“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands.
One nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.”

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born.  July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.  Every day thousands leave their homeland to come to the “land of the free and the home of the brave” so they can begin their American Dream.

Image from Fact Of The Day Website

The United States is truly a diverse nation that is made up of dynamic people.  Every year on July 4, Americans celebrate that FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE with family gatherings, barbecues, picnics.  With such growing technology we are learning through the internet about and communicating with people of different nations, with different languages and different races throughout the whole world while bringing the world closer with understanding and knowledge can only benefit all nations.

Let’s us never forget the men and women who are fighting to protect OUR HONOR, OUR FREEDOM AND OUR COUNTRY!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!

 

The “New Colossus” The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

The New Colossus
Famous Poem by
Emma Lazarus in 1883
statue dedicated in 1886

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

A Short Story “Coming to America”

Just to add my own personal story, one that I am very proud of;

I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty when my parents, my brother and I came to America from Germany on April 30, 1958, on a ship called the “SS Berlin”. We arrived in New York in the late afternoon and I remember standing on the pier looking back at the statue which appeared smaller than when we first passed it, just a few hours earlier. I also remember taking a taxi to our first residence in Manhattan in a neighborhood I learned later was called “The Bowery”. It was a small apartment that our sponsors, The Lutheran Church of America” had procured for us.

The Bowery in 1958 was not as it is today. There was widespread and open use of alcohol in that neighborhood and I remember having to step over a man who was sleeping it off on the steps of the door to our building. …a bit scary for a child not even 9 years old. My parents worked day and night for 4 months to get us out of there and into a better apartment.

What I remember of the day we came to America is that I was really scared being in a different country and not speaking any English.  By the time I started school, however, I already knew some sentences which made it easier for me to make friends. Just 5 years later, I am proud to say we became Americans when we received our citizenship in 1963

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was a French sculptor born in Alsace. He created many monumental sculptures, his most famous work was the Statue of Liberty. The statue is constructed of copper sheets which are assembled on a framework of steel supports designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. For transit to America, the figure was disassembled into 350 pieces and packed in 214 crates. Four months later, it was reassembled on Bedloe’s Island (renamed Liberty Island in 1956). On October 28, 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty before thousands of spectators. Since the 1892 opening of nearby Ellis Island Immigration Station, Bartholdi’s Liberty has welcomed more than 12,000,000 immigrants to America. Emma Lazarus’s famous lines engraved on the statue’s pedestal are linked to our conception of the statue Americans call “Lady Liberty”:

Frederic Bartholdi’s design patent for the Statue of Liberty

In 1865 a young French sculptor named Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi went to a banquet near the town of Versailles, where he struck up a conversation with Edouard de Laboulaye, a prominent historian. De Laboulaye, a great admirer of the United States, observed that the country’s centennial was approaching in 1876. He thought it would be a good idea for France to present America with a gift to commemorate the occasion. Bartholdi proposed a giant statue of some kind and thought about it for the next six years. The Statue was a joint effort between America and France and it was agreed upon that the American people were to build the pedestal, and the French people were responsible for the Statue and its assembly here in the United States. However, lack of funds was a problem on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In France, public fees, various forms of entertainment, and a lottery were among the methods used to raise funds. In the United States, benefit theatrical events, art exhibitions, auctions and prize fights assisted in providing needed funds.

Bartholdi went back to work. He founded a group called the Franco-American Union, comprised of French and American supporters, to help raise money for the statue. He also recruited Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, soon to become famous for the Eiffel Tower, to design the steel and iron framework to hold the statue up.

In the United States, things were harder. There was some enthusiasm, but not as much as in France. It was, after all, a French statue  and not everyone was sure the country needed a French statue, even for free. The U.S. Congress did vote unanimously to accept the gift from France, but it didn’t provide any funding for the pedestal, and neither did the city of New York. Neither did the state.

By now, the Statue of Liberty’s right hand and torch were finished, so Bartholdi shipped it to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition and had it put on display. For a fee of 50¢, visitors could climb a 30-foot steel ladder up the side of the hand and stand on the balcony surrounding the torch. Two years later the statue’s head was displayed in a similar fashion in Paris, giving people a chance to climb up into the head and peek out from the windows in the crown. But while events like these generated a lot of enthusiasm, they didn’t raise as much money as Bartholdi hoped for.

