Did you realize that there used to be a working dairy in Prospect Park?! The Dairy’s cows provided fresh milk for sale. Before pasteurization, access to fresh milk was vitally important. Once spoiled, the liquid could make children sick. Just a decade before the opening of Prospect Park, contaminated milk gripped NY public consciousness in the 1850s with the deadly Swill Milk Scandal.
For more history about Brooklyn’s 150-year-old park, join us tomorrow, Saturday, July 14th @ 1:00 PM for our “Prospect Park” tour. And to learn more about Swill Milk and the NY Swill Milk scandal, join us for our “Brooklyn Distilled” tour tomorrow, July 14th @ 2:00 PM or July 20th @ 1:00 PM! IMAGE: “The Dairy. Prospect Park, Brooklyn, N.Y.,” from @nypl. #bigoniontours#dairy#cottage#prospectpark#brooklyn#olmsted#vaux#stereograph#freshmilk#milk#swillmilk#swillmilkscandal#foodhistory#loststructures#fbf
July 10, 1804…the day before the infamous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. The Wogdon dueling pistols are checked and rechecked. The English pistols were property of Hamilton’s brother-in-law, John Barker Church, and had been used in at least two other duels - 1799, Church vs. Burr (neither injured) and 1801, Philip Hamilton vs. George Eacker (Philip, Alexander’s 19 year old son, also shot in Weehawken and with the same weapon, died). The pistols are currently owned by JPMorgan and held at the company headquarters at 270 Park Avenue, Manhattan. Purchased by Chase Bank in 1930, Chase has direct lineage to Aaron Burr’s firm, The Manhattan Company…and one of the multiple disputed between Hamilton and Burr.
On July 11, 1804, the Vice President of the United States shot the former Secretary of the Treasury and prominent “founding father”. Hamilton died in the home of Mr. William Bayard at the modern day address of 82 Jane Street. His funeral took place on July 14, at Trinity Church. Hamilton is buried in Trinity Church, corner of Wall Street & Broadway. His wife, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, lies beside him. We dare not call the cause of death a duel…as dueling is illegal in New York City and in the eyes of the church and he is buried in consecrated ground.
To learn more about Hamilton, Burr, and the tumultuous era, join us on Thursday July 12 at Noon, for “The Financial District” and at 1 p.m. Greenwich Village.
Images: Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1801. National Portrait Gallery. The Wogdon dueling pistols. Aaron Burr, 1802 by John Vanderlyn. New-York Historical Society. #bigoniontours#alexanderhamilton#aaronburr#duel#1804#americanhistory#jpmorgan#trinitychurch#fidi#weehawken#wogdonpistols#greenwichvillage#walkingtour#guidedtour#thedaybefore
General Richard Montgomery was killed on December 31, 1775 leading the Continental Army in an attack on Quebec City in the middle of a snowstorm. After the battle, Montgomery’s body was recovered by the opposing British forces, who buried him with full British military honors (Montgomery had, after all, been an officer in the British Army during the French and Indian/Seven Years' War and Pontiac’s War). Continental Congress, saddened by the news of Montgomery’s death, quickly responding by commissioning a memorial for the General on January 25, 1776 (the first Revolutionary War monument created in the U.S.), which was installed on the east wall of St. Paul’s Chapel in NYC after the war, in 1787. The War of 1812 created renewed interest in General Montgomery, which resulted in a campaign to return his body to the United States. In 1818, the Governor of New York, Stephen van Rensselaer, received permission to move Montgomery’s remains from Quebec to NYC. And, on July 8, 1818 (200 years ago today), Montgomery’s remains were interred in a tomb beneath his monument at St. Paul’s Chapel.
Join us tomorrow, July 9th @ 1:00 PM for our tour of “Revolutionary New York — Hamilton, Washington, and War” to walk the length of the colonial city of New York and discuss the important people, places, and events of NYC’s Revolutionary War history. IMAGES: 1. Detail, John Trumbull, “The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775,” 1786, in the Yale University Art Gallery; 2. Richard Montgomery’s tomb memorial at St. Paul’s Chapel. #bigoniontours#generalrichardmontgomery#richardmontgomery#battleofquebec#december31#1775#americanrevolution#revolutionarywar#johnttrumbull#deathofgeneralmontgomery#montgomerymemorial#first#memorial#stpaulschapel#tomb#july8#1818#onthisday#200thanniversary#return#quebec#nyc#quebectonyc#finalrestingplace#revolutionarynewyork#americanhistory#walkingtour
Architect George B. Post’s 1885 building at 142-144 Beekman Street/211 Front Street in the South Street Seaport District is a charming reminder of one of the neighborhood’s most conspicuous trades into the 20th century: the Fulton Fish Market. For most of its life, this building held businesses related to the fish market across the street: the first occupant was a fish dealer named Samuel T. Skidmore, and, later, the building was home to Western Union, where telegraphed information would be sent to or received from fishing captains. Post delightfully designed this building with the local fish market in mind, drawing inspiration for his terra-cotta ornamentation from the creatures of the sea: fish on the keystones above the windows, starfish for the tie rod anchor plates, and seashells in the cornice.
