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Born in New York City in 1808, Philip Bell attended the Mulberry Street School where he was one of Peter Guignon's classmates. After graduation, he threw himself into political activism and became a newspaper man. In 1837, he founded the short-lived… Read More

In the early 1850s, a group of New York merchants decided to build an new opera hall to replace the old Astor House. Opened in 1854, it was the largest opera hall in the world containing 4,000 seats. Rather than promote exclusiveness, its creators… Read More

After living in the Five Points area for many years, in 1847 James McCune Smith moved to North Moore Street in St. John's Park. This neighborhood had once been home to the city's white elite before their move farther north above Bleecker Street. Read More

Established in 1828, Niblo's was the city's premiere "pleasure garden," suprassing all others in its exclusiveness, expensive entrance food, fancy food and cosmopolitan entertainment. Read More

The son of a butcher from a small town in southern Germany, Astor emigrated to the United States in 1784, married into a Knickerbocker family, and began business in the fur trade. In the mid-1790s, he turned to the China trade, shipping out otter,… Read More