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Through the Lens of Anthony Angel: New York City Rail Infrastructure in the 1950s History Photos

As a photographer, explorer, and now-New Yorker I’ve found myself curiously drawn to the work of Angelo Rizzuto. Anthony Angel, as he called himself, was a street photographer who captured the city from the late 1940s until his death in 1967. His body of work was largely overlooked by the fine art world, seen more as snapshots from a madman with a camera than any sort of photographic art. Yet from a historical perspective, the images resonated with me. Angel created a nearly 60,000 image strong visual time capsule of New York City—his photos of the old Pennsylvania Station, of...

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Riding the Harlem Division Football Special (to see the worst team ever) Trains History

As the Vietnam War raged and John Lennon ruffled feathers declaring the Beatles “more popular than Jesus,” the Giants were losing, bigly. 1966 may have been the year that Star Trek hit the airwaves and Camaros first rolled the streets, but it was also the year the Redskins absolutely crushed the Giants 72-41, setting the (still-standing) record for the highest scoring game in National Football League history[1]. Objectively, the 1966 Giants were quite awful. Playing their home games at the old Yankee Stadium, they proceeded to lose every single match except for one. They managed to tie their first game...

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Grand Central Stargazing: Secret Signatures on the Ceiling Observations History Photos

In its century-plus of existence, over a billion travelers have traversed the hallowed halls of Grand Central Terminal. But how many of that intrepid number, as they gazed up at the magnificence of the constellations overhead, knew that the ceiling held a secret? I’m not talking about how the constellations are “backward”—doesn’t everybody know that? Nor am I referring to the fact that the ceiling today is not the original fresco from when the Terminal opened its doors. No, I’m talking about the secret signatures that span the mural, encircling stars and hiding inside the appendages of the towering beasts...

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A Parkway, a Station, and a Hotel. White Plains: Part 2 History Photos

In Part I of our history of White Plains, we took a look at the arrival of the New York and Harlem Railroad, and how its vital link to New York City kicked off White Plains’ growth from a sleepy little village into one of Westchester’s notable cities. Along that journey a monumental train station rose and fell, man asserted its dominance over nature, and several swaths of civilization were wiped from the map, all in the name of progress. The transformation of the area around the train station in the early twentieth century was quick, and massive. The railroad’s...

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The Railroad’s Raucous Arrival. White Plains: Part 1 Trains History

Amid loud booms of celebratory artillery fire and the rousing tunes of a brass band, hundreds of onlookers jockeyed for a spot alongside gleaming rails, cheering and popping champagne corks. The crowd’s cries rose to a crescendo as the mighty iron horse cantered round the last curve and roared into full view, steam billowing behind her. The day was Saturday, October 26th, 1844, and at long last—thirteen years for the rails, nearly three hours for the train—the New York and Harlem Railroad had reached White Plains. The new station to which the train had arrived was a simple wooden affair,...

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A Colorful Life at the Depot – Prints & Illustrations from Grand Central Depot Observations History

Before photographs were commonplace, engravings were often used to illustrate magazines, newspapers, and timetables. An artist would create their image on a plate—usually copper or zinc—and the plate could be copied again and again. Engraving is a little bit of a misnomer, referring to just one technique of Intaglio printmaking. There were several ways to create an illustration on a plate, including using wax and an acid to “bite” linework into the plate, a technique called etching (something I enjoyed while in art school, although I was quite terrible at it). Once an artist completed a plate, ink was applied...

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