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The Insider's Connection

Great Depression

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell: First Woman in American History to Receive a Medical Degree

How do local leaders arise from a community need? Which doctors have shaped the history of public health in New York City? How did Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell go from abject poverty and social mockery to founding her very own hospital? Elizabeth Blackwell was the third of nine children, born in Bristol, England to a Quaker…

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April 23, 2021

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 same. There are 3 quadruplexes, 66 triplexes, 50 duplexes, and 8 simplexes, each with unique layouts, ceilings ranging from 7-19 feet tall, and stunning views of Stuyvesant Square. 305 2nd Avenue, also known as Rutherford Place, is one of the most expensive addresses in its area. But the several A-list celebrities that have called this building home are the least interesting aspect of its story. The 10-story building was completed in 1901, a philanthropic gift to New York City from J.P. Morgan. Though the building’s…

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November 18, 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…

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October 8, 2019

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