New York

AMERICAN CHARACTERS

Lincoln Steffens was a young reporter for the Commercial Advertiser during the late 1890’s, and he always remembered it as a grand time for a New York City newspaperman: “There was the Cuban war, the Boer war, and best of all—T Read more >>

He loved women so much he painted wings on them. After years of neglect, he is now being appreciated.

VISITORS TO a performance by the Kneisel String Quartet in New York City one autumn afternoon in 1894 may well have been distracted from the sonorities of Beethoven by a strangely dressed man in the audience. Read more >>
It sits like an exclamation point at the easternmost tip of Long Island and has done so for 184 years—making the Montauk Point Lighthouse one of the oldest in the United States. It also has the distinction of having been authorized by President George Washington himself. Read more >>

A photographic portrait of Lake Placid, New York, in the pre-Olympic Age

The Algonquin Indians, legend has it, called the natives who inhabited the mountains of upstate New York ” Adirondacks,” or “Those Who Eat Bark.” And so the mountains got their name—although by the end of the nineteenth century not many of those who came to t Read more >>
For years passengers travelling the railroad between New York City and Albany were stirred from their reveries by a Scottish castle looming suddenly from the Hudson River. An outpost of nearby West Point? Read more >>
On the fifth of January, 1818, a skeptical crowd peered through a blizzard to where the packet James Monroe lay at anchor in New York Harbor. Read more >>
They don’t look like much. Read more >>

Her life preservers weighted with scrap-iron, her lifeboats mere decoration, the excursion steamer General Slocum left New York’s Third Street pier at 9:30 on the morning of June 15,1904, with thirteen-hundred picknickers bound for a Long Island beach. Less than an hour later, she was afire.

June in Middle Village—a time of flowers. Along block after block in that quiet section of Queens in New York, front yards glow with their colors. Roses by the thousands, the tens of thousands. Read more >>
“The most helpful thing I can think of,” Louis Tiffany once wrote, “is to show people that beauty is everywhere…up-lifting…healthgiving.” He showed that beauty most memorably in the opulent, iridescent, glass that made a Tiffany vase or lamp the hallmark of a Read more >>
During the spring of 1825 a handful of prisoners were landed on the shore of the Hudson River at Mt. Pleasant to begin construction of a new penitentiary. For six months they toiled under the wary eyes and ready muskets of their keepers, sleeping in tents and lean-tos. Read more >>

A ponderous memorial to a people who refused to vanish

A young girl’s memories of life in a community haunted by

The mothers of my childhood friends paid special attention to me, and I never understood why. Read more >>

When Theodore Roosevelt—Harvard-educated, dandified, and just twenty-three—arrived in Albany as an assemblyman in 1882, the oldpols dismissed him as a “Punkin-Lily,”and worse. They were in for a shock.

An exclusive preserve of New York’s social elite —its rise, its flourishing years, and its slide into genteel decline

In a gazetteer of the geography of high society, Tuxedo Park, New York, might properly be described as a village (pop. 972), 40 miles NW of the Union Club in New York City, once famous for its rarefied social climate. Read more >>

The ups and downs of the invention that forever altered the American skyline

Of the mechanical wonders placed on view in the Crystal Palace, the great iron-and-glass exhibition hall erected in New York City in 1853 to house America’s first world’s fair, one of the most popular was a towering machine that was destined to transform the Read more >>
In 1693 the people of New York had more to worry about than a fiscal crisis, as the newly revealed documents on these pages attest. Read more >>

Paul Robeson was giving a concert. It ended in a riot that foreshadowed the McCarthy era of the 1950’s

In most ways and in most places, Labor Day weekend in 1949 was the quiet, lazy end-of-summer occasion that Americans long have cherished. Read more >>

Besides being a bigot, a fop, and a thief, the British governor Lord Cornbury, had some peculiar fetishes

Despite their many differences, Queen Anne’s North American colonies all shared a decent respect for propriety—or at least the appearance thereof. Read more >>

A gathering of turn-of-the-century paintings

Our cities began as muddy accidents. Read more >>

No other impresario ever matched the record of the indomitable Max Maretzek in bringing new works and new stars to America

He was called “the indomitable Max,” “the indefatigable Max,” “the hardy pioneer,” “the Napoleon of Opera.” About that Napoleonic designation Max Maretzek himself disagreed. Read more >>

Would the great fighter come over for the Union? Italian freedom and lead troops Lincoln hoped so

In the summer of 1861, when the newspaper generals in New York clamored for a clash of arms to put down the Confederate rebellion, the battle and the recriminations came sooner than expected. Read more >>
As Lincoln lay dying from an assassin’s bullet across the street from Ford’s Theatre through the grim night of April 14, 1865, frequent bulletins on his sinking condition clicked between the major American cities along the country’s spreading web of Morse tel Read more >>

The fastest man in the air competed with the Wrights for ten years, became rich, and awakened America to the air age.

America has long been celebrated as a nation of inventive tinkerers. Read more >>

The happy meeting of a young matron and an extraordinary camera produced a memorable record of turn-of-the-century America

The little group of figures below, who have composed themselves with such artless grace on a sun-dappled lawn beside a lake, were photographed in the first decade of this century by an ingenious camera called the Number 4 Panoram Kodak. Read more >>
Today the place is one great migraine headache of noise and neon, and it takes a very observant visitor indeed to pick out the few pathetic remnants of the old glory: a scrap of decorative wrought iron on top of a building, a carved wooden allegory in the cla Read more >>
Outside, winter rains pelted the hard earth and frozen waters where the Hudson and Mohawk rivers meet. Inside the magnificent manor house a sick old man sat with his son. The son noticed the old man’s stillness and tried his pulse. Read more >>

Was there really a conspiracy to burn the town?

In January, 1708, a Mr. William Hallett, Jr., of Newton, Long Island, was murdered in his sleep with his pregnant wife and his five children. Two of Hallett’s slaves, an Indian man and a Negro woman, were tried for the crime and found guilty. Read more >>

Carl Fisher thought Americans should be able to drive across their country, but it took a decade and a world war to finish his road

When Carl Graham Fisher, best known as the builder and promoter of Miami Beach who started the Florida vacation craze, died in 1939 the New York Times pointed out that he brought about a far more significant change in the life-style of modern America in his earlier and less conspicuous role as the creator of the idea of the Lincoln Highway, the first automobile road from New York to California. Read more >>
At one point in the Battle of White Plains an American militiaman whose unit was temporarily not engaged with the enemy called out to a nearby civilian: “Who’s ahead?” The civilian, holding a small square object up to one ear, replied: “Oakland, 3 to 1.” Read more >>

Second in a series of paintings for
AMERICAN HERITAGE

Mid-October of 1776 found a badly beaten American army in full retreat from Manhattan Island into the forests and farmlands of Westchester County. Read more >>