Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NY Times article about CUNY/Gotham Center presentation

The following article about a panel discussion that LESHP was involved with, written by Sarah Maslin Nir, appeared in the 12/07/09 City Room section of the NY Times.

"The Lower East Side has gentrified so exponentially that generations of inhabitants are being priced out, their homes razed or renovated, and replaced with luxury apartments. While this account of the neighborhood’s transformation — offered by a panel of historians and scholars on Wednesday evening — was hardly new, the discussion was notable for the range of its panelists."

READ FULL ARTICLE

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Archived Video: Behind the Scenes at the Pyramid Club, 1980s

A short film by Nelson Sullivan and Robert Coddington from the Pyramid Club on Avenue A.

Archived Video: Wigstock, 1991

From the video description: "Super-8 footage from the 1991 Wigstock in Union Square after the riots closed Tompkins Square Park. Onstage - RuPaul (as Star Booty!) and Dee Lite! Set to The Smiths' "This Night Has Opened My Eyes"

Archived Video: LES Squatters, 1991

Here is some compelling footage of squatters on the Lower East Side --- looks to be some Tompkins Square Riot footage edited in. (Sorry, not in English)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Archived Video: The Hells Angels 1970s

This is a montage from the documentary "Hells Angels Forever," featuring a few NYC Hells Angels members and a scene from E.3rd Street headquarters (8:43). I think I recognize president Sandy Alexander (:30, 9:12, etc.) and "Big" Vinnie Giorlamo (:07, :26, etc.) -- can anyone confirm if that is indeed them?

Archived Video: Police Disperse Street Vendors, 1903

Archival footage of a police officer encouraging Lower East Side street vendors to move on in 1904.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Archived Audio: Grateful Deal Live at the Filmore East, 1970

Of course the Filmore East, formerly located at 105 Second Avenue, was one of the most popular music venues in America in the late 60s and early 70s. Though relatively short lived, it played host to music giants such as The Who, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and many more.

This archival performance is of one of many Grateful Dead performances at the Filmore, recorded February 11, 1970, at the height of the Filmore's legendary run.



FULL PLAYLIST HERE: http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-02-11.early-late.sbd.sacks.90.sbefail.shnf

Archived Video: Lower East Side Fish Market, 1903

Archival footage of a Lower East Side fish market on the morning of May 1, 1903:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Inside a Turkish Night Club on Allen Street: 1942

Turkish Night Club 2
Image descriptions:
  • New York, New York. Turkish nightclub on Allen Street
  • Joe Levy, Jewish-Turkish-American owner of a nightclub on Allen Street
  • Turkish-American and his wife who own a nightclub on Allen Street. Their son is in the United States Army
  • Orchestra at a Turkish nightclub on Allen Street
  • The girl plays a tambourine between dances.
  • Guests get up and dance to the Oriental music whenever they please
  • Habitues of a Turkish nightclub on Allen Street drinking beer and eating hors d'oeuvres. Apparently women are left at home
CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1942 Dec.
CREATOR: Collins, Marjory, 1912-1985, photographer.
PART OF: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)
REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
DIGITAL ID: (digital file from intermediary roll film) fsa 8d24224 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8d24224
Posted by Knickerbocker Village

Thursday, November 26, 2009

We Recommend: TAKE IT! a film by Max Weissberg

TAKE IT! (2008) is the story of an art thief who can't please anyone.

Directed and edited by Max Weissberg, starring H.R. Britton, Lethia Nall, and Rob Hollander at Theater For The New City.

155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003

8:00pm - $5
MORE: http://www.theaterforthenewcity.net/newfilm.htm

Happy Thanksgiving from LESHP


Feeling guilty after dinner? Adopt a turkey! (This is legit...)
http://www.adoptaturkey.org/aat/adopt/index.html

Enjoy the holiday, and thanks for your support.
-LESHP Staff

We Suggest: Spiritual Sounds, an Evening of Interfaith Music

(From the press release): Spiritual Sounds will be presented in New York City on Tuesday, December 8th, 7:00pm at Middle Collegiate Church, 112 2nd Avenue (between 6th and 7th Streets).

The evening’s coordinators: priests, imams, ministers, rabbis, and monks, will be in attendance along with their choirs and or musicians.

Light refreshments will be served following the performance. No tickets are required but a free will offering will be requested.

Visit LocalFaithCommunities.com for more details.

This group of local clergy, all practicing within a few block of each other, held its first meeting spring 2009 in New York City’s East Village. In a desire to know each other personally and to see where partnership might lead, the group has grown around its shared mission to serve, to celebrate its tremendous diversity, and to rejoice in the rich traditions represented.

Each institution below will share from its tradition with intended offerings to include Taize, jazz, gospel, chants, and traditional holiday songs and hymns.

