When Did the Statue of Liberty Turn Green?: And 101 Other Questions About New York City

Overview

For years, the librarians at the New-York Historical Society have kept a record of the questions posed to them by curious New Yorkers and visitors to the city. Who was the first woman to run for mayor of New York? Why are beavers featured on the city's official seal? Is it true that a nineteenth-century New Yorker built a house out of spite? These questions involve people, places, buildings, monuments, rumors, and urban myths. They concern sports, food, transportation, the arts, politics, nature, and Central ...

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When Did the Statue of Liberty Turn Green?: And 101 Other Questions About New York City

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Overview

For years, the librarians at the New-York Historical Society have kept a record of the questions posed to them by curious New Yorkers and visitors to the city. Who was the first woman to run for mayor of New York? Why are beavers featured on the city's official seal? Is it true that a nineteenth-century New Yorker built a house out of spite? These questions involve people, places, buildings, monuments, rumors, and urban myths. They concern sports, food, transportation, the arts, politics, nature, and Central Park, among many other subjects. Taken together, they attest to the infinite stories hidden within the most intriguing metropolis in the world.

In When Did the Statue of Liberty Turn Green? the staff of the New-York Historical Society Library answer more than a hundred of the most popular and compelling queries. The endlessly entertaining entries in this book feature hard-to-find data and unforgettable profiles, sharing snapshots of New York's secret history for all to enjoy. Drawing on the library's extensive collections, the staff reveal when the first book was printed in New York, whether the story of Harlem residents presenting rats to government officials is true, who exactly were the Collyer brothers and why were they famous, and why premature babies were once displayed in Coney Island. For readers who love trivia, urban history, strange tales, and, of course, New York City, this book will delight with its rich, informative, and surprising stories.

Look inside to learn:

How "Peg-Leg" Peter Stuyvesant lost his right leg Whether Manhattan used to have cowboysHow the New York Yankees got their nameWho was Pig Foot MaryWhy the Manhattan House of Detention is called the TombsWho was Topsy and how she electrified New York CityHow many speakeasies were open during ProhibitionWhat occurred every May in the nineteenth century to cause so much commotionWhen penguins were stolen from the Coney Island Aquarium

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

The Midwest Book Review

Highly recommended to anyone curious to learn more about New York City's legacy, traditions, and amazing true stories.

The Midwest Book Review
Highly recommended to anyone curious to learn more about New York City's legacy, traditions, and amazing true stories.
Library Journal
While many excellent books have addressed the endlessly fascinating history and lore of New York City, the staff of the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS) library has entered the fray with this wonderful new offering. This compendium of both popular and more obscure questions and answers is filled with colorful, quirky historical threads that combine to create an extraordinary tapestry depicting New York's story. For example: What's the oldest cemetery in New York City? The answer might surprise (hint: it's not in Manhattan). While some questions concern a story or place, others pertain to famous New Yorkers, e.g., Peter Stuyvesant, the last governor of Dutch New Amsterdam, and his famous peg leg. All answers are thoroughly documented from sources including secondary histories, original pamphlets, and accounts in newspapers or magazines. These sleuths also consulted private documents and correspondence in the N-YHS collections. VERDICT This is an almost addictive read, and when readers reach the last question, they'll hope for a sequel. Whether one is a serious historian or a hobbyist, there is much to enjoy here. Importantly, it's also a resource that public librarians will find eminently useful. Don't be surprised if "New-York Historical Society Fun Facts" becomes a regular category on Jeopardy. Highly recommended. [See Q&A with N-YHS reference librarian Mariam Touba, p. 86.—Ed.]—Richard Drezen, Brooklyn, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231147439
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/19/2010
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 517,435
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

The New-York Historical Society, a preeminent educational and research institution, is home to both New York City's oldest museum and one of the nation's most distinguished independent research libraries. Each year, the library staff assists more than 5000 researchers on-site and another 5000 remotely.

Jean W. Ashton is executive vice president and director of the New-York Historical Society Library.

Nina Nazionale is director of library operations at the New-York Historical Society.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Ric BurnsAcknowledgments

Firsts and OriginsHistory and PoliticsCuriosities and WondersBuildings, Streets, and NeighborhoodsArts, Leisure, and Diversions

Columbia University Press

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