Today in 1849 The Common Council votes to begin illuminating Washington Square with gas lights.
This Day in History
Support the New-York Historical Society
Help us present groundbreaking exhibitions and develop educational programs about our nation's history for more than 200,000 schoolchildren annually.
The New-York Historical Society and NYC Media, the official network of the City of New York, have partnered to produce a special series of 90 one-minute videos that feature the staff of the New-York Historical Society as they answer some of the most captivating questions ever posed to them about the City’s fascinating and unique history. And now, the series has been nominated for a New York Emmy award!
Credit is generally given to Samuel Parkes Cadman, a Brooklyn Congregational minister and the first great "radio pastor" (memorialized in Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza Park). However, Cadman was not the first person to use this phrase. A visiting Londoner named Alan Francis described the Woolworth Building as a "cathedral of commerce" several years before Cadman in a New York Times article.
The Grand Concourse was built between 1902 and 1909 to allow easy access to the large parks in the Bronx. It runs four and a half miles from 138th Street to Mosholu Parkway. Like the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the Grand Concourse features a wide central thoroughfare flanked by service roads and sidewalks. It is line with six-story apartment buildings, many in the Art Deco style.
Between the 1920s and 1960s, five east-west expressways were planned for Manhattan. Their greatest champion was state and city official Robert Moses, who wanted to modernize New York City for the "automobile age." The Lower Manhattan Expressway and the Mid-Manhattan Expressway were debated for many years. However, growing opposition from officials, community activists and the general public prevented the highways from being built.
The first of its kind in the United States, the Tenth Street Studio Building was designed expressly for use by visual artists. Opening in 1857, the building provided outstanding work space as well as a place where artists could exchange ideas, teach, exhibit and sell their work, making it symbolic of an era in which artists promoted both their work and themselves.
The distinctive house was built in 1903 for Isaac Rice, lawyer, musicologist and inventor who named in Villa Julia, for his wife. A chess promoter, Rice invented an opening move called the Rice Gambit. Although the Riverside setting seemed peaceful, Julia became a crusader against noise pollution. A Yeshiva since 1954, it still has a chess room and soundproof chambers.
Hale is remembered for his supposed last words, "I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," but other facts surrounding Nathan Hale's death are also murky. Accused of burning New York as Washington retreated, it's long believed that Hale was captured and executed by the British in Lower Manhattan. However, a British officer's papers now retained by the New-York Historical Society place the site near today's 77th Street and 3rd Avenue.