  • Iglesia Alianza Cristiana y Misionera
  • Mary House
  • Medina Masjid Mosque
  • Middle Collegiate Church
  • Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
  • Nechung Foundation
  • Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection
  • Sixth Street Community Synagogue
  • St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery
  • St. Mary’s American Orthodox Church
  • The Bhakti Center

Commemoration Of The Centennial Of The Uprising Of the 20,000: Part 2


Joe Raico speaking at the Commemoration of the Centennial of the Uprising of the 20,000. This took place on Sunday November 22, 2009/ 1- 3:30 pm at IBT Local 237 Union Hall, 216 W 14th St, New York, New York. There was a screening of Alex Szalats Clara Lemlich: A Strike Leaders Diary. This was followed by discussion with honored guests: Rita Margules (Clara Lemlich's daughter), Richard Greenwald (Triangle Fire Historian), and Bob Lazar (former ILGWU archivist).
Organizers of the event were
The Remembering the Triangle Fire Coalition and
Organizing the Curriculum


Posted by David Bellel, Knickerbocker Village

Commemoration Of The Centennial Of The Uprising Of the 20,000


Ruth Serkel speaking at the Commemoration of the Centennial of the Uprising of the 20,000. This took place on Sunday November 22, 2009/ 1- 3:30 pm at IBT Local 237 Union Hall, 216 W 14th St, New York, New York. There was a screening of Alex Szalats Clara Lemlich: A Strike Leaders Diary. This was followed by discussion with honored guests: Rita Margules (Clara Lemlich's daughter), Richard Greenwald (Triangle Fire Historian), and Bob Lazar (former ILGWU archivist).
Organizers of the event were
The Remembering the Triangle Fire Coalition and
Organizing the Curriculum


Posted by David Bellel, Knickerbocker Village

Friday, November 13, 2009

Miriam Friedlander Honored

Legendary Lower Manhattan City Councilmember Miriam Friedlander, who died at the age of 95 last month, was remembered on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at the Council Chambers, City Hall. The event was hosted by Councilwoman Rosie Mendez and Family and Friends. Speaking above was Miriam's friend Frances Goldin. There was an article about Miriam in The Villager last month

Posted by David Bellel: Knickerbocker Village

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Eric Ferrara lecture at Bluestockings

LESHP director Eric Ferrara gave a lecture/book signing at Bluestockings on Monday, November 2, 2009, in support of his new book, "A Guide to Gangsters, Murderers and Weirdos of New York City's Lower East Side." Read more here.

Henry Eckstein: A Lower East Side Legend Passes

Posted by David Bellel (more info at Knickerbocker Village)


An email I received from Bernie Dolnansky:
ECKSTEIN--Herbert, died peacefully at home in Great Neck at the age of 87 on October 27, 2009. Beloved husband of Nadine for 56 years; devoted father of Kenneth, Linda and Myra Mogilner; cherished father-in-law of Ruthann Eckstein and Dr. Alon Mogilner; adored grandfather of Max, Sam, Shoshana, Josh, Zack, Joey and Gabi; much loved brother of David, Eugene and Barbara Shostak. During his lifetime he was proprietor of H. Eckstein & Sons, a dry goods store and Lower East Side institution. He will be sorely missed.

I believe that's Eckstein's store window showing on Grand Street on the left of the picture above. I fondly recall my trips to Eckstein's with my mother. The basement at Eckstein's was a world unto itself and there was always interesting back and forth sales talk/flirting going on between my mother and the salesmen.

An excerpt from a 2004 nytimes article about Eckstein's
Trendiness Among the Tenements; Descendants Return to a Remade Lower East Side
By JOSEPH BERGER

H. Eckstein & Sons was not quite as much a fixture of the Lower East Side as Guss's Pickles or Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery. Still, Brenda Zimmer spent much of her life there, haggling with customers in the cramped and hectic clothing store on Orchard Street that her family owned, hanging on until a greatly weakened Eckstein's finally shut its doors in 1998.

Yet when she told friends a few years ago that her daughter, Amy, was moving into one of the neighborhood's storied tenements, ''they looked a little shocked,'' she said.
''Everybody spent their lives trying to get out of there, and my daughter is trying to come back,'' Mrs. Zimmer said, recalling her friends' puzzlement and suggesting more than a little of her own.

The rapid changes in a neighborhood famous as the squalid foothold for immigrants just off the boat have produced more than a few such expressions of astonishment.
There are still many people around who were glad to escape the neighborhood when the old life seemed to be seeping out of it more than a half-century ago. Some of them are now wonderstruck as their adventurous children and grandchildren are returning.

On a recent stroll from Hester Street to Houston Street with Amy, Mrs. Zimmer seemed tickled that her daughter, a 28-year-old Yale graduate and freelance writer, had actually settled a few blocks from where Amy's grandfather was born and where Mrs. Zimmer worked full time for 15 years. Sure, only a handful of the wholesale and retail stores that sold hosiery, linens, lingerie, and handbags were still around, and even many of the bodegas of a more recent era of migration were gone. But the neighborhood had once again quickened to life, something closer to the bustle of the days when the walk-up tenements were teeming and the dowdy stores drew shoppers from all over for their Sunday bargains.

''Now it's exciting; it's prestigious to live there,'' Mrs. Zimmer, a high-spirited woman, observed.

Dry-goods shops are being replaced by restaurants with $30 entrees; by boutiques where the tastefully spaced wares are fashionably retro but the prices are decidedly nouveau; by galleries like Fusion-Arts Museum, which exhibits a robotlike ''fusion golem'' made of motorized hardware; by cafes where young people peck at laptops while sipping lattes; and even by one shop, Toys in Babeland, that, to Mrs. Zimmer's embarrassed amusement, sells sex toys.

