New York City traces its origins to a trading post founded on the southern tip of Manhattan Island by Dutch colonists in approximately 1624. The settlement was named New Amsterdam (Dutch: Nieuw Amsterdam) in 1626 and was chartered as a city in 1653. The city came under English control in 1664 and was renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York. The city was regained by the Dutch in July 1673 and was renamed New Orange for one year and three months; the city has been continuously named New York since November 1674. New York City was the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790, and has been the largest U.S. city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the U.S. by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and is a symbol of the U.S. and its ideals of liberty and peace. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity, entrepreneurship, and environmental sustainability, and as a symbol of freedom and cultural diversity. In 2019, New York was voted the greatest city in the world per a survey of over 30,000 people from 48 cities worldwide, citing its cultural diversity. (Full article...)
In his career as a detective between 1923 and 1947, Broderick built a reputation for physical courage, for assaulting gangsters like Jack "Legs" Diamond and "Two-Gun" Crowley, and for facing down armed gunmen in a prison break at The Tombs prison.
Broderick was a "celebrity detective" whose exploits were a favorite of gossip columnists and the press. He and his sometime partner Johnny Cordes were probably the best known officers in the NYPD in the era between the two world wars. A character based on Broderick was the subject of the 1936 film Bullets or Ballots, with the Broderick character played by Edward G. Robinson. He was also portrayed in a comic book about police, and a film, TV series, and Broadway musical based on his life were once contemplated. (Full article...)
Morningside Heights, located on a high plateau between Morningside and Riverside Parks, was hard to access until the late 19th century, and was sparsely developed except for the Bloomingdale and Leake and Watts asylums. Morningside Heights, along with the Upper West Side, was considered part of the Bloomingdale District until Morningside Park was finished in the late 19th century. Large-scale development started in the 1890s with the construction of academic and cultural institutions. By the 1900s, the construction of public transportation and the neighborhood's first subway line led to Morningside Heights being developed into a residential neighborhood. Morningside Heights was mostly developed by the 1930s. During the mid-20th century, as the institutions within Morningside Heights expanded, cultural tensions grew between the two groups. After a period of decline, the neighborhood started to gentrify in the 1980s and 1990s.
James Heath-Clark (born August 13, 1985), known professionally as Honey Davenport, is an American drag performer, singer, songwriter, actor and activist. Davenport was a longtime fixture of the New York City nightlife scene and came to international attention as a contestant on season 11 of RuPaul's Drag Race. Born in West Philadelphia, Heath-Clark attended college for musical theatre in New York, where he began his career as a backup dancer for Peppermint. He later established his own dance group, The Hunties. After taking up drag, Davenport became active in the pageant circuit of that community, winning 18 titles between 2013 and 2018. In 2013, she and her band, Electrohoney, released an eponymous album and starred in a live rock opera called The Electric Highway. She also performed in two off-Broadway shows, The Orion Experience (2013) and Trinkets (2017–2018). In the latter, she played the leading role.
While her season of Drag Race aired in 2019, Davenport released singles and music videos off of her debut EP, Raw and Unfiltered. Since then, she has launched a solo musical career; embarked on domestic and international tours; and appeared as both a host and a guest on web series about drag, culture and current events. In the second half of 2019, she starred in two off-off-Broadway shows: Raw and Unfiltered, a live adaptation of her EP, and Stocking Stuffer: A Christmas Show with Balls, a holiday-themed performance. In early 2020, she and Aja released "Draw the Blood", a song whose accompanying music video marked her first directorial credit. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Davenport has produced songs, music videos and web content, sometimes in remote collaboration with other artists. She is set to co-star in an upcoming feature-length film called God Save the Queens, and she is in the process of recording her second studio album.
Davenport centers most of her art on social justice themes. She was motivated to take up political activism for a number of reasons: losing family and friends to gun violence as a child, being the victim of police brutality as a young adult, and experiencing incidents of racism throughout life. She has also been vocal about transgender rights, especially within the drag community. In October 2018, Davenport attracted national media attention for quitting her longtime job as a show host at The Monster, a Manhattangay bar, in protest of racism she encountered there. (Full article...)
