Photograph by Vlad Pudovkin
Sunday, November 11th, marked the centennial anniversary of the World War I armistice. On the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 at the eleventh hour, fighting between Germany and the Allied Forces ceased in the air on land and sea. Here are 10 ways to commemorate this monumental anniversary this Veteran’s Day, and the men and women who have served, in New York City:
1. Premiere Screening of The Manhattan Front
The Manhattan Front – featuring Madame Martha Held played by Lee DeLong. Courtesy of Polyvinyl Films
The New York City premiere of The Manhattan Front at Anthology Film Archives will be presented at 11:00a.m. on November 11th in conjunction with the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I. The Manhattan Front weaves together a fictional narrative and dramatic scenes with historical archival footage from WWI era New York City to explore the Labor Movement at the time. This experimental film was created by Guggenheim Fellow Cathy Lee Crane and features newly digitized footage from the National Archives which has never been seen before. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider you can attend the screening for free! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special New York City events all year long!
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2. Veterans Day Parade
Photograph by Vlad Pudovkin
The 2018 Veteran’s Day Parade, which will march north on Fifth Avenue, from 26th to 46th Street, will commemorate the WWI centennial with representatives from the Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and this year’s featured military branch, The United States Army. This year’s Grand Marshal is Medal of Honor Recipient Florent Groberg (U.S. Army, Afghanistan). Over 300 marching elements and an estimated 20-30,000 participants, including veterans of all eras, military units, civic and youth groups, businesses, and top high school marching bands from across America will complete the 1.2 mile route.
The parade starts at 11:15am on Sunday November 11th after the traditional Opening Ceremony which will start at 10:00am next to Madison Square Park (24th Street & Fifth Avenue). The ceremony concludes with a wreath laying at the Eternal Light Monument at 11:00 AM. Limited seating is available at the opening ceremony, with preference given to disabled and elderly veterans.
3. Dazzle Ship Lecture
Photo by Nicholas Knight courtesy of Public Art Fund
The Public Art Fund will present a talk at The New School that explores the intersection of history, art, design through the lens of both historic and contemporary dazzle ships. “Dazzling” ships was a technique invented by British painter Norman Wilkinson during World War I. Wilkinson came up with the idea to “camouflage” war ships by painting them with patterns that would optically distort their forms and confuse enemy submarines tracking their distance, direction, and speed. New York City’s Fireboat John J. Harvey was dazzled by New York artist Tauba Auerbach, and is currently on view at Hudson River Park’s Pier 66a.
At the Public Art Fund talk, distinguished dazzle camouflage historian Roy R. Behrens will frame the fireboat project within the historical and political context of dazzle camouflage painting. Flow Separation curator Emma Enderby will discuss Auberbach’s modern reinterpretation of dazzle design as well as its four contemporary precursors in the UK, and Public Art Fund Director of Exhibitions Jesse Hamerman will offer an insightful behind-the scenes look at the process of realizing Auerbach’s vision for Flow Separation.
The lecture will be held on November 15th at the The New School, Tishman Auditorium, University Center at 6:30p.m. Tickets are $10 for the general public and can be purchased here.
4. See the Riverdale Monument
Located in Bell Tower Park, the Riverdale Monument commemorates soldiers and WWI veterans from the neighborhoods of Riverdale, Spuyten Duyvil and Kingsborough in the Bronx. The park itself is named after the 500-ton tower and Spanish bell located on the site.
According to NYC Parks & Recreation, the bell was originally cast in 1762 for a Mexican monastery. It was later captured by General Winfield Scott during the Mexican War and brought back to New York City, where it was originally housed at Greenwich Village’s Jefferson Market. Following a second relocation to a Riverdale firehouse, the bell was installed in its current tower, which was moved 700 feet south to clear space for the Henry Hudson Parkway.
5. Celebrate Veteran’s Day at the Intrepid Museum
Honor our nation’s military service members at the USS Intrepid Museum’s Annual Veterans Day Ceremony. Hundreds of veterans—including former crew members of the USS Intrepid—are expected to be in attendance. All U.S. veterans, and active and retired military will be admitted free courtesy of Bank of America. Before the afternoon ceremony, check out the museum’s current exhibits which include “Defying Gravity: Women in Space,” “Ports of Call,” “On the Line: Intrepid and the Vietnam War,” and more.
The ceremony will begin at 3:30p.m. on Sunday November, 11th.