''A very unusual store,'' Mrs. Zimmer observed, gathering up her dignity. ''Colorful.''

A link to another article by Amy Zimmer about Eckstein's

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Andrea Coyle quoted in Washington Square News article


A hoard of outraged residents and members of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation gathered to protest the construction of a new building yesterday, chanting "Save the South Village! Save the South Village!"

Read full article: http://nyunews.com/news/2009/oct/22/village/

"Preservation society hopes to avoid South Village modernization"
by Anna Sanders

Image copyright, Brandon Knopp

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We recommend: A Reading From "City of Belief" at Maryhouse


Join author Nicole d'Entremont for a reading and signing of her fantastic book, City of Belief, on November 6, 2009 at the Maryhouse on E.3rd Street. City of Belief explores Nicole's time on the Lower East Side (between 1964-1973) while working with the Catholic Worker organization.

Nov 6th, 7:30
@ the Maryhouse (free event)
55 East Third Street (b/t First and Second Ave)
(212) 777-9617
2nd Ave stop on the F or V train.

Billed as the 45th anniversary(actually it's the 44th anniversary) of the draft card burnings in Union Square on Nov. 6th 1965.

City of Belief on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/City-Belief-Nicole-dEntremont/dp/1442138505

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We rocommend: TSP HALLOWEEN FREAKFEST

HALLOWEEN FREAKFEST! FREE PUNK AND VARIETY SHOW
Sunday Oct. 25th, 2-6pm
Tompkins Sq. Park
Come Wig Out in the Park!

A free Halloween themed show in New York City's Tompkins Square Park, featuring great music, creative costumes, a costume contest, a clothing swap, political speakers, helpful information and lots of surprises!!

Halloween Freakfest is part of a series of shows that celebrate the vitality of the counter cultural scene that has survived on the Lower East Side, despite the rampant gentrification, soaring rents and lost venues that have contributed to the cultural genocide sweeping New York City.

Presented by: SHADOW Press/PMS productions

Co-Emceed by OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL PMS (GLOB - Gorgeous Ladies of Boodwrestling) and DIANE O' DEBRA (subversive-comedic rap songs)

LONE VEIN: (Day of The Dead-inspired rock gloom-tunes www.lonevein.com)
SKUM CITY (amazing punk from our own gritty city www.myspace.com/skumcity)
CATHY CATHODIC (one woman avant-rap artist from Boston www.myspace.com/cathycathodic)
GHOULS NIGHT OUT: (all female MISFITS cover band featuring members of Kissy Kamikaze www.myspace.com/ghoulsnightoutnyc)
THE CHI-CIONES (craftastic Halloween-themed burlesque dancers/muses)
RACHEL CLEARY (political speaker)
ENDANGERED FECES (demented comedic punk from Queens - sounds like every toilet in Queens flushing simultaneously www.myspace.com/endandered feces)
RACHEL TRACHTENBURG AND SUPERCUTE (Teen Girl pop-rock band doing a set of political songs plus a few Halloween specialties www.myspace.com/supercute)
DETHRACE (a theatrical art rock experience...10 ft. tall fiberglass super-robots, playing 666 volts of metal! www.dethrace.net )
JUGGERNUT (Manly Freak Electro-Punk featuring 2 hot back up dancers in nutsack suits www.myspace.com/juggernutnyc)
GLOB - GORGEOUS LADIES OF BLOODWRESTLING (www.myspace.com/g_l_o_b) Live lady warriors, with ridiculous vendettas, wrestling in face blood to punk rock! w/special guests the Gorgeous LADS of Bloodwrestling!

Also featuring a CLOTHING SWAP.
Bring or take clean fall/winter clothes only.
Plus a COSTUME CONTEST.
Come in your Halloween best (or perhaps find some stuff in the swap!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Photos from NY Historical Society presentation on 10/18/09


LESHP director Eric Ferrara gave a presentation on the history of vice and crime in New York City at the prestigious New-York Historical Society on Sunday, October 18, 2009. Here are a few images from the event: http://picasaweb.google.com/eastvillagehistoryproject/LectureAtNewYorkHistoricalSociety#

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great New Book Of Archival Lower East Side Photos

from the Knickerbocker Village Blog

Great new book I got at the Tenement Museum yesterday with old lower east side photos I've never seen before. Can't locate an online site to purchase. It's also available at the South Street Seaport Museum
Brian Merlis gave me permission to post this picture showing a favorite Knickerbocker Village sporting goods and stationery supply destination, Haber's at 29 Essex Street. This was in 1930

Monday, October 12, 2009

Article featuring Eric Ferrara at Bowery Mission anniversary event

"The Lower East Side, New York, has gone from aristocracy and sophistication to squalor and debauchery and back to aristocracy—but with one constant Christian presence for the past 130 years: the Bowery Mission..." (cont.)

