One hundred years ago, in July of 1911, reform Mayor William J. Gaynor ended tolls on New York City’s East River bridges. As the mayor said back then, “the tolls are oppressive to many people, and inconvenient and irksome to everyone.” As Sam Roberts notes in his recent New York Times report, Gaynor thought tolls were … Read more

A MacMonnies Sculpture At Green-Wood

Back in March, I reported on Green-Wood’s efforts to save “Civic Virtue,” the Frederick MacMonnies sculpture that was deteriorating in Queens. We offered to restore “Civic Virtue” and give it a good home at Green-Wood; NYC authorities declined the invitation. If you would like to read that post, click here. We were anxious to bring … Read more

An African Free School Sampler

The New-York Historical Society and The Green-Wood Cemetery are two of New York’s oldest institutions. The former was founded in 1804; Green-Wood dates from 1838. In fact, you can tell, just from their spelling, that both go back quite a ways: there was a great passion in the 19th century for hyphens (guidebooks of that … Read more

“The Heart Wants What It Wants”

There is nothing new under the sun. In 1992 (can it really be that long ago?), a big scandal broke. Woody Allen, comedian, writer, Knicks fan and moviemaker, who had been in a relationship with Mia Farrow for twelve years, broke up with her over his relationship with her daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Allen was 56, … Read more

The Battle of Great Bethel

On June 10, 1861, more than a month before what many would say was the first battle of the Civil War (First Bull Run, on July 21, 1861), 3,500 Union troops moved against 1,200 Confederates near Hampton, Virginia. In what would come to be known as the Battle of Great Bethel (also referred to as … Read more

A Visitors’ Center/Museum?

As you may know, we’ve been collecting items pertaining to Green-Wood and its permanent residents for years now. What to do with all those great things? And where to create a visitors’ center for Historic Green-Wood? Well, as Christopher Gray reports in The New York Times today (and, rumor has it, scheduled to appear in … Read more

“Granite Is Forever”

There are Green-Wood connections everywhere. My favorite place to visit: Mount Desert Island, along the Maine coast, on which are located Acadia National Park and the village of Bar Harbor. I’ve been up there many times–probably 25 times over a period of 40 years. And it has always been great. On my latest trip, I … Read more