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Posted: Apr 17, 2013 | 10:56 PM
by Jared Goldstein

April 18th in New York City History

1831:  Happy Birthday, New York University NYU.

We explore NYU's backyards on East Village tours and Greenwich Village tours.

1881:  Max Weber, Jewish-American modern artist, born in Russia.  He died in 1961.

1923:  The first baseball game was played at Yankee Stadium during which New York beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 in the Bronx thanks to Babe Ruth's three-run homer. 

We visit the Bronx on Bronx tours.

1933:  Former Mayor Beau James Jimmy Walker married his mistress from his days in office Betty Compton.

1963:  Happy Birthday to comedian Conan O'Brien.

We see where Conan O'Brien worked on Rockefeller Center tours.

1963:  Happy Birthday to Eric McCormack, actor famous for "Will and Grace."

We see where Grace had her studio on SoHo tours, and on some Santa Claus tours aka Santa Claus' NYC tour, aka Santa Claus the NYC Tour.

1976:  "A Chorus Line" won the Best Musical Tony award.

1979:  So-called Reality TV's Kourtney Kardashian's birthday.

We see the sisters' favorite neighborhood on SoHo tours.

1999:  Wayne "the Great" Gretzky,

the National Hockey League's record scorer,

played his last professional game at Madison Square Garden.

2011:  Standard & Poor's lowered its long-term outlook for the U.S. government's fiscal health from "stable" to "negative."

We see the Financial District on Wall Street tours, Financial District tours, Downtown tours, and we see financial businesses on Midtown tours, Times Square tours, and Theater District tours.
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Posted: Apr 16, 2013 | 11:52 PM
by Jared Goldstein

April 17th in N.Y.C. History

1524: Italian Giovanni Da Verrazano, exploring for France, became the first European to sail into New York harbor and was the first European to set foot on Manahatta, aka Manhattan.  He was looking for a shortcut to the Pacific, and he thought that the Muheekantuk (aka Hudson aka North River) looked promising, which inspired the Dutch to explore here decades later.  

Verazzano returned to North America two more times.  The second to settle permanently.  He was eaten by Caribbeans. He introduced Italian food to the Americas as well.

The great bridge separating the Atlantic from New York Harbor bears his name.  

We experience the Verazzano Bridge on Staten Island Ferry tours, New York Harbor tours, and Statue of Liberty tours.

1837:  J.P. Morgan, financier, banker, philanthropist, and U.S. Steel founder, as well as orchestrating the formation of General Electric, born in CT.  He died in 1913.

We visit JP Morgan's headquarters on Wall Street tours, and Downtown tours, and the Indomitable Spirit Tour.

1872:  Bloomingdale's Department store began as a small dry-goods store on Third Avenue near 56th Street owned by the Bloomingdale brothers, Lyman and Joseph.

We see Bloomingdales on Upper East Side tours.

1929:  Babe Ruth married his second wife at 5:45 in the morning.  Seize the day!  

We see The Ansonia, where Babe Ruth lived and where Saul Bellow's novella Seize the Day took place, on Upper West Side tours.

1951:  New York Yankees' Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle debuts, scoring a run and an RBI in a 5-0 victory over Boston.

1964:  The New York Mets debuted in their new home, Shea Stadium, losing 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  They were lovable losers then, but they would become the Amazin' Mets in five years.  The Mets played their first two years at the Polo Grounds.

We see CitiField, where the Mets now play, on Queens tours.  We see where the Polo Grounds were on Washington Heights tours and Upper Manhattan tours.

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Posted: Apr 15, 2013 | 9:23 PM

April 16th in NYC History

1674:  Great Street, longer known by the Native-American as Weekagwesgek hunting trail, leading north from the bottom tip of Manhattan, was renamed Broadway.

1947:  Bernard M. Baruch New York based financier, presidential confidant, and economic policymaker coined the term "cold war" when he addressed the South Carolina statehouse, "We are today in the midst of a cold war."  This super-power standoff lasted, for the most part, through 1989.

1948:  Mayor O'Dwyer doubled the subway fare, a nickel since 1904, to a dime.

1962:  Walter Cronkite became the anchorman of "The CBS Evening News" for the next 19 years.

1962:  Bob Dylan debuted "Blowin' in the Wind" at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village on 11 West 4th Street.

We see several Bob Dylan sights and sites on Greenwich Village tours and my

Bob Dylan the NYC Tour aka Bob Dylan tour.

1947:  Harlem's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar born as Lew Alcindor.  He scored over 38,000 points in the NBA, the record.  In high school he had a 97-2 record.

We see Harlem on Harlem tours.  We see "The Rucker" the famous basketball court where seven hundred fellow college hoop stars were developed on my NYC Basketball Tour.  We see the Renaissance Ballroom, home of the Harlem Rens that Jabbar profiled in a documentary on my Harlem tours.

