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Blog Posts by Subject: New York City History

The Great Competition to Design Central Park and How It Was Won

The initial public proposal for “Plans for the Central Park” is reflected in a small classified advertisement in The New York Times: “The Board of Commissioners of Central Park offer the following premiums for laying out the Park … For the first … $2000.” Topographical sketches and certain “particulars” could be obtained at the Board and “must be presented by the First Day of March, 1858.”Read More ›

The Last Nostrand Streetcar: Max Hubacher's New York Photography

A prolific amateur photographer and local historian, Hubacher documented New York City and its environs with a seemingly objective eye, the typed or handwritten captions on the verso of each photograph often markedly specific in terms of date and location.Read More ›

August Author @ the Library Programs at Mid-Manhattan Library

We've got a selection of engaging author talks coming up this month at the Mid-Manhattan Library. Come listen to scholars and other experts discuss their recent non-fiction books on a variety of subjects and ask them questions.Read More ›

Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker Diary, Summer 1803

Health and disease in early New York City.Read More ›

New York on the Front Line: The Black Tom Island Explosion, July 1916

On Sunday morning, July 30, 1916, at 2:08 a.m., one of the worst terrorist attacks in American history took place at Black Tom Island, New Jersey, a shipping facility located in New York Harbor. Read More ›

Stonewall in Pictures

The White House designation of Stonewall as a national monument prominently featured LGBT historical materials from our Manuscripts & Archives Division, available online in our Digital Collections. Read More ›

Genealogy Tips: Searching the Census by Address

Ever wondered who lived in your home before you? Or having trouble finding great-grandparents in old census records? If you are so inclined, and want to search the census by address, to see who lived in your American house many moons ago, this post explains how you can do that. Even better, all the information is available online for free. You will need an address... Read More ›

Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker Diary, June 24, 1802

One woman's account of a parade of Freemasons in early-nineteenth-century New York City.Read More ›

Weird Food Photos of the New York World's Fair

The 1939-1940 World's Fair in New York City was billed as an exhibition that showcased the "Dawn of a New Day." As such, there was plenty of technological innovation on display, but perhaps some of the most memorable images of the event are those featuring food. Check out some of the wackiest food photos from the New York Public Library Digital Collections for some delicious laughs.Read More ›

Desfile Puertorriqueño | Puerto Rican Day Parade

Every year on the eve of the second Sunday of the month of June New York City holds the National Puerto Rican day parade. This is a celebration that takes over the entire city, fills it with beautiful events, festivals that display the beauty of the Puerto Rican culture.Read More ›

Things to Do in New York City with Kids: Time Travel Edition

A look at forgotten pastimes as well as classic activities that children can enjoy today with guidebooks for families, past and present.Read More ›

All About Historic Building Preservation

May is Historic Preservation Month! Here are some recommended reads to get you into the building preservation mood no matter where your interests lie.Read More ›

From Suburb to City and Back Again: A Brief History of the NYC Commuter

Facing more incoming commuters than any other county, Manhattan’s population nearly doubles each day. Learn about the history and rise of commuter culture in New York City.Read More ›

The Material Realities of Slavery in Early New York

A look at the history of slavery in early New York, through the estate of the manor lord, Adolphus Philipse.Read More ›

Podcast #107: Robert A. Caro and Frank Rich on Power and Corruption

Robert A. Caro is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for his books The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate and The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, the latter of which was written at the New York Public Library's Allen Room. Read More ›

Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker Diary, March 31, 1800

The story of a a sensational murder in early-nineteenth-century New York, told through a young woman's diary.Read More ›

Emigrant City: A Collaborative Resource

Find your great-great-uncle or the former owner of your apartment building: We’ve built an interface for you to browse records after searching names, addresses, and other fields.Read More ›

Reflections on Irish and Italian Immigration, Animosity, and Eventual Understanding

In his book, An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York’s Irish and Italians, Paul Moses recounts the history of two long-established immigrant groups that were so often in conflict.Read More ›

The Harlem Burial Ground

Another African Burial Ground was officially “discovered” in New York City a few days ago. If this is news to most, it is not to preservationists, historians, and archivists who have been aware of the existence of the cemetery for years. Read More ›

The Diary of Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker, 1799-1806

Periodically, for the next year, we will write blog posts featuring a single entry, or a series of entries, from the Bleecker diary: a source from and about New York City in its formative era.Read More ›
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