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Posted: Oct 31, 2012 | 12:54 PM
by Jared Goldstein

NYC is Open for Busine$$: TOURS for Tip$

The tourists need tours.
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Posted: Oct 28, 2012 | 5:28 PM
by Jared Goldstein

October 31st in New York City

1905:  George Bernard Shaw's show, "Mrs. Warren's Profession," about the reasons a prostitute chose that work, was shut down by the censor Anthony Comstock.

1973:  The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade marches into revelry history.
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Posted: Oct 28, 2012 | 5:11 PM
by Jared Goldstein

October 30th in NYC History

1768:  North America's first Methodist Church, the Wesley Chapel is dedicated at the present John Street Methodist Church.  They moved from a barn by the seaport where they worshiped since 1766.  This church was the birthplace of the United Methodist Church in 1784, and about 20 years later, the African Methodist Church, New York City's first Black congregation.  Their present church is Mother Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Harlem.

I love to show these churches on tours of the American Revolution, and Black History tours.  Peter Williams, AME founder, has a compelling story.  This church was spared the defilement of the British occupation of New York City churches from 1776-83, and they were an early friend of President George Washington in 1989.

1938:  Orson Wells' one hour radioplay of his War of the Worlds on CBS causes a national panic with people taking to the streets, preparing their last meals, and hallucinating alien and Nazi invaders, despite four disclaimers through the show.

Such is the power of mass media hysteria, which has happened all around the world in several other instances.  In Africa a radio program precipitated a sudden genocide.

1956:  The Dodgers Stadium property, Ebbets Field, is sold to a real estate developer, who plans to build (what was to become) an ugly and crime ridden public housing project on the site.

1973:  Tom Seaver pitches his way his second time to a Cy Young award.  The first was in 1969, and the last was to be 1975.

1989:  New York Post sportswriter and editor from 1926-74 Leonard Cohen died at 87.

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Posted: Oct 28, 2012 | 5:10 PM
by Jared Goldstein

October 29th in NYC History

1929:  Black Tuesday on Wall Street as the market loses $9 billion
that day.  The collapse began four days earlier, but the onslaught was
despite the best efforts of the Federal Reserve and America's top
corporations.  Police protected the stock exchange on Wall Street. 
Ambulances were at the ready for suicides.  The Mayor asked that movie
theaters only show upbeat films.
Stock prices collapsed on the New York Stock Exchange amid panic selling. Thousands of investors were wiped out.

Thomas Francis Bayard 10/29/1828 - 9/28/1898
American statesman, diplomat and lawyer

Henry James publishes The Portrait of a Lady.

1889:  The Giants win the
World Series, coming back from a 3-1 game disadvantage at the Polo
Grounds against Brooklyn scoring 3-2.  They won five in a row in the best of ten series.

1891, Fanny Brice, the American comic singer, was born. She died on May 29, 1951.  Funny Lady.  Broadway star Fanny Brice was born Fanny Borach in Newark, N.J.

Ed Barrow becomes the Yankees General Manager.  He did quite well over
the next 24 years with them, as he joined another former Red Soxer, Babe
Ruth to win many World's Series.

Dominick Dunne, chronicler of high-profile crimes, is born,

Richard Dreyfuss  Born: October
Age: 65 years old

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Occupation: Actor

1953:  Bane of Rangers
fans, Dennis Potvin, born.  As Captain he led the Islanders to all 4 of
their Stanley Cups from 1980-83.  He won the best defenseman award for
the NHL three years, and was runner up two other years.  He was the
NHL's leading scorer for a defenseman, shooting and passing for over
1000 career points.
Hockey Hall of Famer

1956"The Huntley-Brinkley Report" premiered as NBC's nightly TV newscast.

1966The National Organization for Women was founded.

1967The musical "Hair" opened off-Broadway.  1967...The iconic musical "Hair" opens Off-Broadway at Joseph Papp's public theater.

1992...Lemrick Nelson, a black teenager, is acquitted
of the murder of Jewish history student Yankel Rosenbaum during the
Crown Heights riots, setting off protests by Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn.
Nelson is later convicted of violating Rosenbaum's civil rights and
serves nearly ten years in jail, eventually admitting that he did in
fact stab Rosenbaum during the 1991 melee.

