That day when New York forbade lovers

New York, the Big Apple, is known as one of the fun capitals of the world where almost anything goes. It’s a good job, then, that the city authorities turn a blind eye to some restrictive laws that are still on the Statute Book of “the city that never sleeps”. On this day, January 8, 1902, for instance, the New York State Legislature outlawed flirting in public. The new law, (which technically still exists), prohibited men turning around on a street and “looking at a woman in that way”, with…

Read More

Roosevelt Island Lighthouse: a little lighthouse in New York surrounded by mysterious stories of insanity-driven construction

Built in 1872 and known then as the “Blackwell Island Lighthouse”, the 15-meters-tall stone lighthouse at the northern tip of Roosevelt Island was constructed, if the legends can be believed, by the deranged occupants of a nearby insane asylum. But what’s not in doubt is that it was built by the city as a navigation aid for boats avoiding the rocks in the so-called “Hell Gate” waters. Historically, for nearly two centuries, Blackwell was the name that identified the island that lies in the East River just off Manhattan. For…

Read More

Mysterious safe discovered in the middle of a New York field (to remain locked)

Probably this is another thing to add to “weird things that happened in 2020” list: a locked safe with a mysterious note attached to it, discovered in the middle of an agricultural field in New York state. Last Thursday a man named Kirk Mathes was out of town, when he got a phone call about a large metal safe that had been found on one of his fields, near the town of Barre. Word spread so fast that deputies had to disperse a crowd that had gathered on the side…

Read More

What remains of Rosemary Farm and its lively past~

Some forty miles from New York, there is a place called Rosemary Farm (or Roland Conklin Estate), a Long Island estate of several hundred acres where beautiful things have been happening somewhere in history. There were hills and lakes and woods and sea to begin with, and on the place Mr. Roland Ray Conklin found a little preRevolutionary farm house, clinging to the highway. Born in Illinois, he operated one of the largest realty firms in Kansas City and moved the business to New York in 1893. In 1907 just…

Read More

The bloody history of Staten Island’s Kreischer Mansion

Sitting just off the Staten Island’s poetically named Arthur Kill Road is Kreischer Mansion, a lovely Victorian home that is said to be one of the most haunted places in all of New York, which may actually be true if one is referring to being haunted by memories of murder and death. It was one of two mansions built by German immigrant Balthasar Kreischer for two of his three sons. The surviving house belonged to son Edward Kreischer, the other to his brother Charles. When the brickmaker Balthasar Kreischer came…

Read More

Execution Rocks Lighthouse – New York

The solitary Execution Rocks Lighthouse in the Long Island Sound guards the way to mansions which inspired The Great Gatsby, but also hides a macabre history of murder. In the middle of Long Island Sound, equidistant from New Rochelle and Port Washington, stands the lighthouse built in the 1850s, when America was a British colony with a growing revolutionary spirit. Prior to 1850, there had been lights on this reef, but none were official or reliable. The tiny rocky island on which it was constructed was known as the Execution…

Read More

March, 17: It’s St Patrick’s Day!

All we known that March 17 is St Patrick’s Day, a cultural and religious holiday celebrated every year in Ireland and by Irish communities around the world. The celebration marks the anniversary of Saint Patrick’s death in the fifth century and represents the arrival of Christianity in the country. Historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption. On St Patrick’s Day, it is customary to wear shamrocks, green clothing or green accessories. St…

Read More

The real Sleepy Hollow: where the legends lives!

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by name of Sleepy Hollow … A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. — Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Historically, the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, also known as the Dutch Reformed Church, is the oldest existing church in New York. Together with its two-and-a-half-acre colonial-era burying ground, served as…

Read More

Fire Island Lighthouse – history and ghosts!

