Webinar: “The History of the Geography of New York City”


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Short notice, but there is a webinar happening in two days that sounds really interesting! Information is below. 


We invite you to attend another free presentation in our series of JewishGen Talks webinars, with our speaker, Dr. Stephen Morse.

The History of the Geography of New York City
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
2:00 PM Eastern Time (New York)

New York City has undergone numerous changes in its geographical boundaries over the years. An understanding of these boundaries is important in order to know what archive to search in when looking for vital records. This talk shows the changes to New York City’s geography, and describes the difference between New York City and the City of New York. The origin of the counties and their changing boundaries, along with the early geographies of Brooklyn and Queens, are presented. And finally, the consolidation of 1898 that created the City of New York and defined the five boroughs is discussed.

Dr. Stephen Morse is the creator of the One-Step Website for which he has received numerous awards, including both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. In his other life, Morse is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He is best known as the architect of the Intel 8086 (the granddaddy of today’s Pentium processor), which sparked the PC revolution nearly 40 years ago.

Advance Registration Required!

Please click the above link 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about how to join the webinar.

Questions? Go to:

“How to Be A Newsie for Halloween” (or any other day of the year)


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Halloween is a week away! Do you know what you’re going to be yet? (Even in this time of Covid-19, there’s no reason to not spend the day in costume. If it makes you happy, do it!) 

If not, here is the Broadway cast of Newsies to give you tips on how to be the best newsie you can be—for Halloween or any other day of the year. Get out there and seize the day!

“New Trick of the Newsboys.”

From the September 4, 1903 edition of The Sun, a game:

          New Trick of the Newsboys.

A Live Mouse on a String to Stir Up the Bulletin Watchers.

The Park row newsboys have had their fun on yacht race days, but they got it most from the crowds that watched the bulletin boards. All that was needed was a stick and a piece of thread to which was tied a live mouse.

Armed with this outfit a boy crept up behind the chosen victim, then waited until he raised his eyes to the bulletin. Holding the stick high above the man’s head the boy let the wriggling mouse descend in front of the man’s eyes. So quickly was the thing done that few persons’ nerves could stand the shock. Then the boy passed on to the next victim, some of his pals in the meantime keeping a sharp look-out for the police.

Site Update: Citations & Bibliography


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This month’s website update: Adding a source citation at the bottom of each newspaper article, and an all-in-one bibliography page for the newspaper articles. It’s been something that’s long overdue, I think. Citations are given in MLA format; all of the necessary information is there if needed to convert to APA or Chicago styles.

The bibliography page can be found under the new “Resources” tab, where “Links” used to be. That page is now a subsection of Resources, which I have plans to expand in future site updates.

Are there any additions to the website you’d like to see in future updates? Comment below and let me know!

New Newspaper Articles!


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In honor of the beginning of the Newsboys Strike of 1899, I’ve added new first-hand newspaper articles to City Hall Park!

The Evening Post had interesting views on the strike, because—as they mention in an article about strike leadership—some of the newsboys were writing copy themselves and giving it to the newspaper offices to publish. (That same leadership article does not paint “Kid” Blink in a positive light…) The Post articles also back up one or two early events that are reported on only in one other newspaper, the Tribune.

The complete Evening Post index is here: https://cityhallpark1899.com/newspaper-articles/the-evening-post/

“Hungry Joe the Newsman.”


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From the July 18, 1898 edition of the New York Sun, a story about a newspaper seller who isn’t as he seems:

Hungry Joe the Newsman.

When in Brooklyn His Garb Differs from His Ordinary Wear.

The newsman at Ann street and Park row, who is commonly called “Hungry Joe” owing to his famished appearance, changes his garb and bearing when he goes home to Brooklyn. When parading Fulton street, Brooklyn, yesterday, he carried a silk umbrella and wore a black broadcloth suit, surmounted by a derby hat. He was scrupulously clean.

On Park row “Hungry Joe’s” business outfit is a hybrid basket and bag that contains his papers. His clothes are ragged and so faded that one cannot guess their original color. He wears no hat, and appears to be a tramp risen to the dignity of a newsman from desire for an honest living. His trade in papers is large and he makes a good living.

None of the newsboys dare compete with him. He carries a long club, a broom handle, and with this he argues the young idea into his way of thinking.

“Newsboy’s Swift Revenge”


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From the July 9, 1899 edition of The Sun, a tale that could spark fan fiction:

Newsboy’s Swift Revenge

Murderous Assault Seen By A Crowd Near Bridge Entrance.

