For three intense years from 1971 to 1973, New York’s SoHo neighborhood had a restaurant at the corner of Wooster and Prince Street that was founded on the principles of communal work and artistic living. The restaurant was called FOOD and it was run by a group of artists who conceived it as a place to mingle, work, and cherish the concept of SoHo as an artists’ quarter. Ironically of course the artists who moved into SoHo changed the neighborhood in a way that later lured the more affluent in and eventually displaced the artists.
The idea for FOOD came at a dinner party hosted by artist Carol Goodden (the eventual sponsor and manager of FOOD) when it was suggested to her by fellow artist Gordon Matta-Clark. A short time after, she took over the lease for a little eatery at 127 Prince Street. Gooden, Matta-Clark, and three more founding members set to fix up the space.
A mock battle staged in the Parade Ground in Van Cortlandt Park held by the National Guard in 1902. Image source: Friends of Van Cortlandt Park and the George Stonebridge Family
On this day in history, December 12, 1888, New York City acquired rights to Van Cortlandt Park, now the city’s third largest park. The 1,146 acres of pristine landscape were characterized by dramatic ridges, sweeping hills and open meadows. Previously owned by the Van Cortlandt family since 1691, the history of landowners dates back to the early 1600′s when the Weckquaesgeek Natives Americans sold it to the Dutch West India Company.
Now, for the first time in over a century, a Master plan for Van Cortlandt Park headed by NYC Parks Principal Urban Designer, Charles McKinney is being designed with active community participation. Steeped in history, the park has been home to numerous historic events from the Stockbridge Massacre of 1778, to an ideal location where George Washington stayed on more than one occasion and where soldiers gathered for battle on the Parade Ground during the Revolutionary War.
If you have your civil marriage ceremony in New York City’s Marriage Bureau on 141 Worth Street, you have the opportunity to take your photo in front of a faux City Hall backdrop. The real City Hall is a short eight minute walk past Foley Square, the African Burial Ground and the Tweed Courthouse.
Angry bank depositors gather outside of the Bank o the United States on Delancey Street in the rain, 1930. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
On this day in history, December 11th, 1930, the Bank of the United States failed. At the time, it was the twenty-eighth largest commercial bank in the US but played a major role in the “narrative of the economic downswing of 1929-1933,” according to the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking. Although the bank, located at on 77 Delancey Street, had an official sounding name, the bank held no ties with the US government. Under the assumption that this was a national bank, many immigrants who lived nearby in the Lower East Side deposited their meager earnings in this bank. This bank didn’t have the safest of transactions, and the bankers weren’t very honest.