Today in 1895 The New York Public Library is formed when the Astor and Lenox Libraries are combined with the Tilden Trust; it is on this anniversary day in 1911 that the Library's grand Beaux-Arts building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue is dedicated.
This Day in History
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John Wilkes Booth's older brother, Edwin Booth, was a popular Shakespearean actor. He did not perform for a while after Lincoln's assassination and his brother's subsequent execution, but he eventually returned to the stage. Toward the end of his career, Booth founded the Players Club on Gramercy Park South. The Players Club presented the statue of Booth as Hamlet to the park in 1918.
The real answer will never be known, for obvious reasons, but "official" estimates ranged from 20,000 to 100,000. Texas Guinan, Manhattan's most famous speakeasy hostess, managed more than half-a-dozen joints herself, including the 300 Club, the Texas Guinan Club, the Century Club, Salon Royale, Club Intime and the Club Argonaut.
Just north of Central Park, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, the original polo grounds were owned by newspaper publisher james Gordon Bennet, Jr., who in 1876 was introducing polo to America. Even as baseball overtook polo, the informal name stuck with the ballpark in four different incarnations. At its final location at 155th Street, the Polo Grounds hosted many events and teams, but never polo.
Central Park, comprised of 843 acres, is tiny compared to Pelham Bay Park's 2765 acres in the Bronx, the largest park in New York City. Greenbelt (1778 acres) in Staten Island, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (1255 acres) in Queens and Van Cortlandt Park (1146 acres) also beat out Central Park in size.
The New York Crystal Palace exhibition opened in 1853. It was America's first world fair, modeled on the Great Exhibition held at the Crystal Palace in London two years earlier. New York's Crystal Palace was located in what is known today as Bryant Park. For a while it was a popular attraction, but it closed in 1854 and burned to the ground in 1858.
The future resident of Walden Pond arrived at Castleton, Staten Island in 1843 to serve as a tutor. Exploring the city and its literary prospects, he struggled to embrace his surroundings and its multitudes. The "brick and stone" was hard on the feet of this dedicated walker who preferred the Staten Island woods. He returned, discouraged, to Concord after a six-month stay.