New York City Map – Messenger Bags

Introducing…. drumroll please…… New York City map messenger bags! That’s right, sport your love for the greatest city in the world on these customly design Rickshaw messenger bags. The bags are manufactured with a rugged polyester material, their dimensions are 11″ hieght x 18″ width x 6″ Depth. The bags are also water resistant and machine-washable. The inside of the bag has 1 large main compartment accompanied by 2 front pockets. It’s extremely lightweight and comfortably accompanies a persons body. The bag can easily hold a 13″ laptop and comes with a quick adjust should strap. The maps that are designed on these messenger bags range in publication dates. Some were originally produced as early as the 1600’s all the way to the 1900’s. The maps also range in perspective in that some are birds-eye perspective maps and others are overhead 2D maps. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave them below. Also feel free to click on the images and link to take a closer look at these wonderful New York City Map messenger bags.

Vintage Map of New York City (1911) Courier Bag
Vintage Map of New York City (1911) Courier Bag by Alleycatshirts
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Vintage Map of New York City (1886) Messenger Bag
Vintage Map of New York City (1886) Messenger Bag by Alleycatshirts
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Ellis Island Historical Photography and Examination

In this post I just wanted to include some great photographs in our collection that Illustrate the nostalgia of Ellis Island and New York City history in general. We will not only list each photograph, but we will also describe and examine of the subject matter and how it relates to Ellis Island and New York City Immigrant history. Also all the images and links are clickable so if you wish to download the image feel free to do so. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave them below!

Ellis Island Boat Launch Station – 1913

An interesting photograph showing a boat launch station at Ellis Island. If we look closely one of the riverboats is labeled with a name that reads “W.M. Flectcher”. Obviously in the background of the photograph we see the main terminal building for arriving immigrants to Ellis Island.

Immigrants Arriving to Ellis Island – 1912

In this photograph we see several immigrants arriving to Ellis Island with suitcases and various packages. From what it looks like there are 2 immigration officers in between the arriving immigrants that are directly focused on the camera. A 3rd officer is to the right of them but seems to be more focused on the arriving people. In the background of the photograph you can see the various buildings that comprise Ellis Island .

Boarding Cutter Ship at Ellis Island

This photograph seems to be sporting the arrival of several smaller ships to Ellis Island. What I think is cool about this photograph is the American Flag that hangs on the back of the ship in the foreground. Notice anything different about that flag? Well it seems that it’s missing about 37 stars on it and contains only 13. The number 13 I believe is in direct accordance with the original 13 colonies of America. Anyways besides that you get to see a few buildings and structures that are on Ellis Island as well.

Ellis Island Immigrant Station – 1893

Oh Boy! I love this photograph as it gives us a nice collage of several aspects of Ellis Island. The middle photograph details the main immigration station on Ellis Island. Now you might ask yourself, “Well it looks different than the structure now?” That’s because it is different, the one presented in this photograph was destroyed by a raging fire in 1897. Unfortunately during the fire many of the records were lost for good. Other parts of the photograph show a detention center, a dock landing area, a dining hall and the house of a Surgeon.

Walking to the New York City Departure Boats – 1913

This photograph I think is very iconic in terms of the achievement of the American dream. The photograph above displays several immigrants walking towards the boats that will deliver them from Ellis Island directly to New York City. In the photograph we see the immigrants holding numerous packages and suitcases as they ascend to the boats. We can right off the bat tell that we’re near the docks because to the left of the photograph we can see a life preserver hanging on a wooden beam that reads “Ellis Island”. If we look towards the background and more specifically to the right we can see an Ellis Island immigration officer watching the crowd as it arrives to the boats.

Construction and History of The Brooklyn Bridge

The details of constructing the Brooklyn Bridge towers have been performed under the eyes of all Brooklyn people. Since the tower of Babel and the great pyramid of Egypt, there has been no more massive structures. Block upon block the granite tiers were laid, until a total hieght of 278 feet above high water was attained. The New York tower is thus 356 feet high from the foundation. Further inland the equally ponderous anchorages were progressing, and although not so familiar because largely concealed by the surrounding buildings, are not the least important or least expensive details of the bridge. Still lower structures of solid masonry support the approaches.