Join us by the water in the Historic South Street Seaport tomorrow, July 3rd @ 11:00 AM to see Post’s building for yourself and learn more about the Fulton Fish Market—and much more! Can’t make it tomorrow? We’re also be offering our “South Street Seaport” tour on Sunday, July 8th @ 11:00 AM and Sunday, July 22nd @ 11:00 AM.
On July 1, 1776, the Continental Congress in Philadelphia received a dispatch from General George Washington notifying them that the British fleet had arrived in New York Harbor. This intelligence helped to precipitate Congress to pass the Lee Resolution (i.e. The Resolution for Independence) on July 2nd, and later adopt Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence on July 4th. The British Commander-in-Chief, General Howe, had begun amassing his fleet in Lower New York Bay two days earlier (June 29th), in preparation for his New York campaign. Within a week, 130 British ships were anchored off of Staten Island. The sight of the British fleet in New York Harbor was an awesome sight to behold. There were so many ship masts that a Pennsylvania rifleman described it as “resembling a forest of pine trees trimmed. I declare that I thought all London was afloat.” Captain Archibald Robertson captured the spectacle in this ink sketch from July 12, 1776.
To learn more about General Howe’s New York Campaign and NYC’s Revolutionary War history—and celebrate Independence Day!—join us this Wednesday, July 4th @ 11:00AM or 2:00PM for our tour of “Revolutionary New York – Hamilton, Washington & War”!!
IMAGE: Archibald Robertson, "View of the Narrows between Long Island & Staaten Island with our fleet at anchor & Lord Howe coming in--taken from the height above the Waterg. Place Staaten Island. 12th July 1776,” 1776, sketch, from @nypl. #bigoniontours#americanrevolution#newyorkcampaign#newyork#battleofbrooklyn#britishfleet#generalhowe#statenisland#staatenisland#onthisday#july1st#continentalcongress#leeresolution#july2nd#independence#independenceday#july4th#archibaldrobertson#inksketch#1776#nyhistory#revolutionarywar#walkingtour
2018 has been a year for NY commemorating the woman who helped create the Brooklyn Bridge: Emily Warren Roebling. She at last received a Times obituary in March (as part of the New York Times’ new “Overlooked” project) and in May the City Council renamed the corner of Columbia Heights and Orange Street in Brooklyn Heights in her honor. After her father-in-law, John August Roebling, died in 1869 and her husband, Washington Augustus Roebling, fell ill from the bends in 1872, Emily Roebling stepped in to help oversee the Brooklyn Bridge project until its completion in 1883. As she noted in a letter to her son in 1898: “But for me the Brooklyn Bridge would never have had the name of Roebling in any way connected with it.” And now, once again because of her, a corner of Brooklyn Heights (near where she and her husband Washington lived while the Brooklyn Bridge was constructed) also bears the name of Roebling.
To learn more about Emily Waren Roebling and the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, join us for our “Brooklyn Bridge and Heights” tour tomorrow, July 1st @ 10:00 AM or Friday, July 6th @ 11:00 AM. #bigoniontours#emilywarrenroebling#roebling#brooklynbridge#engineers#columbiaheights#orangestreet#brooklynheights#streetsign#emilywarrenroeblingway#womenshistory#historicneighborhood#walkingtour
Fireman’s Hall. 155 Mercer Street. Cornerstone laid August 20, 1854. A firehouse, library, and meeting room for the “Laddies”. Designed by architects Field and Correja, the facade is Connecticut brownstone in a “Greek and Roman” styling. The Victorian fireman statue is long gone. This was essentially a boisterous social club...Walt Whitman brought visiting Ralph Waldo Emerson here in 1855 for tin mugs of beer!
Come explore SoHo with us - beyond the modern commercialism! Tomorrow, Wednesday June 27 at Noon!
