Behind The Scenes

Category Archives: Library

Beach Scenes From New York’s Past

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us, which means it’s officially beach season! The New York City parks department maintains 14 miles of beaches, which New Yorkers have been using to cool themselves from the city heat (or enjoy some amusement park rides) for many years. Many of these beach scenes are from almost 100 years [...]

The Speech That Won Lincoln New York

On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln stood before a crowd at Cooper Union on 8th Street in New York City, attempting to convince a strongly Democratic city that he, a Republican, deserved the presidency. Until then he was thought of mostly as a country lawyer, but his speech at Cooper Union let New York Republicans [...]

Woolworth’s May Be Gone, But We Still Have The Woolworth Building

On February 22, 1878, F. W. Woolworth opened the first Woolworth store in Utica, New York. That store failed, but he reopened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and began one of the most successful chain businesses in America. As a kid, I remember our local Woolworth’s as a one-stop shop, with everything from halloween costumes to alarm [...]

How New Yorkers Got Their Cultural Fixes

New York has long been known as a center of the arts, with many spaces dedicated to music, dance, and other performances. Many have stood strong for decades, while others are almost forgotten. Below are a few places where New Yorkers enjoyed the arts. Tell us, where do you get your cultural kicks? Carnegie Hall’s [...]

N-YHS Acquires Jacob Riis’s Copy of ‘How the Other Half Lives,’ With Author’s Annotations

The New-York Historical Society has acquired a first edition of Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, heavily annotated by the author with pages scrawled with moral indignation towards slumlords, asides about tenement residents, and copyedits. It was donated by Ted Gup, who recently wrote a New York Times op-ed on his purchase of the volume and the [...]

Photos: New York Is A Winter Wonderland, No Matter The Year

New York is a magical place in the winter—just look at the snow outside right now! From the holiday decorations to ice skating in Central Park, there’s always something fun to do in the winter, even if it’s just watching the snowflakes fall outside your window. Below are some of our favorite images of the city [...]

Happy Birthday, John Jay!

Today in 1745, founding father John Jay was born in New York City. He was a lawyer, a diplomat, the president of the Continental Congress, second Governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. He was also the author of five of the Federalist Papers, which were written [...]

Where Were Brooklyn’s and Queens’ Butcher Shops 100 Years Ago?

There are still a few good butcher shops left in this town, but unfortunately, sometimes you have to know where to look. That did not seem to be the case in 1910, when butcher shops could be found all over the city, and the butcher sections of supermarkets involved actual counters, not just sad, colorless [...]

Interview With Laura Mosco: New-York Historical Society Student Historian

The New-York Historical Society aims to engage visitors and history buffs of all ages, from children in our DiMenna Children’s History Museum to adults through our Public Program series. So it’s always great to see someone stay engaged throughout their lives. One lifelong learner is Laura Mosco, a former Student Historian who came back to [...]

When New York City Center Was A Shriner Temple

On 56th street and 6th avenue sits the New York City Center for Music and Drama, and incredible venue with a neo-Moorish facade and beautiful interior of desert murals and gilded accents. But this building wasn’t always used for concerts and performances. In 1923, it was built as a meeting place for the Ancient Arabic Order [...]