2004Osama bin Laden, in a videotaped statement, directly admitted for the first time that he had ordered the Sept. 11 attacks.

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Posted: Oct 28, 2012 | 4:49 PM
by Jared Goldstein

October 28th in NYC History -  Statue of Liberty dedicated and reopens.  Happy Bday Jonas Salk.

1886:  Happy Birthday Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.  

She is a gift from the people of France, and her official name is La Liberté éclairant le monde, Liberty Enlightening the World, a symbol of solidarity with the world's remaining original constitutional democracy.  In 1789 France and the USA pioneered modern democracy after the French helped the USA gain independence from England from 1776-1783.  The French were subsequently ruled by dictators. 

Napoleon III hated the USA and nearly sided with the pro-slavery Confederacy South during the Civil War.  He did not broach criticism, but could not stop children and adults from raising money for a gift.  The effort to fund the statue's development was both a symbol of resistance to oppression and a vehicle to organize against it.  She walks free of shackles towards France.

She was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland, celebrated with NYC's first ticker tape parade up Broadway, the Canyon of Heroes,

as well as the French and US Navies.

as well as fireworks.

Immigrants adopted the Statue, nearly literally, as they paid for its construction and base (in a bold modern neo-grec style contemporary with the statue inspiration, by the Dean of American Architecture, and Ecole des Beaux Arts graduate, Richard Morris Hunt), despite the immigrants' poverty. 

They imbued the Statue with new meaning: a symbol of welcome for the "tired...poor, huddled masses yearning to be free" of persecution and poverty.

People enjoy my recitation of Emma Lazarus' poem, "The New Colossus," excerpted above. 

Sometimes I pronounce the poem in the accent of an old Jewish lady immigrant

Is this Statue the biggest and best gift in history?  Symbolizing noble concepts?  Such statues in history were victory and suppression statues, or those of vain people.
(I don't agree with the editorial at the end of this link.)

1914:  Dr. Jonas Salk, who invented the Polio Vaccine, addressing the horrific and feared disease causing death or painful disability for tens of thousands of Americans each year, was born.  He was a hero of the USA and the world.  He grew up in modest circumstances in the Bronx and graduate City College.  He died in 1995. 

He founded the Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA.

1939:  Happy Birthday to Jane Alexander, actress and former National Endowment for the Arts chair.

1944:  Happy Birthday to Dennis Franz, Actor from "NYPD Blue."

1979:  Dick Howser replaces Billy Martin as Yankees Manager.  Billy Martin lost the job the second time because he assaulted a marshmallow salesman in Minneapolis.

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Posted: Oct 27, 2012 | 6:24 PM

October 27th in NYC History - Happy  108th Birthday Subways!  Great quotes today

draft below the subway entry

"I'm Running This Train!" - Mayor McClellan

  Mayor McClellan conducting the first subway,
The World (evening edition), front page.

1904:  The first NYC Subway line opens connecting City Hall to 145th St in Harlem.  It was developed by financier August Belmont. 

150,000 rode that day, paying a fare of 5c, which was not cheap.  Check out the gorgeous pictures of the first station.

That evening the subway's first crime was committed: a $500 diamond pin was stolen.  There were other firsts as well, such as the first man, who was from Philadelphia, to give up his seat for a woman. (go almost halfway down the page.)

Mayor McClellan conducted the first run of the subway in 26 minutes non-stop for nearly ten miles.  This was about ten minutes ahead of schedule.  He was only supposed to ceremoniously turn the handle, but he stayed on.  The chief engineer asked to take over, to which the Mayor replied: "I'm running this train!"  At some points the train, carrying dignitaries in an open car, reached express speed 40 mph

The Mayor attributed his skill to his automobile driving experience.

Mayor McClellan presided over a great deal of impressive infrastructure initiations.  I would like to learn more about him.  Certainly his quotation and gunning the subway's first ride is one of my favorite things.

