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Jacob Riis

  • 1890 Census Map: A Window Into our Incredibly Crowded and Diverse Immigrant Past

    As a historian and researcher who frequently relies on census data for information, nothing frustrates me more than the fact that nearly all of the 1890 Federal Census records were lost. For those who don’t know the story, the 1890 census was destroyed in a […]

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  • Happy Birthday to Tenement Tattler Jacob Riis

    In commemoration of Jacob Riis’s birthday on May 3rd, we’re re-posting an earlier piece by Ted Mineau about Riis’ life and work. Interested in reading more about the famous photojournalist? Check out all our past posts on Riis and his legacy. On May 3, 1849, Jacob August […]

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  • African American history in the Sullivan Thompson Historic District

    Off the Grid has previously taken a look at African American history in the South Village, which was home to almost a quarter of the city’s African-American population during the mid-19th century and known as “Little Africa.”  The newly designated Sullivan-Thompson Historic District included part of “Little Africa,” […]

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  • Tenement House Act of 1901

    April 12, 1901 marks the date when the New York State Legislature passed the Tenement House Act of 1901, more commonly known as the “New Law” or “New Tenement Law.”   This significant moment in New York City housing history resulted from intense pressure by housing reform […]

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  • Happy 45th To Neighboring 1830s East Village Cemeteries

    The New York Marble Cemetery and the New York City Marble Cemetery (yes, it’s confusing) both turn 45 tomorrow. Well, they’re actually a lot older than that (over 180 years and counting), but on March 4, 1969 they were designated city landmarks by the Landmarks […]

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  • On the Menu at Mills House

    Mills House Number 1 at 160 Bleecker Street (at Thompson Street) in the South Village was a large experimental ‘reform housing’ project built by noted architect Ernest Flagg from 1896 to1897 and financed by banker and philanthropist Darius Ogden Mills. The two ten story wings of the […]

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  • Take a Stroll Through the History of our Neighborhoods’ Parks

    Jonathan Kuhn, a long-time Village resident who is also the Director of Art & Antiquities at the  Department of Parks and Recreation, has curated an exhibition at Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery.  Parkcentric: Photographs from the Museum of the City of New York, 1890-1940, features 68 […]

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  • GVSHP's report: The South Village: A Proposal for Historic District Designation

    Little Africa: Tracing African Americans in the South Village

    For historic preservationists, who often use the built environment as a major source of information about a community’s past, the hardest stories to capture are those where the physical trace no longer remains. We can find evidence of the many communities that have called the […]

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