The Socony–Mobil Building contains a three-story base with a primary entrance on 42nd Street, a secondary entrance on Lexington Avenue, and a basement that is visible along Third Avenue. Above the base is a 42-story tower that brings the structure to its maximum height; this is flanked to the west and east by wings that rise to the 13th story. The stories above the base are completely clad with stainless steel, comprising 7,000 panels. The structure was designed in two sections. The consultant John B. Peterkin designed the original plans to comply with the 1916 Zoning Resolution, while architects Harrison & Abramovitz became involved in 1952 and redesigned the structure in the International and Moderne styles.
The Socony–Mobil Building was constructed between 1954 and 1956 as a speculative development by Peter B. Ruffin, who acquired a long-term lease from the site's owners, the Goelet family. Ruffin persuaded several tenants to move into 150 East 42nd Street, including the Socony–Mobil oil company, which occupied half the building upon its completion. The Socony–Mobil Building was renamed the Mobil Building in 1966 and was sold to Hiro Real Estate Company in 1987. After a series of renovations in the 1990s, it was sold to real estate investor David Werner in 2014. The building was designated a New York City landmark in 2003. (Full article...)
Claudius Charles Philippe, also known as Philippe of the Waldorf or The Host of the Waldorf, (10 December 1910—24 December 1978) was a British-born French-American restaurateur, catering director, hotelier and businessman, who was the hotel banquet manager of the prestigious Waldorf Astoria New York hotel in the 1940s and 1950s. From 1961 until 1963 he worked as executive vice president of Loews Hotels, and was responsible for the planning and building of six new New York hotels.
Philippe is best remembered for founding the April in Paris Ball at the Waldorf Astoria in 1951, which he ran with Elsa Maxwell until his sacking from the hotel in 1959. The balls were major events in the US socialite calendar, and raised millions of dollars for American and French charities over the 28 years of its existence. His Lucullus Circle dinners also attracted some of the wealthiest businessmen of the day to feast on six to eight course meals. During his career at the Waldorf Astoria it has been estimated that Philippe was responsible for his clients spending $150 million alone on banquets, which led him to be referred to as "one of the truly great men this industry has ever produced" by George Lang.
The suave Philippe led a colorful life, with many lovers including Grace Kelly and Barbara Walters, and three wives. He was investigated for tax evasion in 1958 and admitted guilt one count, for which he was fined the maximum $10,000. He had numerous other business interests and investments, and was responsible for building at least three restaurants, a casino, a theater, and an eighteen-hole golf course in Guadeloupe in the 1960s. (Full article...)
Seen in 2007
550 Madison Avenue (formerly known as the Sony Tower, Sony Plaza, and AT&T Building) is a postmodern skyscraper at Madison Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee with associate architect Simmons Architects, the building was completed in 1984 as the headquarters of AT&T and later became the American headquarters of Sony. The building consists of a 647-foot-tall (197-meter), 37-story office tower with a facade made of pink granite. It originally had a four-story granite annex to the west, which was demolished and replaced with a shorter annex in 2020.
At the base of the building is a large entrance arch facing east toward Madison Avenue, flanked by arcades with smaller flat arches. A pedestrian atrium, connecting 55th and 56th Streets midblock, was also included in the design, which enabled the building to rise higher without the use of setbacks. The ground-level lobby is surrounded by retail shops, which were originally an open arcade. The office stories are accessed from a sky lobby above the base. Atop the building is a broken pediment with a circular opening. The building has received much attention ever since its design was first announced in March 1978.
The AT&T Building at 550 Madison Avenue was intended to replace 195 Broadway, the company's previous headquarters in Lower Manhattan. Following the breakup of the Bell System in 1982, near the building's completion, AT&T spun off its subsidiary companies. As a result, AT&T never occupied the entire building as it had originally intended. Sony leased the building in 1991, substantially renovated the base and interior, and acquired the structure from AT&T in 2002. Sony sold the building to the Chetrit Group in 2013 and leased back its offices there for three years. In 2016, the Olayan Group and Chelsfield purchased 550 Madison Avenue with plans to renovate it. 550 Madison Avenue was designated a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2018. (Full article...)