6. End of the War to End All Wars Concert
The End of the War to End All Wars concert will feature music performed by Musica Viva NY, a chamber choir on the Upper East Side and the New Orchestra of Washington. The program will end with a special song co-commissioned by acclaimed American composer Joseph Turrin, with lyrics based on texts by war poets. The program also features works by Gustav Holst and Maurice Ravel, both composers directly affected by World War I.
This commemorative concert will be held on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 5:00pm, at All Souls Church (1157 Lexington Ave). You can purchase tickets here.
7. Visit an NYC Parks Monument
Highbridge Doughboy Statue. Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks
The NYC Parks Department maintains 103 memorials of all shapes and sizes that were erected in the aftermath of World War I. There are twenty-one monuments in Brooklyn, eighteen in the Bronx, twenty-three in Manhattan, twelve on Staten Island, and twenty-nine in Queens. To find a monument near you, search on the Public Art Map.
One of the memorials maintained by the Parks Department is the Washington Heights Inwood War Memorial inside Mitchel Park. This statue depicted three “doughboys” was recently rededicated after undergoing restoration. “Doughboys” is a term that was popularized during World War I to refer to infantrymen. The Washington Heights Inwood War Memorial, which was created by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, is one of nine such statues commissioned for New York City’s parks. Other example of this style of monument include the Bushwick-Ridgewood Memorial in Brooklyn, the Abingdon Square Doughboy, Chelsea Park Memorial, and Clinton War Memorial in Manhattan and the Woodside Doughboy in Queens. “Doughboy” statues are characterized by realistic yet heroic poses that highlight the sacrifice of anonymous soldiers rather than glorify a single great men of war.
8. Commemoration at the Historic Onderdonk House
On Monday, November 12, 2018, the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society and Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale will come together for an event at the historic Vander Ende-Onderdonk House, a Blue Star Museum committed to supporting Active Service men and women and their families by provided free admission and supporting recognition of their service and that of our veterans through programs and events. The Greater Ridgewood Historical Society will have an exhibit on the three World War I Memorials in Bushwick, Ridgewood and Glendale and a retrospective on the contribution of area residents to the war effort.
This event is free and open to the public. There will be a ceremony beginning at 10:00a.m. at the Vander Ende – Onderdonk House, 1820 Flushing Avenue, Ridgewood, corner of Flushing and Onderdonk Avenues. Following the ceremony there will be refreshments, the opening of the exhibit on the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice and tours of the Onderdonk House. If you have memorabilia that you would like to temporarily loan, you can contact the Society via email, [email protected] with the subject: World War 1 Armistice, or by phone (718-456-1776). Due to limited exhibit space, not all items will be used.
9. Go to Central Park
Central Park was used in a variety of ways before, during and after World War I. According to Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, author of World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War (Globe Pequot Press) and member of the World War I Centennial Committee for New York City, before America declared war on Germany, recruits and soldiers drilled on its fields. The park was also used for publicity and fundraising stunts. Inside the park you can visit a few monuments dedicated to those lost in World War I. One is a plaque dedicated to the memory of John Purroy Mitchel, a former mayor of New York who died in action. There is also the 107th Infantry Memorial, designed by sculptor Karl Illava. This sculpture features seven WWI foot soldiers (“doughboys”) in battle. It was donated by the Seventh Regiment New York 107th United Infantry Memorial Committee, and currently sits at the end of East 67th Street at Fifth Avenue. According to NYC Parks & Recreation, Illava, who was a sergeant with the 107th, used his own hands as models to create the soldiers’ hands.
10. Veteran’s Day: Freedoms and Food in WWII
New-York Historical Society exterior, 170 Central Park West Photo credit: Jon Wallen courtesy New-York Historical Society.
Learn about life on the battlefield and on the home front during World War II at the New York Historical Society’s special Veteran’s Day line-up of events, Freedom and Food in WWII. All visitors enjoy a free, treat that was invented for WWII soldiers—M&Ms! In conjunction with Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, visitors will get to meet soldiers and citizens from different wars portrayed by Living Historians. The event will feature interactive activities such as trying on a heavy flak vest or helmet and handling original and reproduction WWII artifacts. At Living History: WWII Men and Women in Uniform, meet Living Historians portraying the 6888th Central Postal Battalion, the only all-black and all-woman battalion stationed overseas during World War II, responsible for getting mail to more than seven million Americans in the European Theater of Operations.
These Veteran-centric activities will run throughout Veteran’s Day weekend through Monday, November 12th from 1:00p.m to 3:00p.m.