Be right back, I’m just going to hop in this magic portal! This snap is from The High Line in New York City (circa Thanksgiving 2015). If you’re in the ‘hood and want to learn about the history of the area (and others in the city), I cannot recommmend @bigoniontours enough! #tbt#highline#nyc#bigoniontours#bigapple
Today is Juneteenth…an important American holiday that most, outside of African American communities, are completely unaware even exists.
Recognized in forty-five states, Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery specifically in Texas, but thought the former Confederates States.
President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept 22, 1862, to take effect on Jan 1, 1863. With many slaveowners fleeing - with enslaved “property” - to Texas to avoid the oncoming Union Army. Arguing that Texas was not part of the war, and the Emancipation Proclamation was not enforceable, there were by 1865, there were an estimated 250,000 slaves in Texas.
On June 18, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with 2,000 troops. The next day he issued “General Order #3 ”, announcing the total emancipation of all held in slavery. The next year the annual celebration of Juneteenth was celebrated in Texas. In 1980, Texas became the first state to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday. #bigoniontours#juneteenth#emancipation#texas#slavery#1865#galveston#blackhistory#americanhistory
Writer O. Henry once famously quipped: “New York will be a great place—if they ever finish it.” Though the tools, methods, and architectural styles have undoubtedly changed, one thing hasn’t: NYC has constantly remained a city under construction. The city has continually been building and rebuilding since its founding. This Wurts Bros. photo captures the construction methods ca. 1915, complete with stacks of lumber, a pile of bricks, and early 20th c. scaffolding (a truly iconic part of the NYC streetscape!).
Interested in further exploring the development and architectural changes of the UES? Join us this Thursday, June 21st @ 1:00 PM, Saturday, June 23rd @ 11:00 AM, or Friday, June 29th @ 11:00 AM for our “Upper East Side: A Clash of Titans” tour! Photo: Wurts Bros, 36 East 75th Street. Front view construction, August 11, 1915. Photo from @museumofcityny. #bigoniontours#construction#scaffolding#lumber#brick#1915#rebuilding#changingcity#neverfinished#ohenry#citystreets#cityscape#streetscape#nychistory#ues#walkingtour
Originally built as a horse stable in the 1840s, this space on Christopher Street was converted into Bonnie’s Stone Wall - a “tea parlor” during Prohibition. After 1933, it became a restaurant, still owned by Bonnie, and called Bonnie’s Stonewall Inn. After an accidental fire in 1966, it supposedly fell into the hands of Mafia “investors” who turned it into a gay bar. This is questionable as it had been known as an institution welcoming to gays & lesbians back during Prohibition.
The modern Gay Rights Movement was born here following the Stonewall Uprising/Riots of June 1969. This year is the 49th anniversary of the Uprising and the Stonewall is ready for the commemoration & annual parade!!
The Stonewall is now listed on both State & National Registers of Historic Places and, since June 2016, a crucial part of the Stonewall National Monument, America’s first LGBTQ national park site.
Join us on Saturday June 16 at Noon for “Before Stonewall: A Gay & Lesbian History Tour” as we explore the history of the communities - including but beyond the Riots - within Greenwich Village and New York History. #bigoniontours#greenwichvillage#stonewallinn#stonewalluprising#parade#gaypride#lbgtq#1969#walkingtour#guidedtour#seethecity#nychistory#americanhistory
Happy Birthday Ascher (Arthur) “Weegee” Fellig! New York City’s great street and crime scene photographer - born on this date - June 12, 1899. Born in Zolochiv, Ukraine, his family emigrated to America in 1909. At the age of 25, he took a job as a darkroom tech with Acme Newspictures and in his mid-30s because a freelance photographer.
Fellig earned his nickname “Weegee” - a phonetic version of “Ouija” because of his uncanny ability to arrive a crime scenes just moments after they were reported to authorities - often arriving before the police! In 1938, he was the only New York newspaper reporter with a permit to have a police-band radio. He kept it in his car - along with a complete darkroom in the trunk
Weegee had five of his photographs purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in 1943. His work successfully transitioning between newspaper “hot of the press” journalism and art.
Images: Weegee looking over police teletype at Police Headquarters, 1938. Body of Dominick Didato, Elizabeth Street, 7 August 1936. Both images credited: International Center of Photography.
Join us on Friday June 15 at Noon, for our SoHo walk to see where this photograph was taken and some of streets Weegee worked. #bigoniontours#weegee#photographer#crimescene#immigrants#happybirthday#soho#nypd#moma#blackandwhite#walkingtour#guidedtour#nychistory
One of these warehouses is fancier than the others...that’s because it was designed by acclaimed architect Richard Morris Hunt! No. 257-259 Water Street (on the NE corner of Peck’s Slip) was designed by Hunt in 1873, around the time that he was transitioning into the Beaux-Arts architectural style that he is best known for. That perhaps accounts for the decorative flourishes in contrasting black brick adorning the facade of such a practical building as this sturdy warehouse (just look at how many tie rods there are between the floors on the Water Street side!).
