Category Archives: Digital Project

Books and the City

New Yorkers love to read. Whether it’s just for a stolen moment at work…

James Godbold for LOOK Magazine. Night Clubs- Copa Showgirls [Showgirl reading backstage.] 1950. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12052.14.

James Godbold for LOOK Magazine. Night Clubs- Copa Showgirls [Showgirl reading backstage.] 1950. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12052.14.

or enjoying (or hoping that whatever we’re reading will distract us from) our subway commute…

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11107.53B.

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. 1946. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.11107.53B.

or as a handy prop when eating at a restaurant alone (as prizefighter Walter Cartier does)…

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. Walter Cartier, Prizefighter of Greenwich Village [Walter Cartier eating in a restaurant.]. 1948. X2011.4.11122.88D.

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. Walter Cartier, Prizefighter of Greenwich Village [Walter Cartier eating in a restaurant.]. 1948. X2011.4.11122.88D.

and, of course, in true New Yorker fashion, wherever we feel like it…

John Albok (1894-1982). Boy reading comics in front of newspaper store, west side of Madison Avenue between 96th and 97th Streets. 1933-1934. Museum of the City of New York. 82.68.11.

John Albok (1894-1982). Boy reading comics in front of newspaper store, west side of Madison Avenue between 96th and 97th Streets. 1933-1934. Museum of the City of New York. 82.68.11.

or, much more comfortably, lying in bed (furry friends optional).

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. A Dog's Life in the Big City [Women reading in bed with dogs.] 1949. X2011.4.12306.245

Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine. A Dog’s Life in the Big City [Women reading in bed with dogs.] 1949.Museum of the City of New York. X2011.4.12306.245.

However, in the decades since these pictures were taken, the nature of reading has changed. Kindles, iPads, and even games featuring annoyed fowl compete for our attention, and the commercial landscape of New York City is shifting because of this.

As of last Friday, Rizzoli’s Bookstore has been pushed out of its beautiful 57th Street location. Shakespeare & Company lost their lease on their Broadway storefront last week. St. Mark’s Bookshop is looking for another East Village location due to a massive rent increase. And it’s not just independent bookstores that are feeling the pressure: the Barnes and Noble on 18th Street and 5th Avenue closed quietly last year along with five Borders locations in the city when the parent company went bankrupt.  It seems like a good time to look back at some of the bookstores that have made the city uniquely literary.

At the turn of the last century, Greenwich Village was a bohemian’s paradise. Artists, writers, and hangers-on flocked to the area around Washington Square. The Washington Square Bookshop, run by Egmont Arens (pictured below), was the place for all the original downtown literati’s needs. Arens also established a small publishing company within the store where he published plays  like Two Blind Beggars and One Less Blind; A Tragic Comedy by Philip Moeller and other fare for the Washington Square Players.

Jessie Tarbox Beals. Washington Square Bookshop, 17 West 8th Street. ca. 1910. Museum of the City of New York. 91.53.19.

Jessie Tarbox Beals. Washington Square Bookshop, 17 West 8th Street. ca. 1918. Museum of the City of New York. 91.53.19.

In the 1920′s, 4th Avenue between Astor Place and 14th Street was the mecca for secondhand books. More than 30 stores specializing in rare, out-of-print, or merely used books lined the streets, earning the area the moniker “Bookseller’s Row”  or sometimes simply “Book Row”.

Andreas Feininger (1906-1999). Secondhand bookstores on Lower Fourth Avenue. ca. 1941-1953. Museum of the City of New York. 55.31.70.

What makes Weiser’s Bookstore (pictured above) unique, however, besides the fact that it was a mainstay of Bookseller’s Row (until it had to move to Broadway in the 1950′s due to increased rent), is that it was known as the best occult bookstore in the city.  But what’s even better is that it still exists…granted, only for established customers with prior appointments, but for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to be on that list, they do have an online store.

Another mainstay of Bookseller’s Row was Biblo-Tannen book store where  owners Jack Tannen and Jack Biblo would legendarily sleep at the store to make sure they were the first ones to go the Salvation Army’s warehouse to find the latest overlooked treasures. That kind of dedication made people like Carl Sandburg loyal customers. The store closed in 1979.

Roy Perry. Browsing at Second Hand Bookstalls, Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue. ca. 1940. Museum of the City of New York. 80.102.136.

Roy Perry. Browsing at Second Hand Bookstalls, Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue. ca. 1940. Museum of the City of New York. 80.102.136.

The decline of Bookseller’s Row started in the 1960′s due to constant rent increases and since the secondhand (or even firsthand) book industry has never been lucrative, the end was fairly quick.  Now only two vestiges of Bookseller’s  Row remain: The Strand and Alabaster Bookshop.

While Bookseller’s Row was browsing heaven for bibliophiles, there were, of course, other options. Brentano’s,  Gotham Book Mart, Books and Company and the Oscar Wilde Bookshop were just some of mainstays that provided for every literary need of New Yorkers.

New York was (and still is) a publishing city where the biggest publishing companies have their corporate offices. For many years Doubleday, Scribner’s, and Barnes and Noble had brick and mortar stores lining Fifth Avenue, offering “a cerebral antidote to Tiffany’s glitter and Bergdorf’s finery,” as the Times put it. These stores were architecturally unique, airy, and had a sense of grandeur that some may have found the secondhand bookstores downtown lacking.

The elegant Scribner’s Building on Fifth Avenue was the pinnacle of bookstore architecture. Ernest Flagg designed the 1913 building to highlight its function as a bookstore. In 1974 art critic Henry Russell Hitchcock, comparing the bookstore’s interiors to Grand Central Terminal, called them “the grandest interior space that had been created in New York.” Earning it extra literary cred is the story that Hemingway and his editor were having a discussion there when his editor unwisely questioned Hemingway’s manhood. Words were exchanged, chest hair was exposed, and because it was Hemingway, fisticuffs ensued. (For a delightful account, click here.) Decades later, a young Patti Smith pored over art books during her lunch break during the five years she was a book clerk there. Scribner’s sold the building in 1988; the store is now a Sephora.

Edmund V. Gillon. [Charles Scribner's Sons Building, 597 Fifth Avenue.] ca. 1977. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.2.2001

Edmund V. Gillon. [Charles Scribner's Sons Building, 597 Fifth Avenue.] ca. 1977. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.2.2001

So next time you need a book to make your commute tolerable, go to your local neighborhood bookstore. You’ll be helping to save the literary history of New York City.

For more images of bookstores and New Yorkers reading, click here.

The World’s Richest Boy – the Life of William B. Leeds

Let’s face it: we all have baby albums, those pictures documenting our progression from newborns into children that we pray our parents don’t show anyone.  When I came across a photo album entitled The first six years of William B. Leeds, donated to the City Museum by his daughter in 1989, I winced in sympathy for whomever this Mr. Leeds was,  knowing that these baby pictures are soon to be uploaded to our Collection Portal and thus available to anyone with a computer and internet access.

The more I started researching William Bateman Leeds, however, the more fascinated I became with his life. Interchangeably heralded by the press as, “The World’s Richest Boy” or “Poor Little Rich Boy,” Leeds managed a small army of servants by the time he was nine and topped it off by marrying a Greek princess at the age of 19. How can one not be at least a tiny bit intrigued by this young man?

Unknown photographer. 3 Weeks [The first six years of William B. Leeds.]. 1902. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.1.

William B. Leeds, Jr. was born on September 19, 1902 to the so-called “Tin Plate King” William B. Leeds Sr. and the beautiful Nonnie May “Nancy” Stewart. The Leeds were already fabulously wealthy by this point, owing to the business ventures of the senior Leeds (a merger with J. P. Morgan’s  U.S. Steel paid quite handsomely).  From 1902 to around 1908 the family lived at 987 Fifth Avenue and were fixtures of  the most elite of social circles.

Unknown photographer. Exterior [Residence of William B. Leeds 987 5th Avenue, New York.]. ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.2.3.

 The playroom of the young William Leeds, where many of the following pictures were taken, shows the lavish environment in which he was raised.