In 1883 the U.S. Congress voted down a fresh attempt to provide $100,000 toward the cost of the pedestal; the vote so outraged Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, that he launched a campaign in the pages of his newspaper to raise the money.

“The Bartholdi statue will soon be on its way to enlighten the world,” he told his readers, “more appropriate would be the gift of a statue of parsimony than a statue of liberty, if this is the appreciation we show of a friendly nation’s sentiment and generosity.” After two months of non-stop haranguing, he managed to raise exactly $135.75 of the $200,000 needed to build the pedestal.

By now the centennial was only two years away. It was obvious that the huge statue couldn’t be designed, financed, built, shipped, and installed on Bedloe’s Island in time for the big celebration. But Bartholdi kept going anyway.

Raising the $400,000 he estimated was needed to build the statue in France wasn’t easy. Work stopped frequently when cash ran out, and Bartholdi and his craftspeople missed deadline after deadline. Then in 1880 the Franco-American Union came up with the idea of holding a “Liberty” lottery to raise funds. That did the trick.

NOTHING TO STAND ON

In June of 1884, work on the statue itself was finished. Bartholdi had erected it in a courtyard next to his studio in Paris. The original plan had been to dismantle it as soon as it was completed, pack it into shipping crates, and send it to the United States, where it would be installed atop the pedestal on Bedloe’s Island, but the pedestal wasn’t even close to being finished. So Bartholdi left the statue standing in the courtyard.Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

Construction of Statue

COMING TO AMERICA By 1871, Bartholdi had most of the details worked out in his mind. The American monument would be a colossal statue of a woman called “Liberty Enlightening the World.” It would be paid for by the French people, and the pedestal that it stood on would be financed and built by the Americans.

Did you know?

the Statue of Liberty was built to withstand hurricane-force winds with copper skin less than two pennies thick? And that’s not all you may not know about this American icon.

It is alledged that Miss Liberty of Statue-of-Liberty fame wasn’t always imagined as the scowling, linebacker-throated Midwestern matron of steely spiky Germanic stock that she is today. She was supposed to look like an Arab peasant, robed in the folds of Muslim precepts. She wasn’t even supposed to be eternally standing at the entrance of New York Harbor, welcoming new arrivals to the New World. She was supposed to be the welcome ma’am at the entrance of the Suez Canal in Egypt, that her name was supposed to be either Egypt or Progress, and that the flame she was brandishing was to symbolize the light she was bringing to Asia, which had claims to newness all its own.

Illustration from U.S. Patent D11023, Filed Jan 2, 1870 by Bartholdi

Lighting the Way to Asia

All this from the imaginative scruffles of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the Alsatian-French sculptor who’d fallen in love with his own Orientalist fantasies about the Middle East after a trip to Egypt’s Luxor spreads in 1855. He liked Egypt’s colossal sculptures, those “granite beings of imperturpable majesty” with their eyes seemingly “fixed on the limitless future.” He liked just as much the then-fashionable notions of Europeans thinking themselves the “Orient”‘s best thing since unsliced baklava. Bartholdi returned to Egypt in 1869 with the blueprints for a toga-draped giant of a woman who’d double-up as a lighthouse at the entrance of the Suez Canal, which opened that year to fanfare and (British and French) stockholders’ delight.

The Suez Canal may have been in Egypt. But Egypt wasn’t reaping its monetary benefits. The American Civil War had done wonders for Egyptian wealth thanks to the blockade of Southern cotton, which turned Egyptian cotton into gold. But the price of cotton crashed after the Civil War and so did Egypt’s economy. Suez revenue could have picked up the slack. Instead, it went into the pockets of European investors (until Egypt’s Gama Abdel Nasser nationalized the waterway in 1956, to the disingenuous fury of France and Britain).

From Lady Egypt to Lady Liberty

As Bartholdi was sketching one likeness of his great statue after another, it became apparent that his plan would never get Egypt’s financing. Bartholdi was crushed. He sailed to New York. And there, as his ship was entering New York Harbor, he saw Bedloe’s Island, deserted, oval-shaped, perfectly positioned to bear his creation. She wouldn’t be Egypt. But she’d still be Barthold’s. He worked out an arrangement with Gustav Eiffel to build the statue in 350 pieces in Paris, for the French government to pay for the statue (that was back when French and Americans had more respect than reproach for each other), and with American donors to pay for the 89-foot pedestal. Bartholdi’s goal was to have the dedication coincide with the centennial of the American Revolution, somewhere around July 4, 1876.

