Ask me anything   Images and words that reflect a lost New York City. I occasionally write about NYC history at greater length over on The Magic Lantern (formerly known as The Virtual Dime Museum).

My other Tumblrs are Kitsch and Retro and The Vintage Medicine Cabinet

twitter.com/Lidian:

    The Mayor’s Black Book was a book of complaints that New Yorkers of the 1850s could contribute to. And complain they did, about everything and anything, giving us insight into the everyday things that don’t make it into history books (my favorite kind of history!). This item is from January 1855, as printed by the New York Times:
"That a large number of bad boys congregate in front of No. 32 Madison-street, playing ball, throwing stones and committing all manner of depredations* on the property of the complainant, Charles W. Mack."
(The photo is from 1909 but I couldn’t find an image from the 19th century that was quite right.)
*My father did exactly this sort of thing in Brooklyn in the 1930s although the shopkeeper did not call them depredations, exactly (lol).

    The Mayor’s Black Book was a book of complaints that New Yorkers of the 1850s could contribute to. And complain they did, about everything and anything, giving us insight into the everyday things that don’t make it into history books (my favorite kind of history!). This item is from January 1855, as printed by the New York Times:

    "That a large number of bad boys congregate in front of No. 32 Madison-street, playing ball, throwing stones and committing all manner of depredations* on the property of the complainant, Charles W. Mack."

    (The photo is from 1909 but I couldn’t find an image from the 19th century that was quite right.)

    *My father did exactly this sort of thing in Brooklyn in the 1930s although the shopkeeper did not call them depredations, exactly (lol).

    — 1 month ago
    #1850s  #1850s New York  #New York history  #1900s New York 

    kitschandretro:

    Helen Worden, born in Denver, Colorado in 1896, was a pioneering woman journalist in the 1930s and 1940s.She wrote for several New York papers including the New York World-Telegram, and is known for her New York guidebooks as well as for an account of the famous New York hoarders, the Collyer brothers, entitled Out of This World (1954). 

    When Shire Books was kind enough to send me Discover New York to read and review, I was enormously happy. I collect old New York City guidebooks, and Helen Worden’s Here Is New York (1939) is a favorite of mine (it was written for tourists visiting the 1939 World’s Fair). Discover New York was first published in 1943 and written for servicemen and women passing through the city during World War II; this reprint is in celebration of the 70th anniversary of its publication. 

    It’s a wonderful read, one that takes me straight into the New York City of my parents, who were teens back then. Worden tells her readers all the basics, like the cost of a subway ride (a nickel!) and that the Stork Club was the place to see and be seen. You could, she suggests, go to the Hurricane club at 1619 Broadway and catch Duke Ellington playing a few sets? Don’t forget, she adds, that there is a $2.00 minimum there. Or perhaps you’d like to drop in to the Blue Angel, a night spot “run by a Frenchman who knows his omelets” - his chef makes them with rum. And if you prefer the outdoor life, you could take a nickel subway ride to the northernmost bit of Manhattan, and fish for a few bass at Inwood Hill Park.

    She describes several neighborhoods, most of which you’ll know - Chinatown, Little Italy, Greenwich Village. But did you know there was a Little Turkey, on Washington Street between Battery Park and Fulton Street, where you could buy silks and brasses, and dine on lamb in grape leaves and “rosewater pastry”? It was also known as Little Syria, and was razed to make way for the entrance ramps to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which opened in 1950

    Complete with reproductions of the original advertisements (which are wonderful, too), Discover New York is a must for anyone who loves old New York or for those who (like me) collect vintage guidebooks. I had a wonderful trip back in time reading it - and so will you.

    [Images of inwood Park and a Turkish nightclub on Allen St. in the 1940s are both from Wikimedia Commons]

    *Many thanks to Shire Books - and the opinions are, of course, all my own.

    [Kitsch and Retro is my retro.vintage Tumblr]

    — 1 month ago with 3 notes
    #1940s  #1940s New York  #historic new york  #Vintage New York  #vintage Manhattan  #Manhattan  #New York City  #New York history 

    Inconvieniency of Tight Lacing, as seen in St. John’s Park, New York City, September 28, 1829. The gentleman on the right is saying “Oh! oh! ah! ah! I shall communicate this to the Morning Courier & N.Y. Inquirer.”