Unknown photographer. Playroom [Residence of William B. Leeds 987 5th Avenue, New York.] ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.2.17

Unknown photographer. Playroom [Residence of William B. Leeds 987 5th Avenue, New York.] ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.2.17

 Within these protected walls, the young Leeds grew up and, thanks to the album, we can see his progress. One of the  most interesting aspects is how his Christmases become more elaborate year after year. The first was a simple affair due to the fact he was a mere three months old and probably wasn’t expecting much.

Unknown photographer. 3 Months [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1902. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.4.

But each successive year things got a little more spectacular.

Unknown photographer. 2nd Christmas – 15 Months [The first six years of William B. Leeds.]. 1903. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.16.

With so many gifts, William had to be photographed twice to be seen with all of them.

Unknown photographer. 3rd Christmas - 27 Months [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1904. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.21.

Unknown photographer. 3rd Christmas – 27 Months [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1904. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.21.

And yet again with so many gifts, he had to be photographed twice.

Unknown photographer. 4th Christmas 1906 [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1906. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.32.

Unknown photographer. 4th Christmas 1906 [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1906. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.32.

And this is perhaps the most awe-inspiring pre-3-D Christmas portrait I’ve ever seen.

Unknown photographer. 6th Christmas [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1908. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.41

Unknown photographer. 6th Christmas [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1908. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.41

And finally, the boy turns into a young man with more serious gifts.

Unknown photographer. 7th Christmas [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1909. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.45.

Unknown photographer. 7th Christmas [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1909. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.45.

William seems to have been a typical child, enjoying playing with his impressive selection of toys and costumes.

Unknown photographer. 3 Years & 3 Mo. 1906 [The first six years of William B. Leeds.]. 1906. Museum of the City of New York.

Unknown photographer. 3 Years & 3 Mo. 1906 [The first six years of William B. Leeds.]. 1906. Museum of the City of New York.

Unknown photographer. 4 Years & 3 Mo. 1907 [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1907. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.36.

Unknown photographer. 4 Years & 3 Mo. 1907 [The first six years of William B. Leeds.] 1907. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.36.

William’s life, sadly, was not all presents and playing. For some reason, his mother, Nancy, believed her son to be frailer than most and kept him secluded from the outside world for much of his childhood. This was exacerbated when his father died in 1908, and the details of the very generous will were shared with seemingly every newspaper from California to London.  Nine-year-old William was now the the proud inheritor of a cool $30,000,000 to $40,000,000 (nearly a billion dollars in today’s money). Nancy moved the young William into an estate in Montclair, New Jersey, complete with nearly 20 servants, two detectives to follow his every move and deter kidnappers, and a French limousine with a chauffeur and footman to get William to the prestigious Montclair Academy everyday. (To read more about William’s young life, read this article, fittingly titled “Young Leeds Rules Mansion”.)

As for Nancy, she left William in the very capable hands of the servants and detectives and traveled to London to try her luck as a dollar princess (read Lindsay’s fabulous post on what a dollar princess is here.) Soon she was the talk of English society.  She also made headlines when she stated in a 1911 interview, “I think I shall educate William in England. You see, he is fortunately or unfortunately wealthy in his own right. He will grow up to be ‘rich’ and I do not think that the sons of American millionaires are a particular credit to society because in their idleness they become dissipated. They do not work and most of them drink. Hostesses here often have to apologize for the condition of their young men guests, whereas in England no man would ever appear twice in an intoxicated state. Of course, the young men in the social life of England do not work, but they go in for sports and are healthy, strong and normal – and they do not drink as much as the idle young men of America.”

Later that year, she enrolled William at Eton, where she famously gave him an allowance of only 2 pounds every quarter. It should also be noted that she railed against the press for calling attention her son’s wealth, as she pointed out that much of it was locked in trusts and he could only get $500,000 once he turned 35. The press, and the public, didn’t care to listen.

Unknown photographers, The first six years of William B. Leeds [Two portraits of William B. Leeds.] ca. 1909. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.48.

Unknown photographers. The first six years of William B. Leeds [Two portraits of William B. Leeds.] ca. 1909. Museum of the City of New York. 89.3.1.48.

The story doesn’t end there. Nancy became a literal (dollar) princess when she married Prince Christopher of Greece in 1920 after a six year engagement. She later changed her name to the much grander Princess Anastasia of Greece and Denmark.

At this point, our William was busy being a globe-trotting teenager. He had nearly lost his arm due to an infected bug bite in Sumatra, but was on his way to a lifelong love of traveling and yachting. He became a fixture on the gossip pages as the dashing gentleman adventurer, “Billy” Leeds.

In 1921 he traveled to Greece to be with his mother after she was diagnosed with cancer. Two days later he was engaged to the 17 year old Princess Xenia of Greece after knowing her for all of 24 hours. (Nancy was so distraught she cried for three days and nights.) Despite Nancy’s misgivings that they were both too young, they married.

They were the toast of the town wherever they went, especially in Oyster Bay where they lived. Their marriage was filled with constant traveling and William’s adventures with his ever growing fleet of boats. After 9 years, however, the relationship apparently couldn’t withstand the pressure from the constant scrutiny of the gossip pages; the couple divorced in 1930.

Over the next few decades, William was remarried to a woman he rescued from a  sinking rowboat, and they spent much of their time traveling around the world in his yachts.  When World War II struck, he gave his lavish yachts to the government to aid the war effort, which was a highlight of his long history of extravagant philanthropic gestures.

Sadly, William’s end came far too soon. After being diagnosed with cancer, William committed suicide on New Year’s Eve of 1971 on his estate in the Virgin Islands. He was 69.

(For the most detailed collection of information and sources pertaining to the Leeds family, go here.)

Happy 25th Birthday to the Internet

Last week the Internet turned a quarter of a century old.  On March 12, 1989, a British computer scientist named Sir Tim Berners-Lee proposed what he called an “information management” system that allowed already linked computers to share data. Before that, there was the APRANET, which stood for Advanced Research Project Agency Network. It originated in the 1960s out of the Department of Defense and was largely a Cold War initiative that allowed communication between educational and research facilities across the country. Like that system, Berners-Lee’s information system was primarily text based. It wasn’t until Web browsers emerged in the 1990s, allowing users to view graphics online, that adoption of the technology skyrocketed.

A precursor to the interwebs. Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) National City Bank. Tube system, central exchange. ca. 1910. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.1070

A precursor to the interwebs. Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) National City Bank. Tube system, central exchange. ca. 1910. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.1070

The Pew Research Internet Project recently released data about the impact of the Internet on the daily lives of Americans. Some of the most striking facts:

  • 87% of adults in the USA use the Internet, up from 14% in 1995.
  • 90% of users believe the Internet is a positive force in their lives; 76% believe it is positive for society in general.
  • 58% of American adults own a smartphone, up from 35% just three years ago.

The rise of the Internet has had a profound effect on cultural heritage institutions and how they approach providing access to their collections. Not long ago, visitors had to travel to a museum or an archive in order to get a glimpse of art, manuscripts, or artifacts. Now, those precious objects are just a URL away.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). [Columns of Pennsylvania Station.] ca. 1940. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.16802

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). [Columns of Pennsylvania Station.] ca. 1940. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.1.16802

The Museum of the City of New York holds more than three quarters of a million objects in its collections: photographs, negatives, prints, maps, manuscripts, ephemera, costumes, furniture, paintings, drawings, and all kinds of other items relating to New York City, its history, and its inhabitants. In 2008 the City Museum received a grant from the Leon Levy Foundation to begin digitizing its collection of Wurts Bros. negatives. In the six years since then, we’ve made more and more of the Museum’s collections accessible to users across the globe. We’ve been helped along the way by too many people and organizations to name, but some of the ones to whom we’re grateful include Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Charina Endowment Fund, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Orange Logic, Analogous, Michael Ulsaker, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. They’ve all provided funding and / or services that helped us get collections online.