1787The first
of the Federalist Papers, a series of essays calling for ratification of
the U.S. Constitution, was published in a New York newspaper.
1787...New York's Independent Journal begins publishing
the Federalist Papers, a series of articles calling for the
ratification of the Constitution.

Theodore Roosevelt 10/27/1858 - 1/6/1919
26th president of the United States (1901-9)
1858...Teddy Roosevelt – the only native New Yorker to become President of the United States – is born on East 20th Street.

1878...The Manhattan Savings Institution at Broadway
and Bleecker Street is the site of the greatest bank robbery of the 19th
century. Thieves break in, crack the safe and make off with almost $3

1880Theodore Roosevelt married Alice Lee.  Nice birthday present.

1884...The Dakota apartments open on West 72nd Street – so far uptown that skeptics say it might as well be in the Dakota Territory.

1914Author-poet Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales.

1922:  Homerun leader and longtime broadcaster Ralph Kiner born.  After seven years of leading the National League's homeruns (1946-52), he was the first Mets announcer in 1962, continuing for 35 years.  1922Ralph Kiner, Baseball Hall of Famer, turns 90

73 Roy Lichtenstein 10/27/1923 - 9/29/1997
American artist

1924:  College football great (Harvard) and Columbia coach, Percy Haughton died at age 48 after a Lions practice.  His last words: "Tell the squad I am proud of them."

Oct. 27, 1932, Sylvia Plath, the American poet known for an intense, confessional quality of writing, was born

Mafia boss John Gotti is born,

1947"You Bet Your Life," starring Groucho Marx, premiered on ABC Radio.

1949Garry Tallent, Rock musician (The E Street Band), turns 63

1950Fran Lebowitz, Author, turns 62

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber release Jesus Christ Superstar,


1986:  The Mets beat Boston 8-5 to win the World Series for the second time in their 25 season history.  This was the seventh game of the series
.  Ray Knight and Darryl Strawberry knocked homers, and pitchers Roger McDowell, Jesse Orosco, and Sid Fernandez were heroic.
x at Shea Stadium
..Two days after staving off elimination with an extra-innings victory for the ages,

1989...Jane Pauley announces she is leaving NBC's iconic "Today Show" after 13 years as host

1997The Dow
Jones industrial average tumbled 554.26 points, forcing the stock market
to shut down for the first time since the 1981 assassination attempt on
President Ronald Reagan.

Requiem for a Dream opens in theaters, starring Ellen Burstyn as a mother who becomes addicted to amphetamines. She receives an Oscar nomination for her performance.

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Posted: Oct 25, 2012 | 11:37 PM

October 26th in NYC History

Draft of October 26th in NYC History

1656...A new law in New Amsterdam forbids any work or
amusement – including drinking, dancing and bowling – on Sunday. On the
same day, Governor Peter Stuyvesant orders the first price-fixing law,
setting the price of white bread at about 8 cents a loaf.

1825The Erie Canal opened, connecting Lake Erie and the Hudson River in upstate New York.   New York becomes the nation's major port when the Erie Canal opens, linking the city with the Great Lakes and the Midwest, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River. Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, the driving force behind the project, led the opening ceremonies and rode the canal boat Seneca Chief from Buffalo to New York City.

New York legislators became interested in the possibility of building
a canal across New York in the first decade of the 19th century.
Shipping goods west from Albany was a costly and tedious affair; there
was no railroad yet, and to cover the distance from Buffalo to New York
City by stagecoach took two weeks. Governor Clinton enthusiastically
took up the proposal to build a canal from Buffalo, on the eastern point
of Lake Erie, to Albany, on the upper Hudson, passing through the gap
in the mountains in the Mohawk Valley region. By 1817, he had convinced
the legislature to authorize the expenditure of $7 million for the
construction of a canal that he proposed would be 363 miles long, 40
feet wide, and four feet deep.

Work began on "Clinton's Ditch" in August 1823. Teams of oxen plowed
the ground, but for the most part the work was done by Irish diggers who
had to rely on primitive tools. They were paid $10 a month, and barrels
of whisky were placed along the canal route as encouragement. West of
Troy, 83 canal locks were built to accommodate the 500-foot rise in
elevation. After more than two years of digging, the 425-mile Erie Canal
was opened on October 26, 1825, by Governor Clinton.

