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Few conversations about New York City spark more heated debate than the redevelopment of Times Square. For some, it symbolized the end of New York City’s soul as we know it, the beginning of a corporate, stale, Disneyfied city. For others, it was a rebirth, a defiant reversal of a downward spiral that had unleashed crime and middle-class flight throughout the five boroughs. On February 11, 1981, when the 42nd Street Development Project announced its plan.

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

How would New York look if no one picked up the trash for nine days? New Yorker found the answer to that grisly question during a dramatic 1968 strike by the City’s sanitation workers.

The nastiest strike in City history wasn’t really supposed to happen. The Uniform Sanitationmen’s Association (“USA”) had been working for six months without a contract, which is pretty common these days–when Bloomberg left office in 2013, every single municipal union was working without a contract. USA Leader John DeLury threatened a strike, but content that his threat had leverage Mayor John Lindsay to the max, happily reported a $400 wage increase (about 5%), better pensions and double-pay for Sunday. Riled up and frustrated, workers rejected the deal, demanded a $600 raise, and struck on February 2. The strike was illegal under the Taylor Law (passed the previous year), and DeLury was sent to jail.

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New York City is buzzing about the NBA All-Star Game this weekend at Madison Square Garden. Yesterday, we looked at the history of the New York Renaissance team, aka the Harlem Rens, the most famous of the black fives. We also chose this Friday’s event at the Apollo Theater, the 10th Annual All-Star Gospel Celebration as one of our event picks of the week. Our Twitter followers sent us this Fun Map, a history of New York City Basketball released by the NBA. One of the most striking things this map tells you, without even looking at the detail, is the sheer number of NBA players that have come from New York City.

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Normally we don’t associate tugboats with disruption and chaos, but at a time when New York City’s shipping industry was king, the Tugboat Strike of 1946 threw the City into turmoil. The strike began February 4 and completely shut down the City by February 11.

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Harlem Rens Basketball TeamPhoto courtesy of BlackTopXChange

Happy Black Fives Day! On February 10, 2013, Mayor Bloomberg issued a proclamation celebrating the legendary black basketball teams that paved the way for today’s stars, even as they faced terrible segregation in their own time. Though black fives (so named for the number of players on the teams) abounded throughout the country, no team was better than the New York Renaissance, also known as the Harlem Rens.

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