It happened a bit later, on Oct. 28, 1886, with a military, naval and civic parade in Manhattan, ending at the Battery at the tip of the island, with Gen. Charles P. Stone, who as the statue’s American engineer, was essentially its midwife, was the parade’s grand marshal. She was no longer an Egyptian woman. She was “Liberty Enlightening the World.”

New York Inaugurates Liberty

The weather did not cooperate. The rain was so bad that a New York Times editorioal called it “almost a national misfortune” that “robbed the pageant of much of its effect.” Not that U.S. President Grover Cleveland was going to miss a chance to make himself slightly immortal by association with Lady Liberty as he accepted “this grand and imposing work of art,” though in words of granite neither grand nor imposing: “This token of the affection and consideration of the people of France assures us that in our efforts to commend to mankind a government resting upon popular will, we still have beyond the American continent a steadfast ally, while it also demonstrates the kinship of the republic.” At that point the historical record notes that there were loud cheers, not least those wondering who wrote that stuff.

But Cleveland got a bit more colorful in his next salvo: “We are not here today to bow before the representative of a fierce and warlike god, filled with wrath and vengeance, but instead, we contemplate our own peaceful deity keeping watch before the open gates of America.” Well, the battleship Tennessee’s warlike batteries, which had just boomed, notwithstanding. “Instead of grasping in her hands the thunderbolts of terror and of death, she holds aloft the light that illumines the way to man’s enfranchisement.”  Liberty’s light, he concluded, “shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and men’s oppression until liberty shall enlighten the world.”

One last irony: Bedloe’s Island was not officially renamed until many years later, when it became Liberty Island. The year? 1956.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island can be seen from the Lower Manhattan Tour given by FREE TOURS BY FOOT!

Read More on the Suez Canal, Where Lady liberty Was Originally to Stand

Bedloe’s Island  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Island

Wiki Link  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Liberty

the National Park Service  http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm

PBS Timeline  http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/statueofliberty/timeline/

Link to Canal http://middleeast.about.com/od/middleeast101/a/statue-of-liberty-egypt.htm

 

 

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Walking Tours New York City!

Free Tours by Foot is pleased to present the only Free, tip based tours of New York City. These interesting and informative tours will take you through many of Manhattan’s most famous neighborhoods.

USA’s first capital city, a center of global finance and a tribute to over two centuries of immigration and the American experience — New York City’s history is the history of America.  And on every step of our tours, our expert guides – part professors, part performers – will explain why.

Always interesting, always intimate. We make history fun for everyone!  You can find all of these tours below by clicking the link  – Most of these are 2 hour tours.  All In One is a 6 hour tour

Lower Manhattan Walking Tour

It is here, as much as anywhere, where American history started.  It’s where the first US Congress assembled and produced the Bill of Rights and where President George Washington took his first oath of office. It’s here where the world’s most important stock exchange and one of the most famous bridges stand. And it is here where an unspeakable tragedy took place and where a rebirth is underway.    Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Greenwich Village Walking Tour

is among Manhattan’s most desirable and expensive residential neighboorhoods.  It’s history, however, betrays it’s monied status.  The Village, with it’s quiet, shaded streets, lined with lovely brick and brownstone townhouses, was once the incubating ground of artistic, social and political movements that have helped shape US history.  From the Beats to the Folk Movement, from workers’ rights to gay rights, the Village has often been the center of New York and America’s social movements. Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour

Arguably the world’s most valuable, busiest and most crowded pieces of real estate, Midtown Manhattan is what most visitors think of when they think of New York City. Home to some of the city’s most iconic architecture, from Gothic to Post-Modern and from Beaux-Arts to Art Deco (lots of Art Deco). it’s not difficult to understand why. But just behind the massive facades, lie fascinating stories just waiting to be unveiled. Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Historic District Walking Tour