In October 1878, a sensation was created by a communication to the N.Y. Sun, purporting to reveal a plot for blowing up the bridge. It was alleged that a certain stone-mason, inspired by the ambition of the “youth who fired the Ephesian Dome,” had secreted charges of dynamite between the courses of stone at the base of the tower on which he was engaged. The explosive was connected by wire with the exterior at points known only to the wicked mason, and at a suitable time, probably while the cities were celebrating the completion of the bridge, it was his intention to wreck the structure. A mysterious diagram was also published, said to be a copy of the working plan of the unprincipled wretch, showing the places of deposit and the line of connecting wires.

On May 29th 1877, a single wire was carried across the river attracting much attention as the first connecting link, with the “promise and potency” of greater things. The process of cable-making now commenced. Each cable is composed of 5,296 thicknesses of wire laid parallel. The wire is continuous in varying lengths, joined by a small screw coupling, which can never unscrew, the invention of Colonel Roebling and A.V. Abbot. At the anchorage the wire “returns” around a “shoe,” and so is carried from shore to shore until the cable is complete. It is then closely wrapped, forming a solid cylinder 15 3/4 inches in diameter. The total length of each cable is 3,578 feet, and it contains 3,589 miles of
wire.

Upon the four great cables thus composed, the suspended superstructure retains it’s inital and primary weight distribution. To avoid any lateral strain upon the towers, the cables are in no way fastended to them, but rest on movable “saddles” at the point of contact. These saddles, with their burdens, move to and fro upon 45 iron rollers of 3 1/2 inches diameter, which readily yield to the varying tention of the wires as the weight is shifted from the land to the river span, or vice versa.

A temporary structure called the “foot-bridge,” was thrown across the river during the cable-making, for the convenience of construction. It was much higher than the roadway of the permanent bridge, following the cables over the summits of the towers, instead of
passing through the arches. A trip across the foot-bridge on a clear, cool day, afforded an exciting and pleasurable novelty. The unaccustomed head would be dizzy, and both hands nervously clutch the wire hand-rails. Between the slats on which on walked were glimpses of gleaming water, and decks of toy ships and ferry boats with pigmy passengers. As our walk was but three feet wide, a ribbon through the air, it easily suggested a reminiscence of the narrow bridge Al Sirat, over which the people of Islam believe that the spirits of the departed must pass to paradise. The faithful tremble, but cross in safety, while unbelievers topple over into the fearful gulf. To avoid such thoughts, the traveler could look abroad and get distraction and delight from the wide panorama which the vicinity of New York affords.

How does the bridge look? is a question frequently asked. It’s external appearance from a distance is familiar from engravings which were exhibited everywhere before either one of the towers had reared its head above the tide. Some new ideas of details may perhaps be obtained from an imaginary trip to New York in July, 1883.

Descending from the horse car (or more happily the elevated railroad?) at the corner of Fulton and Sands streets, we notice no special change from the present aspect of Fulton street, but moving up Sands we find the southwestern corner of Washington street converted into the head of a busy thoroughfare, which closes abruptly at narrow Sands street; but the pressure there will soon be relieved, for a portion of the block bounded by Sands, Washington, High and Fulton has been taken as a public sqaure, that will be worthy the dignity of our bridge, and conduce to the convience of its traffic.

Working Women in NYC in The 1800’s

This is a chapter from the public domain book “Lights and Shadows of New York City” produced originally in 1872. If you have any questions about the reference material please leave a comment below.

It is said that there are more than forty thousand women and girls in New York dependent upon their own exertions for their support.  This estimate includes the sewing women, factory girls, shop girls, female clerks, teachers, and governesses.  They all labor under two common disadvantages.  They are paid less for the same amount of work than men, and being more helpless than men are more at the mercy of unscrupulous employers.  The female clerks and shop girls receive small wages, it is true, but they are generally paid regularly and honestly.  The sewing women and factory hands are usually the most unfortunate, and these constitute the great bulk of the working women of New York.  Many of these are married, or are widows with children dependent upon them for support.