FULL STORY: WorldMag.com, written by Alisa Harris

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mazie Phillips-Gordon: The Queen Of The Bowery, Part 5

The fifth in a series about Mazie from the Knickerbocker Village Blog


A follow up to story about Mazie told to me by Bruno in Tanahey Park last week
Bruno probably lived near where the X is the top map before he moved to Knickerbocker Village. It's a section I cropped from the Galt Hoy map (circa 1900) found on the library of congress site. In the bottom section you can see the Venice Theater where Mazie Phillips Gordon worked.

Mazie Phillips-Gordon: The Queen Of The Bowery, Part 4

The fourth in a series about Mazie from the Knickerbocker Village Blog
Mazie Hotel
Above are the pages in Joseph Mitchell's book that refer to Mazie

Mazie Phillips-Gordon: The Queen Of The Bowery, Part 3

The third in a series about Mazie from the Knickerbocker Village Blog
the pdf is from a nytimes article by Saul Austerlitz
Up in the New Old Hotel
We mentioned this book and its reference to former Knickerbocker resident Mazie Phillips (or Gordon) before Recently I found a picture of the Venice Theater where she worked. I met a current KVer, Bruno, in Tanahey Park recently who remembered Mazie and remembered how she would let him sneak in to see a movie when he was kid living on Baxter and Roosevelt. That was not too far away from the theater which was located at 209 Park Row. The hotel referred to in the article, the Fulton Ferry Hotel, was right where Sloppy Louie's was on Fulton and South Street.

Mazie Phillips-Gordon: The Queen Of The Bowery, Part 2

The second in a series about Mazie from the Knickerbocker Village Blog The following pages come from the introduction of an autobiography of one of our country's greatest living philosophers, Morton White. It's called "A Philosopher's Story." He mentions Mazie, as well as Jimmy Durante, Eddie Cantor, Socks Lanza and others. White lived at 76 Madison Street, near Catherine Street excerpts about the book and White from Amazon
A vivid tale of the author's journey from the Lower East Side of New York to some of the greatest centers of higher learning.
"Although a great many memoirs are being published these days, this autobiography by Morton White has special significance because professional philosophers seldom write their memoirs and, when they do, they rarely produce books as engaging as this one. . . . Indeed, White's autobiography should attract more attention among the educated public than any book written by an American philosopher in many years."-Peter H. Hare, SUNY
As historian of ideas and a philosopher, White is able to situate his life in the deeper and broader intellectual currents of his time, and therefore the story of his experiences at Columbia, Harvard, and the Institute for Advanced Study is a brilliantly conceived contribution to the history of American philosophy in the twentieth century. Readers concerned with the development of higher education will be fascinated by White's description of the struggles over religion at Harvard in the 1950s, while historians of urban life will be much interested in his vivid account of his boyhood on the Lower East Side of New York. ..
Morton White is Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Among his many well-known books are Social Thought in America (Viking, 1948), Foundations of Historical Knowledge (Harper & Row, 1965), Science and Sentiment in America (Oxford, 1972), and The Question of Free Will (Princeton, 1993).

Read this doc on Scribd: mortonwhite2

Mazie Phillips-Gordon: The Queen Of The Bowery, Part 1

First of a series about Mazie from the Knickerbocker Village Blog

I found the obituary of the legendary Mazie of KV. There's a chapter devoted to Mazie in Joseph Mitchell's, "Up In The Old Hotel"
Read this doc on Scribd: maizie

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Images from Tenement Museum book signing


Here are a few images from a recent book signing at the Tenement Museum on Monday, September 29, 2009. LESHP director presented a lecture on the history of the Sicilian Mafia to a standing-room only crowd at the museum's Tenement Talk series, and signed copies of his new book, "A Guide to Gangsters, Murderers and Weirdos of New York City's Lower East Side." Thanks to Erica Hawkins for the pictures.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Andrea Coyle interviewed by Women's eNews

Andrea Coyle, East Village History Project's Director of Outreach, was recently interviewed by Women's eNews, about her thoughts on The Museum of American Finance's new "Women of Wall Street" exhibit. You can read the rest of the article here:
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/4111

Saturday, August 1, 2009

LESHP director to participate in panel on East Village

Panelists will include Council Member Rosie Mendez (District 2); Steve Zeitland, Founder and Executive Director of City Lore, Eric Ferrara, Founder and Executive Director of the East Village History Project; and Marguerite Van Cook, Multimedia Artist and Executive Director of the Howl! Festival.

The panel is a part of Metropolitan's East Village Theater Festival, a three-week celebration of the changing culture of the East Village. Combining two of the theater’s annual new works series and featuring the work of local artists and musicians, the festival will be held every day of the week in Metropolitan’s home at 220 E 4th Street August 3rd through 23rd, 2009.

Metropolitan Playhouse Presents
Discussion Panel: The Changing East Village
Monday, August 17, 2009, 8:00pm
Part of the East Village Theater Festival

More info on event and festival: metropolitanplayhouse.org

Friday, July 31, 2009

EVHP director to participate in panel on East Village

Metropolitan Playhouse Presents
Discussion Panel: The Changing East Village
Monday, August 17, 2009, 8:00pm
Part of the East Village Theater Festival

Panelists will include Council Member Rosie Mendez (District 2); Steve Zeitland, Founder and Executive Director of City Lore, Eric Ferrara, Founder and Executive Director of the East Village History Project; and Marguerite Van Cook, Multimedia Artist and Executive Director of the Howl! Festival.

