Tis The Season
The season of light takes on special meaning in a city as bright as New York. It all starts with the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree at Rock Center and closes with the ball drop in the fleshpit of Times Square on New Years.
The tree in Madison Square Park may be overlooked, with all the storefronts to be taken in, holiday fares to wade through and ice rinks popping up all over, but it was here that the season of light arguably began 100 years ago. That is when the first public tree lighting ceremony ever took place, not just in New York, but in the country, based on research by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment a long time,” said Debra Landau, director of the conservancy.
Yesterday a room of sharply dressed archivists, librarians and book conservators burst into laughter at a joke about mildew. They’re a funny bunch, these keepers of our national record, excited by different things than you and I. When they mention the billions of records, of which only a sliver has been digitized, currently stored in limestone caves in Lenexa, Kan., their eyes light up like deep-sea explorers contemplating the ocean. They all have stories to tell.
Stories like the time they found a trove of Walt Whitman documents written while he was a clerk in the Attorney General’s office. They were forgotten documents, which were only identified by a scholar who recognized the handwriting and made the connection. Or the photo unearthed of FDR standing beneath the newly laid keel of the USS Arizona in 1913, while the then-secretary of the navy was touring the Brooklyn Navy Yards. The same ship, of course, whose destruction in Pearl Harbor 28 years later would lead to arguably FDR’s most famous speech, and with it a declaration of war. As with any explorers, when they talk about the often serendipitous thrill of discovery, their enthusiasm is infectious.
“Food is always drama,” Seline Dell’Orto, proprietor of Manganaro’s Grosseria Italiana was explaining to The Observer on Monday afternoon.
It had been a tough week for the storied Hell’s Kitchen grocery, which has occupied the same stretch of Ninth Avenue since 1893. The trouble began when The Wall Street Journal reported that Read More
There may be no building in New York more attached to its aura than the Chelsea Hotel. One glance at the iconic sign and you think of Bob Dylan writing the songs on “Blonde on Blonde,” Dylan Thomas passing out after 18 whiskies to never wake again, and Janis Joplin strumming “Me and Bobby McGee.” Read More