The life of the New York working woman is very hard.  She rises about daybreak, for she must have breakfast and be at her post by seven o’clock, if employed in a factory or workshop.  At noon she has a brief intermission for dinner, and then resumes her work, which lasts until 6 o’clock in the evening.  You may see them in the morning, thinly clad, weary and anxious, going in crowds to their work.  They have few holidays except on Sunday, and but few pleasures at any time.  Life with them is a constant struggle, and one in which they are always at a disadvantage.  The sewing girls are in the majority, and there are two classes of these—those who work in the rooms of their employers and those who work at home.  The former we have included in the general term of factory hands.  The factory girls earn from two to four dollars a week, as a rule, a sum scarcely sufficient to keep body and soul together, but they get their wages promptly and consider themselves fortunate.  Men doing the same work would receive about twice as much.

The sewing women who work at home are worse off.  They live in the poorer class of tenement houses, and are surrounded with discomfort of every kind.  They work as hard as, if not harder than their sisters in the factories, and are even worse paid.  They have not the advantage of being compelled to undertake the exercise of walking to and from the factories which the latter enjoy.  They sit in their wretched rooms all day, and often late into the night, sewing for a miserable pittance, and for some scoundrel who will perhaps swindle them out of their hard earnings.  For making blue cotton shirts, or “hickories” as they are called, a woman receives six cents apiece, and must furnish her own thread; for making linen coats she receives from fifteen to twenty cents apiece; for men’s heavy overalls she gets sixty-two cents a dozen; for flannel shirts one dollar a dozen.  These prices are not paid by the Jews alone, but by reputable Broadway dealers, men who style themselves “leading merchants.”  No wonder they pile up such large fortunes.

Now, in order to pay the rent of her bare and cheerless room, the sewing woman must make two whole shirts a day.  Then she must do work enough to provide for her other expenses.  She has to buy fuel in the winter, and kindling wood costs her three cents a bundle and coal fifteen cents a pail.  Perhaps she has children, or a sick and helpless, or, worse still, a drunken husband to provide for.  All out of her beggarly wages.  Her food consists almost entirely of bread and potatoes, and sometimes she treats herself to the luxury of a cup of tea without milk or sugar.  If she owns a sewing machine, and very few do, she can earn more than one who sews by hand, but constant work at the machine means a speedy breaking down of her health and a lingering death, or a transfer to the charity hospital.

Small as are her wages, the working woman is not always sure of receiving them.  Some rascally employers—and one of the institutions to be mentioned further on, could give a long list of them—will, upon receiving the work, find fault with the sewing, and either deduct a part of the poor creature’s wages for the alleged fault, or refuse point blank to pay her a cent.  Others again will demand a deposit equal to the value of the materials taken home by the sewing women.  Upon the return of the completed work, they will not only refuse the promised payment, alleging that the work is badly done, but will also refuse to return the money advanced by the woman.  The wretch well knows that the woman is weak and helpless, and that she is ignorant of the mode of protecting herself.  More than this, she has not the money to go to law.

These are simple facts, and not “sensational items.”  The records of the “Working Women’s Protective Union” will corroborate them, and will furnish many others.