As Clinton left Buffalo in the Seneca Chief, an ingenious
method of communication was used to inform New York City of the historic
occasion. Cannons were arranged along the length of the canal and the
river, each within hearing distance of the next cannon. As the governor
began his trip, the first cannon was fired, signaling the next to fire.
Within 81 minutes, the word was relayed to New York—it was the fastest
communication the world had ever known. After arriving in New York on
September 4, Clinton ceremoniously emptied a barrel of Lake Erie water
in the Atlantic Ocean, consummating the "Marriage of the Waters" of the
Great Lakes and the Atlantic.

The effect of the canal was immediate and dramatic. Settlers poured into western New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Goods were transported at one-tenth the previous fee in less than half
the previous time. Barge loads of farm produce and raw materials
traveled east as manufactured goods and supplies flowed west. In nine
years, tolls had paid back the cost of construction. Later enlarged and
deepened, the canal survived competition from the railroads in the
latter part of the 19th century. Today, the Erie Canal is used mostly by
pleasure boaters, but it is still capable of accommodating heavy

363 mile long  4 feet deep  only profitable canal  50 years later railroads dominate  still operates

1858 Theodore Roosevelt Born.

1900, writer Henry James first writes to Edith Wharton, whom he will
finally meet in 1903. Wharton, then 38, had published her first
collection of stories, The Greater Inclination, the previous
year. An enormous admirer of James, she modeled parts of her work after
his, including his attention to form and his interest in ethical
questions. The two became great friends, and James encouraged her
writing.Wharton was born to a wealthy, patrician family in New York in 1862. She grew up in an opulent world where pre-Civil War
society kept the nouveau riche at bay, maintaining its own isolated
sense of superiority. Wharton, expected to become a typical wife,
mother, and hostess, instead showed intellectual talent and began to
write at an early age. She had begun to fear spinsterhood when, at age
23, she married prominent socialite Edward Wharton--who had no
profession or money worth speaking of. The match was unhappy and
troubled, but the couple did not divorce until 1913. Wharton returned to
writing, often dealing with themes of divorce, unhappy marriages, and
free-spirited individuals trapped by societal pressures.Wharton's 1905 novel, The House of Mirth,
told the story of a New York socialite with a strong sense of
individuality who cannot adapt to the roles expected of her. The book
became a bestseller.Wharton traveled abroad frequently and after her divorce began writing for women's magazines. Her novella, Ethan Frome,
detailing a New England farmer trapped by the demands of the women in
his life, is still one of her best-known works. Her 1920 novel, Age of Innocence,
won the Pulitzer. Wharton published numerous other books, but some of
her later work suffered from the deadlines and pressures imposed by
writing for money. She remained in France during World War I, assisting refugees, and was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor in 1916. She published another bestseller, Twilight Sleep, in 1927, and her autobiography, A Backward Glance, in 1934. She died in France in 1937.

1911  One of the longest World  Series in history ends after 13 days, including 4 rain delays and Sunday Blue Laws.  The Philadelphia Athletics beat the Giants 13-2 in Philly, closing the series at 4-2.

1930  Harry Payne Whitney, Polo great, died in NYC at 58.

1947 Hillary Rodham Clinton's Birthday.

1950:  Dodgers owners, including Walter O'Malley, buy out Branch Rickey (who signed Jackie Robinson) for over $1 million for his 25% stake.  O'Malley assumes control and Rickey is out (to Pittsburgh).

1962   In one of the most dramatic verbal confrontations of the Cold War, American U.N.
Ambassador Adlai Stevenson asked his Soviet counterpart during a
Security Council debate whether the USSR had placed missiles in Cuba

1971 Birthday Anthony Rapp, Actor ("Rent")

1996...With a fly-out to Charlie Hayes, the Yankees win
the World Series, beating the Atlanta Braves in Game 6  at Yankee
Stadium. It's the team's first world championship in 18 years, and the
first of what will become four titles over the next five seasons.