The stately Fire Island Lighthouse, on Fire Island’s west end, was first opened in 1827 and is a familiar landmark on the barrier island where it stands 55 meters above sea level and can be seen more than 20 miles away. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1974, the decommissioned lighthouse is now open to visitors, and those in good physical shape can walk the 192 winding steps for a stunning view from the top of New York’s tallest lighthouse. However, tales of shadowy figures, ghostly laughs, otherworldly…

Read More

The Wonders of New York: a Midcentury Map packed with weird local stories

There is an old board game, in which someone throws a die at a map, and then dreams traveling wherever it lands. However, If you happened to find yourself in Manhattan in the early 1950s in a absolute normal day, you could have tried the same thing with this dense, curious illustrated map, and then ventured out to see the everyday wonders that awaited you there! On his map, titled “The Wonders of New York,” New Jersey–born cartographer Nils Hansell sketched out more than 300 sections, from Manhattan’s southern tip…

Read More

An alternative side of Brooklyn: Gravesend’s Accidental Park

It seems like every square inch of New York City has been categorized, labeled, and put in more or less probable tourist guides. But if you know where to look on the fringes of the city, you can still find places without names e without tourists. There are hidden gems throughout New York City, and this is no exception: on the waterfront of Gravesend, Brooklyn, is an all but untraveled wedge of vacant land, nestled between aging marinas and the northern border of Calvert Vaux Park on Bay 44th St.…

Read More

Nellie Bly: the Journalist who let herself be interned in Asylum to save the patients

Elisabeth Cochran Seaman (1864-1922) is probably not a well-known name, although perhaps the pseudonym with which she signed her articles, Nellie Bly, is better known. She became popular all over the world in 1890, when she left on behalf of her newspaper, the New York World, for a world tour: she wanted to turn into reality the story of Julius Verne (Around the world in 80 days). It took her 72 days, almost always traveling alone, which was unusual for a woman of the time. However, before this adventure, Elisabeth…

Read More

The old City Hall subway Station, New York.

The first New York City subway was built and operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and opened on October 27, 1904, to the joy of its inhabitants. City Hall was the ceremonial terminal, the place where the mayor could show off the subway built with the people’s money to benefit the greatest city in the country. The City Hall station on the IRT local track was embellished with fine architectural details, including a sharply curved platform, a Guastavino tile arched ceiling, brass chandeliers (blackened in World War II),…

Read More

The fool story of the Original “Gotham City” in England!

That’s true: Batman’s hometown wasn’t inspired by New York City, but this English village that pretended to be insane. We are near Nottingham, England, where is located the quiet town inspired NYC’s nickname and the fictional namesake in the DC Comics universe. One story goes that King John, also the villain in the legend of Robin Hood, was due to travel through Gotham on his way to nearby Nottingham. The sleepy medieval village of Gotham, or “Goat’s Town,” has by some stories been painted as town of fools, however other…

Read More

24 photographs of the 1930s show the Life conditions in the New York Psychiatric Hospital.

These photos from Pilgrim State Hospital in the late 1930s blended clear-eyed reporting with an almost palpable compassion. The black and white photographs were taken by the LIFE’s Alfred Eisenstaedt photographer, one of the most famous in the 1900s, at the New York hospital in 1938. But what is perhaps most unsettling about the images is how terribly familiar they look, even today, three-quarters of a century after they were shot. “Continuous-flow bath is the best method for calming excited mental cases. With their bodies greased, the patients can remain…

Read More

Woodstock Artists Cemetery~

A few minutes’ walk from the Woodstock Village Green, a zone often filled with lively music and art, there is a piece of green on a hillside filled with music and art, but in a little different way…….. This is the Woodstock Artists Cemetery, and its name came not from the founding family, who didn’t establish the cemetery with artists in mind, but from local residents who saw the place as a snobbish affront, a cemetery for the summer elite who fancied themselves too highly to rest for eternity among…

Read More

Peppermint Pig: a curious Christmas tradition in Saratoga Springs, New York~

Yes. Smashing this pink candy pig with a tiny hammer is a curious Christmas tradition in Saratoga Springs, New York. Here, on Christmas Day families gather around tables to smash candies with hammers: a small pink candy with the shape of a peppermint pig, represent a tradition dating back to the 19th century. According to a local story, it was a regular quiet Christmas-Eve-night in the quaint Victorian village of Saratoga Springs. The first dusting of winter’s snow gathered in darkened downtown doorways and twirled by night’s wind seemed to…

Read More

2# Thomas Nast: the cartoonist who invented the Modern Icon of Santa Claus.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Santa Claus was still a character to be defined. What could he wear? In magazines people did not know how to draw him, whether as Bishop St Nicholas, or like an Elf with green spats and trousers. Thomas Nast, a German designer who moved to America, found the solution to all the problems of clothing and appearance of the famous Santa Claus. Thomas Nast’s story began similarly to that of the many migrants who built America during the 19th century. He was born…

Read More