“Among the employés of a certain Israelitish manufacturer of straw goods in New York was a poor French woman, who, with her three small children, occupied apartments in a rear tenement house in Mulberry street.  What renders this case of more than ordinary interest, is the fact that the lady had once been in affluent circumstances, and at one period of her life moved in the wealthiest circles of Paris.  Misfortune befel her in the death of her husband, who was accidentally killed upon a railroad train.  The bulk of the property of her deceased husband was seized upon by her creditors.  The widow, however, succeeded in saving from the general wreck a few hundred dollars, and with this she emigrated to America, arriving here in the spring, and bringing with her three little children.  Here she anticipated she would be enabled, with the aid of her superior education, to provide for herself and family.  For several weeks her efforts at securing employment proved unavailing; but just before her last dollar was expended, she succeeded in forming a class in French, which she instructed for two months, at the expiration of which time she was deprived of this her only support—her pupils leaving her for the purpose of a summer’s holiday at the fashionable watering-places.  Other efforts were made to secure the position of teacher of languages (with several of which she is conversant), but all to no effect.  Finally, reduced to absolute want, the lady was obliged to resort to manual labor in order to provide herself and little ones with bread.  Unused as she was to toil, her efforts to obtain employment were attended with little or no success.  Day by day her case grew more desperate, until, at last, unable to pay the rent of her miserable attic apartment, she and her little ones were thrust into the street.  Homeless and friendless, with not sufficient money wherewith to purchase a supper for herself and famishing little ones, the lady was forced to beg; which course, up to this time in her unfortunate career, she had looked upon as barely preferable to death itself.  She had a few acquaintances among the parents of her former pupils, and to these she resolved to apply for aid.  Her efforts in this direction were but a repetition of the old, old story.  Her friends, who, during her prosperity, were lavishing their attentions on her, now that misfortune had overtaken her, refused to recognize her, and thrust her from their doors without a penny.  Fortune relented one day, and rewarded her efforts with a situation in a manufactory of straw goods.  To be sure, the compensation was small; still, as bread enough might be secured in this manner to keep the wolf from the door until something better might present itself, she resolved to accept the terms of the straw manufacturer, and entered upon her duties.  For a week or two the sum earned by the unfortunate lady was faithfully paid her, but on the third week the pusillanimous nature of the Jew cropped out.  She had bargained to manufacture straw hats at eighty cents a dozen, or six and two-third cents each.  At this rate, she managed to earn two dollars and fifty cents per week.  Upon applying for her wages at the close of the third week, the employer informed her that he had discovered that six and two-thirds cents apiece was too large a compensation, and that from eighty cents he had resolved to reduce her pay to seventy cents per dozen, and accordingly presented her with her weekly payment, first deducting one dollar and forty cents from her wages.  Pressed as she was for money, the lady refused to accept these terms, and at once set about seeking legal redress.  Learning that at the ‘Working Women’s Union’ of Bleecker street legal advice was furnished free of charge to such as herself, she laid her grievances before the officers of the institution, who at once placed the affair in the hands of their legal adviser, who soon brought the rapacious Israelite to terms.  At the time of her application to the institution the lady stated that she had been without fire, and, with the exception of a small loaf or two of bread and what few potatoes her children were enabled to gather from about the stalls in several of the markets, without food for several days.”

The wrongs inflicted upon the working women are many.  “There are hoop-skirt manufactories where, in the incessant din of machinery, girls stand upon weary feet all day long for fifty cents.  There are photograph galleries—you pass them in Broadway admiringly—where girls ‘mount’ photographs in dark rooms, which are hot in summer and cold in winter, for the same money.  There are girls who make fans, who work in feathers, who pick over and assort rags for paper warehouses, who act as ‘strippers’ in tobacco shops, who make caps, and paper boxes, and toys, and almost all imaginable things.  There are milliners’ girls, and bindery girls, and printers’ girls—press-feeders, book-folders, hat-trimmers.  It is not to be supposed that all these places are objectionable; it is not to be supposed that all the places where sewing-girls work are objectionable; but among each class there are very many—far too many—where evils of the gravest character exist, where the poor girls are wronged, the innocents suffer.  There are places where there are not sufficient fires kept, in cold weather, and where the poor girl, coming in wet and shivering from the storm, must go immediately to work, wet as she is, and so continue all day.  There are places where the ‘silent system’ of prisons is rigidly enforced, where there are severe penalties for whispering to one’s neighbor, and where the windows are closely curtained, so that no girl can look out upon the street; thus, in advance, inuring the girls to the hardships of prison discipline, in view of the possibility that they may, some day become criminals!  There are places where the employer treats his girls like slaves, in every sense of the word.  Pause a moment, and reflect on all that signifies.  As in the South ‘as it was,’ some of these girls are given curses, and even blows, and even kicks; while others are special favorites either of ‘the boss,’ or of some of his male subordinates, and dress well, pay four dollars a week for board, and fare well generally—on a salary of three dollars a week.”

Is it a wonder that so many of the working women and girls of New York glide into sin, with the hope of bettering their hard lot?  And, when thrown out of work, with no food or shelter, save what can be obtained by begging or at the Station House, is it a wonder that they seek the concert saloons, in sheer desperation, or join the street walkers on Broadway?