3-2 score.  4-2 series.  Yanks first team in baseball history to come back after losing the first 2 games at home.

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Posted: Oct 25, 2012 | 12:01 AM

October 25th in New York City History

1760:  Britain's King George III succeeded his late grandfather, George II
.  King George the Worst?

1888:  The Giants win their first World Series against the AA Browns 11-3 in St. Louis in 8 games (out of ten).

1890:  Floyd Bennett
who flew over the North Pole first in 1926 was born.  Floyd Bennet Field was New York City's first municipal airport.  He died in 1928

1910:  Barney Oldfield defeats boxer Jack Johnson in a Brooklyn auto race in front of thousands and a film crew.  There is a lot more to this story than these two sentences; click here.

1921:  Bat Masterson dies in New York City at 67.  Here is another unbelievable life.  He was a Buffalo Hunter, Wild West gunslinger, gambler, US Marshall of Dodge City, inspiration for Sky Masterson from Damon Runyon's Guys and Dolls, boxing referee, sports writer, army scout, and sports editor of the Morning Telegraph, where he died at his desk.

1929:  Mayor Jimmy Walker broke ground for the Triborough Bridge, which would open seven years later.

1947:  Columbia beats Army 21-20 at Baker Field, ending the Cadets' 32 game winning streak.  The Lions finished the season 7-2, ranked 20th nationwide.

1957:  The Executioner is executed.  Murder Inc.'s master assassin, Umberto Albert Anastasia, shot in the back five times while he got his hair cut at the Sheraton Hotel's barber shop.  The eleven witnesses were unable to describe the fleeing killers.

1971:  The United Nations General Assembly admitted mainland Communist China and expelled Taiwan.

1976:  Claire Ruth, Babe's widow, dies at 76.

1981:  Alberto Salazar wins the New York City Marathon again, setting the world record at 2:08:13.  Alison Roe breaks the course's women's record at 2:25:27.  Impressive records, considering how long they stood and how difficult it is to run a record pace in New York City's punishing race.  ABC was the first to broadcast this race nationally, which helped re-establish running as a major American sport.

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Posted: Oct 24, 2012 | 11:09 PM

Catholic / Saints of New York City Tour

For years I have wanted to do a Pierre Toussaint tour, and my dream came true in the form of a Catholic Pilgrimage Tour that I gave yesterday.

They wanted a Catholic History Tour and a New York City Saints tour.  The constraints: 3 hours and Midtown to Downtown.

The Venerable Pierre Toussaint has a lot of sites in this zone:  St Peter's Church and both Saint Patrick's Cathedrals.  I define 'Venerable' as 'on the road to Sainthood.'  (It is more involved than that, but this suffices for now.) 

Toussaint helped found and fund the first Catholic church in NYC, St. Peter's, which was later replaced by a new St Peter's there by Dagger John Hughes in the early 1830s. 

Who is Dagger John Hughes?  He led the construction of the new St Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Ave and 50th Street.  He also founded the Catholic education and health care system.  This was in an era in which Catholics were literally under attack.

There were Christmas riots at St Peters in the early 19th Century during which Catholic worshipers on Christmas Eve were killed after midnight mass.  Much of New York City's celebration of Christmas was a drunken harvest festival that lasted from around December 6th through early January.  This bacchanalia sometimes led to anti-Catholic killings.

A few blocks away, the American St Nicholas, Santa Claus was born.  He helped bring peace to New York's Christmas in the way that, perhaps, the only Saint beloved by all Christianity could.

Father Mychal Judge, the Chaplain of the NY Fire Department, and a humanitarian of the Franciscan Order was laid to rest at St Peter's as well.  We recounted his remarkable life and prayed at the World Trade Center.

Toussaint also funded the original St Patrick's Cathedral in 'NoLitIta' (north of Little Italy).  This Cathedral was defended by a militia that Dagger John Hughes organized to defend it.

Toussaint was originally entombed at Old St. Patrick's, but his remains were relocated to St Patrick's Cathedral along with Cardinals, some on their way to Sainthood as well.