The panel is a part of Metropolitan's East Village Theater Festival, a three-week celebration of the changing culture of the East Village. Combining two of the theater’s annual new works series and featuring the work of local artists and musicians, the festival will be held every day of the week in Metropolitan’s home at 220 E 4th Street August 3rd through 23rd, 2009.

More info on event and festival: metropolitanplayhouse.org

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The New Museum Block Party

The East Village History Project (EVHP) team was able to participate in the New Museum Block Party on Sunday, July 26, at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the Lower East Side.

At our table we provided information about the various walking tours that we offer at the East Village Visitors Center.

Although it was a very hot and sunny day, enthusiasm was high & many people visited our booth and joined our free "Bowery" walking tours, lead by EVHP Executive Director Eric Ferrara.
For those who missed it: the "Bowery" walking tours are usually offered on Thursdays at 2:00 P.M.

We also had a fantastic time with our visitors by playing our famous "Guess the Great and the Famous of the East Village" game. On 5 panels, we displayed pictures of famous people divided into different categories such as: artists and musicians, anarchists, or gangsters, which were all
in someway significant to the East Village. Those of our visitors who were able to name 5 people on these panels won an "East Village Visitors Center History Bar", a chocolate bar, affectionately designed by Andrea Coyle, Director of Outreach.


Despite the heat and humidity it was loads of fun, and we are thrilled we were able to be apart of it!

We encourage you to stop by for at least a coffee. Visit our web page for more info about our upcoming events and walking tours.

-Ina & the East Village History Project Team


Thursday, July 16, 2009

EVHP partners with Orenzanz Summer Museum on Governor's Island

East Village History Project is a proud partner of the Orensanz Summer Museum on Governor's Island this Summer 2009.

We encourage art lovers and adventurers to take the 10 minute ferry departing from South Manhattan (or Brooklyn) and make a pleasant promenade to the Island, where you can enjoy the specially curated drawings, light boxes and external sculptures created specifically for the occasion as well as workshops and debates covering a wide range of disciplines.

The exhibition is open every weekend from June 14th to October 3rd, and together with other cultural activities programmed on the Island, the Orensanz Summer Museum's aim is to make of this tiny island in the heart of New York’s Bay a new cultural reference for the city’s summer artistic scenario.

MORE INFORMATION: http://www.orensanz.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=95&Itemid=32

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The story of Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins, former slave and musical genius

Thomas Greene Wiggins (1849-1908) was a former slave and indentured servant who began playing piano by the age of four and became one of the most celebrated musicians of the Civil War era.

Thomas was born autistic and without sight on May 25, 1849 to Mungo and Charity Wiggins, two Georgia plantation slaves owned by Wiley Edward Jones. His family was sold soon after to Colonel James Neil Bethune, and Tom was "thrown in as a bargain." By all accounts, because of his disabilities, Thomas was treated like a "household pet," but Bethune's daughter Mary recognized talent in the young boy and became his first music teacher. Thomas learned fast and began performing publicly by the age of eight.

By 1858, at the age of nine, Thomas was basically rented out by the Bethune family to Perry Oliver, who booked performances for Thomas all over the South, promoted as the "Musical Prodigy of the Age: a Plantation Negro Boy." Bethune received $15,000 for the three-year contract, which, as a slave, Thomas saw no part of.

Thomas Wiggins continued to astound audiences and performed many high-profile events, including a concert before President James Buchanan in 1859, becoming the first African-American to ever perform at the White House.

In 1864, James Bethune, sensing a Union victory in the Civil War (and an end to slavery), protected his investment by convincing Mingo and Charity to sign an indenture agreement for Tom's services. Under contract, Tom's parents were to receive "a good home and subsistence and $500 a year". Sixteen year old Thomas was promised "$20 per month and two percent of the net proceeds of his services".

Over the next few years, Thomas was touring all over the United States and Europe. He was being managed by John C. Bethune, who was earning as much as $50,000 a year from the performances. It was a rigorous schedule, but Thomas the respect of professional musicians the world over.

John G. Bethune had himself appointed Thomas's legal guardian on July 25, 1870, and soon moved to New York City to live with his new new wife, the owner of the boarding house where they lived (7 St. Marks Place).

Over the following nine years, while living here on St. Marks Place, Thomas Wiggins studied music with Professor Joseph Poznanski, who wrote down and collected many of Thomas' original compositions.

In 1865, a custody battle broke out when Charity Wiggins filed a suit against the Bethunes for the return of her son and a fair share of profits. John Bethune was killed in 1887 while trying to board a local train, but his widow, Eliza, ended up winning the long and bizarre custody battle later that year.

Thomas' last public appearances were between April 17-22, 1905 in Boston and little was heard from him again until his death at age 59 on June 13, 1908. Thomas Wiggins died of natural causes in the new home of Eliza Bethune in Hoboken, NJ, his memorial was held at the Frank E. Campbell funeral chapel at 241 W.23rd Street.

In 1999, the first commercial CD of music composed by Thomas Wiggins was released called John Davis Plays Blind Tom.

