Blog
05/Dec/2011
Devastation of 9/11

Gone from just behind here is the shore of the Muhheakantuk, which the Native Americans named 'the river which flows in two directions,' now known as the Hudson River.  Gone are the Dutch ships and farms on its bank.  Gone is the barge pier where George Washington left New York City for the last time in 1790, as the U.S. capitol moved south to Philadelphia, while the District of Columbia was constructed.  Gone are the old counting houses and warehouses, the Washington Fruit Market, dozens of steam ship piers, and the condemned Middle Eastern electronics repair businesses. Gone is the audacious World Trade Center, which survived a massive truck bombing in 1993, and was then destroyed on September 11, 2001, leaving behind Ground Zero.  Now it is the World Trade Center site.  In 2015 it will be the World Trade Center again. In our next post we will discuss the rebuild.

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08/Dec/2011
Washington Square, a historic Park of Greenwich Village

Before Washington Square was a park, it had many lives that may well have inspired the type of dark writing for which Poe and, ultimately, others would become famous.  The northwest corner was a hangman’s area and the total ground was a potter’s field at one point.  Like so many potter’s fields, the graves were somewhat shallow.  In 1826, the park went into the army and, the following year, so did Poe.  While the unemployed writer was trying to support himself with a military career, this park was used as a military parade ground.  But the ground from those old pauper’s graves was too soft to support the weight of the artillery and many cannons caved into the earth, ultimately rendering the place unsuitable for that purpose.  Today, the park is surrounded on all sides by the largest real estate holder in the neighborhood, NYU, where Poe used to lecture on literary criticism.

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08/Dec/2011
A History of The Infamous Time's Square

Good morning and welcome to Times Square.  Times Square used to be called “Longacre Square” named aftera plaza in London.  It was renamed “Times Square” in the first decade of the 20th century when the New York Times newspaper made a surprise move from newspaper row down by City Hall up to what was in those days the edge of the city.  This area had been made conveniently accessible by the brand new subway system.  As you can see, Times Square isn’t really a square at all; it’s a triangle.  But “Times Triangle” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.  It also looks a little like a bowtie because of the crossing formation of Broadway and 7th Avenue and, if you’ve heard this place referred to as “The Crossroads of the World”, you can now see how it got that moniker.

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08/Dec/2011
The Financial District put in Perspective

New York City Metropolitan GDP is a staggering 1.12 Trillion Dollars out of the United States 13.5 Trillion Dollar Economy.  To put this in perspective, New York City Metropolitan area ranks as the 12 largest economy in the world, just ahead of India, which has over 1 billion people.  Canada’s entire GDP is 1.4 Trillion Dollars.  Great Britain’s is 2.7 Trillion. New York City Metro area’s 22 million people are just over 6 percent of the U.S. population, but it contributes over 9 percent of the country’s 13.5 Trillion dollar Gross Domestic Product.  Los Angeles metro area, which is almost as large as New York in population terms, only contributes 6.3% of the nation’s economic output.  This is the most financially powerful, and wealth producing city on Earth.  The New York City area accounts for just over 1% of greenhouse emissions in the United States due to its fantastic public transportation system.  500,000 people arrive in the city at Grand Central Terminal every day.

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08/Dec/2011
Southstreet Seaport a History

Up towards today’s Broadway, when it was known as the Weekogwesik Hunting Trail for much longer than it’s been known as Broadway, diverse Native American Nations and Peoples came to trade, eat well, drink well, farm, and work out international affairs including Algonquin Lene Lenepe and Iroquois Mohawk. There was plenty of local seafood: eels, sturgeon, porcupine fish, tuna, trigger fish, cod, porgy, flounder, bass, butter fish, black fish, and more.  When the Dutch arrived, Mullet jumped around their ships.  Nowadays the Striped Bass is becoming edible again, due to partial PCB cleanup. 

