Ellis Island. Image via Save Ellis Island.

From its start, New York City has been mired in territorial disputes. The Native Americans, the Dutch, the British, New Jerseyans, and even New Yorkers have all fought against one another, and themselves, for control of the land that comprises New York City. In some ways, border disputes are still on-going today, with less bloodshed, over the naming and boundaries of neighborhoods. Going back in time, here are eight territorial disputes that have affected New York City, waged between countries, states, cities, boroughs, and more.


Russos-East Village-NYC-Untapped Cities Tours
On Sunday August 21st at 12pm, join James and Karla Murray, authors and photographers of the critically acclaimed books, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New YorkNew York Nights and Store Front II-A History Preserved on this walking and tasting tour of some of their favorite East Village food establishments. Discover the food, history and diverse culture of the East Village while tasting delicious specialties from at least 6 different tasting stops.

Many family-run businesses started out as traditional mom-and-pop stores passed down from generation to generation, and defined their neighborhoods. Not only are these modest small businesses falling away in the face of modernization, gentrification, and conformity, the once unique appearance and character of New York City’s colorful streets suffers in the process.

On this tour you will learn about the diverse German, Italian, Jewish and Ukranian history of the East Village and try some fresh homemade Italian mozzarella, drink an authentic New York City egg cream or have a freshly roasted cup of coffee, taste a hot Ukranian potato pierogi with toppings, sample a freshly baked Jewish sugar cookie, enjoy an authentic New York hot dog and tropical drink and taste a freshly baked Italian cannoli.

Enough food will be sampled so that for most people lunch afterwards is not needed.

Below are a few more photos from James and Karla Murray of places we will discover on this tour:


Harlem Heat Project-Heat Sensors-NYCPhoto via Flickr/John Keefe/WNYC

New York City summers can be brutal, and for some, the extreme heat in certain neighborhoods poses health risks and even death. Harlem is a neighborhood that attracts a great amount of heat due to the high concentration of brick, concrete and asphalt, which trap heat during the day and keep temperatures high at night. The WNYC data team along with the AdaptNY news team and the ISeeChange weather journal have launched new initiative called the Harlem Heat Project, which will measure and record the heat and humidity levels inside un-airconditioned homes from July to September using 60 sensors built by WNYC. (more…)

Peter Peg Leg
Painting of Peter Stuyvesant, New Amsterdam’s fourth and most notorious Director General. Image via All-Len-All. 

On July 25, 1647, New York City’s first zoning law was put into place. The law came from the iron fist (or wooden peg) of Director General Peter Stuyvesant himself. It was one of the first in a series of decrees meant to transform New Amsterdam from the unruly backwater it had become to a full-fledged city. (Coincidentally, Sunday was also the 100th Anniversary of NYC’s Zoning Resolution of 1916, and the Center for Architecture released a website in celebration, Zoning @ 100).


Everyday, billions of gallons of water are used in New York City for showers, filling up toilet bowls and consumption – and one government agency ensures that the entire system stays intact. The Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for maintaining New York City’s water supply, as well as the city’s air quality and excessive noise caused by everyday occurrences.

Here are 10 Secrets of the Department of Environmental Protection and New York City’s water supply.


Bloomingdale's TIme Capsules-Cornerstone-Babe Ruth Baseball-003

The pleasant but befuddled young media handler interrupted my story: “Bloomingdale’s has a time capsule?” Well actually, there were two time capsules, I told her, placed in the cornerstones on Lexington Avenue, by Fifty-ninth Street, back when the economy was careering off the rails during early Great Depression days. Did they have forgotten documents related to the event?

“To be honest most of our early archives are not yet digitalized, so I don’t know who to even ask, I need to get back to you on this…”

It’s not that Bloomingdale’s staff never knew their Art Deco-era flagship store housed time capsules. Starting at 4 p.m. on April 23, 1930, a number of bigwigs spoke before several hundred businessmen and city officers. But as Jim Morrison said, “The future is uncertain but the end is always near.” It is very likely that everyone who witnessed the event is dead, and their collective memories are buried with them.