We're pleased to note that the Urban History Association, the largest association of urban historians in the country, spotlighted Gotham on its blog as part of their "Digital Summer School" series, designed to alert members of the field to noteworthy digital projects. We're honored to be featured, and encourage our readers to follow The Metropole, too!
By Christiana Remarck
Growing up as a Guyanese-American, born from two Guyanese immigrants living in New York, at least once a month my family and I would make a trip to a place now called Little Guyana. It’s a small enclave in Richmond Hill, Queens from 104th to 130th street on Liberty Ave. Whether we were going for some produce for a traditional, Guyanese recipe or a new saree for a Hindu wedding, I believe it would have been impossible to preserve our culture in New York City without the establishments that were set up in this community. Guyanese people themselves are highly diversified from ethnicity to religion making some needs specific, while other needs are universal to Guyanese as a whole. This essay will highlight some staples of Guyanese culture that enable every Guyanese person to set up a home away from home within the confines of New York City. It will explore some of the most sought out spots on Liberty Avenue that a Guyanese living anywhere in New York City would visit when making a trip to Richmond Hill, whether for food, clothing, or religious goods.
By Holly Pinheiro
Prior to the 1960s, most white historians outright ignored the wartime experiences of African American soldiers. Few white historians, including Dudley Cornish, discussed United States Colored Troops regiments, and their analyses took a largely military focus by cataloguing a regiment’s mustering in and out process, military engagements, deaths, and causalities. These white historians opted to avoid any substantive discussion of African American military service. African American historians, conversely, began examining African American soldiers almost immediately following the war and continued long after. Historians, such as William Wells Brown, Joseph Wilson, and George Washington Williams, sought to rightfully place the wartime experiences of African American soldiers at the center of their monographs. These scholars sought to humanize African American soldiers’ experiences and highlight the fact that their service was not only masculine patriotism, but also legitimized their claim for citizenship rights while simultaneously participating in ending slavery. Even with the breadth of scholarship that scholars continue to produce on the topic of African Americans soldiers during the Civil War, obvious gaps in the historiography remain. Who were these soldiers long before their service? How did these young men, the families, and local communities combat the onslaught of racism in Northern society in the antebellum era? Did their motivations to enlist reflect the idealism that advocates of enlistment championed during recruitment campaigns? How did military service negatively impact the Northern African American families left behind? These are crucial questions that are at the center of my research, and until now, remained unquestioned and unanswered. My objective in conducting this research is to humanize the individual soldiers and their families to show how war affected the front lines and the home front simultaneously — thereby revealing how Northern African American families experienced the Civil War. This research focuses on African American New York soldiers and their families because their lived experiences deserve scholarly attention if we ever hope to understand how the war impacted Northern society.
One of the most striking features of many New York streets, however, is more intangible than length or shape. So many of these streets are metonyms, embodying a bigger concept than the physical space they denote. Wall Street: the world of American finance. Madison Avenue: mid-century advertising. And perhaps the most legendary of all: Broadway. For most people the name conjures the theater industry that occupies its center, full of bright lights, marquees, and creative ambition. This is a core component of Broadway, yet this street has so much more to it — it’s the longest street in Manhattan and stretches the entire length, cutting assertively across the grid with the force of a longer history behind it and leaving a trail of small parks and squares in its wake. On a beautiful spring day, some friends and I set out to walk the length of Broadway in Manhattan from top to bottom, a journey totaling 13.5 miles. In addition to 27 Starbucks and 18 McDonalds, here are some other highlights of what we saw:
Amy Werbel's Lust on Trial: Censorship and the Rise of American Obscenity in the Age of Anthony Comstock
By Katie Uva
It’s the first Thursday in June! To most people, that means little more than that it is almost the first Friday in June, and that it was just the first Wednesday in June. But to New York City school children, it means Brooklyn-Queens Day, a gratuitous day off to go to amusement parks, run through sprinklers, and monitor the steady progress of ice cream melting down one’s face and arms. Nowadays, this holiday is a citywide phenomenon and has been renamed Chancellor's Day, but those of us old-timers who went to school before 2006 remember when Brooklyn-Queens Day used to be only for kids in Brooklyn and Queens, the one day of the year when kids in Manhattan actually envied us. But what is Brooklyn-Queens Day anyway?
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