There is America's first Saint, the immigrant Mother Cabrini.  She ministered at Greenwich Village's Our Lady of Pompeii Church.  In her day that area was called 'the South Village' or the 'Ninth Ward.'  The Italian immigrants were destitute.  She founded 65 hospitals, schools, and orphanages.  I'd be proud to found a bookstore.

Rounding it out, Elizabeth Anne Seton had her miraculous vision at the original St Peter's, and her Mission work was at  Our Lady of the Rosary Church at the bottom or beginning of New York City.

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Posted: Oct 24, 2012 | 10:57 PM
by Jared Goldstein

Magical Moments Courtesy of the LOWER EAST SIDE

I define magical moments when a tour of a neighborhood
transforms into the hospitality of a village, a really passionate host, a real character, someone sharing.
I've had many of these in Harlem, but I have been doing many Lower East Side tours lately, and I have had a delightful spate of them.
This actually happens a lot when you go to the Suffolk Street Community Garden:  Doris the founder comes in and talks with you.  I had a group from a Philadelphia area Jewish group in the garden, and Doris spoke about how she and her neighbors founded the garden, how they keep an eye on it, and then how Bette Middler funded its further improvement.
On the way out, we saw Kenny Scharff spray painting a mural.
Three different marvelous synagogues had a caretaker invite us in and turn on the gorgeous lights. 

The Bialystoker synagogue, the Angel Orensanz Foundation's Ansche Chesed, and another synagogue that is quite
impressively restored, one of the largest in the world. 
In the case of the latter, I worked at a housing organization with
the synagogue's caretaker.  He told us how, as a child, his father was the caretaker and they struggled against the elements and vandals.  He continues working there. 

So, we were pretty much alone in there.  As many of you know, I am wont to recite the Statue of Liberty Poem, Emma
Lazarus' "The New Colossus."  An immigrant poem in an immigrant temple, one that is not associated with the old country but is 'ecumenical,' embracing Jews as Jews in America as Americans, not a town like Bialystok.

So that is what I did there.  I belted out the poem with the echoes filling the place.  It was quite an experience.  Unique.

Then there was the time that I was speaking about the streetcarts when Jeffrey, carting supplies, shares with the group that he was the last streetcarter.
We also got to go to a major bank by McKim, Mead and White, which is now a high end catering hall, where the lights were on some sort of a colored-lights rhythm.
Then there is the old family discount candy store that gave us halvah.
Then, after not seeing him for years, I saw architect Paul Castrucci twice in two days.  I worked with him for years at the first housing organization I worked at, one that helps residents take over abandoned housing.  Paul was one of a team of idealistic architects who provided affordable and high quality architectural services so that once dilapidated buildings work well, environmentally, and look great. 

I loved paling around with the architects.  Javier Minchalla got me into Louis Kahn.  I'm still friends with Micheal Mullin. 

This magic moment with a local 'squatter's architect' worked out because the first time I was talking about tenants taking over their abandoned buildings and how my first job's organization helped them, and along comes Paul the architect. 
This was especially sweet, since I was with this family for the
fourth time in around four years, regulars!  They come in for my tours with their visiting relatives.  We saw Harlem, Greenwich Village, and now the Lower East Side.
The second day I was showing guests ABC NoRio, a punk artists'
cooperative that has gorgeous renovation plans with some dramatic environmental green features; Paul is the architect for that one, and there he was at that moment.
Moments later, we are by the Matzoh factory, which looked closed, but the master bakers were in there chopping the 6 square feet sheets of Matzohs by tapping them perfectly.  Through the window, they gave us hot matzohs fresh from the oven.
Shortly after that, we got the courage up to go into what looked like a random alley to find the retro-hipster nightclub that was once Meyer Lansky's Speakeasy.  At the end of the tour we enjoyed a stroll through Freeman's Alley.
And then there's the artist on Forsyth Street who heard my
presentation about old Jewish Lower East Side on that street.  She squatted there in the late 1960s and bought the building, a mid 19th Century stable, in the 1970s.  She invited us in to look at her Chinatown influenced sculptures.
That's about fourteen magical moments.  Thank you Lower East Side!

I love bringing voyagers on Lower East Side Tours, land of my ancestors.
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