To further explore the historic—and picturesque—buildings of the South Street Seaport, join us Tuesday, June 12th @ 1:00 PM or Saturday, June 23rd @ 12:00 PM for our tour: “South Street Seaport: Navigating the Port that Made New York.” #bigoniontours#southstreetseaport#257waterstreet#waterstreet#richardmorrishunt#1873#warehouse#brickwork#tierods#seaport#portcity#eastriver#historicdistrict#cobblestone#walkingtour#seeyourcity
One of the most important jobs at any distillery or brewery is the CMO, or Chief Mousing Officer. For centuries, distilleries in Scotland and Ireland—and now, Kings County, New York—have known the importance of keeping a mouser on staff to deter mice from ransacking grain meant for distilling into whiskey! The Guinness Book of World Records has named Towser the Mouser of the Glenturret Distillery in Scotland the World Mousing Champion, with 28,899 kills before she died at age 24. Jeffie had better quit grooming himself and get back to work if he’s going to top that! Join us as we explore the intended—and unintended—consequences of urban distilling and brewing on our next “Brooklyn: Distilled” tour, partnered with Kings County Distillery, tomorrow, Saturday, June 9th @ 2:00PM. Come for the history and whiskey, stay to see if you can snap a selfie with CMO Jeffie! Photo by @kellyjones5436. @kingscountydistillery #bigoniontours#kingscountydistillery#jeffie#chiefmousingofficer#cmo#mousing#distillerycats#whiskey#distillery#history#kingscounty#brooklyn#distillerytour#walkingtour#catsbeingcats#onthejob#breaktime
On June 8, 1809, the British-born American pamphleteer and patriot Thomas Paine passed away at 59 Grove Street in Greenwich Village. Though today he is remembered and revered for his highly influential pro-American Revolution pamphlets, Common Sense (1776) and The American Crisis (1776-83), and his book in defense of the French Revolution, The Age of Reason (1791), by the time of his death, Paine had been ostracized by society and forced to flee his home in New Rochelle for Manhattan. There were only six mourners at his funeral, and his obituary concluded by saying, “He had lived long, done some good, and much harm.” This disfavor in his later life played a role in the great mystery following his death; the question is: where are Thomas Paine’s remains? 10 years after Paine was buried on his New Rochelle farm, English journalist and Paine rival-turned-fanboy, William Cobbett, concocted a plan to return Paine’s remains to England, where he though he could provide the British-American pamphleteer with a more fitting memorial (and help inspire England’s democracy movement). Alas, Cobbett’s great memorial never came to fruition, and Paine’s remains reportedly sat in boxes in Cobbett’s attic and passed down through the family, until they were eventually sold off bit by bit—most sensationally to make buttons from his bones.
Visit the site of Paine’s death and learn more about Greenwich Village’s Revolutionary War connections on our “Greenwich Village” tour this Sunday, June 10th @ 11:00 AM or Thursday, June 14th @ 12:00 PM. Or join us on Flag Day, June 14th @ 1:00 PM for our tour of “Revolutionary New York” to learn more about NYC’s Revolutionary War history. IMAGE: Memorial Engraving of Thomas Paine, ca. 1815. From the New York Public Library. @nypl #bigoniontours#thomaspaine#59grovestreet#greenwichvillage#onthisday#june8#1809#commonsense#theamericancrisis#theageofreason#pamphleteer#americanrevolution#frenchrevolution#williamcobbett#mystery#whathappenedtothomaspaine#buttons
The New York Mercantile Exchange (built 1885) is an excellent example of NYC—and TriBeCa’s—mercantile expansion during the 19th century. Though commerce and trade have been in the city’s blood since the Dutch, NYC’s commercial importance significantly increased in the early 19th century, following the War of 1812 and the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. As larger and larger ships came to NYC bringing goods for sale, the waterfront on the west side of Manhattan developed to accommodate them. After almost all dwellings in the TriBeCa area were adapted for mercantile use in the 1850s, buildings designed specifically for commerce were erected in the 1860s. By the time the five-story Queen Anne New York Mercantile Exchange was erected in the mid-1880s, TriBeCa had become home to imposing commercial structures celebrating the significance of the food industry to the area—and the city. Established in 1872 as the Butter and Cheese Exchange, the group formally changed its name to the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1882, by which time it traded not only butter and cheese, but also eggs, groceries, dried fruits, canned goods, and poultry. The New York Mercantile Exchange operates in this building from 1885 to 1977.
