What a breathtaking aerial view of Riverside Drive says about Manhattan in 1910
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
4d ago
Riverside Drive was just 30 years old when this stunning birds-eye panorama of the Drive between about 110th and 123rd Street was taken, according to the Kermit Project, which posted the photo (via Shorpy.com) and some information about it. Though it’s more than a century old, click into the photo to magnify the view—you’ll see that the landmarks of the Riverside Drive of today are already in place. The dome and columns of Grant’s Tomb stand to the north, some elegant prewar apartment towers loom over low-rise dwelling houses (almost all of which will disappear in the ensuing decades), and th ..read more
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The story of New York’s oldest Titanic memorial, unveiled exactly one year after the disaster
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
4d ago
The R.M.S. Titanic went to its watery grave in the Atlantic Ocean on the morning of April 15, 1912. Few cities felt the tragedy as deeply as New York City. At the end of its maiden voyage, the luxurious ship was set to dock at the White Star Line’s Pier 59, near today’s Chelsea Piers. Instead, 706 dazed survivors picked up by the R.M.S. Carpathia disembarked a few blocks away at Pier 54—greeted by a crowd of thousands desperate for news about the iceberg that sank the ship and the whereabouts of family members. St. Vincent’s Hospital tended to survivors; Lower Manhattan hotels put them up as ..read more
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Why this subway grate off East 52nd Street is the most famous grate in New York City
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
1w ago
Some pedestrians try to avoid walking over subway grates, others march across these sidewalk ventilation openings without care. However you handle them, subway grates are a fact of life in New York City, and underground mass transit couldn’t exist without them. Metal, utilitarian, and usually filthy, they aren’t especially noteworthy. But one particular subway grate on the East Side is perhaps the most famous grate in Gotham. This subway grate is on Lexington Avenue near 52nd Street. What makes it so celebrated? This is the grate a flirtatious Marilyn Monroe stood above during the filming of ..read more
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The eclectic Riverside Drive houses inspired by Elizabethan England
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
2w ago
Is that the crenellated crown of a faux Medieval castle looming five stories above Riverside Drive and 83rd Street—flanked by European-inspired row houses with dormer windows and tiled roofs? The separate dwellings that compose this delightful design mashup are quite a sight among the Drive’s mostly uniform prewar apartment houses. Who built these eclectic residences and what inspired him is worth delving into. Let’s go back to the New York City of the 1890s. Upscale residences were going up in the part of the city known as the West End, especially on West End Avenue and Riverside Drive. But ..read more
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A spooky remnant of the Third Avenue El still stands on East 99th Street
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
2w ago
Officially, the era of the elevated train in Manhattan ended in 1955. (Not subways that go above ground at certain points but actual elevated train lines.) That’s when miles of track and trestles were removed from the borough’s Third Avenue El, the last of the mighty above-ground railroads that roared up and down four major avenues starting in the late 1860s and helped reshape Gotham northward. But even though the infrastructure of the elevated trains has vanished from the streetscape—along with the grime they attracted and the ear-splitting noise they produced—some remains of their existence ..read more
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A dynamic scene at a rooftop theater reveals changes in Gilded Age society
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
3w ago
Going to the theater has always been a beloved New York City pastime. But theater became even more thrilling with the advent of open-air rooftop gardens—which hit the scene in the late 1880s with the opening of the rooftop theater at the Casino on Broadway and 39th Street. It wasn’t just the cool breezes that appealed to New Yorkers. “Only at the turn of the century did amusements of this sort become acceptable places for respectable women,” explains the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has this painting, by William Glackens, in its collection. “Hammerstein’s Roof Garden,” from 1901, dep ..read more
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An elegy for a surreal East Village dive bar that welcomed those in the shadows
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
3w ago
There’s something about legendary East Village bars that leave New Yorkers mourning them even decades after they close their doors. The tenth anniversary of the shuttering of Mars Bar in 2011, the gritty dive on Second Avenue and East First Street, merited tribute posts recalling its eclectic mix of regulars. Brownie’s, on Avenue A, pulled the plug in 2002, but Gen X fans are still reminiscing about the bands they saw there. So it seems unusual that one old-school East Village haunt has no Facebook fan group posting photos and videos, no articles bemoaning the reasons behind its closure. That ..read more
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A 1950s congressman’s faded re-election ad still remains on a Bronx tenement
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
3w ago
It’s been more than 70 years since Paul A. Fino began serving as a U.S. Congressional rep for the Bronx, where he was born and raised. Fino, a leader in the Bronx’s Republican party, won a seat in the 83rd Congress in 1952, then was reelected for seven more terms—resigning in 1968 to become a judge on the New York State Supreme Court. He sounds like the kind of colorful, promotional politician who understood his constituents in the borough’s 25th District. In postwar New York City, that district—from Riverdale to Woodlawn to Parkchester to Throgs Neck—was primarily Italian, Irish, German, and ..read more
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The “great white hurricane” that changed life in New York City
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
1M ago
Teetering telephone poles, trains navigating (or stuck on) snowy tracks, a lone figure on the walkway of an empty bridge—this spooky image of the Brooklyn Bridge in the aftermath of the Blizzard of 1888 is a captivating reminder of how a freak March snowstorm killed more than 200 New Yorkers and brought the city to its knees. The “great white hurricane,” as it was called, began on March 11. The day before was balmy with a forecast of rain; by midnight temperatures plunged to the single digits. Wind gusts of 85 miles per hour gripped the city, and heavy snowfall (22 inches total) created white ..read more
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What remains of an 1880s apartment house holding out on West 58th Street
Ephemeral New York
by ephemeralnewyork
1M ago
It’s on the eastern end of a small row of 19th century holdout buildings—three survivors huddled together amid a stretch of boxy hotels and office towers near Billionaire’s Row. On its left is a French Renaissance-style carriage house commissioned by the oldest daughter of unscrupulous Gilded Age financier Jay Gould. On the other side of the carriage house is a Beaux-Arts firehouse, built around 1905 for one of the city’s oldest engine companies. Next to its stunning neighbors, 211 West 58th Street doesn’t seem so impressive: a five-story red brick walkup with commercial space on the ground f ..read more
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