    "St. John’s Park…is on the west side of Broadway, bounded by Varick, Bach, Hudson and Laight streets. It is private property, and consequently not open to the citizens generally. The foliage considerably various, the healthy vigor of the trees, and the verdant freshness of the grass, entitle it to be considered one of the most tasty and the most rural pleasure grounds in the city." — The New-York Farmer and Horticultural Repository, August 1830 (Volume 3, p. 84).

    In other words, St. John’s Park was the sort of place wealthy (and silly) dandies would go to strut around and run into trouble (and lampposts) because of their tight corsets (lol). The park was created in the early 1800s by Trinity Church, which owned the land. It was named for St. John’s Chapel, a then-new parish of Trinity.

    In 1867 Trinity Church sold St. John’s Park to the Hudson River Railroad, who built a depot there; in 1927 the depot was demolished to make way for the Holland Tunnel. And now the bit that’s left of St. John’s Park is completely blocked from the public not by iron gates but by the exits from the Holland Tunnel, which surround it.. So much for the tasty, verdant pleasure ground where New York Beau Brummels used to parade.

    First image is from NYPL Digital Gallery

    Second image (from 1866) and third image (from 2010) via Wikipedia

    — 2 months ago with 1 note
    #1820s New York City  #1820s  #old New York  #New York parks  #tribeca 

    "The ‘Walton House,’ which stands between Peck slip and Dover street in Pearl street, is to be torn down to make way for the approaches to the East River bridge. It antedates the Revolution. At that time it was a magnificent mansion, and was constructed in the best known style. In 1850 it became an emigrant boarding house, and subsequently was rented as an apartment house, the lower part being used for stores. It narrowly escaped fire in 1853, when Harper Brothers’ establishment took fire." — New York Herald, June 20, 1878

    The Walton House was built in 1752 by Captain William Walton (1706-1768), a prominent merchant and politician. It was located in Franklin Square and the street address was 328 Pearl Street, which was originally called Queen Street. In the 1820s it was a hotel, and one of the regular stops made by the Flushing & Newtown stagecoaches.

    The Walton House was demolished in 1881.

    Image from NYPL Digital Gallery

    — 2 months ago with 1 note
    #old New York  #Lost New York  #1830s  #18th century  #18th century New York 
    Question: What sort of person would enter an ice cream establishment in a burglarious manner?
Answer: “Some burglar.”
[New York Herald, June 19, 1846]

    Question: What sort of person would enter an ice cream establishment in a burglarious manner?

    Answer: “Some burglar.”

    [New York Herald, June 19, 1846]

    — 3 months ago with 2 notes
    #victorian new york  #1840s  #1840s New York 
    Where 1930s-era gnomes went to buy their pastries: the Gnome Bakery at 319 East 59th St. - unbelievably close to the southern approach to the Queensboro Bridge. Ads from 1932-33 feature their special Gnome Cranberry Rye Bread, “a unique bread combining the energy of whole rye with the recognized minerals of cranberries.” It was supposed to be based on “an old Viking recipe.” But the address in these ads is 420 East 48th Street, not 319 East 59th - so this photo is probably pre-1930s.
The house at 319 East 59th was a private home in the 1890s, and 420 East 48th was Moeling and Crane’s iron railing works in the 1890s and housed the architectural firm of Wagner and Jahn in the early 1900s - judging from a quick check of newspapers on the incomparable site, Fulton History. So the Gnomes probably weren’t baking their Cranberry Rye in either location much before about 1910.
Also note the “curiosity shop” on the left - which would have bought and sold, in the words of an ad for another NYC curiosity shop in 1902, “curios, antiques, old gold, silver and books” (just my kind of shop!).

