History

A Round Trip and Unpleasant Etymology

That’s the Knickerbocker Hotel on 42nd Street, in a maybe 1910 postcard from the Detroit Publishing Company. The building had exterior and interior designs by several famous architects and is, unsurprisingly, a designated landmark. It lasted less than twenty years as a hotel when first built, then was used as an office building for 90 …

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Weird and Heavily Travelled

I took the 42nd Street shuttle last week for the first time in years. I don’t consciously avoid that train but I tend to try to arrange my subway trips in Manhattan so that I don’t have to transfer, even if that means walking a bit. To clarify: the vast majority of my subways trips …

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Always Obscure and Now Long Gone

There are times I feel like Berenice Abbott was trying to make it hard to figure out some of the photos from her “Changing New York” project. The 1936 picture above is titled “Manhattan Skyline: I, South Street and Jones Lane”. There are a number of famous skyscrapers in the photo, including my downtown favorite …

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Fancy

I happened to be walking past this building on east 38th Street and felt it deserved a photo. The big doors announce it to be carriage house, the ornate facade suggests it was connected to a wealthy person’s home rather being a commercial stable. Take a good look, as there’s a lot going on there. …

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History Not Written

I’ve been reading Buried Beneath the City: An Archaeological History of New York. There’s some of the usual content you expect in a book on historical archaeology – that is, archaeology performed not on the distant past as the word archaeology suggests, but on eras for which we have historical records – including discussion of …

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