Join us in TriBeCa this Saturday, June 9th @ 1:00 PM or Friday, June 22nd @ 1:00 PM to learn more about this vibrant 19th-century commercial center—and more! Photo by @clgillas. #bigoniontours#newyorkmercantileexchange#mercantileexchange#butterandcheese#commerce#foodindustry#tribeca#harrisonstreet#thomasjackson#queenanne#1885#historicneighborhood#walkingtour
New York Senator Robert Francis Kennedy died fifty years ago today, June 6, 1968. Kennedy was a young, idealistic, leader who was potentially on his path to the White House. His was a different path. It lead through the streets of a vast cross-section of America - both urban and rural, rich and poor, and with people of all backgrounds.
Let us also remember his magnificent “Ripple of Hope” speech, given on June 6, 1966, to the National Union of South African Students during the “Day of Reaffirmation of Academic and Human Freedom” at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Perhaps RFK’s greatest speech opened with:
"I come here this evening because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a land which defined itself on a hostile frontier; a land which has tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology; a land which was once the importer of slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that former bondage. I refer, of course, to the United States of America.”
Let us remember Robert F Kennedy, along with all the other great leaders assassinated before their work was unfinished. Let us remember them for powerful works and valuable actions. #bigoniontours#robertfkennedy#bobbykennedy#capetown#1968#1966#50thanniversary#remember#assassination#greatleader#greatwords#greatspeech#spokenword#southafrica#slavery#antiapartheid#newyorkhistory#ussenate#june6#politics#presidentialcandidate#kennedy#onthisday
The Munson Steamship Line, founded 1899, operated between New York and Cuba, Mexico, and a series of ports throughout South America. Originally a freighter company, they “acquired” a series of German passenger liners during WWI and began transporting people in 1919. In 1921, at commercial peak, they built the Munson Building at 67 Wall Street. The business failed in 1937. The name and legacy remain in the brass decorative details around the entry and windows. #bigoniontours#wallstreet#financialdistrict#munsonsteamshipline#shipping#cuba#mexico#steamship #
June 4, 1919. After decades of efforts, the Women’s Suffrage movement saw the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States passed by Congress. It was adopted on August 18, 1920. The Women’s Suffrage movement began in New York State at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention. New York granted women the right to vote in 1917.
In short, the 19th Amendment declares: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." #bigoniontours#19thamendment#todayinhistory#nychistory#womenssuffrage#vote#1919#1848#senecafalls#equality#newyorkhistory
Gazing up past the pointed corner of the triangular 1831 Northern Dispensary toward 45 Christopher Street (completed a century later, in 1931). With this 18-story Art Deco apartment building (and other similar complexes his firm built in the neighborhood), developer Leo Bing said that he wanted, "[to] recreate the entire district as a modern counterpart of the high-class residential section it once was...[to] rival Central Park West and the fashionable east side.” Bing’s ultimate goal was to ‘reinvent’ the neighborhood of Greenwich Village in the early 20th century.
To learn more about the changes and development of this iconic NYC neighborhood, join us for our “Greenwich Village” today, Sunday, May 27th @ 11:00 AM, Friday, June 1at @ 12:00 PM, or Monday, June 4th @ 12:00 PM. Photo by @swalkiewicz. #bigoniontours#greenwichvillage#christopherstreet#northerndispensary#1831#triangular#45christopher#1931#artdeco#100years#historicneighborhood#nycskyline#nycarchitecture#walkingtour
For more than 18 months 172 Pacific Street has been undergoing an extensive since renovation/restoration. We featured it sometime in 2016. An old firehouse that predates the Brooklyn or @newyorkfiredepartment.
But this past week, while pouring the new sidewalk, the original cobblestone “driveway” was unearthed. Kudos to owner and construction company for exposing and preserving it! #bigoniontours#brooklyn#boerumhill#pacificstreet#cobblestone#renovation#preservinghistory
Memorial Day has a long and surprisingly complicated history. Created in Columbus, Georgia in 1866; The “Northern” commemoration - Decoration Day - came three years later. The holiday slowly became known as “Memorial Day” after World War II and was not declared a Federal holiday until 1967. One year later, when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, it was secured as the last Monday in May.
While Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer, it is the day we remember the more than two million men & women in uniform who have died in military service.
