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The Insider's Connection

Neighborhood History

Seneca Village: New York’s First Black Property Owning Community

Whose perspectives represent a city’s story? Who gets to shape the public perception and legacy of a city’s communities? Which voices are left out when land, architecture, and public space are changed by the government? In 1824, the odds were stacked against the formation of free black communities in New York City. New York finally…

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…

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 Ever So Exclusive Gramercy Park: Samuel Ruggles

What gives an address a reputation? New Yorkers and tourists alike recognize the name Gramercy Park. 20th and 21st Streets between 3rd Avenue and Broadway are some of the most sought-after addresses in the world. The locked gates of Gramercy Park have been standing since 1844,…

Yorkville: Behind the Mural on 83rd Street

Is large-scale art expected to speak for a neighborhood or community? York Avenue–named after US Army Sergeant Alvin York for honorable actions in World War II and grounding the neighborhood in its German roots–has rapidly gentrified in the recent decades. Yorkville, or the Upper East Side, continues to shift and evolve; it’s structures, residents, and community…

The New York City German Migration from Kleindeutschland

What aspects of a neighborhood expose its roots and history? Where do you get information about the communities that shaped your neighborhood? How did New York’s “Germantown” completely relocate in a matter of a few years, and why don’t we hear about it more often? At the turn of the 20th century, New York City…