But if the working woman has her persecutors, she has also her friends in the great city.  One of the best institutions which have been organized for the protection and assistance of this class is the “Working Women’s Protective Union,” the head-quarters of which are in Bleecker street, a short distance east of Broadway.  It is organized for the common benefit of all those women who obtain a livelihood by other employments than household services.  It aids them:

First.  By securing legal protection from frauds and impositions free of expense.  Second.  By appeals, respectfully but urgently made, to employers for wages proportioned to the cost of living, and for such shortening of the hours of labor as is due to health and the requirements of household affairs.  Third.  By seeking new and appropriate spheres of labor in departments not now occupied by them.  Fourth.  By sustaining a registry system, through which those out of work may be assisted in finding employment.  Fifth.  By appeals to the community at large for that sympathy and support which is due to working women.”

The members each contribute the sum of ten dollars annually to the support of the institution.  Outside aid is also liberally given.  The Union has done much good since its organization.  It has compelled dishonest employers to fulfil their contracts with their operatives, and in one single week compelled the payment of the sum of three hundred and twenty-five dollars, which had been withheld by these scoundrels.  Out of two hundred complaints against employers in a single year, it secured a fair settlement of nearly two-thirds.  In 1869 it procured work for 3379 women and girls.  It also looks after friendless and homeless women who seek its assistance, and helps them to secure employment.

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The “Home for Working Women,” No. 45 Elizabeth street, is a massive brick building, six stories high, and will accommodate about five hundred boarders.  It is supplied with a reading-room, a reception-room, a parlor, a restaurant, and a laundry.  The upper floors are used as dormitories.  The beds are neat and tidy, and are arranged in rows and separated from each other by white screens.  The rooms are large and well ventilated, and the whole establishment is kept scrupulously clean and in perfect order.  One dollar and twenty-five cents is the charge for a week’s lodging and washing.  The restaurant supplies meals of an excellent quality at an average cost of twenty-five cents.  Lodgers are admitted until eleven o’clock at night at the price named.  If they enter after that hour, they are charged twenty-five cents extra.

The Children’s Aid Society conducts several lodging-houses for girls, one of which is located in Bleecker street, and the other at 27 St. Mark’s Place.  They furnish beds and meals to girls of all ages, at five cents each, while they have money, and give them for nothing where the applicant is found to be destitute.  They have been tolerably successful thus far, and give promise of future usefulness.

There are several other associations, with similar objects, in operation in the city.

Mr. A. T. Stewart is now erecting, on Fourth avenue, a magnificent iron building, which is to be used as a “Home for Working Women.”  The building extends along the avenue, from Thirty-second to Thirty-third street, a distance of 192 feet, and has a depth of 205 feet.  Including the central Mansard roofs, the building is eight stories in height.  It is one of the finest edifices in the city, and will be provided with every convenience for the work to which it is destined.  It will be capable of accommodating fifteen hundred boarders, and will be conducted on a plan similar to that of the “Home for Working Women” in Elizabeth street.  It is not to be conducted as a charity.  Each occupant is to pay a fixed sum per week; and it is believed that here this sum will not exceed two dollars a week for board, lodging, and washing.

Free Museums in NYC

This post is going to list the various art and history museums throughout New York City that can be attended completely for FREE. That’s right so if your planning a school trip or bringing your family for a a historical or cultural expirience, check out these wonderful museums. If you have any questions about these museums ask them below in the comments section.

1) Federal Hall National Memorial

One of the 1st points of origin for the creation of the United States government. Trace back USA’s roots and experience George Washington’s oath of office, the creation of the 1st Supreme Court, Congress and the executive branch. It is situated on Wall Street in lower Manhattan and is an official National Parks Site. The best part about this all is that attendance is completely FREE to the public.


2) National Museum of The American Indian

A Museum dedicated to the history of North American Natives situated right next to Battery Park in NYC. The museum has exhibits that focus on the historical heritage, traditional customs and contemporary life of Native Americans. The museum is again absolutely FREE to the public and perfect for individuals and groups interested in native American culture.


