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The Insider's Connection

19th Century

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…

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November 12, 2019

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 and accidentally leave treasures behind. How will these houses be defended as a valuable piece of history, and what do they represent? By 1866, New York City was well-acquainted with the danger and ever-present threat of Great Fires. There’d been at least two fires by this point (1776 and 1835) that ravaged Lower Manhattan; most buildings were constructed from wood at this point, and when one burned to the ground, many others did too. Above 23rd Street, it was rare to see a wood-framed building…

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October 29, 2019

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 and 1880s, the three-story red brick building bustled nightly with alcohol, music, drugs, and murder. One year, seven people were killed at the Hole In The Wall over the course of eight weeks. Many more were injured, likely by one of the bar’s infamous bouncers, on an almost nightly basis. Stories and legends about Gallus Mag have been passed on for generations. At over six feet tall, Gallus Mag towered over most men. Her large build, her cockney accent, and her predilection for knocking out…

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September 23, 2019

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