A relaxing stroll through SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown. Join us as we gawk at the Fashionistas and cast iron buildings of Soho, visit New York’s and America’s first “pizzeria”, famous mafia locations, or take a stab at bargaining with a street vendor in Chinatown. This approximately 2 hour tour will cover a range of topics and give you the opportunity to better understand these neighborhoods and to better orient yourself in case you choose to return on your own.  Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Central Park Walking Tour

This tour explores the southern half of Central Park, starting from the southeast corner at Grand Army Plaza. We will wander the winding pedestrian paths passing a pond, rocky outcrops, bridges, open fields and skyline views — all great photo opportunities. The tour will guide you down “The Mall”, a promenade lined with statues of famous literary greats, to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, the main formal element of the park’s original design. The tour will also include a stop in Strawberry Fields, a living tribute to John Lennon, and will end in front of the Dakota Hotel, where the great Beatles’s life was tragically ended. Check out the itinerary for this tour.

All-In-One Walking Tour

Don’t have enough time to take all of our tours? Prefer to experience Manhattan with a smaller group, but a private booking is out of reach?  Then consider our All-in-One New York Tour. This tour utilizes your feet and the New York City Subway* to transport you from Lower Manhattan, the birthplace of New York, through Wall St and the Financial District, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown and Midtown Manhattan.

The All-in-One (AIO) Tour covers much of the content covered in several of our separate tours. Reservations are requested, in order to help us keep the ratio of guests to guide managable, in order that each guest gets ample time with the guide. Check out the itinerary for this tour.

Private New York Sightseeing Tours

Whether you represent a school, a business, or a large family, our tours are perfect for any group visit. We can customize each tour depending on our audience. Our guides can go anywhere in New York City and beyond. Why choose us for your private tour of New York City?  Because we are fun! We employ only the best, brightest and most energetic tour guides in the city.   We’re amongst the highest rated tour companies on Tripadvisor for a reason — we’re great at what we do!

Read the reviews!

To book a private tour

COMING SOON!!
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO PURCHASE OUR T-SHIRTS!!
ONCE I GET THEM I WILL POST THEM HERE!!

We are also located in

Washington D.C. More will be posted

Philadelphia, PA We have only one tour

All the instructions for each tour will be on the site by going to Free Tours By Foot If you have any questions about the tours, you can email your questions here at Walking Tour Advisor or leave a comment.  We will respond promptly.  We will be posting more information!

THE BRIDGE:  What does a boxer and the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge have in common? Good question!!.  I would not be writing this blog if I had not been watching a certain movie that brought the boxer together with the Verazzano Bridge. First a brief history about the bridge which was constructed in 1959 and it opened in 1964.  It has a length of 42,260 (main span) and 13,700 feet (total length). When it opened up, it was the worlds longest suspension span.  The ends of the bridge are at historic Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, both of which guarded New York Harbor at the Narrows for over a century. The bridge was named after Giovanni da Verrazano, who, in 1524, was the first European explorer to sail into New York Harbor.

Its monumental 693 foot high towers are 1 5/8 inches farther apart at their tops than at their bases because the 4,260 foot distance between them made it necessary to compensate for the earth’s curvature. Each tower weighs 27,000 tons and is held together with three million rivets and one million bolts. Seasonal contractions and expansions of the steel cables cause the double-decked roadway to be 12 feet lower in the summer than in the winter.

Located at the mouth of upper New York Bay, the bridge not only connects Brooklyn with Staten Island but is also a major link in the interstate highway system, providing the shortest route between the middle Atlantic states and Long Island.

In Brooklyn, the bridge connects to the Belt Parkway and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and to the largely residential community of Bay Ridge. On Staten Island, which saw rapid development after the bridge opened in 1964, it joins the Staten Island Expressway, providing access to the many communities in this most rural of the city’s five boroughs.

THE BUILDING OF THE VERRAZANO-NARROWS BRIDGE

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Happy 40th Birthday – Verrazano Bridge – November 21, 1964-November 21, 2004

Discover the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (map)