Read more about the incredible life of Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins here: http://chevalierdesaintgeorges.homestead.com/Wiggins.html

And Here: Blind Tom, the Black Pianist-Composer 1849-1908 By Geneva Handy Southall

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Local activist awarded prestigious 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal


The Rockfeller Foundation announced today that the recipients of the 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal are Richard Kahan and Damaris Reyes. The medal, which is administered by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), was created in 2007 to honor the author and activist who died in April 2006. It is awarded annually to two New Yorkers whose work creates new ways of seeing and understanding the city.

Founder and CEO of the Urban Assembly, Richard Kahan is a former President of the New York State Urban Development Corporation and former Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority. Since 1999, the Urban Assembly has created, and now manages, 22 public secondary schools located, by design, in many of the lowest income neighborhoods in New York. Mr. Kahan will receive the 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal for Lifetime Leadership.

Damaris Reyes, Executive Director of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), will receive the 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism. She began her work with GOLES as a grassroots community organizer before assuming her current role in 2005. Through an approach Reyes describes as holistic, GOLES has been pivotal in strengthening the community and preserving the character of the Lower East Side. Both medals come with an award of $100,000.

To read more about the work of the 2009 recipients, click here.

Previous years' recipients include Peggy Shepard, executive director and co-founder of West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT), and Alexie Torres-Fleming, founder of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ) in 2008; and Barry Benepe of New York City?s Greenmarket program and Omar Freilla of Greenworker Cooperatives in the Bronx in 2007.

The Rockefeller Foundation made a grant to Jane Jacobs in the 1950s for the research and writing of the book The Life and Death of Great American Cities. More than fifty years later, this work remains one of the most influential books ever written on urban design.

The 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal Jury was chaired by Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, and comprised Rockefeller Foundation trustee David Rockefeller, Jr., Dean of New York University's Tisch School for the Arts Mary Schmidt Campbell, and The New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger.

For more information about the award and past year's recipients, visit www.mas.org/jane-jacobs-medal.

------

Congratulations to Damaris for her important work in the community. Visit GOLES: http://www.goles.org


*Recent image of Damaris Reyes and Carlos Garcia courtesy of The Villager

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

EVHP partners with Orenzanz Summer Museum on Governor's Island

East Village History Project is a proud partner of the Orensanz Summer Museum on Governor's Island this Summer 2009.

We encourage art lovers and adventurers to take the 10 minute ferry departing from South Manhattan (or Brooklyn) and make a pleasant promenade to the Island, where you can enjoy the specially curated drawings, light boxes and external sculptures created specifically for the occasion as well as workshops and debates covering a wide range of disciplines.

The exhibition is open every weekend from June 14th to October 3rd, and together with other cultural activities programmed on the Island, the Orensanz Summer Museum's aim is to make of this tiny island in the heart of New York’s Bay a new cultural reference for the city’s summer artistic scenario.
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.orensanz.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=95&Itemid=32

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No Wal-Mart for Union Square

"Please be advised that Rosie’s office did some research regarding a Wal-Mart opening at Union Square. To the best of our knowledge these rumors are not based on any solid evidence that Wal-Mart has an interest in Union Square. All the research we have done says that the spaces available do not meet the retail giant’s specifications and that they never made any overture to do business there. None-the-less Rosie hears your objections loud and clear and encourages you to distribute your point of view as widely as possible."

This was a portion of a response from Rosie Mendez's office to a letter from a concerned St. Marks Place resident which reads:

Dear Councilmember Mendez:

Greetings from St. Mark's Place. I've recently read that the Wal-Mart corporation is trying to gain a foothold in the Union Square area. As a constituent living in the East Village, and as a local architecture writer who treasures the unique culture, heritage, and built environment of our city, I would like to urge you to use all available means to prevent that corporation from opening anywhere in New York. Not in Union Square, not in Brooklyn, not in Queens: nowhere in our city, please. Not now, not ever, not here... and not even if they swear on a stack of every major culture's holy books that they'll pull an ideological 180-degree turn and start supporting the Employee Free Choice Act. No matter what promises they make, Wal-Mart simply doesn't belong in New York City.

With a disgraceful record of corporate behavior and a business model premised on exurban sprawl, automobile dependence, a work force with no better options, and a bland commercial monoculture, Wal-Mart represents everything ugly and mediocre and unjust about our nation, the exact opposite of the values that progressive Americans take pride in. Part of the case against Wal-Mart is simply economic: Wal-Mart destroys local economies, puts people out of work, damages local environments with auto traffic, degrades local pay-scale standards, treats workers like cattle, and evades its responsibilities as a major employer to provide its workers with decent health care. I'm sure you've heard the grim stories about workers locked into stores, mandatory work hours off the clock, petty efforts to claw back legal settlements from workers with health problems, exploitation of Chinese labor under conditions that border on slavery -- all the things that make the Wal-Mart name stink worldwide. The "low prices" that Wal-Mart offers on its goods are no bargain at all: they merely shift the costs of its profiteering onto the people and places that have the least power to bear them. (The necessary statistics and narratives on all this, as you're probably already aware, are available at walmartwatch.com.)

