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Blog Posts by Subject: New York City History

How to Find Historical Photos of New York City

Researchers commonly seek photographs of places in New York as they once existed in history. HistoryPin.com and WhatWasThere.Com have done admirable work in placing historic photos in their geographic context, however they represent but a fraction of available photos, and associated descriptive metadata can vary in accuracy and precision.Read More ›

July Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Gangsters and true crime, New York City history, financial literacy, MacArthur, FDR, Khrushchev, Lindsay, Main Street, U.S.A., travel, learning and self-discovery, climate change, foreign policy, the collective afterlife, and great pizza are among the wide-ranging topics coming up at our Author @ the Library talks in July 2014! We hope you’ll join us for insightful discussions with the authors of these 

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Education Innovation @ NYPL Summer Institute for Teachers 2014: Integrating Primary Source Materials into Your Classroom

Love history and literature? Original archival documents? Are you interested in new ways to incorporate primary source materials into your lesson plans? NYPL is looking for you!Read More ›

Peeling Off The Painted Layers of NYC Walls: Experiments With The Google Street View Archive

As a web developer who works on a screen and an illustrator that works on paper, I have always admired those who could paint big—often on impossibly large and inconveniently placed walls—only to be erased in a matter of weeks or days. The ephemeral nature of street art is what makes it simultaneously appealing and frustrating as a viewer. However, Google Maps recently rolled out a feature allowing users to go back in 

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From the Archives of the Century: The Century Foundation & NYC, Part I

In 2012, the Manuscripts and Archives Division acquired the records of the Century Foundation, a non-partisan research institute based in New York City previously known as the Twentieth Century Fund and originally founded as the Cooperative League. Since its founding, the Century Foundation (TCF) has supported the creation and dissemination of progressive policy ideas through the funding of books, position papers, pamphlets, task forces, and conferences that address current issues faced in the United States economy and democracy. The Century Foundation records document the governance of the Read More ›

New York Punk Rock: A Basic History

The theme for Anti-Prom 2014 is New York Punk Rock. The golden age of punk rock in NYC was from 1974 to 1981. When clubs like CBGBs and Max's Kansas City ruled the scene and bands like Television, The Ramones, Blondie, Suicide and Patti Smith were its kings and queens. Read More ›

Historical Maps in Minecraft

At a recent internal hacking event here, NYPL Labs developer Paul Beaudoin recruited me into an interesting project: transforming one of the library's 20,000 digitized historical maps into the three-dimensional world of the building game Minecraft.

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Can You Help Find the Descendants of Seneca Village?

Anthropologists Diana Wall, Nan Rothschild, and Cynthia Copeland of the Seneca Village Project want to hear from "anyone who has heard family stories or has other reasons to believe that he or she is a descendant of residents of Seneca Village."Read More ›

Our Favorite, Most Absorbing, Compelling, and Pleasurable [True!] Tales of New York City

The Milstein Division of United States History, Local History & Genealogy recommends our favorite, most readable, most memorable New York City nonfiction. These are the true stories of New York that engaged us, that intrigued us, and that we thought you might like to read as well.Read More ›

Branch Special Collections

Several branches throughout the three boroughs have special collections that focus on local history or are of special interest to their respective communities.Read More ›

Palaces of Consumption: The History of Department Stores

A.T. Stewart opened New York City’s first department store in 1846. New Yorkers flocked to the palazzo style “Marble Palace," on Broadway between Chambers and Reade Street to browse through a wide array of merchandise arranged by department.Read More ›

Three Reads: Bad Guys of Gilded Age New York

Here are three books about some of our fine city's bad guys, lying, cheating, and stealing their way through the 1890s.Read More ›

Memory Circles Bring History to Life at Jefferson Market Library

Jefferson Market Library was alive with the energy of storytelling last Thursday, March 13th as storytellers and interviewers for the Greenwich Village Oral History Project took over the library. It was an evening of Memory Circles, or recorded group oral histories, in which participants talked with each other about their shared recollections on particular Greenwich Village themes.Read More ›

March Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

A new approach to health care reform ... 20 years of Harlem Street Portraits ... humanist architecture ... The Extreme Life of the Sea ... New York City's unbuilt subways ... mothers ... the power of storytelling ... a century of candy ... New York's lost amusement parks ... the public library ... 11 missing men of WWII ... great city planning.Read More ›

February Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Who was Miss Anne in 1920s Harlem? How did George Washington define the American presidency? What is keeping a majority of Americans from eating well? Can the world’s most endangered big cat be saved? How can we improve brain performance at any age? What fascinating stories does Murray Hill have to tell? Find out at Mid-Manhattan this month!Read More ›

January Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

A mystical history of NYC below Chambers Street… the link between our financial and environmental crises… the life and photographs of Ansel Adams… our

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ON THE AIR: Music Landmarks in NYC - Yankee Doodle to Jay-Z

Pearl Street Native/Indigenous

AIR is a Native American and ancient colloquialism for music and voice, as heard upon the earth. Musicians and singers performed at festivals at sacred places like Pearl Street, where shells mounded for centuries, in Lenape tradition, to honor and "give thanks" for the sun, moon, stars, rain, wind and all elements of the air.

New Amsterdam. ca. 1625 - People arrived to the various ceremonies and festivals along the East River shoreline via rafts, canoes and by walking down the main island trail (widened for vehicles in the 

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December Reader's Den: An Introduction to Caleb Carr's The Alienist

"An ungodly pummeling on the door of my grandmother's house at 19 Washington Square North brought first the maid and then my grandmother herself to the doorways of their bedrooms at two o'clock on the morning of March 3, 1896."

The gruesome case at the heart of Caleb Carr's The Alienist begins at this ungodly hour in an ungodly time of New York City's history, the turn of the 20th century, that brutal period when Teddy Roosevelt served as New York City Police Commissioner. This 

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November Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan

Is Detroit City really the place to be? What happens in a typical day at a busy NYC hospital? How does a traveler lose himself all over the globe? Is it possible for the government to achieve full employment in 

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Classroom Connections: 'New York, Then & Now' Immigration to Washington Heights/Inwood (Gr. 6-8)

The story of immigration to America is a rich tapestry whose opposing threads, oddly for how much they reject each other's reality, hang together as one. It outrages us and gives us hope in frighteningly equal measure.

Nowhere is this truer than New York City, a city of extremes in every sense. The community known as Washington Heights/Inwood originally spanned from 135th Street north to the top end of Manhattan Island, surrounded by the Hudson River on the west and the East River with Spuyten Duyvil's deadly currents in between. Its land is the highest ground in 

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