The Soldier and Sailor World War I Monument (1920) stands in Carroll Park, Brooklyn. The bronze reliefs, done by Eugene H. Morahan (best known for his 1935 Statue of Santa Monica, Palisades Park, Santa Monica, California). This memorial honors the Army & Navy forces during World War I. It also lists the nearly 200, from this very small neighborhood, who perished in the “War to End All Wars”. Note the poppies growing on the graves.
Please join us on Monday May 28 at Noon for “Revolutionary New York” as we recall those who fought for American independence. Meeting: Intersection of Broadway & Murray Streets, at the gated entrance to City Hall Park. #bigoniontours#memorialday#decorationday#soldier#sailor#federalholiday#eugenemorahan#brooklyn#carrollgardens#warmemorial#civilwar#wwi#wwii#worldwar1#worldwar2#revolutionarywar#santamonica#remember#1866#1868#1967#walkingtour#guidedtour#holidayweekend#poppies#flandersfields
The neighborhood called “Lower Manhattan” is bordered both North and South by two famous Cass Gilbert designed structures - The US Custom House at Bowling Green and the Woolworth Building to the south. A lesser know Gilbert masterpiece is the 1907 Gothic “90 West Street”. Built as as office tower it was previously knows as the “West Street Building” as well as the “Coal & Iron Exchange” and then the “Railroad and Iron Exchange. The 23 story building is now residential. Many of the architectural elements foreshadowed Gilbert’s spectacular Woolworth Building, built a few years last and standing only a few blocks to the northeast.
While beautiful on any day, the copper mansard roof looks best in sunshine. #bigoniontours#cassgilbert#90weststreet#gothic#1907#lowermanhattan#fidi#nycarchitecture#woolworthbuilding#uscustomhouse
Rainy days of the past: Edward & Henry T. Anthony’s “Broadway in the Rain, likely taken from 308 or 310 Broadway, New York City,” ca. 1860s. The Anthony brothers, owners of E. & H. T. Anthony & Company, were the largest retailers and manufacturers of camera and photographic supplies in 19th-century America. This stereoscopic view “Broadway on a Rainy Day” was one of the brothers’ most successful photographs of the city, selling thousands in the 1860s, and is still considered to be one of the most collectible views of the city. Image from @metmuseum. #bigoniontours#rainyday#broadway#anthony#photographers#stereoscopic#albumen#19thcentury#photohistory#historicphoto#nychistory
Harrison Street in TriBeCa DOES have ties to George Harison...just not the George Harrison of the Beatles. TriBeCa’s George Harison (spelled with only one ‘R’) had a brewery between Greenwich Street and the North (a.k.a. Hudson) River before the American Revolution (records indicate that it was put up for sale in 1776, but the land at least remained in the family’s hands until 1824). The street was then named in 1790 by the Vestry of Trinity Church (who owned the land until 1802, when they deeded it to the city). But, it’s much more likely that Trinity Church named the street in honor of the prominent public official and church officer, Richard Harison, than the brewery owner...
Join us for a scenic—and historic!—walk of TriBeCa: The History of Manhattan’s Western Frontier” tomorrow, Saturday, May 19th @ 11:00 AM or Friday, May 25th @ 12:00 PM! Photo by @clgillas. #bigoniontours#tribeca#harrisonstreet#1790#georgeharison#richardharison#harison#harrison#brewery#trinitychurch#whatsinaname#streetname#streethistory#nycstreets#historicneighborhood#nychistory#walkingtour
On May 17, 1792 twenty-four New York stockbrokers and merchants came together on Wall Street and signed the Buttonwood Agreement as a means of organizing securities trading in the city. This marks the beginning of what today is known as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The agreement had only two provisions: firstly, that going forward these brokers would only deal with one another; and, secondly, that their floor commission rates were to be .25%. Most of the securities traded at this time were governmental, including War Bonds from the Revolutionary War and First Bank of the United States stock, though some non-governmental securities, like the Bank of New York, were traded as well (and the Bank of New York was actually the first listed company on the NYSE). The Buttonwood Agreement was reformed in 1817, when New York's stockbrokers became known as the New York Stock and Exchange Board (by which it was known until 1863, when the name was changed to the New York Stock Exchange).
Join us on Tuesday, May 29th @ 11:00AM for our tour of the “Financial District” or Sunday, May 27th @ 12:00PM for our tour of “Lower Manhattan: Forging the Historic Metropolis” to learn more about the New York Stock Exchange, the history of trading in NYC, and Wall Street.