Capone was born in New York City in 1899 to Italian immigrant parents. He joined the Five Points Gang as a teenager and became a bouncer in organized crime premises such as brothels. In his early twenties, he moved to Chicago and became a bodyguard and trusted factotum for Johnny Torrio, head of a criminal syndicate that illegally supplied alcohol—the forerunner of the Outfit—and was politically protected through the Unione Siciliana. A conflict with the North Side Gang was instrumental in Capone's rise and fall. Torrio went into retirement after North Side gunmen almost killed him, handing control to Capone. Capone expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means, but his mutually profitable relationships with mayor William Hale Thompson and the city's police meant he seemed safe from law enforcement.
Capone apparently reveled in attention, such as the cheers from spectators when he appeared at ball games. He made donations to various charities and was viewed by many as a "modern-day Robin Hood". However, the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, in which seven gang rivals were murdered in broad daylight, damaged the public image of Chicago and Capone, leading influential citizens to demand government action and newspapers to dub Capone "Public Enemy No.1". (Full article...)
Seedman established himself as a detective during the 1960s. As the detective commander for Brooklyn, he oversaw an investigation of a shooting death, in which over 2,000 people were interviewed, that he soon realized was actually a freak accident (and found the shooter by starting from a randomly chosen location). He investigated many prominent crimes during that era, including the Borough Park Tobacco robbery and the Kitty Genovese murder. As the chief of detectives he reformed that branch by assigning detectives to specialize in certain crimes rather than just investigating whatever cases came their way when they were on shift. His tenure as chief of detectives of the city was short but memorable, marked by the Knapp Commission's corruption investigations which briefly cost him his job, several mob hits, and terror attacks carried out by the Black Liberation Army (BLA). When his superior officers hindered his investigation into the murder of an officer at a Harlem mosque out of fear of racial unrest, Seedman resigned his position and retired from the force, although he did not say that had been the reason for another 40 years.
Frequently and accurately described as "cigar-chomping" and "tough-talking", with a personal style likened by a colleague to a Jewish gangster, he was one of the city's most visible police personnel during the 1960s and early 1970s. Newspapers often included a quote from Chief Seedman; he was frequently on evening television news as well. He was always willing to speak to reporters even if he could not tell them much. After his retirement he wrote Chief!, a memoir of his time on the force and the high-profile cases he had been involved in, and appeared as a detective in the 1975 film Report to the Commissioner with Hector Elizondo and Tony King. (Full article...)
Eisenberg has contributed pieces to The New Yorker and McSweeney's websites. He has written and starred in three plays for the New York stage: Asuncion, The Revisionist, and The Spoils. His first book, Bream Gives Me Hiccups: and Other Stories, a short story collection, was released in September 2015. (Full article...)
Gates circa 1900
John Warne Gates (May 18, 1855 – August 9, 1911), also known as "Bet-a-Million" Gates, was an American Gilded Age industrialist and gambler. He was a pioneer promoter of barbed wire. He was born and raised in what is now West Chicago, Illinois. He did not enjoy farm life and began offering neighbors various business propositions at an early age, including the sale of firewood to homes and to the local railroad. When he started a local grain brokerage that failed, Gates began spending time at the local railroad station and became reacquainted with the men he previously sold firewood to. He was invited to join their poker games and through this, Gates' aptitude for cards and other games of chance was developed.
After studying penmanship, bookkeeping and business law in North Central College (by then Northwestern College), he failed as an owner of a local hardware store. Gates became interested in barbed wire and became a salesman for the Washburn-Moen Company. When he was assigned to the Texas sales territory, he learned that ranchers were adamant about not buying his product. Gates staged a demonstration of the wire in San Antonio's Military Plaza with charging cattle failing to break the barbed wire fences he had set up. He then proved very successful in selling the company's product, and went on to start his own barbed wire manufacturing business, which eventually led to the production of steel. In the process, his company was purchased by J. P. Morgan's U. S. Steel. Gates was not invited to become part of the company, and he fought back at Morgan for many years through a series of business acquisitions and sales; both men were key figures in the Panic of 1907.
Gates was the president of Republic Steel and of the Texas Company, later known as Texaco. He was instrumental in changing the steel industry's production methods from the Bessemer process to the open hearth process and in building the city of Port Arthur, Texas. (Full article...)