Driver of a Newspaper Delivery Wagon Stabbed in the Back of the Neck by a Youth Whom He Had Thrashed—He May Die—Assailant Chased and Caught.
A crowd of over 1,000 persons saw a newsboy attempt to murder the driver of a newspaper delivery wagon at 9 o’clock last night at Sands street, Brooklyn near the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge. “Over 500 of them pursued the would-be murderer as he fled, and, after a chase almost to the river front, were rewarded by the sight of his arrest.
Peter Peglies, 22 years old, of 29 Main street, Brooklyn, is the murderous newsboy. His victim is William Gibbons, 23 years old, of 66 Fulton street, Brooklyn. They had a quarrel in the afternoon at the Brooklyn entrance of the bridge over the number of papers Gibbons had furnished to Peglies. Gibbons managed to get in several hard blows on Peglies’s face and head before the crowd interfered and separated them to prevent further damage being done.
Peglies declared at teh time that he would have revenge, and warned Gibbons to look out. Gibbons laughed at the threats and taunted Peglies, saying that he could take care of himself easily with such an antagonist. This made Peglies all the angrier.
Shortly after 9 o’clock last night Gibbons was passing through Sands street on his way to Manhattan. In the meantime Peglies had armed himself with a knife and a razor. Knowing that Gibbons was to go to Manhattan, he lay in wait in Sands street for him. When Gibbons appeared Peglies pushed his way through the crowd after him.
When he caught up to the unsuspecting Gibbons, without a word of warning he pulled the knife from his pocket and made a vicious slash. The blade struck Gibbons in the neck, making a fearful gash. Gibbons fell to the sidewalk, and Peglies turned and ran, pushing the crowd aside.
The spectators were so amazed by what they had seen that they made no effort at first to detail Peglies. The sight of the bloody knife in his hand may have added to the disinclination to interfere. Just as he cleared the crowd and turned toward the river some one shouted that Gibbons was dying. Half of the crowd made a rush for Gibbons while the other half chased after Peglies, who was running like mad down the dark street. He was finally captured at Dock and Front streets by Policeman Lunny. The pursuers made no demonstration against Peglies when he was taken back to Gibbons for identification. Gibbons said he thought Peglies was his assailant because of the afternoon row and the threats Peglies had made, but admitted that he had not seen him before the blow was struck. Peglies was taken to Brooklyn Police Headquarters and locked up on a charge of felonious assault.
A call was sent to the Brooklyn Hospital and Dr. Parrish responded. In the meantime a policeman had partially stopped the flow of blood. Dr. Parrish bandaged the wound and Gibbons was taken to the hospital. On his arrival there he became delirious and tore the bandage off, reopening the wound. Dr. Parrish said last night that Gibbons was in a critical condition.




“Biggest Bronze Casting”


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The largest bronze casting made in America as of 1895 was newsworthy enough to be mentioned as far away as McCook, Nebraska, is from Manhattan, where the foundry was located. The subject has the distinction of being a memorial to Charles Loring Brace, to be installed on the facade of the Newsboys’ Lodging House at 9 Duane Street. Here’s a description from the June 22, 1895 edition of The McCook Tribune:

Biggest Bronze Casting

It Is a Memorial to the Founder of the Children’s Aid Society.

The largest bronze casting ever made in the United States has just been successfully completed at the foundry of A. T. Lorme, in Forsyth street, says New York World. It was designed by Architect Leopold Eidlitz and was modeled by Ellin, Kitson & Co. It is a memorial to Charles Loring Brace, who was the founder of the Children’s Aid society, and is to be erected on the corner pier of the second story of the newsboys’ lodging house. It is in the form of a Gothic tablet, with a circular opening in the center, in which will be placed a marble bust of the philanthropist in whose memory it is erected. The height of the casting, which was done in one piece, is 10 feet 6 inches. It is 5 feet 6 inches wide, and the relief is a full 12 inches. Three thousand pounds of standard bronze metal were used in making this handsome memorial. The casting was begun at 6 a.m. day before yesterday and was not completed until the middle of the afternoon. An heroic sitting statue of Peter Cooper, by St. Gaudens, is also finished in bronze in this foundry, but is kept carefully concealed behind a draping of white cloth, the sculptor having given positive orders that “not a soul shall see it” until it is unveiled in public. Mr. Lorme resisted the touching appeal of a World reporter to life up a corner of the cloth, saying: “Mr. St. Gaudens would throw me in my own furnace if I did so.”

“Miss Folsom’s Own Love Story.”