Images: 1) Samuel H. Gottscho, “Diorama, the Founding of the New York Stock Exchange (Buttonwood Agreement),” 1938, from the Museum of the City of New York; 2) The Buttonwood Agreement, May 17, 1792, from the archival collection of the New York Stock Exchange, this version on view in the Museum of American Finance.
@museumofcityny @financemuseum #bigoniontours#buttonwoodagreement#may17#1792#onthisday#nyse#newyorkstockexchange#securitiestrading#nychistory#financehistory#buttonwoodtree#wallstreet#stocks#fidi#financialdistrict
Though originally known as ‘Art Street,’ Astor Place was re-named for famed fur trader and real estate investor John Jacob Astor after his death in 1848. The following year, the city’s strained class tensions reached a breaking point, as a riot broke out in front of the Astor Place Theater on the evening of May 10, 1849. Both the police and 7th Regiment were called in to suppress the violence. By the end of the riot, an estimated 22-31 rioters were killed and 48 wounded, along with 50-70 policemen and 141 militiamen injured. After the deadly events, the area was unofficially renamed again by local entertainers, began referring to it as “DisAstor Place.” To learn more about Astor Place, the 1849 riots, and the role that Shakespeare played in these events, join us for our “East Village” tour this Friday, May 18th @ 1:00 PM or Tuesday, May 29th @ 1:00 PM! #bigoniontours#astorplace#johnjacobastor#nameorigin#astorplaceriot#may10#1849#shakespeare#7thregiment#astorplacetheater#nychistory#walkingtour
Dubbed “The Row,” the Greek Revival houses lining Washington Square North have been described as “the most important and imposing block front of early Nineteenth Century town houses in the City” (by the 1969 Landmarks Preservation Commission in their Historic District Designation Report). Developed in 1833, these townhouses are a lasting reminder of the changing face of the area in the early 19th century. The plot of land that today we know as ‘Washington Square Park’ was established as a Potter’s Field in 1797. Within less than 30 years, the burial ground was completely filled. The cemetery closed in 1825, reopening on July 4, 1826 (the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence) as the Washington Military Parade Ground (it was then developed into a public park around 1849-50). Just seven years later, the imposing facades of The Row appeared, and the area became home to some the city’s wealthiest and most powerful residents, who would continue to build imposing homes for themselves along 5th Avenue throughout the 19th century (and beyond).
Come travel back through time in Washington Square Park—and throughout historic Greenwich Village—with us on our “Greenwich Village” tour tomorrow, Sunday, May 13th @ 11:00 AM, Thursday, May 17th @ 11:00 AM, or Tuesday, May 22nd @ 1:00 PM! #bigoniontours#therow#washingtonsquarenorth#washingtonsquarepark#greekrevival#historictownhouses#1833#historicneighborhood#greenwichvillage#nychistory#19thcentury#walkingtour#latergram
May 11, 1647. Peter Stuyvesant arrives in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland. He served until the British takeover in 1664.
Stuyvesant was not well liked, was incredibly uptight, and felt it was his role to bring moral order to the colony. He passed strict laws opposing alcohol consumption and working on the Sabbath. He tried to ban Lutherans, Jews, and Quakers (after engaging an enhanced interrogation of a 23-year-old preacher named Richard Hodgson). He held a special distaste for the region’s Natives, too. A historic figure worthy of memory...but maybe not a parade. Come learn more about the history of colonial New York with us on Sunday at Noon as we lead “Lower Manhattan: Forging the Historic Metropolis.” #bigoniontours#lowermanhattan#peterstuyvesant#onthisday#nychistory#newamsterdam#tolerance#colonialhistory#walkingtour#guidedtour
Peering through the FiDi skyscrapers at the top of 14 Wall Street, the former Bankers Trust Company Building. Built 1910-1912, the 37-floor building was designed in the Neoclassical style, and is topped by its famous stepped pyramid (which Bankers Trust adopted as their trademark). The crowning pyramid was inspired by one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (completed 351 BCE; destroyed 1494 CE). In addition to the iconic Ancient Greek structure (though built in present-day Turkey, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was designed by Greek architects), 14 Wall Street’s architects, Trowbridge & Livingston, also drew inspiration from St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice (which originally dates back to the 9th century, but reached its present-day form in 1514, during the Renaissance); the idea was to create a skyscraper in the style of the Venetian bell tower, but topped with the Ancient Greek tomb.