A railroad link to JFK Airport was first recommended in 1968. Various plans surfaced to build a JFK Airport rail connection until the 1990s, though these were not carried out because of a lack of funding. The JFK Express subway service and shuttle buses provided an unpopular transport system to and around JFK. In-depth planning for a dedicated transport system at JFK began in 1990, but was ultimately cut back from a direct rail link to an intra-borough people mover. Construction of the current people-mover system began in 1998. During construction, AirTrain JFK was the subject of several lawsuits, and an operator died during one of the system's test runs. The system opened on December 17, 2003, after many delays. Since then, several improvements have been proposed for AirTrain JFK, including an extension to Manhattan.
All passengers entering or exiting at either Jamaica or Howard Beach must pay a $7.75 fare, while passengers traveling within the airport can ride for free. The system was originally projected to carry 4 million annual paying passengers and 8.4 million annual inter-terminal passengers every year. The AirTrain has consistently exceeded these projections since opening. In 2019, the system had over 8.7 million paying passengers and 12.2 million inter-terminal passengers. (Full article...)
Massino was a protégé of Philip Rastelli, who took control of the Bonanno family in 1973. Rastelli spent most of his reign in and out of prison, but was able to get the assassination of Carmine Galante, a mobster vying for power, approved in 1979. Originally a truck hijacker, Massino secured his own power after arranging two 1981 gang murders, first a triple murder of three rebel captains, then his rival Dominick Napolitano. In 1991, while Massino was in prison for a 1986 labor racketeering conviction, Rastelli died and Massino succeeded him. Upon his release the following year, he set about rebuilding a family that had been in turmoil for almost a quarter of a century. By the dawn of the new millennium, he was reckoned as the most powerful Mafia leader in the nation. Massino became known as "The Last Don", the only full-fledged New York boss of his time who was not in prison.
In July 2004, Massino was convicted in a RICO case based on the testimony of several cooperating made men, including Massino's disgruntled underboss and brother-in-law Salvatore Vitale. He was also facing the death penalty if convicted in a separate murder trial due to be held later that year, but after agreeing to testify against his former associates, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for both indictments in 2005. Massino testified twice for the government, helping to win a murder conviction against his acting boss Vincent Basciano in 2011, and was resentenced to time served in 2013, though he will be on supervised release for the rest of his life. (Full article...)
Stallman launched the GNU Project in September 1983 to write a Unix-like computer operating system composed entirely of free software. With this, he also launched the free software movement. He has been the GNU project's lead architect and organizer, and developed a number of pieces of widely used GNU software including, among others, the GNU Compiler Collection, GNU Debugger, and GNU Emacs text editor. In October 1985 he founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF). (Full article...)
The Bronx is divided by the Bronx River into a hillier section in the west, and a flatter eastern section. East and west street names are divided by Jerome Avenue. The West Bronx was annexed to New York City in 1874, and the areas east of the Bronx River in 1895. Bronx County was separated from New York County in 1914. About a quarter of the Bronx's area is open space, including Woodlawn Cemetery, Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo in the borough's north and center. The Thain Family Forest at the New York Botanical Garden is thousands of years old; it is New York City's largest remaining tract of the original forest that once covered the area of the city. These open spaces are situated primarily on land deliberately reserved in the late 19th century as urban development progressed north and east from Manhattan. (Full article...)
A home to Lenape natives, the island was settled by Dutch colonists in the 17th century. It was one of the 12 original counties of New York state. Staten Island was consolidated with New York City in 1898. It was formally known as the Borough of Richmond until 1975, when its name was changed to Borough of Staten Island. Staten Island has sometimes been called "the forgotten borough" by inhabitants who feel neglected by the city government. (Full article...)
Image 3Police officers of New York Police Department (NYPD) (from New York City)
Image 4The current 5 boroughs of Greater New York as they appeared in 1814. Bronx was in Westchester County, Queens County included modern Nassau County, Kings County had 6 towns, one of which was Brooklyn, and New York City is shown by hatching in lower Manhattan. (from New York City)
Image 5The fast-paced streets of New York City (from New York City)
Image 6As of 2012, the city had about 6,000 hybrid taxis (shown) in service, the largest number of any city in North America. (from New York City)
Image 7A map of racial distribution in New York, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow). (from New York City)
Image 42Times Square is the hub of the Broadway theaterdistrict and a media center. It also has one of the highest annual attendance rates of any tourist attraction in the world, estimated at 50 million.