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The Riots and Radicals of Walhalla Hall

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

A mugshot of the anarchist Emma Goldman after she was arrested in Chicago in 1901. (Photo: Chicago Police Department via Library of Congress)

A mugshot of the anarchist Emma Goldman after she was arrested in Chicago in 1901. (Photo: Chicago Police Department via Library of Congress)

New York City reporters already knew all about Emma Goldman when she spoke to a group of unemployed Jews at Golden Rule Hall on August 17, 1893, one of the many venues on the Lower East Side that was home to dancing, music and radical politics. “If you are hungry and need bread, go and get it!” she intoned. “The shops are plentiful and the doors are open.”

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A Church Sheds Neon on the East Village’s Immigrant Past

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The neon cross on today's Father's Heart Ministries Church (Ilaria Parogni)

The neon cross on today’s Father’s Heart Ministries Church (Ilaria Parogni)

Late at night, red light splashes onto the sidewalk from a flashy neon cross affixed incongruously to the simple but elegant Gothic Revival façade of a red brick building on 11th Street between avenues A and B. “Jesus Saves,” it blares. Inside is the bustle of the Father’s Heart Ministries, where the work of the church’s succession of occupants over the past century and a half contradicts what that crass latter-day choice of illumination might otherwise portend.

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The Ghosts of Clinton Hall: Riots, Fire, and Scandal On Astor Place

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The old Astor Place Opera House. (Public Domain)

The old Astor Place Opera House. (Public Domain)

In 2012, when attendees of an anarchist book fair scuffled with police and attempted to smash the windows of the Starbucks on Astor Place, the mayhem—far uptown from Occupy Wall Street’s demonstrations at Zuccotti Park— seemed to come out of nowhere. But it was hardly the first instance of unrest staged at the onetime site of the Astor Place Opera House. Opened in 1847, the opera house catered to the wealthy residents of the neighborhood, singing an aria of exclusivity that offended the general public. It later became the stage for the Astor Place Riot, a bloody clash born out of tension between the rich and the poor in the theater world that forced the Opera House to shutter its doors.

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Veselka Will Close On Christmas, Once Again Changing With the Times

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

Veselka in the late 1960s (Courtesy: Veselka)

Veselka in the late 1960s (Courtesy: Veselka)

Anyone who wants Veselka’s famous pierogies, borscht and blintzes on December 25 will just have to wait. For the first time in more than 60 years ago, Veselka, the 24-hour Ukrainian restaurant at 144 2nd Avenue will close on Christmas Day.

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The Ladies Who Lunched (and Noshed) at 156 Second Ave.

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The southeast corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street today (Photo: Ilaria Parogni)

The southeast corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street today (Photo: Ilaria Parogni)

She shot him in the chin. Sigmund Bohn was on the third floor of Café Boulevard when Mary Olah materialized in front of him and pulled the trigger. It was December 20, 1904.

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‘Literally a Rat Hole’: How Seventh Street Squat Grew on a Governor’s Meadow

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

209 E 7 is tucked between Graffiti Baptist Church and the Lower East Side Ecology Center Garden. Credit: Nadeen Shaker)

209 E 7 is tucked between Graffiti Baptist Church and the Lower East Side Ecology Center Garden. Credit: Nadeen Shaker)

In late October, I emailed Fly, a resident of the former Seventh Street Squat, to tell her that I was able to find out when her home of two decades had been built. The six-story apartment building at 209 East 7th Street was completed in 1897. “Interesting!” she wrote back, “There is a marker on the top of our building commemorating 1899 as the year the building was completed.”

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The Loner, the Lover, and the Trap Door of the Merchant’s House

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The doorway of Seabury Tredwell's house as it appeared in the 1930s (New York Public Library)

The doorway of Seabury Tredwell’s house as it appeared in the 1930s (New York Public Library)

By the time she died in 1984, Helen Worden Erskine had racked up an eclectic but impressive set of interviews. The longtime New York World society writer spoke with Prince Charles of England and presidents Eisenhower and Truman, among other political and cultural luminaries. But she was perhaps most famous for her fascination with the opposite end of society: recluses.

In the late 1930s, Erskine wrote a series of sensationalistic articles about the Collyer brothers, two wealthy hoarders who had all of Harlem talking. Erskine and other reporters launched their careers writing about the sordid details of the brothers’ lives and death, including the nearly month-long search for one of their bodies in 1947, which was eventually discovered in their home beneath piles of junk.

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Jeff Koons Balloon Bunny Bout to Make Fanciest Drug Store this Side of Heaven

Photo by Kavitha Surana

Photo by Kavitha Surana

As construction around Astor Place continues to make things noisy and horrible around Cooper Square — for real though, navigating those sidewalks is beginning to feel a little bit like a game of minefield —  there’s a little pocket of weird opening up this Sunday that hints toward a strange future for the area.

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Renderings of Extell’s ‘Poor Door’ Released at Community Meeting

Photo by Kavitha Surana

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Now that the pile drivers have finished work on the foundations of Extell’s controversial 80-story behemoth on 252 South Street (known as One Manhattan Square), it’s pretty much a done deal.

And last night, a group of Lower East Side residents gathered at the Manny Cantor Center not to protest, this time anyway, but to discuss the inevitable construction issues (like the ones we started seeing almost immediately with the Domino development) and learn more details about the affordable housing portion of the development. Adding to the interiors released a couple weeks ago which included designer bags, the new renderings depict even more things to make rich people feel comfortable, including what’s essentially a “poor door” or, in this case, an entirely separate building.

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Williamsburg Basement Collapses, Injuring Three Construction Workers

146 Wilson (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

146 Wilson (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

When Joshua Alvarado drops his son off at Public School 16 in the mornings, he often notices busy construction activity at the brick row houses on Wilson Street, across from the school. But he’s never expecting what happened this morning. At 9:15 a.m. firefighters rushed to the scene of a construction disaster at 146 Wilson Street on Williamsburg’s south side. After an illegal excavation project went wrong, the basement-level collapsed, injuring three construction workers.

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4 St. Marks, Home of Alexander Hamilton Jr. and Now Trash & Vaudeville, Is For Sale

(Courtesy Eastern Consolidated)

(Courtesy Eastern Consolidated)

The former home of Alexander Hamilton’s son, which (for now) houses punk couture shop Trash & Vaudeville, can be yours for a mere $11.9 million. The four-story Federal-style building at 4 St. Marks Place promises “significant future upside,” according to a press release that touts the East Village’s new dorms, offices, and “wide array of hip restaurants and retail shops.”

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Want to Move Into This Fortresslike Bushwick Theater?

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Boarded up and covered in graffiti, the former Imperial Theater on the corner of Irving and De Kalb Avenue in Bushwick needs a serious facelift. Luckily it’s up for lease, and has been for the last two months, according to broker Justin Losh. “We’ve had a lot of interest, mainly from bars, restaurants and retail stores.” The real estate agent’s rendering shows light spilling out from an imagined “Irving Market,” with additional doors and windows having been added to the exisiting building.

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