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A Tale of Two Evas: Marriage, Deceit and the Underground Baby Trade

Sketch from Jan. 14, 1891 edition of the “Evening World.”

Robert Ray Hamilton was 37 years old when he met his daughter for the first time. A year and a half later, he would die more famous than he had ever been, a tragic chump in a scandal that transfixed newspaper readers across the country. But in early January 1889, as he ducked past the Third Avenue Railway and entered a flat at 208 E. 14th St., the great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton could still make sense of his life. He was a well-respected state assemblyman, he owned real estate all over New York City, and descended from one of the young nation’s founding fathers. More →

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How Mariners’ Temple Survived Fire and Flux in Chinatown

Mariners’ Temple today. (Photo: Kayla Stewart)

On September 21, 1845, Rev. William R., Williams preached a sermon entitled “God’s presence in his sanctuary,” welcoming congregants back to their new edifice at 12 Oliver Street—or 3 Henry Street, depending on whom you ask. This was already one of New York City’s first Baptist churches, and it would continue to make history by serving every surrounding immigrant community. It would be the first church in the United States led by a black woman, and it would welcome predominantly black congregants near the heart of a bustling Chinatown, carrying a unique version of the message of hope and inclusion for all who walked through it doors. More →

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After Peter Luger, a Chophouse With Stakes in the New Williamsburg

Williamsburg Bridge in 1991 (Photo by Jet Lowe/Library of Congress)

At the end of October, Pete Wells didn’t use his knife to cut through Peter Luger’s vaunted porterhouse— instead he drove it directly into the heart of the 132-year-old steakhouse. “What gnaws at me every time I eat a Luger porterhouse is the realization that it’s just another steak,” Wells wrote in his review for the New York Times, “and far from the best New York has to offer.” He awarded the restaurant zero stars, his words as cold as the disappointing German fried potatoes. The same day, the New York Times released a (perhaps prematurely) companion article: “Readers Respond to the Pete Wells Review of Peter Luger: ‘Finally.’” This was a hit job, through and through.  More →

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From Governor’s Mansion to Russian Anarchist Hotbed

Drawing from Khleb Y Volia’s opening editorial; the caption reads, “Clear the road, old world,” while the flag reads Union of Russian Workers.

On Nov. 7, 1919, the second anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, US federal agents and New York City policemen, armed with clubs and blackjacks, raided a Manhattan apartment full of Russian-speaking immigrants at the headquarters of a Russian anarchist association. Inside were a few devoted anarchists belonging to the Union of Russian Workers and more than 200 undereducated Russian immigrants who were more or less clueless of the union’s full intent. “Wanton cruelty” and “brutality” was how the sociaist New York Call described the actions of the authorities during the raid. They arrested the immigrants, bloodied and bruised, jailed them, and tried them for sedition. Six weeks later, the USS Buford, an army transport ship the press jeeringly dubbed “the Soviet ark,” set sail from Ellis Island with 249 people aboard in the first mass deportation in US history.  More →

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A Firehouse Where Pioneering Feminists Have Carried the Torch

(Via Landmarks Preservation Commission)

Eleanor Cooper was determined to keep 243 West 20th Street from turning into an icebox. This almost seemed like a joke, if she thought about it, since the building had been a fire station not six years earlier and for decades and decades before that. The three-story firehouse was decrepit and absolutely freezing, but if she had to shovel coal into the furnace herself she’d do it to keep the Women’s Liberation Center open. More →

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The Dance Hall That Charmed Dickens in America’s First Slum

William Henry Lane, a famous tap dancer at Almack’s dance hall, located at 67 Orange St. (Drawing: 1850, courtesy of New York Public Library)

Charles Dickens toured Five Points for a day and found only two things he liked about it. One was the pigs. Dickens described the city swine in better terms than he described many of the local slum dwellers. The pigs were gentlemanly, self-reliant and confident, while the people had “coarse and bloated faces” and lived in houses of debauchery. Dickens surmised that the pigs, who lived in those houses too, smugly wondered why their masters walked on two legs instead of four.  More →

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In Brooklyn, Luxury Apartments Where Walt Whitman Once Worked With a Bright Heart

The expanded three-story office of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, circa 1898. (Courtesy of the New York Public Library Milstein Digital Collection.)

Leaning against the rattling doors of a Brooklyn-bound train, their noses to the ground even as they cross the East River, commuters easily miss the glass clock face at the top of the red brick building that originally housed the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Today, the clock hands are still, their purpose only ornamental. With the clock’s back removed, it serves as a round window for the residents of the co-op at 28 Old Fulton Street. But a century and a half earlier, it was a ticking heartbeat for the Fulton Ferry district in its most bustling era. More →

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Performance Picks: Bowie Cabaret, Country Christmas, Asian Drag


(photo: Hanneke Wetzer)

Where Are We Now
Now through December 21 at La MaMa, 8:30 pm: $26 ($21 students/seniors)

Even though he’s not physically with us anymore, the spirit of David Bowie lives on through the musician’s storied legacy and acclaimed, sparkling body of work. All over, people are having Bowie-centric dance parties, Bowie-themed burlesque shows, and other tributes within the realm of nightlife. The latest of these you can catch is in the form of Dutch-German cabaret performer Sven Ratzke’s Where Are We Now, an intimate evening of storytelling and Bowie’s music, arranged simply for piano and voice. Ratzke has received international acclaim for his performances over the years, with particular attention given to his ability to seemingly transform into the Starman himself.

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Art This Week: Sci-Fi Meets Reality and Holiday Shows

An Evening With Muses
Opening Wednesday, December 18 at Ace Hotel New York, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 20.

Whether it’s a ticketed drink and draw event, a university art class, or a 1-on-1 arrangement, the IRL relationship between artist and model is alive and well these days, though it’s still usually more of a private affair. But on Wednesday, art models Najee and Ume will take to the Ace Hotel to pull back the curtain for all to see with the exhibition An Evening With Muses, which is based on a live drawing series they held at The Ace’s restaurant. On view will be work created in those live sessions, showcasing the many different ways that artist can represent muse. And to show you how it all happens, there will also be a live drawing presentation.

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