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Yesterday, we covered 10 buildings that refused to be demolished in the face of development. These spunky buildings (and the people who lived in or owned them, of course), make for some of the best New York City stories. Sometimes however, whole neighborhoods get lost in New York. Many have made way for some of New York City’s most famous neighborhoods, but today we’re highlighting some of the stories and people who once traversed the streets daily.

1. Radio Row, now World Trade Center

Radio-Row-World-Trade-Center-NYC-7Radio Row, which became the World Trade Center. Image via ArchRecord.

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Pulqueria_Outside

Pulqueria—the hidden Mexican restaurant and speakeasy in the heart of Chinatown—was inspired by ancient Aztec culture and Mexico City’s street markets. It was the first bar in NYC to serve pulque, an alcoholic beverage made from agave leaves. You’ll find Pulqueria’s unmarked entrance in the winding, one-way inner alleys of Chinatown, if you don’t get lost first. Descend the unremarkable steps to the subterranean spot, and you’ll emerge in a dimly lit, atmospheric lounge.  (more…)

Gangs of New York-Five Points-NYC

We’re excited to partner with Andrea Janes of Boroughs of the Dead for a walking tour on one of our favorite topics here in NYC. The tour, Murder, Scandal & Vice: Crime & Corruption in 19th Century New York will take place on June 14th at 7pm with a cocktail to follow (optional) at the hidden bar Pulqueria in Chinatown.

Life in 19th Century New York was filled with murder, corruption, crime, and vice of all flavors. This just under 2-hour historical walking tour examines some of old Gotham’s most brutal and infamous crimes, some still unsolved, all set against the backdrop of a bustling city that seethed with scandal. From the gangsters of the Five Points to the tragic women of McGurk’s Suicide Hall, we’ll explore the shadiest, tawdriest, and most notorious stories of old New York.

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Sure, there are many people living in Manhattan today who see the metropolis as nothing less than Paradise. For others, the city falls short. Still, regardless of which camp you find yourself in, New York does have a corner of paradise anyone can enjoy. Of course, it’s not really there anymore.

Paradise Square (which was actually triangular) was a park located within the notorious Five Points area of Manhattan, so called because of the five pointed intersection located there, made up of Orange Street (now Baxter Street), Cross Street, Anthony Street (now Worth Street), Mulberry Street, and Little Water Street (which no longer exists). Today, the area that was once Paradise Square is now called Columbus Park.

Paradise Sq Aerial This modified aerial view of the Five Points shows the area around modern day Columbus Park. As you can see, Paradise Square would have filled the space currently occupied by the New York City Supreme Court. Photo by Neil Pentecost.  (more…)

Did you know that the Underground Railroad once ran through New York City? The New York City stops were, in fact, a major segment on the journey to freedom. Many settled in the area  formerly known as Five Points, where African Americans, freed slaves and fugitive slaves co-mingled with immigrants from Ireland and Germany. The Five Points area, bordered by present day Bowery Street, Canal Street, Centre Street and Park Row, was a notorious slum riddled with crime, disease, overcrowded tenements and unsanitary living conditions.

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