The Archive

First Night Game at Ebbets Field, June 1938
On June 15, 1938, the Brooklyn Dodgers played the Cincinnati Reds at Ebbets Field. It was the first night game ever played in the Flatbush baseball stadium. The bums lost. Johnny Vander Meer of the Reds pitched a no-hitter. The last man to go down for the Dodgers was former Yankee Leo Durocher. If there was any question that this game would not be logged in the annals of baseball, rookie Vander Meer put it to rest by pitching his second consecutive no-hitter in a week.
The Fourteenth Street Theater, April 30, 1916
Boys in Front of the Fourteenth Street Theater
Fourteenth Street Theater Shortly Before Demolition, 1937
We got a call the other day from an art consultant, who had a client interested in photos around Eighth Avenue and West 14th Street. We searched our archive and came up with quite a few, which we then scanned, cleaned, cropped, and emailed to the art consultant in time for her meeting with her client. Most of those will eventually make it onto Among them were two that particularly struck me.

Christmas Dinner Line at the McAuley Mission, 1905

Jerry McAuley was a ne’er-do-well. A self-declared rogue and river thief, the young Irish immigrant spent a good many of his early days a prisoner in New York City’s Tombs. In 1857, at the age of 19, he was sent up the river to Sing Sing prison for a robbery he claimed not to have committed -- although he admitted to having committed other crimes worthy of imprisonment.

While in prison, McAuley had a religious conversion. The preaching of Orville Gardener, a former criminal cohort, set McAuley looking for salvation. He struggled to find his better self during his remaining time in prison and for a few years after his release in 1864, but by the end of the 1860s, McAuley had become a Christian. He married Maria, a reformed prostitute, and with the help of Wall Street banker, Alfrederick Smith Hatch, the two of them established the Helping Hand for Men rescue mission.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, c. 1930

Thanksgiving is a complicated holiday. Although ostensibly about giving thanks to God, it is a secular holiday. It has no particular religious affiliation and, unlike other secular holidays such as Independence Day and Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving even eschews any connection with the religion of nationalism. Oddly enough, being unencumbered in this way makes it the quintessential American holiday. It is the young and the old, the family and the guests, the indigenous and the immigrant sharing a meal together and making it sacred by participating in a tradition.

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