Recent Posts to our Blog: Writing History

  • Interview with Former Plycraft Employee

    Sunday morning, I cracked open my notebook, powered up my recorder, logged into Skype, and soon found myself screen to screen with my interviewee. Proctor is a pretty unusual guy in his own right, an ordained minister, a martial arts enthusiast, and a tattoo artist with at least half his face and much of his […]

    Posted on April 9, 2014 0 comments
  • “A Nice Jewish Boy Like You Shouldn’t Be Fighting on the Street …”

    Murray Simon, now 88 years old, wasn’t originally my first choice of interview subject. Until Thursday, I’d never heard of him. I’d found myself in a desperate situation as my first, second and third prospective interviewees postponed our appointments via call, text and email. In a panic, I’d turned to Google. Eight hours and some […]

    Posted on March 12, 2014 0 comments
  • Mechanic on Knickerbocker Avenue

    People continuously move in, out, and around the city resulting in a fragmented storyline of the past. Finding someone who is able to remember a 1968 event that took place in a specific neighborhood is a challenging venture. I walked down Myrtle Avenue with my camera in-hand ready to capture images of the remaining beams, tracks, and […]

    Posted on March 12, 2014 0 comments
  • Nick von Hoffman: a “Garrulous Old Man” Tells His Story

    One of the challenges for researching my topic — the 1954 New York gubernatorial race — is that many of the main players are dead. Justin Feldman’s oral history has been an immensely valuable resource, an almost Nick Carraway-esque first-hand account from a man who was often a fly on the wall for a number […]

    Posted on March 11, 2014 0 comments
  • One Source May Hide Another

    The poet Kenneth Koch, in a poem titled “One Train May Hide Another,” warns against assuming that things are only what they appear to be. The inspiration for the poem is a sign at a rail crossing in Kenya alerting motorists and pedestrians to the possibility that a long train passing in one direction may […]

    Posted on March 11, 2014 0 comments

Latest Artifacts

  • Puff Piece

    An article written about Goldman in Boston Globe in 1962. The piece supposedly presages a new direction for plywood in the field of agricultural irrigation, though Plycraft never ended up manufacturing anything other than boats and furniture. I was interested to see how a media outlet portrayed Goldman, and the author’s fixation on Goldman’s physical fitness struck me not only as odd from a journalistic standpoint, but also contradicts the many descriptions I’ve found of Goldman as he got older.

    Posted on May 19, 2014 0 comments
  • The Difference a Year (or Two) Can Make

    These two documents are from the Lehman archives at Columbia University. The first, from 1958, is a cordial thank you note from Herbert Lehman to Carmine De Sapio and his wife for the flowers they sent to Lehman’s wife, who was recovering from an injury. The second document indicates a shift in the relationship: a […]

    Posted on April 9, 2014 0 comments
  • 1844 Tunnel Opening Invitation

      This hand-marked invitation to the opening of the LIRR train tunnel the following week was sent to the editor of the Brooklyn Evening Star Nov. 27, 1844. Source: Brooklyn Historical Rail Association.  

    Posted on April 9, 2014 0 comments
  • Nickerson Agonistes

    (L) Army ballistic missile expert Col. John C. Nickerson, Jr., averts his eyes as a wire service photographer captures him leaving court martial proceedings at Redstone Arsenal, in Huntsville, Alabama on June 25, 1957. Nickerson had just admitted to leaking classified rocket information to the press as part of a plea deal that saw him […]

    Posted on April 9, 2014 0 comments
  • A Glimpse of Inwood in the 1950s

    As the director of the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association of Washington Heights and Inwood, Hans Epstein (fourth from right at rear) wanted the Y, on Vermilyea Avenue in Inwood, to be a safe space. He created after school programs for neighborhood children as a way to avoid the “toughs” that made this […]

    Posted on April 9, 2014 0 comments