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Today in LES History: Television Debuts at CBGB on the Bowery

Last modified April 1, 2015 at 12:42 am

On this day in… 1974 – The seminal rock/punk/alternative band Television began their Sunday night residency at CBGB, a former Bowery dive bar where band members built a stage for their debut performance. Here is an excerpt from a piece that NYU professor Bryan Waterman wrote last year on the fortieth anniversary of the event… Although […]

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Today in LES History: Helicopter Pioneer Igor Sikorsky Immigrates to the Neighborhood

Posted March 30, 2015 at 8:10 am

On this day in… 1919 – 30-year old, Russian-born aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky immigrated to the Lower East Side, where he taught fellow émigrés mathematics. Sikorsky designed the world’s first multi-engine fixed-wing aircraft and the first airliner, as well as America’s first practical helicopter, utilizing a rotor configuration design still used today. Today in LES […]

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Today in LES History: Senator Barack Obama Makes a Campaign Stop at Cooper Union

Posted March 27, 2015 at 8:12 am

On this day in… 2008 – Campaigning Illinois Senator Barack Obama took the stage at Cooper Union’s Great Hall. The then-presidential hopeful gave a speech about the economy, and proposed an additional $30 billion stimulus package to help during the downturn. Obama was introduced by Mayor Bloomberg. The event was highly symbolic, as Cooper Union […]

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Today in LES History: Forerunner of Con Edison Receives its Charter from the State

Posted March 26, 2015 at 8:11 am

On this day in… 1823 – The New York Gas Light Company received its charter from the State Legislature. Headquartered at 102 Centre Street, the utility was tasked with replacing the whale-oil street lamps which were common since the 1760s. Their reach was the territory south of Grand Street. The advent of electric lighting in […]

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Today in LES History: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Kills 146 Garment Workers

Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:10 am

On this day in… 1911 – The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire claimed the lives of 146 garment workers, predominantly teenage girls from the Lower East Side. Today, as has been tradition the last decade, the Chalk Project (courtesy of Street Pictures) fans out across the neighborhood to scrawl names of the fallen outside their former […]

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Today in LES History: Biggie is Arrested for Assault Outside the Palladium

Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:10 am

On this day in… 1996 – reports surfaced that rapper Notorious B.I.G. (aka Chris Wallace) and his friend Damian Butler were arrested for assaulting two autograph seekers after a performance by Faith Evans (Biggie’s then-wife) outside the former Palladium night club, 126 East 14th Street. The fans “had words” with the rapper before heading off […]

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Today in LES History: The Precursor to Yeshiva University Receives New York State Charter

Posted March 20, 2015 at 8:06 am

On this day in… 1897 – Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, the first Orthodox Rabbinical Seminary in America, received a New York State charter. This religious educational body – founded on the Lower East Side – was the precursor to what would eventually become Yeshiva University. RIETS, as it’s informally known, introduced an all Jewish […]

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Today in LES History: Colombo Gangster ‘Little Dom’ Cataldo Born on Essex Street

Posted March 19, 2015 at 8:04 am

On this day in… 1923 – Colombo Crime Family soldier Dominick “Little Dom” Cataldo was born in a small apartment on Essex Street. In 1985, Cataldo was indicted on federal racketeering charges that included extortion, theft, loansharking, illegal gambling, bribery, and drug trafficking. For his crimes, the mobster got 35 years and died behind bars […]

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Today in LES History: The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Born as a ‘Breakfast Meet’

Posted March 17, 2015 at 8:35 am

On this day in… 1763 – Many books and archived newspaper articles cite March 17, 1763 as the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration — claiming it was held not as a parade, but as a breakfast meeting at the Crown and Thistle Inn on Whitehall Street. Then in 1779, the annual breakfast turned into a […]

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Today in LES History: Rezoning Plan Helps Pave the Way for Creation of Vladeck Houses

Last modified March 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

On this day in… 1938 – A public hearing for a Lower East Side rezoning plan was held, paving the way for the first municipally-subsidized public housing projects in the United States. It would be another year before wide-scale demolition commenced at Corlear’s Hook, clearance that eventually led to construction of the Vladeck Houses. Today in […]

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