On December 5th 1876, at least 300 play-goers died due to a monster fire in the Brooklyn Theater, which was located in Cadman Plaza near today’s Borough Hall. The theater was very popular at the time. In fact, all 900 seats were filled that night. The Two Orphans starring Harry Murdoch and Kate Claxton was playing.
According to the Bowery Boys, a gas light ignited some extra scenery at the beginning of the performance. The fire went unnoticed until the middle of the show when stagehands saw the spreading flames backstage. Then, the entire backstage wall crumbled and fell, and the famous ceiling fresco was burned. (more…)
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, New York (Image via Flickr user Jamie Campbell)
The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Upstate New York is home to the plot of 19th century author Washington Irving and his family. The cemetery and adjoining church get a lot of foot traffic by tourists and fans of his most famous short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, first published in 1820, a ghost story that takes place in the church. The Cemetery management explains, “Grass has been worn away by countless visitors to the plot, retaining walls are crumbling, shrubs are ragged and dying after several hard winters, and numerous grave stones need to be reset.” They are accepting donations for the $5,000 required to restore the site. (more…)
The football team practiced in Yankee Stadium. Here is the stadium in the 1930s, via Wikimedia Commons
The New York Yankees Football team lived a short life from 1946 to 1948. They played their home games at Yankee Stadium, but their last game, on December 4th 1948, was against the Chicago Rockets at Soldier Field in Chicago. Despite their short life span, the New York Yankees actually won most of their games. For a full list of all their games, see here.
This is a map of Broncks’ New York from 1639 by Cartographer Johannes Vingboons. Notice the spelling of “Staten Eylante.” Image via Library of Congress
On December 3rd 1641, Jonas Bronck, a Danish immigrant to New York City, bought about 500 acres of land above Manhattan.
According to the Bronx Historical Society, the first settlement is in modern day “Mott Haven” by East 138th street. The area was initially a part of Westchester county. The annex onto NYC was spurred by regular railroad service between the Bronx and Manhattan that started in 1841. Jonas Bronck’s original purchase was all farmland, and the area stayed that way until it became a part of New York City in 1895. People would always say they were “going to the Broncks’,” so the name stuck. (more…)
On the night of Sept. 1 1858, a mob of villagers stormed the grounds of the quarantine station on Staten Island and set fire to almost all of the buildings in the hospital complex. Image via Public Health Chronicles.
In 1858, before Staten Island consolidated with the rest of New York City, the New York Marine Hospital housed around 1,500 persons suffering from infectious diseases. The practice of medicine was in a less sophisticated state and in the 19th century this was the City’s best defense against new diseases, such as smallpox, cholera, typhus and yellow fever. While quarantine is a practice that strictly limits the civil and human rights of an otherwise “free” person, the architecture of the City’s many islands reflect this once mainstream practice. On September 1, 1858 the site was burned down in a mob protest that stemmed from community outrage about the hazards of housing a quarantine hospital of this scale in what was essentially their backyards. (more…)
Wright’s towers surrounding St. Mark’s Church. Source: Architizer.
In 1927, architect Frank Lloyd Wright began plans for three to four all-glass apartment towers in the East Village at 11th Street and 2nd Avenue. The unprecedented buildings, which would have been the first all-glass ones in New York, were commissioned by the Reverend William Norman Guthrie of St. Mark’s Church. Though the modern structure would have towered over the reveredchurch, rent from Wright’s apartments would have provided a much-needed influx of funds for the church. This wouldn’t have happened today though–in 1966 the church was landmarked and in 1984 the St. Mark’s Historic District was extended to include the row houses on 10th Street that would have been demolished with Wright’s plan. (more…)