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991). Broadway to the Battery, May 4, 1938. Museum of the City of New York. 40.140.16

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991). Broadway to the Battery, May 4, 1938. Museum of the City of New York. 40.140.16

The Museum began by digitizing the photography collections that were the most popular and in-demand: works by Berenice Abbott, the Byron Company, Samuel H. Gottscho, Jacob Riis, and the Wurts Bros. In December 2010 we launched on online Collections Portal with around 30,000 of these photographs. Since then, we built our own in-house state of the art digital lab where we’re able to photograph a wide variety of object types. There are now more than 135,000 images online, including our Martin Wong Graffiti Collection, part of which is also on view at the Museum in the exhibition City as Canvas; paintings from our marine and portrait paintings collections; garments made by couturiers Charles Worth and Mainbocher; photographs taken by a teenaged Stanley Kubrick for LOOK Magazine; and much, much more. We have one of the most extensive collections anywhere of imagery of New York City’s streets; many New Yorkers are able to see what the block where they live looked like in the past and use the magnifying glass tool to examine the minutest details, such as signs in shop windows. (If you find the building or the street where you live, let us know in the comment section!)

Edmund V. Gillon.  [Looking east on Broadway from Bedford Avenue and South 6th Street.] ca. 1975. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.262

Edmund V. Gillon.
[Looking east on Broadway from Bedford Avenue and South 6th Street.] ca. 1975. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.262

To date, more than half a million visitors from nearly every country in the world (a shout out to our users from Malawi, Liberia, Greenland, and St. Vincent & Grenadines) have come to the Collections Portal, collectively viewing nearly 6 million pages.

Our digital team is currently made up of two catalogers, two photographers, and one IT manager. They take the pictures, create the metadata that allows users to find what they’re looking for, and look after nearly 200 terabytes of digital image files. An entire department of archivists, curators, and collection specialists care for the objects before they ever even make it to the lab for photography. Neither this blog nor the Collections Portal would be possible without the fine work of all these people. And we wouldn’t be able to bring all of it together on the Web without the Internet, so many happy returns of the day!

Copy stand and camera in the City Museum's onsite, state-of-the-art digital photograph studio.

Copy stand and camera in the City Museum’s onsite, state-of-the-art digital photograph studio. Photo by Mia Moffett.

Highlights from the City Museum’s Graffiti Collection

When painter Martin Wong moved to New York City from San Francisco in 1978, he marveled at what many others considered a blight – graffiti scrawled on the surfaces of the entire city. Wong was not a graffiti writer but nonetheless recognized graffiti’s artistic value and befriended many writers. He perceived the transience of graffiti and encouraged writers to sell him their sketchbooks and paintings. In 1994 he donated his entire collection of graffiti to the City Museum. Now for the first time visitors to the Museum can see works from the Martin Wong Collection in the City as Canvas exhibition, open through August 24.

The Martin Wong Collection comprises more than 300 paintings and mixed media works, along with over 45 sketchbooks, also called black books. Writers used black books to collect tags from other writers in addition to sketching pieces destined for trains or canvas. Because of their ephemeral nature, few black books survive today. Below are some highlights, a few of which are not part of the City as Canvas exhibition.

Cliff 159 started writing in the Bronx in 1970. He specialized in whole-car pieces and also was one of the first writers to incorporate comic characters like Beetle Bailey into his work.

Clifford (Cliff 159) Brown. Cliff... Page in Chi Chi 133's black book. ca. 1975. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.266.30

Cliff 159. Cliff… [Page in Chi Chi 133's black book.] ca. 1975. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.266.30

Jack Stewart (1926-2005). Beetle Bailey by Cliff. 1974. Museum of the City of New York. 95.98.5

Jack Stewart (1926-2005). Beetle Bailey by Cliff. 1974. Museum of the City of New York. 95.98.5. © Estate of Jack Stewart.

Riff 170 began writing in the Bronx in the early 1970s. Other writers placed a premium on getting their names up and becoming well-known, but Riff favored artistic innovation and wrote under many names such as Worm, Cash, Dove 2, and Conan. Riff’s novel approach inspired creativity in successive generations of writers, many of whom are featured in this blog.

RIFF 170. Cash Page in Wicked Gary's piece book. 1972-1973. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.277.12

RIFF 170. Cash [Page in Wicked Gary's piece book.] 1972-1973. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.277.12

Jack Stewart (1926-2005). Cash, by RIFF I. 1974. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.7.1. © Estate of Jack Stewart.

Jack Stewart (1926-2005). Cash, by RIFF I. 1974. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.7.1. © Estate of Jack Stewart.

Like Riff, Billy 167′s career began in the Bronx in the early 1970s. He focused strictly on lettering, for which he would became renowned. The image below comes from a piece book that is believed to have belonged to Peso 131 – also note Jester’s tag.

Billy 167. Billy Page in piece book. ca. 1980. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.278.3

Billy 167. Billy [Page in piece book.] ca. 1980. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.278.3

Ironically, Billy 167 would later work for the MTA as an electrician. He passed away in the 1980s but his imaginative lettering influenced countless other artists like Seen UA.

Photograph by Tracy 168. Billy 167. Used with permission by Tracy 168.

Photograph by Michael (Tracy 168) Tracy. Billy 167. 1982. Used with permission by Michael Tracy.

Daze began writing in the late 1970s. He successfully managed the transition from trains to galleries in the 1980s, and continues to have a prolific career as an artist.

Christopher (DAZE) Ellis (1962-). DAZE with tags. 1982. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.90

Christopher (DAZE) Ellis (1962-). [DAZE with tags.] 1982. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.90

From Daze’s black book is a list of subway lines and the writers assigned to them. In addition to Daze’s tag, you can see his aliases below – Bode, Chill, and Wind 2.

List of subway lines and the graffiti writers assigned to them in Daze's black book. 1983. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.263.58

[List of subway lines and the graffiti writers assigned to them in DAZE's black book.] 1983. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.263.58

Years before @149st compiled a list of writing crews this would have been a good reference for any outsider:

List of the full names of graffiti crews and their corresponding acronyms in DAZE's black book. ca. 1981. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.263.92

[List of the full names of graffiti crews and their corresponding acronyms in DAZE's black book.] ca. 1981. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.263.92

And finally, the end result of Daze’s hard work, under the Wind 2 alias:

Christopher (DAZE) Ellis (1962-). Inside back cover of DAZE's black book. ca. 1981. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.263.220

Christopher (DAZE) Ellis (1962-). [Inside back cover of DAZE's black book.] ca. 1981. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.263.220

Kool 131, Chain 3, and Mr. Jinx 174 formed the writing crew TDS (The Death Squad) in the late 1970s. TDS favored style over fame, although they became famous anyway. When member Bear 167 passed away in 1984, TDS created a beautiful memorial book:

Maurice (Kool Aid 131) Antonio. Kool Aid 131 Death Squad TDS Pres. Page of TDS's black book in memory of Bear 167. ca. 1985. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.271.4

Maurice (Kool 131) Antonio. Kool Aid 131 Death Squad TDS Pres. [Page of TDS's black book in memory of Bear 167.] ca. 1985. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.271.4

While the book mourns Bear 167′s passing, it also celebrates his life as an artist with vibrant colors.

TDS Vice Pres. Part Page of TDS's black book in memory of Bear 167. ca. 1985. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.271.6

Part One. TDS Vice Pres. Part [Page of TDS's black book in memory of Bear 167.] ca. 1985. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.271.6

Melvin (NOC 167) Samuels. Bear 167 In Memory of Him Page of TDS's black book in memory of Bear 167. ca. 1985. Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.271.56

Melvin (NOC 167) Samuels. Bear 167 In Memory of Him [Page of TDS's black book in memory of Bear 167.] ca. 1985. Martin Wong Collection, Museum of the City of New York. 94.114.271.56

Even if you are unable to visit the Museum, you can still explore the Martin Wong Collection here.

Forgotten villages and neighborhoods of Manhattan

Hints about long vanished and forgotten aspects of New York surround us if we know where to look.  The etymology of neighborhood names reveal long lost geographical quirks and the powerful men who have faded from memory but whose names are still spoken on a daily basis on the land they used to own.

