STREET now open! Chicago | Los Angeles | Miami | New York | San Francisco | Santa Fe
Amsterdam | Berlin | Brussels | London | Paris | São Paulo | Toronto | China | India | Worldwide
 
New York

New York Historical Society

Exhibition Detail
A Brief History of New York: Selections from A History of New York in 101 Objects
170 Central Park West
New York City, NY 10024


August 22nd - November 30th
Opening: 
August 22nd 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
 
Sterling silver controller handle used to operate the first subway train ,
Sterling silver controller handle used to operate the first subway train ,
1904
© Courtesy of theNew-York Historical Society
> QUICK FACTS
WEBSITE:  
http://www.nyhistory.org/
NEIGHBORHOOD:  
upper west side
EMAIL:  
webmaster@nyhistory.org
PHONE:  
(212) 873-3400
OPEN HOURS:  
Tue-Thu 10-6; Fri 10-8; Sat 10-6; Sun 11-5:45
TAGS:  
objects
> DESCRIPTION

Can one object define New York City? Can 101? New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts has assembled a kaleidoscopic array of possibilities in a new book, A History of New York in 101 Objects. Featuring objects from the New-York Historical Society collection, this exhibition will assemble some of Roberts’s choices, which together constitute a unique history of New York.  By turns provocative, iconic, and ironic, and winnowed from hundreds of possibilities, his selections share the criteria of having played some transformative role in the city’s history.

Visitors to the New-York Historical Society may be familiar with many of the institution’s more important holdings which will be on view, and without which no exhibition about the history of the city would be complete. Among them are the water keg with which Governor DeWitt Clinton marked the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825; the draft wheel used during the 1863 draft riots, the largest civil uprising in American history; the sterling silver throttle that powered the inaugural trip of the New York City subway in 1904; and a jar of dust collected by N-YHS curators at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. Less well-known selections include a seventeenth-century English–Low Dutch dictionary revealing linguistic traditions that persist to the present; a section of the transatlantic cable that first facilitated the intercontinental exchange of telegraphs in 1858; or a pair of shoes belonging to a young victim of the 1904 General Slocum steamboat tragedy, which until 9/11 was the city’s worst disaster.

Yet the city also can be described by far more ubiquitous objects that are no less unique to its DNA. The bubblegum pink Spaldeen ball, a staple of urban street games. The bagel, an unquestionably New York City food. Graffiti. The (now-extinct) subway token. The black-and-white cookie, which Roberts believes “democratically says New York,” because of its popularity at subway bakeries and elite establishments alike. Indeed, the selections themselves constitute a democracy of objects that taken together capture the monumental drama as well as the everyday spirit of an extraordinary city.


Copyright © 2006-2013 by ArtSlant, Inc. All images and content remain the © of their rightful owners.