CINDERELLA MAN:  THE CINDERELLA STORY OF JAMES BRADDOCK

A Brief History of the Life and Times That Led to a Lasting Legend

THE BOXER: The Jazz Age of the 1920s was a golden time for America, as the nation celebrated peace and booming prosperity on the heels of World War I. It was also a Golden Era for boxing, the brutal yet beautifully balletic sport that had captured the public imagination with its raw, primal struggles for transcendence in the ring. In the melting pot society of the early 20th century, disparate immigrant groups drew pride from their “native” sons who boxed;communities with strong Old World roots found a focus, an expression of their heritage, each time a fighter wearing their national colors or symbol climbed into the ring. It was during this era that James J. Braddock, a New Jersey-based amateur known for his fierce right hand, turned pro. Like many working-class kids, Braddock saw boxing as his ticket to a decent life. It was the only thing he was ever good at and for a while he was very,very good. His career shone with promise in the early years, when he was dubbed “the Bulldog of Bergen” for an unflinching tenacity that seemed to carry him through fights with far larger opponents.But, after sustaining irreparable damage to his badly broken right hand, his career began to slide downhill. In 1929, he suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of light heavyweight champ Tommy Loughran, who beat him in a heartrending 15-round decision that touched off a seemingly endless string of bad luck and ugly losses. Braddock was never the same again. Nor was the nation. That same year, the stock market crashed, wiping out 40 percent of the paper values of common stock. As the shockwave spread, American families from all walks of life and every economic class lost their savings, their businesses, their homes and their farms. By 1932, nearly one in four Americans was unemployed.

During the “Great Depression” the nation was reeling in shock, as throngs of once working families began showing up at Salvation Army shelters. Food lines, work lines and Public Relief lines something many Americans never thought they would see in their own country became a common place sight.The poorest of the poor were forced to live in “Hoovervilles,” grim cardboard-shack shanty towns that sprang up on the edges of most major cities (named with bitter irony for U.S.President Herbert Hoover, who, prior to losing the 1932 election to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had failed to put into place any federal aid programs for struggling families). Thousands upon thousands of others roamed the country, searching for any job no matter how hard, demeaning or dangerous. For the first time since the nation’s pilgrim beginnings, many Americans faced the very real and haunting prospect of hunger and malnutrition. Suicide rates among men who had lost their jobs soared.

Like so many bankers, butchers, farmers and factory workers, Jim Braddock watched as his life, too, began to fall apart. When the local boxing commission forced him to retire by revoking his license, Braddock searched valiantly for any available jobs, but there weren’t many. He took hard-labor jobs in the ship yards, hauling sacks, or anything else he could get.Yet he was making so little that at one point, Braddock was trying to feed a family of five on just $24 a month. It seemed like a losing battle. When the family could no longer afford the basics milk, gas, electricity Braddock applied for Relief. It was a terrible blow to his pride,a secret shame that many who had always worked for their families were experiencing across the country. But then in 1934, just as Roosevelt’s New Deal began to kick into high gear,Braddock’s luck began to shift as well. Unexpectedly, he was given the chance to fight John“Corn” Griffin in a bout Braddock was, by all accounts, pretty much guaranteed to lose. Instead, he managed to dance and jab his way to a win no one could quite believe, thanks inpart to a newly strengthened left hand as a result of his stints working on the docks. Shortly after that, as if to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he won a 10-round decision against Hall of Fame light heavyweight John Henry Lewis. Then, he took on Art Lasky, who had won all but one of his last 15 fights yet Braddock dispatched him too in a thrilling 15-rounder.

With these remarkable wins, Braddock’s spirit became renewed. Remarkably, one of the first things he did with his earnings was to pay back his Public Relief debt to the government. This selfless act of honor earned Braddock a new moniker among his growing ranks of American fans: “Gentleman Jim.” Suddenly, with his fame beyond the boxing world increasing every day, he found himself in the unlikely position of being able to make a title shot against heavyweight champion Max Baer.

It might seem like a chance any boxer would jump at but Braddock had plenty of reasons not to take the fight. In fact, many in the sports world warned that it was a potentially deadly match-up. Braddock was much smaller than Baer, far less experienced and had to rely mainly on his new found left hook, favoring his formerly injured right. Baer, on the other hand, had recently been brought up on manslaughter charges when one of his opponents was instantly killed by his power house knockout punch. Though he was later cleared of the charges, there was little doubt that Baer, when riled up, was one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport. (Baer had also subjected opponent Ernie Schaaf to a knockout punch in the tenth round of their 1932 fight, leaving him unconscious; Schaaf later died following a bout with Primo Carnera and his death was attributed in part to the brutal beating at the hands of Baer). In 1933, Baer fought one of the greatest matches of all time, knocking out Max Schmeling in a ten-round fight that would go down in history. In 1934, the same night that Jim Braddock fought Corn Griffin, he defeated Primo Carnera, knocking him down 11 times in 11 rounds.

