New York's Crystal PalaceNew York’s Crystal Palace site of America’s first “World’s Fair” 1853. The structure would be lost a fire in 1858. Image via Wikipedia Commons.  

On July 14, 1853 America’s first “World’s Fair” opened in New York City. Called the Exhibition of the Industry of All the Nations, it was similar to the Great Exhibition in London two years prior and designed to thrust a young America onto the world stage.

The expo grounds were located on present day Bryant Park, which was then known as Reservoir Square behind Croton Reservoir (today the New York Public Library). On the premises were two impressive structures for which the exhibition will forever be remembered: New York’s Crystal Palace and the Latting Observatory. Some of the countries in attendance included Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, and Haiti (or Hayti as New Yorkers spelt in 1853).


Queensboro-Bridge, Ed-Koch-Queensboro-Bridge, Queens, Manhattan, Secrets, New-York-City, New-York
Photo via Flickr Commons/Jay Reed.

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, which connects Queens to Manhattan, rarely gets the attention that it merits. Many New Yorkers drive or bike across the bridge on a daily basis and it is also a popular running spot because it provides magnificent views of the East RiverRoosevelt Island and Manhattan from high above.

Designed by engineer Gustav Lindenthal and architect Henry Hornbostel, it is the “longest of the East River Bridges, with an overall length of 7,449 feet,” according to the New York City Department of Transportation. The construction of the Queensboro Bridge began in 1901, and the bridge officially opened on June 18, 1909. To better appreciate its history and significance, here are our top ten secrets of New York City’s Queensboro Bridge.


African Burial Ground
An aerial view of the African Burial Ground National Monument. Photo via the MAAP

As New York City grew and developed in its earliest years, several cemeteries became iconic public grounds. In many cases, the removal of burial sites that contained the bodies of African Americans erased the unpleasant and violent history of a city built on slave labor. In the past twenty years, at least three New York City sites were discovered to have been African burial grounds where slaves were exclusively buried.



We may never know the truth about what happened to Sunnyside’s Paradise Cafe Billiards, but we do know for sure that no one has broke a rack of pool balls in just shy of three years. It’s a story of intrigue, lies and betrayalwhile property speculators laughed their way to the bank, many members of the community couldn’t help but feel like they just scratched the 8 ball.


Abandoned and Retired Boats-Intrepid Museum-NYCPhoto via Wikimedia Commons/Rajkiran Pericherla

In the days before the modern day MTA, fire department and major roadways, boats and ships served a number of purposes in New York City history. Some boats were simply a means of transportation between boroughs and neighboring states, while others protected New York’s harbors during war. Here is a list of the top ten abandoned and retired boats in New York City (and one in New Jersey!)



New York City is known for its skyscrapers and industrial landscape. But it’s also the prime location to see the naturally occurring phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge. Twice a year, in June and July, the sun lines up perfectly with Manhattan’s East-West numbered streets and creates a cinematic spectacle. On Tuesday, July 12, the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium is hosting a special one-night event to explain the history and astronomy behind Manhattanhenge. Before gathering on the city streets, join astrophysicist Jackie Faherty at 7 pm for a special presentation, followed by a group viewing on 79th Street.