For instance,  Greenwich Village was a separate town from the rest of New York  and was named after the plentiful pine forest that in Dutch was “Greenwijck,” and was later anglicized as Greenwich. Kips Bay and Murray Hill were named for the original owners of the land, Jacobus Hendrickson Kip and Robert Murray respectively (the Hill in Murray’s land was at 36th Street and Madison; it has long since been flattened). Chelsea was the name of the manor of British Major Thomas Clarke, built almost 30 years before the American Revolution and in turn named after Sir Thomas More’s estate in London.

While knowing the history of current neighborhoods might help you out at an awkward cocktail party, what’s even cooler is knowing the history of neighborhoods that have been lost through absorption into other neighborhoods, a change in the economic landscape, or even slum clearing; Little Syria, Weeksville, Seneca Village, Crow Hill, Kleindeutschland, Tubby Hook, the Piggery District, and the infamous Five Points have all disappeared from the maps, and in some cases the memory, of New York.

In the 1850′s Bloomingdale (now the Upper West Side) was dotted with the country homes of wealthy citizens interspersed with small farming communities. It was a bucolic and beautiful area.

Eliza Greatorex (1819-1897). Howland Lane, 86th St, Bloomingdale. 1868. Museum of the City of New York. 35.408.30.

Eliza Greatorex (1819-1897). Howland Lane, 86th St, Bloomingdale. 1868. Museum of the City of New York. 35.408.30.

At that time New York City proper was overcrowded, rife with yellow fever, expensive, and dangerous. Intrepid New Yorkers began to realize that they could move to the wilds of Upper Manhattan and create a better life for themselves.  Thanks to a burgeoning public transportation system, they would be able to get to Lower Manhattan easily. (At least that was what this 1870 article in the New York Times argued.)

One of these small communities was Carmansville, located between 142nd and 158th Streets from the Hudson River to Broadway (according to the Iconography of Manhattan by I.N. Phelps Stokes Vol. 6 pg. 654) in present-day Washington Heights. It developed because it had a train stop on the Hudson River Railway at the foot of 152nd Street. But the biggest draw was the natural beauty of the area. According to Resolvid Gardner, speaking to the New York Times in 1909, 1860′s Carmansville was the destination for picnickers and other pleasure seekers who would spend the afternoon fishing in the Harlem River catching boatloads of crabs.

Paul Oscanyan. Carmansville and Hudson River. ca. 1885. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.11.3802.

Paul Oscanyan. Carmansville and Hudson River. ca. 1885. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.11.3802.

Carmansville even had its own fire department.

Paul Oscanyan. Carmansville Fire Department. ca. 1891. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.11.9135.

Paul Oscanyan. Carmansville Fire Department. ca. 1891. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.11.9135.

The most famous inhabitant of Carmansville was the naturalist and painter John Audubon whose estate, Minniesland, was at the foot of 156th Street.

William Rickarby Miller. Residence of J. J. Audubon Esq. 1858. From J. Clarence Davies Collection of the Museum of the City of New York. 34.100.41.

William Rickarby Miller. Residence of J. J. Audubon Esq. 1858. From J. Clarence Davies Collection of the Museum of the City of New York. 34.100.41.

The only remaining hint that Carmansville ever existed is a playground bearing its name on 152nd Street at Amsterdam Avenue.

Just eighty blocks downtown was the Harsenville community. Founded by the  Harsen family in 1763 at the area now bordered by approximately 81st Street to 68th Street, from the Hudson River to Central Park West. During its heyday it had approximately 500 residents in about 60 buildings and  boasted its own grocers, blacksmiths, and a village school. The center of the community was the Harsen homestead at 72nd and Broadway.

Unknown. Harsen Homestead, 72nd Street. ca. 1888. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.11.6166.

Unknown. Harsen Homestead, 72nd Street. ca. 1888. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.11.6166.

The march of modernity, however, was an ever-present threat to the future of both Harsenville and Carmansville, as this illustration from Harper’s Weekly shows.

Charles Stanley Reinhart (1844-1896). The March of Modern Improvement - Destruction of Old Buildings in Upper New York. 1871. Museum of the City of New York. 55.53.2.

Charles Stanley Reinhart (1844-1896). The March of Modern Improvement – Destruction of Old Buildings in Upper New York. 1871. Museum of the City of New York. 55.53.2.

Starting in the early 1870′s, the Harsens began selling their land and within just a few decades, what was a rural farming community was absorbed into the constant development that created the Upper West Side. The one remaining hint that it ever existed? The Harsen House condominium built in 1938 on 72nd Street.

Peremptory Sale. Harsen Estate. 1873. Museum of the City of New York. 43.116.11A.

Peremptory Sale. Harsen Estate. 1873. Museum of the City of New York. 43.116.11A.

New York history is nothing if not cyclical.  Fifty years later just south of where the Harsens lived was a tenement-filled area known as San Juan Hill (forever immortalized as the place where the fictional Tony and Maria fell in love in West Side Story). Instead of being named after the large Puerto Rican population that lived in the area, the name may refer to the influx of African American veterans who moved into the neighborhood after the Spanish American War or the frequent interracial street brawls.  In 1940 the New York City Housing Authority characterized the area as “the worst slum section in the City of New York.”  The entire neighborhood was razed to make way for Lincoln Center, but not before the movie version of West Side Story filmed the Sharks and the Jets rumbling in the old neighborhood.

Lee Sievan (1907-1990). San Juan Hill. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 92.70.1.

Lee Sievan (1907-1990). San Juan Hill. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 92.70.1.

The same basic story took place on the East Side between 14th and 23rd Streets from 1st Avenue to the East River.

Large & Peremptory Sale of 79 Desirable Building Lots on 16th, 17th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Streets, and on Avenue B, 1852. 1852. The J. Clarence Davies Collection at the Museum of the City of New York. 29.100.3348.

The first massive gas storage tank was installed in 1843 on the land that was once Peter Stuyvesant’s farm; many more soon followed.  As tends to happen, the gas tanks began to leak, emitting a noxious odor and earning the neighborhood the moniker Gashouse District. Beyond the smell, the neighborhood was run by the creatively-named Gashouse Gang, who, according to Herbert Asbury’s  endlessly entertaining Gangs of New York, averaged around 30 holdups a night.”  In short, it was not a desirable place to be, so of course the rents were cheap and the area became the first stop for recent immigrants.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) Elevated view of Stuyvesant Square and surrounding neighborhoods. ca. 1920-1935. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.23509.

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) Elevated view of Stuyvesant Square and surrounding neighborhoods. ca. 1920-1935. Museum of the City of New York. X2010.7.2.23509.

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991). Twentieth Street between Second and First Avenues. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 40.140.264.

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991). Twentieth Street between Second and First Avenues. 1939. Museum of the City of New York. 40.140.264.

By the 1940′s the old Gashouse District was fading and the criminals and underworld figures who were so ingrained in the streets were curtailed (slightly) by the construction of the FDR Drive.  In 1945 3,000 residents were relocated to Upper Manhattan. And then 600 tenement buildings,  three churches, and two theaters were razed to create Metropolitan Life’s idyllic suburban paradise Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for returning veterans.

Saving the most historic for the end, we have Cherry Hill. Located in what is now called Two Bridges, or more broadly the Lower East Side. In the 1700′s this was one of the most fashionable districts of New York. Old money families had mansions on streets lined with cherry trees.  It was so classy that George Washington lived at Number 1 Cherry Street during the first term of his presidency.

Samuel Hollyer (1826-1919). Washington's House, Cherry Street, 1788.  1901. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.5.38.

Samuel Hollyer (1826-1919). Washington’s House, Cherry Street, 1788. 1901. Museum of the City of New York. X2011.5.38.

But by the 1840′s Cherry Hill, and Cherry Street in particular,  was home to one of the worst tenements in New York. Gotham House was home to over 1,000 people living in terrible conditions. For all the lurid details and horrifying mortality rates, read this New York Times article.

Jacob A. (Jacob August) Riis (1849-1914). Gotham Court, 38 Cherry Street -- Double and Single Alley. ca. 1890. Museum of the City of New York. 90.13.2.12.