Do not try harbor fish if you are pregnant or a child. The waterfront was encrusted with oysters until the 20th Century.  New York City was known as the Big Oyster before it was the Big Apple.  Oysters were sold by street vendors like hot dogs are today. Till next time historians.

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08/Dec/2011
The Highline a NYC Elevated Railway

The High Line is whatʼs left of the New York Centralʼs elevated railway that first went into action in 1934 as a part of the West Side Improvement Project (cf. Robert Moses et al) so as to relieve the streets below of the awful congestion and dangers that had given both 10th and 11th Avenues below 57th Street the nickname “Death Avenue.” Itʼs original configuration extended from the 34th Street Rail yard (which now is the terminus of the Long Island Railroad, and is contiguous with the entry of the Amtrak and NJ Transit trains into Penn Station) all the way down along tenth Avenue and Washington Street to the St. Johnʼs Park Freight Terminal at Spring Street.

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08/Dec/2011
The Story of Christian Dior

The store on 57th is a new store built 12 years ago. The store is focuses on beauty not only within the products but the visual displays. All of the garments, shoes, handbags, and accessories are hand made in Italy or Paris. Christian Dior became famous for creating the “New Look”, which was created post World War II. Women were fed-up with the uniforms and unadorned clothing of World War II so Dior created a collection of long skirts, tiny waists, slow-sloped easy shoulders and beautiful fabrics inspired by his mother’s wardrobe. John Galliano known as one of the most influential fashion designers of our time took over the line after Christian Dior passed away. The allocation today was established to be a romantic and very feminine look for those who emphasize on luxury instead of comfort. Galliano’s women’s ready-to-wear line for Spring 2010 consists of contemporary versions of French laced summer shorts and playsuits, baby dolls and tiny fragile flowered chiffon dresses. Ball gowns made of satin which were inspired by the costume institute at the metropolitan museum of art, from a recent collection of gowns prepared for the spring’s exhibition of “American Women”.  The Dior Men’s ready-to-wear line consists of Cascading overcoats, drop-crotch trousers and everything black. The collection is completely turning around from the close fitting cut to a loose cut.

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11/Dec/2011
A History of the West Village

The neighborhood is distinguished by streets that are "off the grid" — set at an angle to the other streets in Manhattan — sometimes confusing both tourists and city residents alike. These roads were laid out in an 18th century grid plan, approximately parallel or vertical to the Hudson, long before the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 which created the main street grid plan for later parts of the city. Even streets that were given numbers in the 19th century to make them nominally part of the grid can be idiosyncratic, at best. For example, West 4th Street, formerly Asylum Street, crosses West 10th, 11th and 12th Streets, ending at an intersection with West 13th Street.  Known as "Little Bohemia" starting in 1916, the West Village is the center of the bohemian lifestyle on the West Side.

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11/Dec/2011
A History of the East Village

The East Village was once considered part of the Lower East Side, but in the 1960s began to develop its own culture as the "East Village" when scores of artists and hippies began to move into the area, attracted by the base of Beatniks that had lived there since the 1950s. It has been the site of counterculture, protests and riots. The neighborhood is known as the birthplace and historical home of many artistic movements, including punk rock and the Nuyorican literary movement.  It is still known for a diverse community, vibrant nightlife and artistic sensibility, although in recent decades gentrification has changed the character of the neighborhood and of its residents.

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11/Dec/2011
Hell's Kitchen A History of Crime

Back in the 70’s and 80’s, this area was known to be seedy and unsafe for anyone who wasn’t pimping, hooking, or using.  Some sleazy remnants of unclean 42nd Street still exist in the form of strip joints and peep shows.  Hotel Carter, located on 43rd and 8th avenue can be categorized as the seediest, sleaziest, and most rotten hotels Times Square has to offer.  Murders, Prostitution rings, and corruption were daily events here back in the 1980’s.  It used to be a beautiful hotel with it’s own bus terminal in the 1920’s and 30’s, but the owners ran it into the ground after losing all assets during the Stock Market Crash.

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