Despite critics’ cries that Braddock-Baer would be an unfair bout and his wife Mae’s concerns that she could lose her husband to a boxing match, Braddock persevered and jumped into some of the most challenging training a boxer had ever undertaken. The build-up to the match only increased the tension, with Max Baer publicly predicting an easy knockout and reportedly taunting Braddock by calling him a “bum” an insult Braddock definitely could not let pass without an answer.At last, the Braddock-Baer fight took place on June 13, 1935, in front of a packed crowd of 35,000 fans in Madison Square Garden. Millions more huddled around their radios to hear the blow-by-blow commentary. Baer came on strong in the first few rounds, but Braddock was undeterred—fueled as he was, fighting for his family’s survival. Each time one fighter dominated the round, the crowds anticipated an early end to the fight, yet the opponent invariably rallied back. This nearly impossible to call, give-and-take battle continued for an unbelievable 15 rounds. Braddock, possessed by an unfailing spirit and pounding away with remarkable endurance, lasted all 15…and finally won the fight in a unanimous decision.

Instantly, it was proclaimed the greatest upset in boxing history…if not all of sports. In bars and living rooms around the country, ordinary people celebrated Braddock’s championship as if he were one of their own family. The fight seemed to remind a desperate world that sometimes the down-and-out not only manage to stay alive but, in the process,become the greatest on earth. It was incredibly fitting that sports writer Damon Runyon had dubbed Braddock the “Cinderella Man” because his rags-to-riches story so resembled a classic fairy tale.

Braddock continued to fight, losing the heavyweight title to Joe Louis in 1937 in an eighth-round knockout (Louis was then 23 while Braddock was a comparatively ancient 32 and Louis would later say that Braddock was one of the most courageous fighters he everfought). He went on to beat the odds one last time, defeating the talented Tommy Farr in1938, putting him in position to fight for the title again. But instead, he retired, saying to reporters that he was doing so not because he was done fighting but out of fairness to his wife and family.

Over the years, Braddock continued to be a hero to all those who knew his story. He was inducted into the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1964 and International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2001. He served honorably in World War II and went on to own and operate heavy equipment on the same docks where he labored for a pittance during the Depression. In the 1950s, he helped to build Brooklyn’s famous Verrazano Bridge, which was at the time the largest suspension bridge in the world. He died in 1974 at the age of 68.

More on James Braddock – The Cinderella Man

About James J Braddock

Cyberboxingzone

NT Times Article of 1963 Braddock working on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Biography of James J Braddock “Cinderella Man

 

Contributor:  Fred Pickhardt: The “Charging Bull (aka the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull) is a large bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica and is an icon in lower Manhattan at the northern entrance to Bowling Green Park near Wall Street. It stands 11 ft. (4.9m) tall, 16 feet (4.9 m) long and weighs in at 7100 lb. (3200 kg).

The sculpture is a symbol of financial optimism and prosperity and has become a popular tourist destination.  Di Modica’s bull represents the “bull market” which is associated with increasing investor confidence, and increased investing in anticipation of future price increases.

The artist, Arturo Di Modica was born in Sicily in 1941 and worked on the sculpture over a two year period, spending $360,000 of his own money.  He installed it without permission in front of the New York Stock Exchange on December 15, 1989 as a Christmas gift to the people of New York City.  The police seized the sculpture and placed it into an impound lot, however, after much public outcry the city installed it two blocks south of the Exchange in the plaza at Bowling Green.

The use of the bull as a symbol of power or strength goes back to antiquity.  Cave paintings in France show that the extinct Auroch or Urus (ancestor of domestic cattle) was likely seen as having some magical qualities or a symbol of strength from pre-historic times. The aurochs survived into the Iron Age in Anatolia (Asia Minor) and the Near East and was worshipped throughout that area as a sacred animal.  The identification of the constellation of Taurus the bull is ancient, dating back perhaps to the late stone age as seen in the cave paintings at Lascaux (dated to roughly 15,000 BCE).

