Books About New York

Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (The History of NYC Series), Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace The Island at the Center of the World, Russell Shorto Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, Michelle Nevius, James Nevius Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New…

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Christmas tree is indisputably one of the world’s most recognizable sites. Its lighting ceremony in early December marks the beginning of New York’s holiday season and its sparkling presence throughout the holidays makes the city magical. In 1931, construction workers building the Rockefeller Center pooled together some money for a Christmas tree. It…

Charging Bull – One Giant Christmas Present

The Charging Bull, representing a rising market, is one of the most easily recognizable symbols of Wall Street. The Charging Bull was created by sculptor Arturo Di Modica in his Soho studio on Crosby Street. Conceived by the sculptor as an antidote for the sour mood caused by the 1987 stock market crash known as…

Audrey Munson in New York

“POMONA” of the Pulitzer Fountain   Location: Grand Army Plaza, 5th Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets Sculptor: Karl Bitter/Isidore Konti Built: 1916 The exquisite female figure atop the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel is an allegorical depiction of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. Symbolizing bounty, she holds a basket of fruit as the…

Victory Arch – the Last Temporary Triumphal Arch in Madison Square

The Victory Arch was located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway between 24th and 25th streets and stood there from 1918 to 1920. Even though World War I did not officially end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, the combat had stopped on November 11, 1918, when the…

Dewey Arch – a Temporary Triumph in Madison Square

The Dewey Arch was a triumphal arch that stood from 1899 to 1900 on the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue at 24th Street. The Arch was erected to celebrate Commodore George Dewey’s stunning naval victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898. This particular military achievement was of great importance…

The Waldorf-Astoria: hyphenated hotel and a family scandal

Most family scandals don’t result in hotel construction. However, the famed Waldorf-Astoria owes its existence to the Astor family quarrel. The Astor fortune was divided between two branches of the Astor family headed by the two grandsons of the dynasty founder – John Jacob Astor III and William Backhouse Astor, Jr. Each of them had…

The Knickerbocker – a Hotel and a Dry Martini

There are West Coast and East Coast versions of the origins of the martini cocktail. The West Coast stories usually feature a rough character challenging a bartender to mix him a drink before venturing into the town of Martinez to search for gold, or an even rougher personage returning from Martinez with a fortune and…

Owls in Manhattan

James Gordon Bennett Jr. was obsessed. His obsession was quite unusual – it was owls. Some of them, with flickering eyes, can be seen on Herald Square, guarding James Gordon Bennett Monument. Herald Square takes its name from the New York Herald, a newspaper founded by James Gordon Bennett Sr and inherited by Gordon Bennett…

Edwin Booth, the Hamlet of New York

In the center of Gramercy Park, there is a statue. It depicts an actor in the role of Hamlet, forever contemplating “To Be or Not To Be”. This actor is Edwin Booth. One of the great American Shakespearean actors of the 19th century, he was particularly famous for his signature role of Hamlet. In 1864…

Umberto’s Clam House

Come here for clams or scallops, and don’t mention what happened here in 1972… Location: 132 Mulberry Street, between Grand and Hester Streets in Little Italy Umberto Ianniello, the original owner, recognizing the dearth of Italian seafood restaurants in Little Italy, decided to open his own establishment. The restaurant, with its unpretentious atmosphere and flavorful…

Jefferson Market Library

The striking High Victorian Gothic building doesn’t just look beautiful… it’s certifiably beautiful. In 1885 Jefferson Market was voted as one of the 10 most beautiful buildings in the United States by a national poll of architects! Location: 425 6th Ave Built: 1873-77 Architects: Frederick Clarke Withers and Calvert Vaux Originally known as the Jefferson Market Courthouse,…