Jacob A. (Jacob August) Riis (1849-1914). Gotham Court, 38 Cherry Street — Double and Single Alley. ca. 1890. Museum of the City of New York. 90.13.2.12.

After Jacob Riis highlighted the horrors of Gotham Court in his expose How the Other Half Lives, the building was torn down. Constrained and isolated by both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges and by the opening of the FDR Drive in the 1940′s, the neighborhood became the home of the Alfred E. Smith public  houses honoring the former governor who grew up nearby.

Neighborhoods are constantly evolving in New York. Even now, you can’t go online without someone lamenting the death of an area. Between gentrification and constantly rising rents it seems like a  modern problem, but really it’s been happening for the past 400 years.

The Croton and Catskill Systems: Meeting the Demand for Water in New York City

Our earlier blog post illustrated the attempts city and private officials made to supply Manhattan with water, culminating in the successful flow of water from Westchester County to the city via the Croton Aqueduct in 1842 (hereafter called the Old Croton Aqueduct). This remarkable feat of civil engineering was unable to keep pace with New York’s rapid population growth, however, and was strained to capacity only 30 years after its completion.

Today New York City gets its water from the Croton, Catskill, and Delaware Systems, the first two of which are featured in this blog.  The images are part of a photograph album made from 1913-1917 when the donor, William Williams (1862-1947), was Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Water Supply, Gas, and Electricity under Mayor John Purroy Mitchel.

Croton System

What seemed to New Yorkers an abundant flow of water from the Old Croton Aqueduct in 1842 was deemed inadequate just a few years later. The city experienced an unanticipated population boom in the second half of the 19th century, due largely to a rise in immigration: in 1840, the population was 312,710; thirty years later in 1870 the population had more than tripled to 942,292. To satisfy demand, the flow of water was increased in the aqueduct. But another issue had emerged: the quality and quantity of water available was variable and vulnerable to droughts and landslides. The solution to this problem required improvements to the entire system and the project came to be known as the Croton Waterworks Extension.

Increasing storage capacity was one of the most important tasks for the Croton Waterworks Extension. The photograph below shows the first major component, constructed from 1858-1862 in what was later to become Central Park.

Photographer unknown. New Central Park Reservoir and North Gate Houses Croton System. ca. 1880-1900. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.113

Photographer unknown. New Central Park Reservoir and North Gate Houses Croton System. ca. 1880-1895. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.113

A few projects were delayed several years because of the Civil War. Manhattan’s ever-increasing population was moving further north, beyond the areas serviced by the Old Croton Aqueduct. To deliver water to this growing community, known as Carmansville, the High Bridge Reservoir and Tower were built from 1866-1873.

Photographer unknown. High Bridge Reservoir and Tower Croton System. ca. 1880-1895. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.106

Photographer unknown. High Bridge Reservoir and Tower [Croton System.] ca. 1880-1895. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.106

Although the Croton Waterworks Extension had successfully augmented water storage, the Old Croton Aqueduct was nearing its maximum capacity. Construction of the New Croton Aqueduct began in 1885, as shown in the pictures below.

Photographer unknown. New Croton Aqueduct - Typical Horseshoe Section in Open Cut Croton System. 1885-1893. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.101

Photographer unknown. New Croton Aqueduct – Typical Horseshoe Section in Open Cut [Croton System.] 1885-1893. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.101

Photographer unknown. New Croton Aqueduct - Cast-Iron Section Lining Croton System. 1885-1893. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.102

Photographer unknown. New Croton Aqueduct – Cast-Iron Section Lining [Croton System.] 1885-1893. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.102

Enough work had been accomplished by July 15, 1890 to allow water to flow to the Central Park reservoir via the New Croton Aqueduct. But the Croton System was far from complete; additional water storage was needed. Below is the Titicus Reservoir in Westchester County, completed in 1895.

Photographer unknown. Titicus Reservoir - Spillway and Waste Channel Croton System. ca. 1900. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.86

Photographer unknown. Titicus Reservoir – Spillway and Waste Channel [Croton System.] ca. 1900. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.86

The New Croton Dam near the village of Croton-on-Hudson in Westchester County was built from 1892-1906, and was the tallest dam at the time of its construction.

Photographer unknown. New Croton Reservoir - Waste Channel and Bridge Croton System. ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.95

Photographer unknown. New Croton Reservoir – Waste Channel and Bridge [Croton System.] ca. 1905. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.95

The Croton System was completed in 1911. Today it supplies about 10 percent of the city’s water.

Catskill System

In 1898 the consolidation of Kings, Queens, Richmond, and parts of Westchester counties into New York City increased the population to 3.5 million, up from 1.5 million in 1890. The disparate waterworks of these regions now fell under the city’s domain, and it was obvious more water was needed to sustain New York. A 1900 report focused on the southern Catskill region for obtaining new sources of water. In 1907 construction of the Catskill Aqueduct commenced, documented in the photographs below.

Photographer unknown. Bucket Used to Lower Men and Materials During Sinking of Tunnel Shafts Catskill System. ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.32

Photographer unknown. Bucket Used to Lower Men and Materials During Sinking of Tunnel Shafts [Catskill System.] ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.32

Photographer unknown. Typical Pressure Tunnel Construction Shaft Catskill System. ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.54

Photographer unknown. Typical Pressure Tunnel Construction Shaft [Catskill System.] ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.54

Photographer unknown. Tunnel Drills Working on Bench After Drilling Heading Catskill System. ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.33

Photographer unknown. Tunnel Drills Working on Bench After Drilling Heading [Catskill System.] ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.33

Photographer unknown. Drilling and Mucking Bench of Lower Half of Tunnel Catskill System. ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.34

Photographer unknown. Drilling and Mucking Bench [of] Lower Half of Tunnel [Catskill System.] ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.34

Photographer unknown. Rondout Pressure Tunnel Showing Partial and Total Concrete Lining Catskill System. ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.35

Photographer unknown. Rondout Pressure Tunnel Showing Partial and Total Concrete Lining Catskill System. ca. 1912. Museum of the City of New York. 42.172.35

The Catskill Aqueduct was completed in 1915, and the remainder of the Catskill System was finished in 1928. The Catskill System supplies over 40 percent of New York City’s Water.

Click here to see the entire photograph album.

Prepping the girls for “As the Girls Go”

Since October the Theater department has been busy preparing 30,000 images of theatrical productions for digitization and cataloging. Images will eventually be made available on our Collections Portal thanks to the support of a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  In the process of getting objects ready for digitization, our archival intern came across these rough proofs and final images prepared by the Lucas-Monroe studio for the musical As the Girls Go.  The photos offer a glimpse at photo manipulation  before the digital era.

Lucas-Monore [Scene from As the Girls Go] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.172

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Scene from As the Girls Go] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.172

As the Girls Go opened in 1948 at the Winter Garden Theatre, but it was set five years in the future, with the inauguration of America’s first female president. Opponents of the President attempt to drum up scandal by throwing a bevy of beautiful women into the path of her husband, played by vaudeville comedian Bobby Clark.  Lucas-Monroe put out a series of publicity shots featuring the tempting beauties.

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Unidentified actress preparing for photo shoot] 1948. 80.103.190

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Unidentified actress preparing for photo shoot] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.190

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Unidentified showgirl and with possibly Edward Thayer Monroe] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.189.

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Unidentified showgirl with photographer, possibly Edward Thayer Monroe] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.189.

The Lucas-Monroe studio began as Lucas-Pritchard in the mid-1930s. Photographer George W. Lucas and business manager Irving Pritchard formed a partnership that was later joined by portrait photographer Edward Thayer Monroe. The studio became known as Lucas-Monroe and captured hundreds of Broadway productions  until the company was dissolved in 1952. Lucas actually died ten years before, but Monroe was able to carry on the business successfully. (For more biographical information visit the excellent site on early Broadway photographers created by Dr. David S. Shields and hosted by the University of South Carolina.)

Of course, what beauty couldn’t use a little help here and there? Print alterations and image manipulations were standard practice in 1948.  See the rough proof below and the identified “problem” areas.