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In June of 1886, newspapers were abuzz with news relating to “Miss Folsom,” AKA Frances Folsom, who married President Grover Cleveland on June 2 in a private ceremony at the White House after being secretly engaged to him since 1885.

This story, published June 12, 1886 in Sag-Harbor’s The Corrector, recounts one moment of her trip home from Europe just prior to the wedding. (She and her mother arrived in New York on May 27.) It’s also recounted—with other, less embellished details—in an essay titled “The Mistress of the White House,” which was published in volume 40 of “Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.


Miss Folsom’s Own Love Story.

“The most interesting feature of the voyage,” says one who was on the Noordland, which brought Miss Folsom to New York, “was the reading of the little newspaper published on board called THE NORTH ATLANTIC SPRAY. Captain John Codman, of Boston, was the managing editor of the sprightly sheet, while Miss Folsom was honored with the position of editor-in-chief. The paper was not printed on a hand press, as is done on some of the ocean steamers, but the manuscripts as they were sent to the editors to be read aloud in the cabin. The first reading took place on Tuesday evening, May 25th.
Miss Folsom contributed a story, of which the following is a synopsis:
“LITTLE MOLL”—so the story went—was a poor little newsgirl who lived in a dark street in New York. She had a sweet honest face and a clean heart. But, oh, how it ached! And how tired and hungry she was when she climbed the steep, narrow stairs after a weary day’s work. For weeks, months, and years she had walked sore-footed over the hard pavements, selling her papers on the streets. She had a home, but there was no joy in it. She had a father, but he was cruel and filled her life with sorrow. But in the midst of her trouble there came a little ray of sunshine, and she thought that it was as bright as the great sun itself. It was the face of a reporter, who also worked hard for a living. He studied, was ambitious, and hoped to become a learned and useful man. But one thing kept him down. He found little time for reading good books. He was a criminal reporter and lived far away from the dark courts where he spent many a lonely hour. His home was in Brooklyn, and it was only when he reached his room late at night and began to read his favorite authors that he was happy. Then it was that his pale, sad face was most beautiful. One day, when he was eating a sweet voice at his elbow sang out, “Second edition, two cents!”
“The sight of her face, the glance of her innocent blue eyes melted the reporter’s heart. Something that he had heard or seen long, long years before came to him like a faint whisper. He bought a paper and hurried away to the court, where he had a wicked crime to write up. It was not pleasant to write of the dark sins of the great city, but he was a true man, true to the paper he served, so he presented life’s picture as he found it.
Haunting Eyes
“But the haunting eyes of the little newsgirl were ever before him. He could not forget them. He dreamed of them, and once he saw her whole sweet face in a dream, looking wistfully; oh! so wistfully toward him. When he saw her on the streets next day he bought more newspapers than he could read in an hour, and asked her to take him to her hovel.
“I have no home,” she said, “I live in a room with papa; but he beats me and takes all I earn. Mr. Reporter, is it right to take all of a little girl’s money and then scold when she can earn no more? Oh, Mr. Reporter, I gets so weary of this life that I want to die.”
Then the journalist took the poor child to a restaurant and told the man to give her a nice warm dinner. She had never eaten so good a dinner before, and yet the man who lives on Fifth avenue could never have swallowed a mouthful of the poorly cooked food.
Well, to hasten on the story! The journalist became a true friend to the waif. He taught her to read; he told stories and carried her little mind across seas and continents to the great nations on the other side of the world. He became her hero. She had never heard of such a wonderful man. And yet he was only a criminal reporter on a small hard-earned salary. At last the girl came to love him more than anything in the world. Then it was that her miserable father hated her with a fiendish hatred. But he hated the criminal reporter even more wickedly. He followed him, and one night when the ground was covered with snow, he raised a weapon to strike the reporter dead. The young man fell to the pavement, but another sank with a cry beside him. It was the newsgirl. She suspected her father intended some dreadful crime. So she was there to save the life of her friend. Had the weapon spent its full force on his head he would have died. As it was, he lay stunned until the police took him to the hospital. Who can picture the sorrow that filled his heart when he learned that a woman saved his life at the risk of her own! But still greater was his pain when he was told that she was the little newsgirl.
The strong, brave man soon found her. He took her from her home and married her. The wicked old father soon died. Tired of reporting crime, the journalist bought a cottage and a bit of land in New Jersey near the great roaring city. “I now see him,” said the attorney, “sitting in the cottage with his books around him—He is happy. The lamp glows brightly. A face with heaven’s own smile is near his own. He is happy. She is happy. Her mind is filled with knowledge. He rejoices because he has made and saved a life. It is his own.