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Blog Posts by Subject: New York City History

Genealogy Research on the Front Page

Genealogy and local history research is not often headline-making news, but resources in The New York Public Library's Milstein Division are highly relevant to controversies currently flashing big across the news ticker. Read More ›

15 Open House New York Sites You Can Research at NYPL

What's Open House New York? It's an invitation to explore the city. Every October, the five boroughs open up for the annual weekend—this year on October 14 and 15, with over 200 buildings and projects. Can't make it? In honor of the festival's fifteenth anniversary, I selected fifteen long-time participants you can explore more through NYPL resources.Read More ›

New York and the American Revolution: Resources at NYPL

Interested in learning more about New York's role, and the early battles of the American Revolution? Inspired by Hamilton? Here are some of the resources I consulted for @NYPLHistory.Read More ›

Get NYPL Digital Collections Tab for Your Browser

NYPL's new browser extension shows a curated image of New York City every time you open a new tab. Know where in New York City the photo was taken? With just a few clicks, you can geotag the image and help enhance NYPL's collections. Read More ›

Informed Archives: The Straphangers Campaign and the NYC Subway System

Much attention has been paid lately to the MTA during what has been termed the “Summer of Hell.” Instead of simply bemoaning the current state of affairs, we can look to a citizen’s group that has been actively working toward improving the City transit system for almost forty years.Read More ›

Genealogy Tips: New York Cops in The City Record

Researchers will often ask librarians in the Milstein Division about where to find historical “police records.” If a researcher is looking for an individual who was in law enforcement, The City Record might be a helpful resource.Read More ›

Voices Buried in the Ash Heap: Private Waste Disposers, Scavengers, and the 1939 World’s Fair

Studying the history of garbage teaches you that treasures can often be found in unexpected places. This was certainly true of my research at The New York Public Library.Read More ›

Exploring a Kingsbridge Connection in Central Park

Several months ago, I learned that there was a plaque in Central Park indicating that the old Kingsbridge Road had once run through that area. Up until that moment, the only current Kingsbridge markers I knew about were in the Bronx. So I decided to investigate, and that led to a long and bizarre adventure that didn’t end exactly the way I planned.Read More ›

Share Your Mid-Manhattan Memories

We are looking for volunteers to share memories of their time spent at the Mid-Manhattan Library. These memories will then be displayed in a curated gallery dedicated to the largest circulating library in Manhattan.Read More ›

Lower East Side Story: Beth Hamedrash Hagodol

The Library has a number of items that highlight the development and presence of synagogues in New York City, including at least one photographic collection wherein Beth Hamedrash Hagodol features prominently. This post pays tribute to the building, with a short history, and a view back to better days.Read More ›

Informed Archives: The Environmental Action Coalition and the Birth of Earth Day

In January 2017, thousands gathered on Fifth Avenue and the surrounding area for the Women’s March. But this wasn’t the first time that this street was the home for a massive demonstration: almost fifty years ago, it was a primary thoroughfare for the first Earth Day celebration.Read More ›

Christopher Gray: an Appreciation

Architectural historian and New York Times columnist Christopher Gray died last week. He was 66. Milstein Division librarians took a moment to reflect on Gray's work, and his impact on the written history of New York City and research of its built environment. Read More ›

Food and Celebration: A Reading List from Open Book Night

Last month when we gathered for Open Book Night, our theme was food and celebration. Oysters came up several times as well as some fictional meals that were far from celebratory. We heard about favorite cookbooks and food memoirs and a few titles readers really enjoyed that had little to do with food but fit the mood.Read More ›

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime"

A look at the White Studio photograph from the 1932 edition of the revue Americana. Read More ›

Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker Diary: October 8, 1800

A story of financial fraud, failure, and a tragic suicide in early New York City, told from the diary of Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker.Read More ›

New York Public Library Digitizes 137 Years of New York City Directories

New York Public Library is digitizing its collection of New York City Directories, 1786 through 1922/3, serving them free through the NYPL Digital Collections portal. The first batch—1849/50 through 1923—have already been scanned, and the 1786–1848/9 directories are right now being scanned. The whole collection will be going online over the coming months.Read More ›

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 ›
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