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Rough proof of unidentified showgirl from As the Girls Go] 1948. 80.103.192

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Rough proof of unidentified showgirl from As the Girls Go] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.192

The finished proof follows, and it is easy to see how the woman’s upper right arm was slimmed down, the sides of her torso sliced, and hair frizzies minimized.

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Unidentified showgirl from As the Girls Go] 1948. 80.103.191

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Unidentified showgirl from As the Girls Go] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.191

Even famed beauty and socialite Gregg Sherwood was unable to escape critique.

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Gregg Sherwood from As the Girls Go] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.194.

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Gregg Sherwood from As the Girls Go] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.194.

Her jacket is smoothed out, waist shaved, and anything close to tired eliminated from her face. Even the toe of her shoe was altered.

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Gregg Sherwood from As the Girls Go] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.193.

Lucas-Monroe Studio. [Gregg Sherwood from As the Girls Go] 1948. Museum of the City of New York. 80.103.193.

Alterations could be made a number of ways including re-touching with paint, ink, or airbrush, and manipulation of prints and negatives in the dark room. Digital camera technology and programs like Photoshop have made photo manipulation  infinitely easier and more prevalent.  So prevalent, in fact, that the debate on image alteration has been going strong for several years. Just last month a GIF of Jennifer Lawrence’s 2011 Flare cover surfaced online showing how much of the actress was cropped, cut, and shifted for the magazine’s final publication. The techniques for altering a model’s image have come a long way since As the Girls Go opened in 1948, but the practice hasn’t changed much and we have yet to elect a female President.

Stay tuned for more updates as we prepare, digitize, and catalog a wealth of images from the plays and musicals of the New York stage.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company

South Brooklyn isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of perq-filled employment in the early parts of the last century. If you happened to be working for the Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company, however, it would be a whole different story. Beyond the regular, often brutal work at the shipyard there would have been a constant whir of activities: dancing, games of tug of war, concerts, and team sports to name just a few.  The four albums in the City Museum’s collection from the Morse Dry Dock’s Employee Association paint a (probably highly idealized) picture of what it was like to be an employee of one of the largest ship repair/dry docks in the country at that time.

Founded in the 1880′s by Edward P. Morse, the company soon became known as the leader in steamship construction and the go-to company for maintaining the luxurious yachts of the fabulously wealthy. It also was the largest floating dry dock in the world in the World War I era (a dry dock raises the hulls of boats above water so they can be repaired, as seen below).

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Fire hose drill.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York.  F2013.130.2

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Fire hose drill.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.130.2.

Located in what is now considered Sunset Park, but then was considered Bay Ridge, the shipyard was between 55th and 57th Streets from First Avenue to the water. The complex had nearly 4,000 employees, ranging from welders to office clerks, who kept the whole shipyard sailing smoothly along.

The Morse Dry Dock was a pioneer in company culture and offered progressive benefits to their employees, including health insurance (good perq in a place where fingers routinely got separated from hands), paid sick time, and night classes so employees could improve their job skills.

The Employee Association was the main instigator for all these benefits. Comprised of annually elected employees, its aim was to make the shipyard the best possible place to work.  The Employee Association formed committees devoted to everything from putting on regular concerts and other entertainments  to the Conference Board, which dealt with solving employee complaints. The elections for positions within the Employee Association were shipyard-wide, hotly contested, and included fiery rhetoric and even parades.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Smith's parade of Employees' Association election.]. 1919. museum of the City of New York. F2013.130.4

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Smith's parade of Employees' Association election.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.130.4.

(And just in case you were wondering, Smith sadly did not win a place on the Employee Association.)

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company.  Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Voting in the Machine Shop Employees' Association election.] 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.130.7

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Voting in the Machine Shop Employees' Association election.] 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.130.7.

On another progressive note, women were allowed to vote in these elections, a whole year before the 19th Amendment was ratified.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Morse Dry Dock & Repair Co. Photographs [Women voting in the Main Office.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.132.10.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Morse Dry Dock & Repair Co. Photographs [Women voting in the Main Office.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.132.10.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Morse Dry Dock soccer team.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.133.11.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Morse Dry Dock soccer team.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.133.11.

But the most loved, or at least most documented, aspect of the Employee Association was sports. Above is the semi-pro, championship-winning soccer team, the Brooklyn Morse Dry Dock.  Members of the dry dock staff f0rmed a baseball team, multiple bowling teams, and participated in really just about every team sport out there.  The photographs reveal  the company’s deep investment in these teams: in 1919 the baseball team hired Bill Dahlen, a well-known baseball player for the Brooklyn Superbas (a precursor to the Dodgers), as the manager. He can be seen at the far left of the group shot of the 1919 baseball team.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Morse Dry Dock baseball team at Morse Oval.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.133.9.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Morse Dry Dock baseball team at Morse Oval.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.133.9.

By far the most amusing sport represented in these albums are the tug o’ war competitions staged between departments. (If anyone could tell me why they’re sitting on wooden boards, I’ll be eternally grateful.)

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Tug of war - Boiler makers versus farm gang.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.133.19.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Tug of war - Boiler makers versus farm gang.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.133.19.

The Morse Dry Dock employees also enjoyed boating excursions.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Employees Association excursion.]. 1919. Museum of the city of New York. F2013.133.16

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Employees Association excursion.]. 1919. Museum of the city of New York. F2013.133.16.

And women-only noontime dancing.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Women dancing at noon hour.]. 1920. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.133.30.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Women dancing at noon hour.]. 1920. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.133.30.

However, it wasn’t all fun and games. Morse Dry Dock played an important part in World War I. They were the head contractor for the Navy and were considered  a temporary government site; a company of soldiers was stationed there to protect the shipyard from any possible attack. Thankfully none came.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Flag being raised at the Pipe Fitting Shop.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.131.31.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co. [Flag being raised at the Pipe Fitting Shop.]. 1919. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.131.31.

But like most interesting tales, there was a subplot–all of these benefits and perqs were part of a fight against  the postwar influence of organizations like the Industrial Workers of the World and other unions. The Morse Dry Dock was highly successful at this:  in a 1919 walk-out only 600 men, about 15% of the workforce, left, the lowest percentage of any other local shipbuilding company. This loyalty to the company wouldn’t have happened without the Morse Dry Dock Dial, a publication the New York Times called one of the best “internal house organ” publications and one that helped curb the flow of “Bolshevist propaganda.”

As a companion to the photo albums held in the City Museum’s collection, the Morse Dry Dock Dial (digitized issues are found at the Hagley Digital Archives here) is an interesting, and actually quite amusing, look inside the company. Headed by Bert E. Barnes, formerly of the New York Sun, with other reporters from papers like the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and the Philadelphia Record, and covers occasionally drawn by Edward Hopper,  the monthly newspaper furthered the idea that the Dry Dock community was a family. As Barnes wrote in the January 1919 issue, “If any reader has taken a vacation, married, returned an umbrella, paid back a borrowed dollar, bought a horse, automobile or baby carriage, planted a war garden, built a chicken house, robbed a baby’s bank, made a speech, been reduced, promoted, received a raise, won anything, done anything, been in a fight, we’re glad of it, because that’s news.” And the paper followed that edict literally–the detailed gossip raised the collective eyebrows of the Museum’s entire digital team even in this age of online over-sharing. Celebrations of shipyard goals and sports victories, shared baby pictures,  and a small but obvious thread of propaganda run throughout the publication’s pages.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Morse Dry Dock Dial Staff [Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co.]. ca. 1918. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.134.8.

Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. Morse Dry Dock Dial Staff [Employees Association of Morse Dry Dock and Repair Co.]. ca. 1918. Museum of the City of New York. F2013.134.8.

 World War I was the highpoint for the Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company. It went out of business in 1963 after merging with other shipyards and changing its name a few times.  While Morse Dry Dock and Repair Company itself may be slowly fading into distant memory, the company culture they championed has taken on new life in this century in companies like Google and Pixar.

John Stephenson Company Streetcars

New York would not be the city it is today without the comprehensive public transportation infrastructure developed during the 19th and 20th centuries. One of the major players of this development was the John Stephenson Company, a streetcar manufacturer that not only outfitted the byways of New York, but supplied cities all over the world with public transportation vehicles.