But the argument is not limited to economics. It's about aesthetic standards and cultural diversity, too -- the unique strengths of New York City, as robust as solid rock but not immune to erosion. Wal-Mart is both a creature of the sprawl culture and a vector of that particular disease; it is the antithesis of everything that makes urban life (particularly NYC life) vibrant and distinctive. Our city thrives and maintains its flavor by supporting the small businesses and activities that offer opportunities to recent immigrants -- both from other nations and from other parts of the US. I am one of many "New Yorkers by choice," people who moved here from other states precisely because our city's cultural activity, walkable-scale street life, intelligent discourse, and human diversity present a highly attractive alternative to everything tiresome and predictable about Flyoverland and Generica.

Giant-scaled retail outlets, the bloated organizations that have turned so much of the rest of the country into such a dreary place, are utterly incompatible with the "New York-ness" of New York. Wal-Mart and Wal-Martism are exactly what many of us came here to avoid. If they spread here, they'll have no more respect for the NYC way of life than a metastatic tumor cell has for the health of its host.
We need many things here -- affordable housing, decent jobs, better transit, better and fairer enforcement of the laws, expanded support for the arts and for artists, reliable health care for everyone -- but we don't need $1.89 boxes of detergent at the cost of our civic soul, our dignity, our wage levels, and the livelihood of our neighborhood's mom-and-pop enterprises.

As poet Bob Holman, proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club, once told me in a conversation about our neighborhood, "We have nothing to lose but our chains!" Chain stores, of course, are what he was referring to. There are too many of them here already. Wal-Mart is the worst of them, and when they come knocking here, they should be told decisively that they are undesirable and unwelcome.

Thanks for your attention and consideration, and best of luck in defending the irreplaceable values of our city and our neighborhood.

Best regards,
Bill Millard,
X St. Mark's Place
New York, NY 10003



Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 2009 - Women in History

June 6, 1872 - Susan B. Anthony is arrested for leading a group of women to register & vote in Rochester, NY

June 8, 1949 - Ladies' Professional Golf Assn. (LPGA), oldest women's professional sports organization in the world

June 9, 1949 - Georgia Neese Clark 1st woman treasurer of the US

June 10, 1963 - Equal Pay Act enacted: "To prohibit discrimination on account of sex in payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or production of goods for commerce."

June 12, 1913 - Women celebrate passage of a state woman suffrage bill in Springfield, Illinois

June 14, 1811 - Harriet Beecher Stowe's birthday - author of Uncle Tom's Cabin

June 18, 1983 - Sally Ride, 1st American woman in space

June 20, 1921 - Alice Robertson 1st woman to chair the House of Representatives

June 23, 1940 - 1st women graduate from Harvard Medical School

June 24, 1903 - Mme Marie Curie announces discovery of radium

Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 2009-This Month in NYC History

Jun 1, 1625 - Sarah de Rapaelje is born in Breuckelen (Brooklyn) to Jan Joris Rapaelje and his wife, the first child of European parents born in the New World.

June 12, 1904 - Ground is broken on P.S. 64, the future home of Charas/El Bohio.

June 15, 1904 - over 1,000 people, mostly German Immigrants, perish on a boat after leafing the 9th Street dock in the Slocum Disaster

June 27, 1971 - The Fillmore East final night performance with the Allman Brothers, The Beach Boys and others.

June 5, 2002 - Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Glenn Colvin) dies of a heroin overdose at the age of 50.

June 16, 2002 - A gunman takes all patrons of Bar Veloce hostage. Hostages fought back and four people were shot during the mele, including the gunman, but no one was killed.

May 2009 - This Month in NYC History

May 15th, 1638 - Jan Gybertsen stabs New Amsterdam gunner Gerrit Jansen in a brawl, killing him; New York City's first recorded European on European murder.

May 10, 1640 - First militia is formed in New Amsterdam.

May 11, 1647 - Peter Stuyvesant arrives in Nieuw Amsterdam, as Director General, to replace Willem Kieft.

May 19, 1677 - New York City's council begins taxing the construction of docks and bridges

May 10, 1849 - The Astor Place Riot. At least eighteen died and hundreds were injured. (Join us on our special 160th Anniversary tour)

May 24, 1883 - The Brooklyn Bridge is opened.

May 1st, 1980 - The Ritz takes over Webster Hall and quickly becomes a famous showcase venue for emerging rock acts. Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Prince, Sting, KISS, B.B. King, and Guns N' Roses all performed on it's stage.

May 10, 1997 -A Danish woman was arrested at BBQ's on 2nd Avenue for leaving her baby outside in a stroller while she dined inside.

Monday, June 1, 2009

EVHP awarded grant from Citizens Committe for NYC

East Village History Project is proud to be awarded a grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City.

Join us at the awards reception on Monday, June 8:

Citizens Committee's 2009 Neighborhood Awards Reception
Municipal Arts Society
457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street, Manhattan
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Citizens Committee for New York City hosts its annual Neighborhood Awards Reception for all of our grantees to come together to meet and celebrate our work together over the past year.

Come celebrate the work of great New Yorkers like you, enjoy refreshments, and connect with your friends from Citizens Committee.
RSVP to shunt@citizensnyc.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it, or contact Arif Ullah at (212) 989-0909.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

GVSHP considers East Village History Project for 2009 Award

East Village History Project is proud to be considered for a 2009 Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Award.

