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The following is an excerpt from an article by Sibyl McCormac Groff entitled “Gothamtide: Words and Images in Nineteenth Century New York,” that first appeared in Antiques magazine.

New Yorkers have long promoted the Christmas season, or Gothamtide as I like to call it, which begins in early December and lasts until the twelfth day after Christmas, or January 6. While Christmas day was not declared a national holiday by the United States Congress until 1870, it was recognized as a holiday in New York State in 1849. New York’s prosperous ports (enhanced by the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825), the development of the transcontinental railroad system, and the rise of industry and commerce led to an increase in the number of immigrants settling in New York City, and the emergence of the family-centered middle class. Read the rest of this entry »

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The following is Part II of Miriam Berman’s post on the Tiffanys and Madison Square.  See part I, along with a bio, here.

THE TIFFANYS — FATHER AND SON

The Tiffanys, both father and son created impressive works for a couple of historic figures captured in bronze in Madison Square Park — Admiral David G. Farragut (Augustus Saint-Gaudens, sculptor; Stanford White, architect, 1881) and Chester Arthur.

In 1864, Farragut, the distinguished naval war hero was presented a gem-stone encrusted commemorative sword specially crafted by Tiffany & Co. Then in 1881, Arthur upon the assassination of James Garfield, contracted Louis Comfort Tiffany to redecorate several rooms of the White House, including the East Room, Blue Room, Red Room and State Dining Room. Arthur did not agree with Garfield’s taste and would not take up residency before work was complete, which Tiffany achieved in a record seven weeks.

As early as the 1840s, the crossing of Fifth Avenue and Broadway juxtaposed with Madison Square Park created a vast field for public gatherings and entertainments. It was around 1845 when members of the Knickerbocker Club played an English game of rounders on the abandoned Military Parade Ground from which the current Madison Square Park is carved. From their game evolved the creation of the rules of baseball as we know them today. How fitting that Tiffany & Co. in 1888 created the first World Championship Baseball Trophy depicting the five players necessary to play the game — umpire, catcher, pitcher, batter and outfielder. Read the rest of this entry »

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Madison Square: Its Parks and Celebrated Landmarks by Miriam Berman

Today’s guest post author, Miriam Berman, a long time business resident of Madison Square, has done historic research for The City Parks Foundation, City of New York; Manhattan User’s Guide; and Campaign for the New Madison Square Park. She has given walking tours, talks and visual presentations for the Municipal Arts Society, 23rd Street Association, The Taconic Post Card Club, Kew Management, The Madison Square Conservancy and The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership.  As a graphic designer she has produced many projects related to New York City. She has combined her design talent with her love for historic New York writing the book — Madison Square — The Park and Its Celebrated Landmarks
and creating a small volume of NYC postcards — New York In Words and Images.

The Tiffanys and Madison Square Part I

By Miriam Berman

 

As author of Madison Square — The Park and Its Celebrated Landmarks, I enjoy observing this ever-changing area and always find it intriguing to try and make connections with the neighborhood’s past and present. Recently, Tiffany & Co. relocated its headquarters to the 200 Fifth Avenue Building, and since their arrival they have already created a memorable mark of distinction, with the stunning restoration of the landmarked sidewalk clock that stands in front of their new home office. It is a remarkable gift to both the park and the entire city and one that will be appreciated by generations to come. Here is a brief look at the two most famous Tiffanys — Charles Lewis Tiffany and Louis Comfort Tiffany and some of their historic ties to Madison Square. Read the rest of this entry »

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The New York Society Library is seeking submissions for its annual New York City Book Awards, established in 1996, that honor books of literary quality or historical importance that, in the opinion of the selection committee, evoke the spirit or enhance appreciation of New York City. It is not necessary that the city be the major subject of the book, but it must play an essential, invigorating role beyond that of the setting. Read the rest of this entry »

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