1954:  Actress Ellen Barkin born in the Bronx, also raised in Queens.

1965:  Actor Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men") born.

1966:  The original Metropolitan Opera house

bows out from it's home on Broadway and 39th Street
, soon moving to Lincoln Center.  The Met was founded by New York's new gilded age wealth who felt snubbed by the Academy of Music, but

the house was plagued with problems from the start.

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Posted: Apr 14, 2013 | 11:59 PM

April 15th in New York City History

1880:  Max Wertheimer, a founder of Gestalt psychology and New School professor, born in Prague.

We see the New School on Greenwich Village tours.

1889:  "The most dangerous black in America," A. Philip Randolph born, union and civil rights leader born.  He died 1979.

We visit his home Harlem on Harlem tours.

1889:  Artist Thomas Hart Benton born.  His career was in New York City.  He died in 1975.

Washington Square Park

1912:  The New York bound Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, just a few hours after hitting an iceberg.  Nearly 1,500 people died, including industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim and Macy's owner Isidor Straus.

We see the pier where the Titanic was supposed to arrive on Chelsea tours and on High-Line tours.  We see the lighthouse that was supposed to greet the ship on South Street Seaport tours, or Seaport tours.

1947:  Jackie Robinson debuted in his first official baseball game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming baseball's first black major league player.

We see the Dodgers' old office on Brooklyn Heights tours.

1992:  Leona Helmsley, "The Queen of Mean,"  started serving her four-year sentence for tax evasion.  Apparently, taxes aren't 'just for little people.'  On the other hand, she would be released the following year.

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Posted: Apr 14, 2013 | 1:18 AM

April 14th in NYC History

1866:  Anne Sullivan, famous for teaching Helen Keller, born in Massachusetts.  She lived her later years in Forest Hills, Queens.

1912:  The Titanic sank, traumatizing the many New Yorkers with family aboard, transfixing a nation about the limits of progress and modernity.

1936:  Happy Birthday to Frank Serpico, the NYPD officer who bravely took a stand to NYC of police corruption.

1966:  Three  Nation of Islam members convicted for murdering Malcolm X in Washington Heights Harlem the previous year were sentenced to life in prison. All three were to be paroled by 1993.  A fourth man is at large, according to historian Manning Marable.

Thomas Hagen, assassin 1965

Thomas Hagen 2008

We learn about the life and lives of Malcolm X on Harlem tours and Washington Heights tours.

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Posted: Apr 13, 2013 | 1:29 PM
by Jared Goldstein

New York City's psychographic relationship to North America

I was discussing New York City's geographic, historic, and economic relationships with its suburbs.  When I pointed out Westchester, my guest remarked that it is next to Canada.  This brings to mind:

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Posted: Apr 13, 2013 | 12:45 AM

April 13th in New York City History

1670:  The English buy Staten Island from the Algonquin Natives.  After the real estate was cleared a real estate boom bloomed.

We go to Staten Island on New York Harbor tours, and Staten Island tours.

1870:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art was incorporated.

We go by the Museum on Central Park tours, Upper East Side tours, MSO tours aka Manhattan Step on tours, aka Manhattan Step-on tours, aka Manhattan Sights Orientation coach bus tours.

1895:  Forest Park in Queens was founded.  The City of Brooklyn purchased more than 500 acres that summer for design  by famed Central Park designer Frederic Law Olmsted.

1939:  Actor Paul Sorvino born in Brooklyn.

1940:  The New York Rangers Hockey team won the Stanley Cup, besting the Toronto Maple Leafs in a six games. The next cup will not return until 1994.  In the meantime, rivals' fans would chant "1940" to razz the team.  The 1994 celebration was unforgettable.  I was there as crowds marched down Seventh Avenue over honking cars stopped in traffic.

We see the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame on Midtown tours and Penn Station tours.

1950:  Actor Ron Perlman born and raised in Washington Heights, Manhattan.

1951:  Drummer Max Weinberg of the E Street Band and Late Night with Conan O'Brien born in NJ.

1964:  Sidney Poitier won the Best Actor Academy Award for "Lilies of the Field, " becoming the became the first black performer to do so.  His career in acting developed in Harlem

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Posted: Apr 12, 2013 | 3:56 PM

Going in-depth and out-of-the-way with another German visitor.

I love touring with Germans.  Their longer-than-average bookings, sometimes multi-day marathons, go in-depth to off-the-beaten-track places.  They have exhibited passion for traveling, learning, experiencing local life, photography (which one must be careful about), and ideas.

Dietrich and I explored Bushwick, er East-East Williamsburg, Street Art and vernacular culture, Williamsburg, and Polish Greenpoint on Day 1.
 Keywords:  Bushwich tour, Williamsburg tour, Greenpoint tour, Brooklyn tour.

