

Delays in the design and construction of the theater led the initial season to be pushed back from 1961 to 1962, and for the city to need an additional $150,000 in funds to complete the project. Philanthropist and publisher George Delacorte (of Dell Books), a major supporter of Papp's efforts and of the park, stepped in with the cash and the theater was named in his honor.

Playbill has a slideshow you can peruse of past productions at the theater -- or go check it out in person. This summer features a delightful As You Like It (on through June 30) followed by Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods from July 23 to August 25. Information on tickets (including "virtual tickets") can be found at the Public Theater's website.





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For more on Robert Moses, Joseph Papp, and theater in New York check out
Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City







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Friday, June 15, 2012

Reminder: Literary Walking Tour of Greenwich Village on Sunday, June 24


Sunday, June 24, 2012
at 10:00AM

Walking Tour of Literary Greenwich Village

Reservations on or before 6/17: $10 per person
Reservations on 6/18 or later: $15 per person
To reserve email events@insidetheapple.net



Join James and Michelle Nevius, authors of Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, for a walking tour in the heart of Greenwich Village highlighting some of the many authors who have called the area home over the past two centuries. From Edgar Allan Poe to Edith Wharton to Bob Dylan, the Village has been both the home and the muse to generations of writers. We will see homes, hangouts, and other significant sites.

The tour will last between 90 minutes and 2 hours / rain or shine.

Copies of Inside the Apple will be available for sale and signing.



To reserve, send an email to events@insidetheapple.net with

· Your name

· The number in your party

· A contact cell phone number

· A good email address where we can send you information about where the tour will start.


PLEASE NOTE that if you reserve no later than Sunday, June 17, the cost is just $10 per person. All reservations received starting Monday, June 18, will be $15 per person.

This tour will have only a limited number of spaces, so please reserve early to avoid disappointment.

Payment will be taken at the start of the tour by cash only. Directions to the tour’s starting point will be sent out after your reservation is confirmed.

Hope to see you there!


The Sinking of the General Slocum

Today marks the tragic anniversary of the sinking of the General Slocum, which was ferrying over 1,000 German immigrants to a Sunday School picnic on Long Island when it went down in the East River on June 15, 1904.

We have blogged about the General Slocum in the past; you can read more about it at http://blog.insidetheapple.net/2009/06/general-slocum-disaster.html or, in more depth, in Inside the Apple.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New York City Houses, Year-by-Year

The good people over at Property Shark have put together a slide show of houses in New York City, with examples of domestic architecture from 1821 to the present. (Looking through it, only one year appears to be missing--1827. We'll see if we can find a home from that year and append it to this post.)

The slide show is a wonderful way to see how housing styles changed--and didn't change--throughout the 19th century. Many of the slides from the middle of that century are homes in Brooklyn Heights, which has the best preserved array of townhouses anywhere in the city. We focus on these houses in our walking tour of Brooklyn Heights.

One caveat: take the years attached to the slides with a grain of salt. For most of the 19th century, there was no Department of Buildings or permitting process, so construction dates are often an estimation. Also, the dates on some of these slides--especially in the 1970s--are just inexplicably wrong. Still, it's a great tour of New York property and includes recent sale prices for many properties.

The slideshow can be found at http://www.propertyshark.com/Real-Estate-Reports/2012/06/11/nyc-homes-two-centuries-of-architecture-2/


* * *

For more on the architecture of New York from the Dutch Colonial era to the present,
pick up a copy of



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Monday, June 4, 2012

Walking Tour of Literary Greenwich Village | Sunday, June 24, at 10am

Sunday, June 24, 2012
at 10:00AM

Walking Tour of Literary Greenwich Village

Reservations on or before 6/17: $10 per person
Reservations on 6/18 or later: $15 per person
To reserve email events@insidetheapple.net



Join James and Michelle Nevius, authors of Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, for a walking tour in the heart of Greenwich Village highlighting some of the many authors who have called the area home over the past two centuries. From Edgar Allan Poe to Edith Wharton to Bob Dylan, the Village has been both the home and the muse to generations of writers. We will see homes, hangouts, and other significant sites.

The tour will last between 90 minutes and 2 hours / rain or shine.

Copies of Inside the Apple will be available for sale and signing.



To reserve, send an email to events@insidetheapple.net with

· Your name

· The number in your party

· A contact cell phone number

· A good email address where we can send you information about where the tour will start.


PLEASE NOTE that if you reserve no later than Sunday, June 17, the cost is just $10 per person. All reservations received starting Monday, June 18, will be $15 per person.

This tour will have only a limited number of spaces, so please reserve early to avoid disappointment.

Payment will be taken at the start of the tour by cash only. Directions to the tour’s starting point will be sent out after your reservation is confirmed.

Hope to see you there!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Our Private Walking Tours of New York City: Lower Manhattan



Recently, a reader and fan of Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, was surprised to discover that we are available to personally lead the guided walks from the book. Not only are we available, we love conducting tours for people who've read the book and want the opportunity to explore a part of the city in greater depth.

Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to blog about some of our favorite walks around the city that we lead for clients. If you are interested to booking any of these tours for yourself, either visit www.walknyc.com for more details or email us at walknyc@gmail.com or info@insidetheapple.net.



WALKING TOUR OF LOWER MANHATTAN


We love walking in Lower Manhattan because it is the section of the city where the largest amount of history is contained in the smallest amount of space. From the first Dutch settlers to the capital of American finance, there are hundreds of tales to tell in Lower Manhattan. Did you know the Statue of Liberty was originally supposed to stand in Egypt? Or that eight million immigrants were processed through a War of 1812 fort in Battery Park before Ellis Island had been created? Our walk through this area weaves together architectural, historical, cultural (and pop-cultural: after all we are passing Men in Black HQ) sites to create a portrait of how New York City has emerged as America's premiere city over the last 400 years.

One of the best things about a guided walk of the Financial District is how many different tangents we can follow. Some groups opt for an entirely a colonial-era tour, focusing on the era from Henry Hudson's arrival in 1609 to the first rumblings of the Revolutionary War. Walking what is basically the entire outline of the old city, we see everything from the site of the famous wall that gave its name to Wall Street to the archaeological excavations that unearthed the oldest foundations in Manhattan, those of the 1670 Lovelace Tavern (which are still on view).

For those who'd rather focus on the Revolution and the Federal period, we traverse the same ground seeing the spot where George Washington was sworn in as America's first president; Alexander Hamilton's grave in Trinity Church; the fence at Bowling Green Park which still shows the marks of revolutionary fervor, and much more.

Interested in Financial History? We can walk four centuries of New York finance, from the place where Peter Minuit may have struck the so-called $24 deal to buy the island of Manhattan to the threshold of World Trade Center, poised to become the tallest building in the country and the cornerstone of a revitalized business district.

Or, of course, you can opt for the walk that combines all of these elements into a two-hour journey into the past.

To book, email us at walknyc@gmail.com or info@insidetheapple.net and we'll set it up. Tours are a flat fee of $80 for 1-4 people or $20 per person for parties larger than four. Discounts for larger parties and student groups.

Hope to see you on a walk soon!


* * *

For a self-guided walk of the Financial District, see




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