The Bull of Heaven appears in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (written about 2750-2500 BCE).  In Egypt, the bull was worshipped

Taurusurania

as Apis, the most important of all the sacred animals in Egypt and was considered to be the embodiment of  the god Ptah, the god of creation.

The bull is also familiar in Judeo-Christian cultures from the Biblical episode where the golden calf was made by Aaron and worshipped by the Hebrews in the wilderness of Sinai.

Exodus 32:4 “He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt’.”

Our letter “A” likely derives from an early pictograph of a bull or ox head.  The original alphabet was developed by Semitic people living in or near Egypt and quickly spread east and north to the Canaanites, the Hebrews, and the Phoenicians. The Phoenician and proto-Hebrew letter aleph  later became the Greek Alpha and the modern “A”

References

New York Times article   SoHo Gift to Wall St

Taurus  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurus

You can see the Charging Bull with FREE WALKING TOURS by Foot (formerly NYCbyFoot) on one of the tours “Lower Manhatten Tour” Here is their calendar of events for this month.  You can check out other months as well.

Central Park Carousel

One of the historical landmarks to see in Central Park is the Carousel.  I used to come to this carousel when I was a little girl and continued to come even when I was in high school.  There were days when we had classes that started after in the day so we would go to Central Park and explore the area.  It was alot of fun. Even when school ended for the summer, some of us would get together and spend time at the carousel or just enjoy sitting on the benches and talking. Living in the city where I was close to everything of walking distance, I never gave it a thought on where things came from or why and how long have they been here. Now, as I have different perspective about things that I have seen, it brings me to wonder how long this carousel has been here.

Central Park has had a carousel since 1872.  There have been several different carousels  but a favorite of park-goers, the first Carousel remained in operation until 1924. It was powered by a mule and horse who walked in a hidden compartment underground below the attraction.  The animals were trained to start and stop with a foot tap from the ride’s operator above ground.  The next 2 carousels in the park were steam-powered and both destroyed by fire.

A search for a replacement model had begun and they found one abandoned in an old trolley terminal in Brooklyn’s Coney Island.  Originally crafted in 1908 by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein, the current Carousel is one of the nation’s largest merry-go-rounds, featuring 57 hand-carved horses and two decorative chariots. While still in working condition, it is over 100 years old and has undergone many rounds of repair and maintenance.

Come and see the Carousel in Central Park and listen to the music and laughter of the children having FUN!.  If you are in a romantic mood, take a carriage ride,  and enjoy the beauty and the music in the park, it is breathtaking!

Trump took over Central Park Carousel

Central Park

Free Walking Tours (formerly NYCbyFoot)  FREE TOURS – Check out their websites for more details on other tours and a calendar of scheduled tours.

The Replica of the Onrust

Contributed by Fred Pickhardt: The area where the World Trade Center was built has a history that dates back to the early 17th century when in 1609 Henry Hudson sailed up the the river later named in his honor. Instead of finding a northwest passage to the Pacific, Hudson found Indians that were eager to exchange beaver and otter pelts for necklaces, knives and other trinkets.

In 1613, the Van Tweenhuysen Company sent two ships to purchase furs from those Indians. They sent the Fortuyn and the Tijger to return to the river that Hudson had discovered just a few years earlier to purchase furs for the markets in Holland. During the late summer and fall of 1613 the crew of the Tijger haggled with the Indians at the south end of a large island in the great harbor. A fire broke out before the ship could depart and the crew had to beach the vessel and they watched from the shore as their ship was destroyed. The crew was able to salvage parts of the vessel and over the winter where able to construct a smaller vessel that they named the Onrust which they used to return to Europe.

Fast forward about 300 years to 1916, when construction crews digging the 7th Avenue Subway tunnel discovered some remains of an ancient ship near the present-day Cortlandt Street Station under 20 ft of landfill and silt. It was the charred remains of the Tijger,

A crowd gathers near an electronics shop at Greenwich and Dey, on the date of John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963

lost three centuries earlier! Click here for a detailed account of the Tijger from naturalhistorymag.com.

The area where the World Trade Center was eventually built (around Cortlandt street and the Hudson Terminal was also once known as “Radio Row ”. Radio Row was a warehouse district that began in 1921 when Harry Schneck opened “City Radio” on Cortland Street and the district eventually grew to extend to several blocks from Cortlandt Street. By 1930, Radio Row consisted of some 40-50 stores mostly concentrated between Dey Street on the North and Cortlandt on the south.