The next day we took a journey from City College through Harlem with local soul food, cultural, civil rights, church, store, and sports stops, as well as a couple of drinks at the more than 40-year-old Paris Cafe where we talked with the owner and the longtime bartender at this nightly jazz club.  Then we toured some more and concluded with a drink at The Showman's Bar, established 1942.

Harlem offered local folks chiming in, friendily, on my tours, as well as local characters like Otis Houston, Jr.  "The Black Cherokee," who wears shorts and boxing gloves, rapping poetry about a clean life.  This time he had a coconut helmet topped with a mango.  He had an assistant collecting his tips so as not interfere with his performance, the subject of the afore-linked documentary.

There was another guy 
working out using a bungee cord against a traffic pole.  Then we had a couple of throwbacks.  The screaming crackhead that everyone did their best to ignore near a bus stop.  The heroin addict doing what I call "junky yoga."  His demonstration was slumping to the sidewalk while standing and holding the post indefinitely.  

A guy in the 135th Street subway station muttered that I talked like a bitch ass, which was confrontational, but which I acted like I ignored him, so he repeated it a few times.  I am not sure if Dietrich caught that.  

Usually Harlem's people are very kind and welcoming.  One lady was pleased to learn about

the ubiquitous green man, who she said she was going to ask her children to count.

Another, after parking a mid sized car from the 1980s, enjoyed my talk about Striver's Row.  A construction worker seemed to quietly appreciate my talk outside Mother Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church.  I take this as a compliment because in Harlem, if someone disagrees with your tour, or thinks they do, you and your group will hear about that.  As they say at the Apollo Theater on Amateur Night, "Be good, or be gone."

I have had many other magical tour moments, mostly in Harlem, over the years.

One thing about the denizens of Harlem, they are interested and interesting.  The same goes for German tourists.  I love them both.

Keywords:  Harlem tour.

Things I learned:  Germany does not have 99c stores, nor food by the pound, nor shabby glory.  

By that I mean, while touring down Lenox (Malcolm X Blvd) we saw newly renovated row houses and rapidly gentrifying businesses, much like how the area was developed in the 1870s, except that this Harlem Champs Elysees is just completing its transformation back to the future.

Then we went up Adam Clayton Powell (7th Ave) and we experienced more of the Harlem of the early 1990s, more run-down buildings, yet it was obvious how well-built and architecturally rich they are.  Some of the street life was run down as well.  Mostly harmless if treated the right way.

In Munich, if a building and a neighborhood is for the wealthy, it stays that way for maybe hundreds of years.  In NYC twenty years is plenty occasion for tremendously rapid change.  ACP Blvd, is a window, somewhat, to the past, certainly to regular people Harlem.

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Posted: Apr 12, 2013 | 3:23 AM

April 12th in New York City History

1842:  Mutual of New York (MoNY) was chartered to sell life insurance.  The firm, co-founded by John Pintard, established many modern standards and practices. 

We learn about John Pintard on Santa Claus the NYC Tour, aka Santa Claus tour, aka Santa's NYC tour.

1878:  "Boss" Tweed, the graft politician synonymous with corruption and machine politics, died in the Ludlow Street Jail.

We see where Tweed's jail was on Lower East Side tours.  We also explore Tweed's legacy on Santa Claus' NYC Tour, aka the Santa Claus tour, aka Santa's NYC Tour.

1947:  Late Show host David Letterman's birthday.

We see Letterman's show headquarters, the Ed Sullivan Theater, on Theater District tours, Broadway tours, Midtown tours, and on John Lennon's NYC tour, aka John Lennon the NYC Tour.

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Posted: Apr 10, 2013 | 10:26 PM

April 11th in N.Y.C. History

1908:  Leo Rosten, humorist who brought Yiddish to American mainstream culture, born.  He died in 1997.

We touch upon Yiddish culture in Lower East Side tours, East Village tours, and Jewish tours.

1919:  Governor Hugh Carey born in Brooklyn.  He was a vital link between the state and the city governments during NYC's fiscal crisis in the 1970s.  Appropriately, the Brooklyn to Battery Tunnel was renamed for him in December 2010, months before he died.

We see this tunnel's entrance on Downtown tours, Colonial NYC tours, New Amsterdam tours, early America tours, and Financial District tours.

1932:  Happy Birthday to

Joel Grey, famous for "Cabaret"
 (and his "Dirty Dancing" daughter Jennifer Grey from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off.")

1947:  Jackie Robinson racially integrated baseball with his major league debut in an exhibition game between the Dodgers and the Yankees.  It was a rough start for Robinson.  Even some of his teammates did not want to play with him.

1950:  Happy Birthday to funny man and philanthropist Bill Irwin .

1970:  Abortion legalized in New York State after Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed it into law.

1980:  Happy Birthday Mark Teixeira, Yankees first baseman

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