nypl.digitalcollections.5e66b3e8-ad8f-d471-e040-e00a180654d7.001.wNew York World’s Fair Corporation President Grover Whalen and administrators examining Westinghouse Time Capsule I

On September 23, 1939, an 800-pound tube made of an alloy of copper and chromium called Cupaloy was lowered 50 feet into the ground at the site of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company exhibit of the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. The tube’s contents comprised 35 items one might find in any run-of-the-mill Smith family household, including copies of Life magazine, a Sears Roebuck catalog, cigarettes and seeds of wheat, corn, alfalfa and soy, each examined and preserved in inert argon and nitrogen gas to remain intact for the next five thousand years–until the year 6939 to be exact.

The device was an engineering feat, a “time capsule” as notable New York public relations counselor George Edward Pendray called it for the very first time in 1939.


Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan Museum-Williamsburg-Brooklyn-NYC

From the opening of the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Museum, to the return of Tribeca Film Festival, and events surrounding the 50 Year Anniversary of the Landmarks Law in NYC, there’s a lot to do in New York City this week.

Monday, April 13th

Columbia University GSAPP lecture “Re-Purposing the Purpose Built” will look at the gravity-fed, 41-mile long Croton Aqueduct, one of the most ambitious municipal public works projects ever undertaken in the United States. Speakers Andrew Burdick, Associate Partner at Ennead Architects, and Meisha Hunter Burkett, Senior Preservationist at Li/Saltzman Architects (LSA), will discuss re-purposing of the Croton Aqueduct’s underutilized buildings and spaces with new public uses.


Yesterday, we put together an article for our friends at Curbed NY, walking through the grand hotels along Broadway, adapting excerpts from Untapped Cities founder Michelle Young‘s latest book Broadway that was released this past week. There are 13 featured or mentioned in the book, which contains over 200 vintage and present-day images of the famous street in New York City. Here’s an excerpt of the article on Curbed, click over to read the full list of hotels.

Astor House

Astor House Hotel-CIty Hall-Demolished NYCImage via Library of Congress

Astor House was the first luxury hotel in New York City, situated on Broadway between Barclay and Vesey Street across from City Hall. It had running water before the Croton Aqueduct was completed in 1842, and its distinguished guests included Abraham Lincoln, who gave a speech there before his presidential election. In 1913, the hotel was demolished in phases to accommodate the construction of the subway.


BBQ Films-Untapped Cities-Rough Trade-NYC-Brooklyn-Williamsburg-Empire Records

April 8th, 1995, is a day that should be remembered by all who love music and overly tanned men. Because it was “Rex Manning Day,”the day that the man himself (your favorite singer in high school) arrived at the Empire Records store to promote his latest hit Say No More (Mon Amour). The chants of “Rexy, your’e so sexy” by his mostly female fans were heard for miles, and is the source of the store’s record number of noise complaints. Thankfully, this special day was recorded in the 1995 cult hit Empire Records and BBQ Films, the group who has taken us Back to The Future and hosted a Weekend at Bernie Jr’s (R.I.P BJ), help celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Rex Manning Day” inside Rough Trade, one of the most popular record stores in NYC. (more…)

PS1 Moma-Public School System-Queens-NYCNo renderings of the original PS 1 remain, but we can guess it looked something like this minus the rave. Photo by Photo: Loren Wohl via MoMA PS1

The future of public education in New York has been a hot topic recently. How much funding should city schools get? Is there a role for charter schools? How should teachers be evaluated? During the 18th century, the only schools available to New York kids were private schools run by churches. One example is Collegiate, which was founded by the Dutch Reformed Church in 1628. This system created a gap between the haves and have-nots, and civic leaders began urging the state legislature to fund schools for poorer children.

On April 9, 1795, Governor George Clinton signed a bill allocating $50,000 to assist charitable schools across the state. Unfortunately, the money was not renewed in 1800. The fight for a more serious commitment to “common schools” resumed.


Monorail-New York City-City Island-New Haven-Popular Science-NYC

Imagine if New Yorkers could commute by high speed monorail? A monorail, which would have had the capability of whizzing across the country at 150 miles an hour, was proposed on a smaller scale first in New York City. Officials considered building a 200 horsepower monorail line “which would run at forty-five miles an hour, in an outlying borough.” This plan detailed in Popular Science in October 1930 would have completed the patchwork system of subways and elevated railroads that dot the outer boroughs.