Posts Tagged ‘The New York Mirror’

A rich neighborhood in 19th century Manhattan

May 3, 2010

Tribeca is a trendy place to live today, just as one little nook of it was in the 1830s and 1840s. 

All that’s left of this exclusive nook, however, are a few alleys: St. John’s Lane and York Street.

They’re remnants of a genteel enclave centered around St. John’s Chapel, built in 1807 on Lispenard Meadows, then a dreary swamp.

After the chapel was built, private St. John’s Park sprang up next, attracting rich New Yorkers who built Federal-style row houses along the park.

[“View of St. John’s Chapel From the Park,” a sketch by The New-York Mirror, from the NYPL digital collection]

The St. John’s Park neighborhood was one of the city’s most fashionable, but as Manhattan grew northward, its appeal went south. The chapel, park, and the homes that surrounded it were all gone by 1920.

The Brooklyn Bridge: not always so beloved

September 8, 2009

Well-dressed men and women circa 1890, suspended between the city of New York and the city of Brooklyn. Judging by all the smoke in the background, it looks like the camera is facing the Brooklyn side.

At the time this photo was taken, the bridge was only seven years old.


(Photo: B. Merlis)

And if the naysayers had their way, it would never have been built at all. When the “East River Bridge Project” was conceived in 1829, the sentiment was that a bridge would disturb the beauty of New York Harbor and the shipping industry that thrived there.

An editorial in The New York Mirror stated: “The mischief that would ensue, according to our view of the subject, from the erection of a bridge, would be little less than infinite.

“To allow a merchant ship to pass under it without striking her topmasts, it would be necessary to elevate it to not less than one hundred feet above the water. . . . Who would mount over such a structure, when a passage could be effected in a much shorter time, and that, too, without exertion or trouble, in a safe and well-sheltered steamboat?”