Background

John Stephenson was born in Ireland on July 4, 1809 and immigrated with his parents to the United States two years later. As a teenager he was an apprentice to the coachbuilder Andrew Wade of 347 Broome Street. During his apprenticeship Stephenson built carriages for Abraham Bower, who had introduced the horse-drawn vehicle known as the omnibus to the streets of New York in 1827. Omnibuses were essentially public stagecoaches running along a specified route with a fixed fee for passengers. Upon completion of the apprenticeship in 1831, Stephenson opened his own carriage shop at 667 Broadway. The shop burned to the ground a year later, but Stephenson was not deterred – he reopened for business at 264 Elizabeth Street. By 1836 his business was successful enough to warrant a move to a bigger place -  Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue) between 132nd and 134th Streets. The print below shows the Harlem factory and features one of Stephenson’s standout designs, known as an x-frame or diamond car for the shapes cut by the latticework on the side of the vehicle. The design served more than just an aesthetic purpose: the truss supported the body of the car between two wheeled chassis.

Photolithograph by J. H. Bufford & Co. John Stephenson, Manufacturer of Rail Road Cars, Omnibusses, Post Coaches and Carriages of Every Description. ca. 1837. Museum of the City of New York. 45.293.1

Photolithograph by J. H. Bufford & Co. John Stephenson, Manufacturer of Rail Road Cars, Omnibusses, Post Coaches and Carriages of Every Description. ca. 1837. Museum of the City of New York. 45.293.1

John Stephenson’s business suffered a setback with the onset of the Panic of 1837 and was forced to close in 1842. But the tenacious Stephenson worked hard to pay off his debts and reopened again in 1843, at 47 East 27th Street, where the company would remain until 1898.

The photographs below were taken for the John Stephenson Company and donated to the Museum in 1944 by Mrs. Harry A. Thompson, great niece of John Stephenson and daughter of John A. Tackaberry, Vice President of the John Stephenson Company. The photographs are divided into the following unbound  photograph albums: Omnibuses, Fare-box Cars, Aisle Cars, Summer Cars, Closed Cars, Double-decker Cars, Special Cars, Electric Cars, Cable Cars, and Factory. Unless otherwise noted, all photographs were taken at the John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street.

Factory

Stephenson built his factory on 27th Street between Madison and Fourth Avenues, opposite the New York & Harlem Railroad depot at Fourth Avenue and 26th Street. By the time these pictures were taken, the depot had been demolished for the construction of Stanford White’s Madison Square Garden.

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown  photographer. Factory John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street. ca. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.453

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory [John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street.] ca. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.453

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory John Stephenson Company Factory at 47 East 27th Street. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.454

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory [John Stephenson Company Factory at 47 East 27th Street.] 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.454

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory Interior of the John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street, cabinet shop. ca. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.485

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory [Interior of the John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street, cabinet shop.] ca. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.485

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory Interior of the John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street, making a streetcar roof. ca. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.480

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory [Interior of the John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street, making a streetcar roof.] ca. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.480

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory Interior of the John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street, streetcar near completion. ca. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.481

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Factory [Interior of the John Stephenson Company factory at 47 East 27th Street, streetcar near completion.] ca. 1889. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.481

Omnibuses

Omnibuses eliminated the need to hire transportation and became so popular that by 1852, over 120,000 passengers utilized them daily in New York.[1]

In 1856, Stephenson manufactured 300 omnibuses for use in New York and other cities around the world [2]. Below is an omnibus destined for Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand.

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Omnibuses Dunedin City & Suburbs streetcar. ca. 1865. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.2

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Omnibuses [Dunedin City & Suburbs streetcar.] ca. 1865. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.2

The Pride of the Nation must have been one of the largest omnibuses ever constructed. Stephenson built the vehicle in 1875 and presented it at the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia.

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Omnibuses The Pride of the Nation streetcar. ca. 1875. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.13

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Omnibuses [The Pride of the Nation streetcar.] ca. 1875. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.13

Look at how many horses were needed to pull the Pride of the Nation, shown below in Madison Square. The fate of the vehicle is unknown; the omnibus was last seen in 1918 when it departed for a cross-country tour, pulled behind a gasoline tractor.

Photograph taken by J. H. Beal for the John Stephenson Company. Omnibuses The Pride of the Nation streetcar in Madison Square. ca. 1875. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.14

Photograph taken by J. H. Beal for the John Stephenson Company. Omnibuses [The Pride of the Nation streetcar in Madison Square.] ca. 1875. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.14

In 1832, John Mason improved on the omnibus by laying special tracks in the cobblestone streets of New York, providing a smoother, safer, and more efficient ride. Thus the market for horsecars, also called streetcars, was born. Stephenson supplied this market with different variations of the streetcar seen below.

Fare-box Cars

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Fare-box Cars Melbourne Tramway & Omnibus Co. Limited No. 30 Hotham & Melbourne streetcar. 1884-1898. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.28

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Fare-box Cars [Melbourne Tramway & Omnibus Co. Limited No. 30 Hotham & Melbourne streetcar.] 1884-1898. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.28

Aisle Cars

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Aisle Cars Irondequoit Park Railroad streetcar, Glen Haven & Irondequoit Bay. 1893-1894. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.94

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Aisle Cars [Irondequoit Park Railroad streetcar, Glen Haven & Irondequoit Bay.] 1893-1894. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.94

Summer Cars

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Summer Cars Bowery Bay Beach streetcar, Steinway via Ravenswood & Astoria. ca. 1883. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.133

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Summer Cars [Bowery Bay Beach streetcar, Steinway via Ravenswood & Astoria.] ca. 1883. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.133

Closed Cars

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Closed Cars Streetcar No. 147, Central Park, North & East Rivers to the Battery. 1860-1875. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.234

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Closed Cars [Streetcar No. 147, Central Park, North & East Rivers to the Battery.] 1860-1875. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.234

Double-decker Cars

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Double-decker Cars Empresa de Tramways de Lima No. 4 streetcar with knifeboard seating on upper deck. ca. 1875. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.272

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Double-decker Cars [Empresa de Tramways de Lima No. 4 streetcar with knifeboard seating on upper deck.] ca. 1875. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.272

Special Cars

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Special Cars Streetcar for use in China. ca. 1885. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.293

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Special Cars [Streetcar for use in China.] ca. 1885. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.293

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Special Cars Matamoros - Puebla streetcar for first-class passengers with side entrance. ca. 1880. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.300

Photograph taken by Waller for the John Stephenson Company. Special Cars [Matamoros - Puebla streetcar for first-class passengers with side entrance.] ca. 1880. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.300

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Special Cars Matamoros - Puebla streetcar for second-class passengers. ca. 1880. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.301

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Special Cars [Matamoros - Puebla streetcar for second-class passengers.] ca. 1880. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.301

Horsecars created their own problems, however: the need to feed, groom, and provide shelter for teams of animals; the enormous amounts of animal waste deposited on the streets; and the working limits of the animals themselves.

Cable Cars

Cable cars flourished from roughly 1880 to about 1890. They were an improvement over horsecars, but were rendered obsolete when Frank J. Sprague successfully electrified a street railway system in Virginia in 1888.

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Cable Cars Kansas City Railway Co. Nos. 18 and 17 streetcars, Woodland Avenue via 8th & 9th to Union Depot. ca. 1885. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.451

Photograph taken for the John Stephenson Company by unknown photographer. Cable Cars [Kansas City Railway Co. Nos. 18 and 17 streetcars, Woodland Avenue via 8th & 9th to Union Depot.] ca. 1885. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.451

Electric Cars

The photograph below shows a streetcar fitted with a Thomson-Houston motor, passing by Union Square.

