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March 6th in NYC's History

Posted: Mar 6, 2013 | 1:57 AM
by Jared Goldstein

1776:  Revolutionary Patriots arrested loyalist Tories to keep the British out of Queens.  They swept through Newtown, now known as Astoria and Elmhurst.

Revolutions are tough times.  1/3 of NYC was Loyalist, 1/3 was Revolutionaries, and 1/3 would do business with both sides.

1885:  Writer Ring Lardner born.  He moved to NYC to write for Broadway Theatre.

1912:  Oreo cookies introduced by the National Biscuit Company (NaBisCo or Nabisco).  Its state of the art factory bakery and transportation hub is where the Chelsea Food Market and the Highline is today.

We see where this happened on Highline Park tours and Meatpacking District tours.

1926:  Economist, and former longtime and influential Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan born.

1947:  Actor and director, and pride of the Bronx, Rob Reiner born.

1970:  Three members of the radical anti Vietnam War organization, the Weathermen, died in a Greenwich Village Townhouse that they blew up in a bomb-making accident.

That is why one building is not like the others on this lovely, yet posh, yet understated, tree-lined landmarked Washington Square street. 

These two photos by Kevin Walsh.

Washington Square?!  Why am I calling part of Greenwich Village Washington Square and why would Henry James care?

What were the Weathermen were doing there, their motivations, and where they are today?

Dustin Hoffman and his family lived next door then.

Charles Merrill, a founder of Merrill-Lynch lived there, and his son, the poet and philanthropist James Merrill (who I profiled on March 3rd), grew up in the to-be-exploded-townhouse.

After the destruction of his childhood home, he wrote about the

''dear premises vainly exploded.'' ...  "Shards of a blackened witness still in place.  The charred ice-sculpture garden  Beams fell upon. The cold blue searching beams."

This is just a tiny part of my Greenwich Village tours.  

1981:  "The CBS Evening News" anchorman Walter Cronkite retired after nearly twenty years as "the most trusted man in America."   

Truly, the end of an era.  

Cronkite was the news authority in an era when most people watched television network evening news when there were, if you were lucky to be in a market like New York, seven TV channels.  Some markets possibly had four channels.

His breaking news, such as the Kennedy assassination, is how people connected, in a mass way with millions, to the news of the moment.  He presented the facts and showed emotion.  He was also the conscience of the news, proclaiming the Vietnam War unwinnable in 1968 even as the federal government proclaimed victories each day toward some purpose related to saving the world from Communism.  He also denounced the police brutality against the Chicago Democratic Convention protestors.

Cronkite managed to unite a diverse nation splintered along generational faults.  

By the time he retired, CNN and cable television were burgeoning towards one hundred channels and twenty-four hour broadcasting and news updates.  

By the time Walter Cronkite died in 2009, with the Internet, the Web, and social media, we have billions of tiny echo chambers in intellectual, or mindless, balkanized bantustans.

There will never be another most trusted man in America.

"That's the way it is."


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