Tag Archives: Pop Culture History

NY Dog History: Famous Ticonderoga Canines

Headline Ti Canine Hero 1935 4WIn an eight-month span in the 1930s, two Ticonderoga canines made headlines for something dogs are known for in general: loyalty. Few relationships are more rewarding in life than the human-canine experience, as anyone reading this who shares a dog’s life can attest. For those who have children as well … some might be loathe to admit it, but dogs provide many of the same positives without all the complicated baggage.

Humans in dire circumstances react in two ways—save themselves or save others. We part company there with dogs, whose devotion compels them to maintain the relationship to the sweet or bitter end. Continue reading

Unique Stoneware Jug Depicting Entertainment Acquired

acrobat jug detailA four-gallon stoneware jug manufactured by Fulper Bros. in Flemington, New Jersey during the 1880s is now part of the New York State Museum’s Weitsman Collection of American Stoneware. Now on display at the State Museum, the historically significant piece of stoneware was recently acquired for the Museum by stoneware collector and benefactor, Adam Weitsman.

According to an announcement release to the press today, &#8220The acrobat jug, a sought-after example of decorated American stoneware, has been breaking stoneware record prices at auction for decades and Weitsman had wanted the piece for over thirty years.&#8221 Weitsman recently purchased the jug from Allen Katz Americana the statement says. Continue reading

Great Souvenirs From The 1939 Worlds Fair

Salt and pepper shaker, 1939. Plastic. Gift of Bella C. Landauer, 2002.1.1928

Salt and pepper shaker, 1939. Plastic. New-York Historical Society. Gift of Bella C. Landauer,

On April 29, 1939, the largest world’s fair of all time came to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in New York. The 1939-40 New York World’s Fair promised visitors a look at &#8220the world of tomorrow.&#8221 And part of that included cool souvenirs.

The Perisphere and the Trylon, known together as the &#8220Theme Center,&#8221 were two of the main draws of the 1939 World’s Fair. Connected to the Trylon’s spire was at the time the world’s longest escalator, and inside the Perisphere’s dome was a diorama called &#8220Democracity,&#8221 which depicted the city-of-the-future. But you could take these structures home as fun salt shakers! Continue reading

Happy Birthday Washington Irving!

Erastus Dow Palmer, Washington Irving (1783-1859), 1865. Gift of Mrs. Anna T. E. Kirtland, as a memorial to Mr. Jared T. Kirtland, 1865.4On April 3, 1783 Writer and satirist Washington Irving was born in New York City. He best known for his short stories &#8220The Legend of Sleepy Hollow&#8221 and &#8220Rip Van Winkle,&#8221 but I will always love him best for coining the name of New York’s basketball team!

In 1809, Irving published his first major book, A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker. Through the Knickerbocker pseudonym, Irving poked fun at the city’s self-important Dutch elite, in which Knickerbocker was a fairly common last name. He also pulled an elaborate prank in anticipation of the book’s release, posting &#8220missing person&#8221 adverts in city newspapers, claiming Knickerbocker, a Dutch historian, had gone missing from his hotel room. Continue reading

19th Century Games: Let’s Play Department Store!

The Game of Playing Department StoreMonopoly has long held the title of America’s most capitalist board game—a mad scramble to accumulate as much money and property as possible before someone accuses the banker of cheating and storms off (or was that just in our family?). Still, perhaps it’s time to bring another commerce-centric board game into the mix. What about The Game of Playing Department Store?
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The Churubusco Live-In: Clinton Countys Woodstock

We’ve all heard of Woodstock at one time or another—that famous (or infamous) concert held in August 1969. It was scheduled at different venues, but the final location was actually in Bethel, New York, about 60 miles from Woodstock. For many who lived through three major homeland assassinations, the Vietnam War, and the racial riots of the turbulent 1960s, Woodstock was an event representing peace, love, and freedom. It’s considered a defining moment of that generation, and a great memory for those who attended (estimated at 400,000). Continue reading

Contribute To A History of NYC in 100 Objects

A Checker taxicab, a conductor’s (OK, not just any conductor but Leonard Bernstein) baton, the blue-and-white Greek coffee cups and the elevator safety brake. A subway token and a mastodon tusk. Inspired by the British Museum’s &#8221A History of the World in 100 Objects,&#8221 The New York Times recruited historians and curators to identify objects that embody the narrative of New York City. Now they’re expanding that list into a book and need your help!

The museum’s &#8221History of the World&#8221 was limited to objects in its own collection. We have no limitations, except that when we asked readers for their suggestions, we probably should have defined “objects” more specifically. Readers suggested a number of people (former Mayor Edward I. Koch, among others) and some things like Central Park, Grand Central Terminal, Kennedy Airport, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building and the Unisphere, which wouldn’t fit in a museum.

Readers recommended the subway token (substituted for a NYC MetroCard), Bella Abzug’s hat, and a hearty helping of food, from pizza slices (triangular and square)- egg creams (made with Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup)- pastrami sandwiches- Mello-Rolls and other ice cream treats- seltzer bottles- Ebinger’s blackout cake- the cream-cheese sandwiches at Chock Full o’Nuts- plantains- cheesecake from Junior’s and Lindy’s- Charlotte russes- a pickle barrel- and hot dogs from Nathan’s and from carts under the ubiquitous blue-and-yellow Sabrett umbrellas.

Only a few symbols summon the city more immediately than the &#8221I love NY&#8221 logo, designed by Milton Glaser in 1977 for a state campaign to spur tourism, but does that qualify as an object? Also, we are looking for quirky, other-than-obvious objects that don’t just evoke New York, but that also could be used to tell the story of the city: A lottery wheel from the Civil War draft, a crack vial from the 1980s, the 1-inch-by-3 inch Delaney card, the visual attendance record invented by a Bronx teacher that, the reader wrote, &#8221held the power of life and death over a student&#8221 and Con Edison’s orange-and-white chimneys placed over manholes to allow steam to escape without scalding passers-by or obscuring visibility.

Any suggestions would be very welcome. Send them to Sam Roberts at The New York Times (samrob@nytimes.com).

Ulster County Desperado: Big Bad Bill Monroe

Americans are captivated with outlaws. Our history is filled with those colorful characters who bent the law to fit their own ends, from Jesse James to Al Capone.

Newspapers fed this fascination by following every move of many of these individuals. They were given curious names such as “The Kid,” “Gyp the Blood,” or in the case of Capone, “Scarface.” Many people do not know that a small hamlet in Ulster County had its own outlaw, known as “Big Bad” Bill Monroe. He was also identified as the “Gardiner Desperado.” Continue reading

Books: What Would Mark Twains Tale Of Today Be?

Samuel Clemens, known to most as the popular author and humorist Mark Twain, was also an astute observer of American politics-he just believed that the stark truth about corruption in government would go down more smoothly with a dose of humor. Robed in a white suit, white cravat, and white shoes, crowned with unruly white hair and smoking an ever-present cigar, Mark Twain became one of America’s first global celebrities.

Over 100 years later, Twain’s insightful commentary retains an uncanny relevance to the challenges facing contemporary America. His views are as fresh and provocative as those of any contemporary cable TV &#8220talking head,&#8221 Sunday morning roundtable debater, political blogger, or radio talk show host. Continue reading

Holidays: Model Trains, Toys at N-Y Historical Society

Magnificent model trains, train stations and sheds, bridges and tunnels, carousels and Ferris wheels—all populated with toy figurines in colorful nineteenth-century dress, will be on view this holiday season at the New-York Historical Society, in the first museum exhibition of selections from the renowned Jerni Collection. Continue reading