Photograph taken by the Pach Brothers for the John Stephenson Company. Electric Cars Madison & 4th Avenue to Post Office, Central Park No. 12 streetcar with Thomson-Houston motor. ca. 1890. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.379

Photograph taken by the Pach Brothers for the John Stephenson Company. Electric Cars [Madison & 4th Avenue to Post Office, Central Park No. 12 streetcar with Thomson-Houston motor.] ca. 1890. Museum of the City of New York. 44.295.379

The End of an Era

John Stephenson died in 1893. The same year, another financial panic threatened to put the John Stephenson Company out of business. In 1898, the company moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey and shortly thereafter declared bankruptcy. The John Stephenson Company was taken over by another railroad car manufacturer and continued on until 1919, when the plant was sold and the assets were liquidated.

Around the same time, the last horsecar in New York ran its course on July 17, 1917. The New York Times lamented:

Passing through many changes, the line kept its honored place in the municipal railroad world until yesterday morning, when the last of the dirty old cars, with their faithful horses and husky drivers, were withdrawn, never again to reappear. What glory, therefore, that came to this giant and progressive city for maintaining the last horse-drawn car disappeared forever. We are now no more notable in transportation than Chicago or Philadelphia.

Photographer unknown. Last horse-car trip, Bleecker Street. 1917. Museum of the City of New York Photo Archives. X2010.11.9926

Photographer unknown. [Last horse-car trip, Bleecker Street.] 1917. Museum of the City of New York Photo Archives. X2010.11.9926

1. Randall Bartlett, The Crisis of America’s Cities (Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, 1998), 71.
2. John H. White, Horsecars, Cable Cars, and Omnibuses (New York: Dover Publications, 1974), 15.

Notable City Residences

8,336,697 people lived in New York City as of July 2012 according to the United States Census Bureau, and a lucky few of them live in fascinating places. Here we take a look at some the more interesting residences, images of which are featured in the Museum’s collection. All photographs were taken by Edmund V. Gillon and donated to the Museum by Blair Davis.

Brooklyn Heights

In 1965 the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) designated the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, bounded roughly to the north and the west by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, to the south by Atlantic Avenue, and to the east by Court Street, Cadman Plaza West and Old Fulton Street. This act ensured the preservation of the neighborhood’s signature brick and brownstone buildings, most of which were built in the 19th century, and the protection of the neighborhood’s tree-lined character, which has remained relatively unaltered since the Civil War. It is no surprise, then, that Brooklyn Heights has some of the most exceptional housing the city has to offer, including the four examples below.

Edmund V. Gillon. College Place. 1970-2000. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.468

Edmund V. Gillon. [College Place.] 1970-2000. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.468

Carriage houses are holdovers from times when horse-drawn vehicles were the primary method of transportation; the buildings stored carriages and horse tack. Although rendered obsolete by modern transportation, some carriage houses still exist in the city. The carriage houses in Brooklyn Heights were built around the mid-19th century and are often located on alleys or quiet side streets.

Edmund V. Gillon. 165 Columbia Heights. 1970-2000. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.792

Edmund V. Gillon. [165 Columbia Heights.] 1970-2000. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.792

Despite their humble origins, but perhaps because of their limited supply, carriage houses are now considered fashionable, highly desirable residences, and come with a corresponding hefty price tag. Renting a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom carriage house can set you back $10,000 a month. The carriage house pictured to the left was put on the market in 2008 for $7.2 million, but eventually sold in 2012 for $4.1 million.

Edmund V. Gillon. Riverside apartments, 4-30 Columbia Place. ca. 1975. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.92

Edmund V. Gillon. [Riverside apartments, 4-30 Columbia Place.] ca. 1975. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.92

 

The Riverside apartments  were built in 1890 by William Field & Son and financed by philanthropist Alfred Tredway White, whose motto was “philanthropy plus five percent. ” White accepted a limited return on his investment in exchange for building affordable housing for Brooklyn’s poor and working class families. The Riverside buildings occupied only 49 percent of the lot, which allowed space for an internal courtyard. White’s progressive ideas about housing were years ahead of the law, and more generous as well: in 1895 the New York Tenement House Law was changed to require that a new tenement occupy no more than 65 percent of its lot.[1] The Riverside received praise from Jacob Riis, who wrote in his 1890 book, How the Other Half Lives: “Its chief merit is that it gathers three hundred real homes, not simply three hundred families, under one roof.” Although four of the nine buildings in the Riverside complex were demolished to build the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the LPC nonetheless included the Riverside apartments in the 1965 Brooklyn Heights Historic District designation. At a time when housing for working and middle class New Yorkers is in dwindling supply, and developers declare “There are only two markets, ultraluxury and subsidized housing,” White’s business model is sorely missed.

Edmund V. Gillon. 70 Willow Street. ca. 1978. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.938

Edmund V. Gillon. [70 Willow Street.] ca. 1978. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.938

The Greek Revival house at 70 Willow Street was built around 1839 by Adrian Van Sinderen and is commonly referred to as the Capote house. From 1955 to 1965 Truman Capote rented a room in the house, where he wrote Breakfast at Tiffany’s. While he was living there he also noticed a news article about the 1959 murder of a Kansas family that would lead him to write  In Cold Blood. This three-story, 11-bedroom, 9,000-square foot mansion with the impressive pedigree recently sold for $12.5 million.

Roosevelt Island

Edmund V. Gillon. Octagon Tower. 1970-2000. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.570

Edmund V. Gillon. Octagon Tower. 1970-2000. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.570

Octagon Tower was part of the New York City Lunatic Asylum (later Metropolitan Hospital) on Roosevelt Island. It was built in 1835-1839 by Alexander Jackson Davis. In 1955 the hospital vacated the facility when it left Roosevelt Island for Manhattan. The buildings fell into a state of disrepair, as you can see in the picture to the right. But in 2006 the ruins were converted to luxury housing, with the newly restored Octagon Tower serving as the lobby entrance.

Nolita

Edmund V. Gillon. 190 Bowery. ca. 1975. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.788

Edmund V. Gillon. [190 Bowery.] ca. 1975. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.788

 You would never guess that the building pictured to the left at 190 Bowery is now a single-family residence. The former Germania Bank building was built in 1898-1899 by Robert Maynicke for its namesake, which served the middle class German residents who populated the area along and to the east of the Bowery, north of Division Street. The building functioned as a bank until the mid-1960s, when photographer Jay Maisel purchased it for $102,000. Maisel moved into the six-story, 72-room, 35,000-square foot building and continues to live there today with his wife and daughter, leading Wendy Goodman of New York magazine to declare 190 Bowery “maybe the greatest real-estate coup of all time.”

Greenwich Village

In 1969 the LPC designated the Greenwich Village Historic District which included the two structures pictured below.

Edmund V. Gillon. Washington Square Methodist Church, 135-139 West 4th Street. ca. 1972. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.300

Edmund V. Gillon. [Washington Square Methodist Church, 135-139 West 4th Street.] ca. 1972. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.300

The former Washington Square Methodist Church at 135-139 West 4th Street was built 1859-1860 by Gamaliel King and constructed of marble in the Romanesque Revival style. Just over 100 years later it became known as Peace Church for its opposition to the Vietnam War. From 1973 to 1984 Reverend Paul Abels served as the church’s pastor. Abels was the first openly gay minister in a major Christian denomination in the United States. Ahead of his time, Abels performed “covenant ceremonies” for gay couples unable to wed legally. In 2004 the shrinking congregation sold the building to a real estate developer, who retained the facade and converted the interior to luxury apartments.

Edmund V. Gillon. Portico Place, 143 West 13th Street. ca. 1985. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.417

Edmund V. Gillon. [Portico Place, 143 West 13th Street.] ca. 1985. Museum of the City of New York. 2013.3.1.417

Another church converted to residences is Portico Place. It was originally the 13th Street Presbyterian Church, built in 1847 in the Greek Revival style and attributed to Samuel Thomson. Over the years the congregation merged with other nearby Presbyterian churches and eventually came to be known as the Village Presbyterian Church. The congregation disbanded in 1975 and the building was placed on the market in 1977. In 1982, the former church became a 15-unit residential building.

1. New York (State). Tenement House Commission, The Tenement House Problem: Including the Report of the New York State Tenement House Commission of 1900, Volume 2 (New York: Macmillan, 1903), 275.