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The old Pennsylvania Station in New York City

The Law That Saved Grand Central Terminal

The main concourse of Pennsylvania Station, ca. 1915. (Photo courtesy of The Museum of the City of New York) Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of legislation that has preserved historic neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs — the New York City Landmarks Law. After World War II, Midtown Manhattan experienced an unprecedented building boom, with glass and steel office towers rising throughout the neighborhood. As construction projects began, parts of the old city were destroyed to make way for progress. The destruction of a well-known landmark became a rallying point for preservations who were demanding a law that would protect historically-significant buildings around the city. That lost landmark? Pennsylvania Station. Opened in 1910 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the old Pennsylvania Station covered eight acres, stretching from Seventh to Eighth Avenue, and 31st to 33rd Streets. It was designed in the Beaux Arts style by McKim, Mead and White, the architectural firm responsible for other civic structures throughout the city, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Washington Arch and several buildings on the campus of Columbia University. …

"Trude and I Masked" by Alice Austen

Links: Slave Markets in Manhattan, the Victorians of New York and More

“Trude and I Masked” (Alice Austen) You’ll never guess where this memorial to Abraham Lincoln is located. [The Bowery Boys] Speaking of Lincoln, check out what happened to two brothers who witnessed his funeral procession. [Ephemeral New York] Before Humans of New York, there was Alice Austen, who snapped these photos of New Yorkers during the Victorian era. [Mashable] If you’ve already filed your taxes, read this story about the history of Tax Day in the West Village. If you haven’t filed your taxes… get on that. [Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation] The site of a former slave market that operated for more than 50 years in Lower Manhattan will be identified with a historical marker this summer. [WNYC] Now that the weather is (finally) nice again, why not explore the oldest cemetery in Queens? [Brownstoner] Follow Historic NYC on Facebook and Twitter.

Links: Eerie Marshes, Abandoned Power Plants and More!

Check out stories from around the city in this week’s links roundup: Follow Historic NYC on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Things get creepy when Abandoned NYC explores the history of the eerie Mariner’s Marsh on Staten Island. [Abandoned NYC] An 1850s-era oyster barge turned speakeasy/restaurant is getting a new life as… an oyster bar? (Maybe.) [The New York Times] Take a peek inside the half-demolished Roseland Ballroom in Brooklyn before the building is destroyed. [Gothamist] Hear about the shady dealings that took place in Bryant Park’s shady paths in the Bowery Boys’ latest podcast. [Bowery Boys] New York City’s only fire watchtower — located in Marcus Garvey Park, Harlem — is being dismantled for rehabilitation. [NY Curbed] Explore the skeletal remains of the abandoned Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers. [Scouting NY] A street on the Upper West Side might be named after Norman Rockwell, who was born there in 1894. [West Side Rag] Meet the real Peggy Olsons who paved the way for women in advertising. [Historic NYC] Photo of the week: NYC 📷 …

Peggy Olson from Mad Men

The Real Peggy Olsons: Three Ladies Who Paved the Way for Ad Women

(Photo courtesy of AMC) As AMC’s period drama “Mad Men” comes to a close next month, viewers’ eyes will be on Peggy Olson. Since season one, Peggy has worked her way up in the office, from under-appreciated secretary to talented copy chief. She’s finally starting to earn a little respect in her male-dominated profession, but will she ever get the recognition she deserves? Though Peggy struggles to assert herself as the only woman in the creative department, in real life, women have been involved in America’s advertising industry since its beginning. They played huge roles in its development, though they were hampered by unequal pay and limited leadership opportunities. The advertising industry has had a presence in the U.S. since the first newspapers were published during the colonial era, but the industry quickly changed and grew after Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906), requiring all food and drugs to label their ingredients, and the Federal Trade Commission Act (1914), forbidding false or dishonest advertising. Companies needed clever creative to be in compliance …

St. Patrick's Day bagpipers in the New York City parade

Five Things to Know About New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

(Diana Robinson/Flickr) Outside of Ireland, there’s no better place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than New York City. The traditional St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been held in Manhattan since before the American Revolution. Here are five things to know about the parade’s history: 1. The first celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in New York was held 14 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On March 17, 1762, a group of Irishmen serving in the British army occupying the Province of New York marched to a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at Hull’s Tavern on lower Broadway to mark the feast of their homeland’s patron saint. This was the first known reference to a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in New York City, though some speculate observances were held while Irish-born Thomas Dongan was governor. No written record of this survives, however. The first mention of a parade appears on March 17, 1766, when a military procession, complete with fife and drums, took place as Catholic and Protestant Irishmen marched alongside each other to …