Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

The Insider's Connection

Art & Culture

The Legacy of Emma Lazarus in New York

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. – Emma Lazarus The New Colossus, a poem by Emma Lazarus, is engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty. But this inscription, immortalizing her words, was created sixteen years after the poet died in 1887. Her life in New York…

Read More »

May 24, 2021

Celebrating Haitian Heritage Month

May is Haitian Heritage Month, an opportunity to participate in Haitian culture and traditions, wherever you are. Does your hometown celebrate Haitian Heritage in May? The first-ever recognition of Haitian Heritage Month in the US was in Boston in 1998. Since then, the celebrations have continued to expand; now, the festivities honoring Haitian culture are…

Read More »

May 17, 2021

Kalpana Chawla: the First Woman of Indian origin to go to Space

Kalpana Chawla spent her whole life chasing her dreams of being an astronaut. In 1997, she made history as the first woman of Indian origin to go to Space. Kalpana Chawla created opportunities, shattered glass ceilings, and spearheaded groundbreaking research for NASA. It’s the 1960s, and it’s uncommon for women and girls in Karnal, India…

Read More »

May 14, 2021

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo: the Battle of Puebla in 1862

  Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more widely in the United States than in Mexico! The holiday–commemorating an 1862 battle where an underdog group of 2,000 indigenous Mexicans defeated 6,000 French invader troops, against all odds, in the city of Puebla–gained popularity in the USA in the 1960s when Chicano activists encouraged public Cinco de…

Read More »

May 7, 2021

Influential Voice in Music & Culture: Marian Anderson

Who are the most influential voices in music and culture? Whose stories have shaped New York City legacies? How did Marian Anderson make history with resilience and a great singing voice? Marian Anderson was born in 1897 in Philadelphia. Her mother worked in childcare and her father sold coal and ice – both were devout…

Read More »

April 16, 2021

Off-Broadway Producer Ellen Stewart and the La MaMa Theater

When the risk was high and the funding was non-exist, who made space for experimental art in New York City? How did a young black woman, designing clothes at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Lord & Taylor become the first off-off Broadway producer to be inducted into the Broadway Theatre Hall of Fame? How…

Read More »

April 5, 2021

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Ritual

    Most people visiting New York City right now will brave the cold and the midtown Manhattan crowds to get a photo of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The tree has transcended geography, language, and religious beliefs – in the past eight decades, it has become an internationally-recognized symbol of New York in the…

Read More »

December 30, 2019

The Marble Palace in Lower Manhattan

How can one man’s investment in lace and fringe for women’s clothing revolutionize an entire industry? Where did New York City’s reputation as an epicenter for shopping and commerce begin? What is the unlikely building in Downtown Manhattan that tells us this story? Alexander Turney Stewart was a young immigrant in New York City when…

Read More »

November 12, 2019

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 because they don’t know to look for it? When you’re at Times Square-42nd Street transferring from the yellow line (N/Q/R/W) to the red line (1/2/3) look up; the 53-foot enamel-on-metal mural above your head was unveiled in September 2002, and is significant piece of public art in New York City History. See if you can pause in the fast-moving crowd of commuters to make some sense of the mural’s fragments. The work was commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit program for this exact location…

Read More »

October 21, 2019

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 (“People of Kindness”). The congregation hired Alexander Saeltzer to design it (Saelter also designed the Public Theater and the Academy of Music on Astor Place) and aesthetic was the priority as they designed their synagogue.  Many members of the congregation were immigrants, or children of immigrants. Anshe Chesed Synagogue, or “Norfolk Street Congregation,” was the first German-Jewish synagogue in New York, and soon Polish and Dutch Jews joined the community. Congregation members were coming from countries where synagogues had to be hidden and inconspicuous. In…

Read More »

October 8, 2019