This is a tremendous honor. Since 1991, GVSHP has presented businesses, individuals, institutions, and organizations with our Village Award, in recognition their significant contribution to the legendary quality of life in Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. GVSHP members are asked to nominate awardees each April, and a committee of community members decides on the winners. These awards are presented at the GVSHP’s Annual Meeting each June.

View previous award winners here: http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/events/awards.htm

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

LESHP's Rob Hollander on WNYC Radio

Main Street NYC: Bowery History on Display at the East Village Visitors Center
by Brigid Bergin
NEW YORK, NY April 03, 2009 —WNYC's Main Street Project is tracking streets across the area. Last month, we stopped by the Bowery to see how New York's old Skid Row is doing today. But there's much more to the street's history. And that's the subject of a new exhibit opening tonight.
HOLLANDER: We want to be the defining institution of the East Village the way the Tenement Museum is the defining institution of the Lower East Side.
REPORTER: Rob Hollander is one of the co-founders of the East Village History Project and the new East Village Visitors Center.
Hollander says one of the street's legacies is its role in the development of New York's theatre district. He says the 19th century Bowery Theatre used to draw some 3,500 working class people to its spirited productions.
HOLLANDER: That's a huge gathering place for working class people. That's where people went to see each other, to interact with with each other and the theatre experience was nothing like what it is today. It was more like a riot.
REPORTER: That exhibit opens tonight at the Bowery Poetry Club.
LISTEN TO AUDIO: http://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/127865

Saturday, May 2, 2009

NBC features "Gangsters, Murderers & Weirdos" tour

The tour, which is led by East Village historian Eric Ferrara takes you on a journey from the golden age of the American gangster to the bohemian arts and drug culture of the 1960s. Eric guides you to historic hotspots like 57 Jones Street – the Five Points gang headquarters – and to Second Avenue at 12th Street, the scene of a famous mob shootout.

For a $15 donation – you’ll be amazed to hear about the riots, assassinations, grave-robbings, and other criminal behavior that took place on the East Village streets you roam daily.

From NBC (April 2009)

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/around-town/archive/City-By-Subway-.html

Friday, April 10, 2009

Time Out New York: "Women: Movers & Shakers" tour Top Five in NYC

Forget the dudes—this two-hour, three-quarter-mile tour is all about the awesome ladies who influenced the art, culture and politics of NYC’s hippest ’hood. Guide Andrea Coyle concentrates on the Bowery and shares tidbits about everyone from Emma Goldman to Patricia Field and Madonna.

From Time Out New York, (Issue 705, Apr 2-8)


Women Movers & Shakers Tour
The gist: Forget the dudes—this two-hour, three-quarter-mile tour is all about the awesome ladies who influenced the art, culture and politics of NYC’s hippest ’hood. Guide Andrea Coyle concentrates on the Bowery and shares tidbits about everyone from Emma Goldman to Patricia Field and Madonna.
Who goes: Womyn, counterculturists and, yes, men, too
High: Even longtime Villagers will learn something new about their nabe—for instance, the corner of Bowery and 2nd Street once held a flophouse nicknamed “McGurk’s Suicide Hall” for the high number of prostitutes who offed themselves there.
Low: The tour hammers home just how much history has been lost in the East Village. The Fillmore East, where Janis Joplin once performed, is now an Emigrant Bank; the Amato Opera will close in May. And so it goes.
Before you go: Fuel up at Think Coffee (1 Bleecker St at Bowery, 212-553-3366), and search for cute vintage frocks at KGB Bar (85 E 4th St between Second and Third Aves, 212-505-3360), modern dance at La MaMa (74A E 4th St between Second and Third Aves, 212-475-7710) or the New York Neo-Futurists’ long-running show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, at the east-village.com to register.
If you like that, try this: The East Village History Project produces a variety of neighborhood tours; delve into its seedy underbelly with Gangsters, Murderers & Weirdos (avenuea.org), covering the more gruesome parts of the Village’s history (avenuea.org)—Amy Plitt

Friday, April 3, 2009

LESHP's Rob Hollander on WNYC Radio

Main Street NYC: Bowery History on Display at the East Village Visitors Center
by Brigid Bergin

NEW YORK, NY April 03, 2009 —WNYC's Main Street Project is tracking streets across the area. Last month, we stopped by the Bowery to see how New York's old Skid Row is doing today. But there's much more to the street's history. And that's the subject of a new exhibit opening tonight.

HOLLANDER: We want to be the defining institution of the East Village the way the Tenement Museum is the defining institution of the Lower East Side.

REPORTER: Rob Hollander is one of the co-founders of the East Village History Project and the new East Village Visitors Center.

Hollander says one of the street's legacies is its role in the development of New York's theatre district. He says the 19th century Bowery Theatre used to draw some 3,500 working class people to its spirited productions.

HOLLANDER: That's a huge gathering place for working class people. That's where people went to see each other, to interact with with each other and the theatre experience was nothing like what it is today. It was more like a riot.

REPORTER: That exhibit opens tonight at the Bowery Poetry Club.

LISTEN TO AUDIO: http://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/127865