In 1990, the New York Times noted that the building was up for sale.
NYPL Digital Gallery

    Where 1930s-era gnomes went to buy their pastries: the Gnome Bakery at 319 East 59th St. - unbelievably close to the southern approach to the Queensboro Bridge. Ads from 1932-33 feature their special Gnome Cranberry Rye Bread, “a unique bread combining the energy of whole rye with the recognized minerals of cranberries.” It was supposed to be based on “an old Viking recipe.” But the address in these ads is 420 East 48th Street, not 319 East 59th - so this photo is probably pre-1930s.

    The house at 319 East 59th was a private home in the 1890s, and 420 East 48th was Moeling and Crane’s iron railing works in the 1890s and housed the architectural firm of Wagner and Jahn in the early 1900s - judging from a quick check of newspapers on the incomparable site, Fulton History. So the Gnomes probably weren’t baking their Cranberry Rye in either location much before about 1910.

    Also note the “curiosity shop” on the left - which would have bought and sold, in the words of an ad for another NYC curiosity shop in 1902, “curios, antiques, old gold, silver and books” (just my kind of shop!).

    In 1990, the New York Times noted that the building was up for sale.

    NYPL Digital Gallery

    — 3 months ago with 5 notes
    #old New York  #1890s new york  #1930s New York  #Vintage New York  #manhattan 
    
With Non-Inquisitive People 

A LADY WISHES FLOOR FOR GENTEEL BUSINESS, with bath; 32d st. or near Broadway, with non-inquisitive people. BAIN DE VENUS, Herald Branch. —NY Herald, February 26, 1882
Image: Broadway and 32nd in 1876 [source]

    With Non-Inquisitive People

    A LADY WISHES FLOOR FOR GENTEEL BUSINESS, with bath; 32d st. or near Broadway, with non-inquisitive people. BAIN DE VENUS, Herald Branch. —NY Herald, February 26, 1882

    Image: Broadway and 32nd in 1876 [source]

    — 3 months ago with 2 notes
    #victorian new york  #old New York  #1880s New York  #1870s New York  #Broadway  #Victorian classified ads 
    A street somewhere in Queens, 1969. Not sure where because Duke University Digital Libraries doesn’t say. There’s a Lil Joe’s Bar and Grill in Astoria though, so maybe this is an earlier incarnation. 
Too bad the 1969 version of Lil Joe’s doesn’t seem to offer egg creams, the signature delicacy of the New York candy store. There was a candy store a block from us, back in 1969 (not in Queens) - the place in the neighborhood for egg creams and Archie comics, which was the pinnacle of wonderful (and special, because my mother didn’t often let me have comic books) for me as a kid.

    A street somewhere in Queens, 1969. Not sure where because Duke University Digital Libraries doesn’t say. There’s a Lil Joe’s Bar and Grill in Astoria though, so maybe this is an earlier incarnation. 

    Too bad the 1969 version of Lil Joe’s doesn’t seem to offer egg creams, the signature delicacy of the New York candy store. There was a candy store a block from us, back in 1969 (not in Queens) - the place in the neighborhood for egg creams and Archie comics, which was the pinnacle of wonderful (and special, because my mother didn’t often let me have comic books) for me as a kid.

    — 3 months ago with 1 note
    #1960s  #New York  #1960s new york  #Vintage New York  #Queens  #vintage Queens 
    Jay Gould’s little place at 89th and Fifth (so says the NYPL, but I’ve seen it in other sources as 67th and Fifth). I have always wanted to have a writing room in a turret. This one would do very nicely. If only his son George hadn’t had it torn down in 1906, that is.
NYPL

    Jay Gould’s little place at 89th and Fifth (so says the NYPL, but I’ve seen it in other sources as 67th and Fifth). I have always wanted to have a writing room in a turret. This one would do very nicely. If only his son George hadn’t had it torn down in 1906, that is.

    NYPL

    — 3 months ago with 1 note
    #old New York  #victorian new york  #Vanished Places 
    You can check into the Sagamon House hotel while you wait for your hats and bonnets to come back from the bleachery. Sounds like a plan!
NYPL

    You can check into the Sagamon House hotel while you wait for your hats and bonnets to come back from the bleachery. Sounds like a plan!

    NYPL

    — 3 months ago
    #Victorian ads  #victorian fashion