3) The New York Public Library

A library dedicated to numerous research collections that range from the humanities, social sciences and much more. Perfect location for anyone who is doing research and needs a quiet place to write. The Library is located in midtown Manhattan on 5th avenue and is completely for FREE and worthy of a visit.


4) The Socrates Sculpture Park

Located along the East River in Queens NY, the Socrates Sculpture Park is perfect for viewing outdoor modern art sculptures, picnicking and having breath-taking views of the New York City skyline. The park is FREE to the public and perfect for art enthusiasts.


5) The Harbor Defense Museum

A museum dedicated to providing insight into the historical naval defenses of the New York City area. The museum is renowned for being the only military museum in NYC and features exhibits that display historical artifacts that range from the American Revolution to WWII. The museum is absolutely FREE to the public and perfect for individuals or groups that love U.S. Naval history and or New York City history.

Vintage New York City Map Mugs

Introducing our customly designed New York City Map mugs available for purchase on our online store! That’s right, sit down at your breakfast nook and enjoy a hot cup of coffee while looking at historical maps of New York City that date as far back as the early 1600’s. The mugs come in numerous shapes, styles and sizes that range from stainless steel coffee mugs, frosted glass mugs, all the way to the standard ceramic mugs. The vintage New York City maps designed on the sides of these mugs range in publication date as some are published as early at the 1600’s and range all the way to the early 1900’s. The maps also vary in terms of display perspective as some maps consist of a birds-eye 3d perspective of New York City and others are an overhead 2d street view. Take a few minutes and check out the various New York City maps we have available from our online store. If you would like to take a closer look at these mugs, click on the images and links below!

New York City History in 1787

The city received a sudden, strong, healthful, forward impetus in the spring of 1787, through large accessions of its population. Every dwelling-house was occupied. Rents went up, doubling in some instances, fresh paint and new shutters and wings transformed old tenements, and carpenters and masons found ready employment in erecting new structures. The streets were cleaned and pavements mended. New business firms were organized and old warehouses remodeled; the markets were extended and bountifully supplied, and stores blossomed with fashionable goods. Wall street, the great center of interest and of fashion, presented a brilliant scene every bright afternoon. Ladies in showy costumes, and gentlemen in silks, satins, and velvet, of many colors, promenaded in front of the City Hall – where congress was holding its sessions. At the same time Broadway, from St. Paul’s Chapel to the Battery, was animated with stylish equipages, filled with pleasure-seekers who never tired of the life-giving, invigorating, perennial seabreeze, or the unparalleled beauty of the view, stretching off across the varied waters of New York Bay.

The social world was kept in perpetual agitation through distinguished arrivals from various parts of the United States, and from Europe. Dinners and balls were daily occurences. Secretary and Mrs. Jay entertained with graceful ease, gathering about them all that was ost illustrious in statesmanship and letters; they usually gave one ceremonious dinner every week, sometimes two. Their drawing-rooms were also thronged on Thursdays, Mrs. Jay’s day “at home”; and evening parties were given at frequent intervals. The manners of Secretary Jay were described by Europeans as affable and unassuming; and his purity and nobility of character impressed the whole world in his favor. He dressed in simple black, wearing his hair slightly powdered and tied in the back. His complexion was without color. His eyes were dark and penetrating, as if the play of thought never ceased, but the general expression of his face was singularly amiable and tranquil. Mrs. Jay was admirably fitted, through her long residence in the Spanish and French capitals, and her own
personal and intellectual accomplishments, for the distinguished position of leader of society in the American Capital. She dressed richly, and in good taste, and observed the most rigid formalities in her intercourse with the representatives of foriegn nations.

Nothing better illustrates the spirit and character of this formative period than the movements in its polite and every-day life. But a mere glimpse must suffice. The infant republic was interesting, and vastly promising, while it had not yet learned to walk. Its capital was the sea of a floating community composed of the most diverse elements. Curiosity, critism, and cavil were in the air. The importance attached to the doing of national hospitalities in the Old World, could not be ignored in the New. Entertainments were something more than mere profitless amusements; then, as before and since, there were strong links in the chain which binds nations together.