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The Insider's Connection

Government Responds to Yellow Fever Outbreak in New York City

How do city governments respond to crisis? What do people in power prioritize when the whole population is affected? How did rumors and panic lead to the first department of NYC’s Board of Health? It was 1793 when the Yellow Fever ravaged Philadelphia, killing 5,000 people quickly and without explanation. Fearful and uncertain of how…

The Birth and Purpose of Rutherford Place

 Does your house or apartment building tell a story? Who was in it before you? Do you ever imagine the conversations, conflicts, and transformations that have happened in the place where you live? What conversations are happening now, and what has changed? No two of the 127 upscale apartments at 305 Second Avenue are the…

The “Brightest” Subway Station – 49th Street

Do you ever notice something aesthetically unusual in New York and wonder about its history? Thousands of commuters pass through the bright orange, open, columnless 49th Street subway station at 7th avenue every day and likely notice – it looks nothing like NYC’s other stations! How did this happen? In the 1970s, the MTA was…

New York City’s Historic Wood Frame Houses

Which houses stand long enough to tell a story? How does a seemingly ordinary structure survive demolition in a gentrifying neighborhood? Two wood-framed houses on East 53rd Street have seen 150 years of New York history. These houses tell the story of a neighborhood, a real estate economy, and a city that continue to evolve…

The Roy Lichtenstein Mural in Times Square Subway Station

When visiting a city, where do you go to look for art? How does an artist’s view of their home shift the narrative the place tells about itself? How many of the 500,000 commuters that pass through the Times Square Subway Station every day miss the opportunity to see a world-renowned artist’s original mural simply…

The fate of the James Marion Sims Monument

How does a shifting social consciousness change a city’s landscape? Who is involved in deciding which stories a city tells? What constitutes a vital moment in a rapidly-changing city’s history? Over the course of 84 years, millions of people walking on the East Side of Cental Park nears 103rd Street expect to encounter a bronze…

Norfolk Building Transformation: Synagogue to Art Foundation

How do buildings reflect changing times? What saves an abandoned building from demolition in a rapidly-gentrifying city? Was it sacrilege or a saving grace to turn the oldest standing synagogue in New York City into an exclusive event space? The building at 172 Norfolk Street was built in 1849, commissioned by Jewish organization Anshe Chesed…

The Jar of Pickled Ears at the Hole In The Wall Saloon

What makes a bar a “hole in the wall”? What did 19th century pirates look for in a watering hole? What did a bar brawl feel like in 1870s New York? The Hole In The Wall saloon at 279 Water Street was built in 1794 and rose to notoriety by the mid-19th century. Between 1850s…

Brooklyn’s Abolitionists on Duffield Street

Can gentrification change–and even erase–history? What kinds of buildings mobilize a community to dispute a city’s attempts at eminent domain? What stories do New York’s streets tell, and who controls those stories? The Fugitive Slave Act had just passed when Harriet and Thomas Truesdell moved into 227 Duffield Street in 1850. This set of laws,…