Come learn more about the history behind some of Wall Street’s most iconic buildings—along with the early colonial and Revolutionary War history of the city!—on our “Financial District” tour on Friday, May 11th @ 11:00 AM or our “Lower Manhattan: Forging the Historic Metropolis” tour tomorrow, Sunday, May 6th @ 2:00 PM, Monday, May 7th @ 1:00 PM, or Sunday, May 13th @ 12:00 PM! #bigoniontours#14wallstreet#bankerstrustbuilding#bankerstrust#pyramid#mausoleumofhalicarnassus#halicarnassus#sevenwondersoftheancientworld#ancientgreece#stmarkscampanile#venetianrenaissance#neoclassical#trowbridgeandlivingston#skyscraper#iconicnyc#wallstreet#fidi#financialdistrict#nycskyline#lookup#walkingtour#latergram
May 4, 1836, The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) is formed within St. James Church, a few blocks east of Five Points in New York City. Founded as community response to rising anti-Irish and anti-Catholic violence and nativist political rhetoric. The AOH was crucial in reducing the inter-Irish fighting based on place of origin, accent, or what some called “lace curtain” vs “shanty” (city vs. country tensions), and creating an Irish-American identity.
The congregation at St. James was organized by Father Felix Varela - a Cuban-born priest who had been expelled from Cuba for his anti-colonial and anti-slavery writings. Coming to New York he fought for Irish equality and even learned Gaelic to better help and communicate with the new Irish immigrants.
Today the AOH is best known for the March 17, St. Patrick’s Day parade. However, they are a global community and charity group with a long history of political activism.
Want to learn more? Join us Saturday May 5 & June 9 or July 21 for our “Irish New York” walking tour. Or, “The Official Gangs of New York” and “Immigrant New York” tours.
Images: St James Church, 1836; St James Church, 2018; USPS stamp honoring Father Varela; AOH logo. #bigoniontours#todayinhistory#ancientorderofhibernians#aoh#1836#immigrants#nativism#fathervarela#catholichistory#nychistory#cuba#ireland#americanhistory#walkingtour#guidedtour#lowereastside#fivepoints
In celebration of World Free Press Day we remember the role of John Peter Zenger in the American principle of freedom of the press. In November 1733, James Alexander launched America’s first opposition (anti-British monarchist) newspaper, The New-York Weekly Journal. Most articles were written under pseudonym and the only name on the masthead was Zenger, a 36 year old immigrant printer from the Palatinate, Germany. The Journal ran scurrilous attacks, especially through its mocking false classified ads (cutting edge use of political satire and illustration for the time). Calling the colonial Governor a runaway monkey given to “grimace and chattering”, among other unsavory claims, brought a seditious-libel suit in 1735. The 19 jurors upheld the freedom of the press and, on January 28 1734, Alexander and Zenger proclaimed “the liberty of the press is not struck at, which is the safeguard of all our other liberties.
The trial was held at New-York City Hall….on Broad and Wall Street…the same building that saw George Washington’s inauguration on April 30, 1789 as well as the ratification of the Bill of Rights…including the First Amendment. #bigoniontours#worldfreepressday#freedomofthepress#johnpeterzenger#1735#federalhall#newyorkhistory#fidi#lowermanhattan#immigrants#firstamendment#freepress#americanrevolution
Two 1820s-early 1830s Federalist survivors on Grand Street. Built for working class families during the city’s population boom (doubled in the decade of 1830s), these two-and-a-half story, pitched roof narrow holes with single former windows somehow remain in an area rife with development. Our walking tours are designed to help people see the common everyday but historically significant remnants of our city’s past. #bigoniontours#walkingtour#seethecity#guidedtour#lowereastside#federalist#nycarchitecture#nychistory
Tomorrow is International Workers’ Day (a.k.a. ‘May Day’), which celebrates laborers and the working classes. May Day is officially observed by 66 nations worldwide today—but not in the U.S. The U.S. abstention from commemorating May Day is somewhat ironic, as the association between May 1st and labor rights began with an AFL conference in Chicago in 1884, and was internationally adopted to memorialize the bloody May 4, 1886 Haymarket Riot (also in Chicago). While May 1 continues to be a popular day for celebrating American freedom of speech and the right to protest, the large labor-oriented parades that occurred in the first half of the 20th century slowly disappeared because of the holiday’s strong radical roots and rising fears of communism following WWII.
Join us tomorrow, May 1st @ 1:00 PM for our “Labor History Tour” to learn more about May Day, American labor history, and NYC’s vibrant role! Can’t make it tomorrow? We’ll also be exploring NYC’s labor history on Sunday, June 3rd @ 12:00 PM and Wednesday, July 27th @ 11:00 AM. PHOTO: "May Day Parade, New York, 1910,” 1910, Bain Collection, Library of Congress.@libraryofcongressphotos