Hudson Terminal was constructed by the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad at the turn of the twentieth century and was located between Greenwich, Cortlandt, Church, and Fulton Streets. The terminal opened in 1900 and was was noted for both its architecture and engineering, said to be a marvel of its time. By 1914, passenger volume at the Hudson Terminal exceeded 30,000 annually and by 1922 was approaching 60,000. Ridership on the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad peaked in 1927 then declined steadily as automobile tunnels and bridges started to span the Hudson River.

 

 

Hudson Terminal (right)

In 1946, the New York State Legislature authorized the development of a “world trade mart” in downtown Manhattan, however, it wasn’t until 1958 that Chase Manhattan Bank vice chair David Rockefeller announced plans to build a multi-million-square-foot complex on Lower Manhattan’s east side, later changed to the the west side in the area of the old Hudson Terminal and Radio Row. Both Radio Row and the Hudson Terminal were demolished to make way for the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center PATH station replaced the Hudson Terminal and opened in 1971.

The relationship of the two terminals can be seen in this aerial view of the World Trade Center property under construction.

Take FREE Lower Manhattan Tour with NYC By Foot and visit Ground Zero as part of the tour.

References:

Disappearance of the Historic Ship Tijger
Part of New York’s heritage vanished when bulldozers dug the foundation for the World Trade Center

Wiki Article: Hudson Terminal

Wiki Article: Radio Row

World Trade Center – History of the Manhattan Landmark Destroyed on September 11, 2001 By Pamela Skillings, About.com Guide

World Trade Center History — Infoplease.com

Wiki Article: Lambert Van Tweenhuysen

See also: Hudson and Manhattan railroad photo Gallery by Terence M. Kennedy

Central Park, which has been a National Historic Landmark since 1963, was designed by landscape designer and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 after winning a design competition. They also designed Brooklyn‘s Prospect Park. The park, which receives approximately twenty-five million visitors annually, is the most visited urban park in the United States. It was opened on 770 acres (3.1 km2) of city-owned land and was expanded to 843 acres (3.41 km2; 1.317 sq mi). It is 2.5 miles (4 km) long between 59th Street (Central Park South) and 110th Street (Central Park North), and is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West. It is similar in size to San Francisco‘sGolden Gate ParkChicago‘s Lincoln ParkVancouver‘s Stanley Park, and Munich‘s Englischer Garten. Central Park is bordered on the north by West 110th Street, on the south by West 59th Street, on the west by Eighth Avenue, and on the east by Fifth Avenue. Along the park’s borders however, these are known as Central Park North, Central Park South, and Central Park West, respectively. Only Fifth Avenue retains its name, as it delineates the eastern border of the park.

Join NYC by Foot as we stroll through the park and tell the epic story of New York’s green oasis. Once described as the lungs of the city, Central Park brings a breath of fresh air to New York’s crowded urban terrain. What started out as the rocky and desolate northern fringes of a rapidly expanding city is today amongst the world’s most famous and beloved public parks. Originally intended to bring people of all walks of life together — a people’s park — Central Park lives up to it’s original designs. With over 843 acres of meadows, hills, ball fields and bodies of water, it’s impossible not to find something to enjoy in Central Park.   This tour explores the southern half of Central Park, starting from the southeast corner at Grand Army Plaza. We will wander the winding pedestrian paths passing a pond, rocky outcrops, bridges, open fields and skyline views — all great photo opportunities. The tour will guide you down “The Mall”, a promenade lined with statues of famous literary greats, to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, the main formal element of the park’s original design. The tour will also include a stop in Strawberry Fields, a living tribute to John Lennon, and will end in front of the Dakota Hotel, where the great Beatles’s life was tragically ended.

The Official website for Central Park
Central Park
Central Park-Wikipedia
NYC By Foot Free Tours


More on Central Park in jogging style

Bow Bridge

Arial View of Central Park

Sites we cover on the tour:

  • Grand Army Plaza
  • Central Park Zoo
  • The Pond The Dairy
  • The Carousel
  • The Mall Bethesda Terrace and Fountain
  • Sheep Meadow
  • Strawberry Fields
  • The Dakota Apartments


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