How the Metropolitan Museum was Born

On July 4, 1866, while celebrating America’s Independence Day in Paris, a group of American businessmen, financiers, artists, and thinkers of the day decided that New York City needed its own art museum. Thus, the idea of the Metropolitan Museum of Art was born. After four years of discussions in which American civic leaders, art…

Statue of Liberty Pedestal and the Invention of Fundraising

Nobody had attempted building a colossus since the Colossus of Rhodes, the towering wonder of the ancient world — until the Statue of Liberty. Constructing such an edifice presented not only titanic technical obstacles but also a formidable financial challenge. Raising funds for building the modern-day colossus — Lady Liberty — is the story of…

Statue of Liberty – an American Colossus

The iconic statue was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France. Location: Liberty Island (Bedloe Island) Built: 1884 Dedicated: 1886 Sculptor: Frederic Auguste Bartholdi Engineer: Gustave Eiffel Pedestal: Richard Morris Hunt Lady Liberty was christened “Liberty Enlightening the World” and gifted to the people of the United States…

Diego Rivera’s Rockefeller Center Mural

Diego Rivera, a prominent Mexican painter and giant of 20th century art, was commissioned by the Rockefellers to create a monumental fresco for the lobby of the newly-built RCA building, the largest structure of Rockefeller Center. The mural was to be titled, laconically, “Man at the Crossroads Looking with Hope and High Vision to the…

Lunch atop a Skyscraper – a photo with a story

The iconic photo depicting 11 workers casually eating their lunch 840 feet above ground was staged as a promotion for the newly constructed Rockefeller Center. The photo is mesmerizing, as it plays on the contrast between the ease in the men’s demeanors and the danger of sitting on a narrow beam 69 floors in the…

The Woolworth Building – “Cathedral of Commerce”

Location: Broadway b/t. Barclay St and Park Pl Built: 1913 Architect: Cass Gilbert Height: 792 feet Stories: 57 The Woolworth Building became the tallest in the world in 1913 and kept that distinction for the next 17 years. In 2013, 100 years after its construction, it still stood remarkably as one of the twenty tallest…

Frank Sinatra: from Hoboken to Eternity

1915 Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, at 415 Monroe Street in Hoboken, NJ. He was the only child of Italian immigrants Natalina “Dolly” Garaventa and Antonino Martino “Marty” Sinatra. Sinatra weighed 13.5 pounds at the time of his birth and had to be delivered with the aid of forceps, which severely scarred his left cheek, neck, and ear…

A Family Quarrel, Steamboats, and US Patent Law

If all family disagreements resulted in innovation and progress, then, well… the world would be a far better place! A particular quarrel between Colonel John Stevens and Robert Livingston led directly to the establishment of steamboat operations on the Hudson River as well as the creation of US patent law. Colonel Stevens, the founder of…

New York Yacht Club, Born in Hoboken

Despite its name, the New York Yacht Club, one of the world’s most exclusive private clubs, was not formed in New York. The club was established and originally located across the Hudson River – in Hoboken. The idea was born during an outing on John Cox Steven’s yacht Gimcrack. While on the boat, a group of…