Sunday, July 31, 2005

239 East 7th Street

In her article Katharine Greider envisioned her 239 "ancestors" having encounters with Garfein's on Avenue A, Papa Burger's Hungarian foods on Avenue C and egg creams on Avenue D. I had to research what Garfein's was......lo and behold it was Mercury Lounge! from their web site: "The Mercury Lounge is located at 217 East Houston Street, between Ludlow and Essex streets, where the Lower East Side meets the East Village. It's on the first floor of a building that once housed the servants to the Astor Mansion, connected to it by an underground labyrinth of tunnels. Garfein's Restaurant occupied the space in the early part of the twentieth century, and from 1933 to 1993, the storefront housed a seller of tombstones. Vestiges of the monument store include the large, foot-square, wooden beams, on which the monuments sat and were displayed, used in the construction of the Mercury Lounge's storefront window. And there is a tombstone embedded in an end of the bar's countertop." Now I have to figure out where there was an Astor Mansion? It's probably where some realtor is building a fancy hotel/health club on Allen Street. We'll discuss egg creams at a later date. It's part of the Kisseloff thread. The Bromley 1891 map can let us imagine some other things. Perhaps the children from 239 attended PS36 (still standing as a Henry Street day care site) on 9th Street or PS 71 which was on 7th street closer to Avenue B. There were many schools around, because the neighborhood was packed with children. Use the map yourselves and come up with some possibilities. BTW the blue lines on the map show the original boundaries of the Dutch farm owners. The picture of an abandoned 7th Street synagogue (1981) in the top left corner comes from a terrific now and then LES photo site

7th Street Synchronicity

Just when you think it is safe to go in the water synchronicity strikes again. On the same day as the post about Josh Pais' 7th Street movie comes a wonderful article in the Times' city section about the history of a 7th street building (same avenues btw!) entitled "House Interrupted." The author, Katharine Greider, (who I suspect may be the daughter of the respected journalist, William Greider) does what we had been discussing previously-she imagines the lives of all the people who had lived in her house. She makes excellent use of primary documents in doing so. Here's a link to a pdf version of the article. Above is an image of another section (click on it to enlarge) of that wonderful 1851 Driggs map that brings to life many of the elements that Katherine discusses. Now I have to go looking for my old Ave. D pictures.

The House I Live In: PBS Resources

These three series are excellent for a "home" project: Colonial House,; Frontier House,; and 1900 House, The sites contain panoramic movies, flash interactive movies and video journals. Here's a slide show telling more about colonial house, two panoramic movies showing interiors: here's one and here's another. Here's a short segment with one of the participants.

Emmanuel Goldenberg (Edward G. Robinson)

Here's a primary source on LES history. Once a face and voice recognizable all over, if not for Ten Commandment re-runs I wonder how many people would recognize him. Here's a segment from his autobiography in which he talks about PS20.

Point of Clarification

These could be helpful in planning. Here's a word document with suggested units of study for grades K-12. It comes from Tweed, along with "point of clarification." In a slide show format are more detailed descriptions of the units for grades 4-6.

Slight Detour

You have to admit, there haven't been as many of these lately. When I listened to Manny from Josh Pais' 7th Street film I heard him mention the Columbia Street Pool. This was followed by a graphic of a bathhouse. I was confused. Did the bathhouses have pools? Did Manny mean the Hamilton Fish Pool? That pool was built in the mid 30's and Manny may have been 20 or so by then and not a kid. Maybe Manny was referring to the floating bathhouses? In any case the search turned up two excellent resources. One was an old reliable, which every nyc history buff should explore: and the other was a genealogical site made by Here's a pdf of some relevant pages from forgotten ny and pages, with some great "home" images, from maggie blanck.

Communities: 7th Street, between C and D

Speaking of communities. There was a really good independent film made recently by Josh Pais, who grew up on 7th Street. He's primarily an actor and you would recognize him from many commercials. There are not as many interior shots as exteriors, but there is a possibility for its use for "home." Josh is a pretty friendly guy and might be approachable for a primary talk on the neighborhood and home-then and now. I think Israel may have grown up on a block nearby. This is a clip from 7th Street featuring a crusty old "veteran" named Manny who has since passed away.

The House I Live In and United Streaming 2

To follow up a post on video resources from United Streaming. There are other title groupings that fit the home topic.Mentioned before were videos on life in Mexico, China, etc-there are also titles on living in a desert, a rainforest, polar regions. Our school library has many such titles as well. This was a nice grouping of Doris Kindersley videos that were distributed by the ESL program. Above is a collage of frames from an early childhood series on neighborhoods. The sheriff is explaining to the young boy why rules are necessary in communities. Here's clip. This could also work with the September Constitution event that the feds are sponsoring. Better yet you could show a clip from Deadwood to really explain the importance of laws. BTW Al and the boys were asked to chime in with their opinions on this, but you better be careful before you download.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

More or (Less) PowerPoint

As for PowerPoint less is more, especially in slide content. You only want key ideas, not a paragraph in each slide. When you present you shouldn't just be reading your slide, but amplifying the content. Here's another PPoint template I had for Benjamin Franklin. In this one the students were not to change the title of each slide, but the part of the slide that dealt with the Timeline of events in Ben's life. This was done with the 5th graders who annually take a trip to Philadelphia. The Jean Fritz book, "What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin" is available for download via United Streaming and can help witrh the necessary background content knowledge prior to the projects creation. All of this can be adapted to the home theme by concentrating on the colonial stle of hiome life, rather than on Ben's achievements,.

PowerPoint Pros and Cons

Back in the Q&A post Dinah Sore asked me why I used the quicktime slide show format. I would assume Dinah, like most people in tech ed is a big powerpoint user. PPoint has many advantages: It's good for storyboarding and it's good for the effects palette that kids love to play with. But go try to transfer for it from one machine to another or try to send it someone on a network or via email. It will only work if it is a static ppoint, i.e. it doesn't involve attached media files or employ effects. There is a way around this in later versions of the program. You have to save the ppoint as a "package." You can also save it as a movie, but every time I've tried that PPoint quits. (typical microsoft wackiness) The package will contain the proper media. You have to be caredful, however, that in the creation of the original PPoint that you please all your component files in a folder to begin with. Are you lost?- I am and I'm writing this stuff. So I hope Dinah is satisfied and is off to see the "USA in her Chevrolet." BTW, Dinah Shore (Frances Rose Shore) was a member of the tribe. Anyway, when I do use PPoint with beginners I create a template that has a predetermined number of slides and predetermined timing and transitions along with a timed sound file. In this way the kids only have to concentrate at the primary task at hand which is supplying new relevant content (title text, side text and corresponding image) to the ppoint show. When they get more proficient they can then futz around with different timing and transitions. Here's a sample of a PPoint template I created for a study of Native Americans that could be adapted for a "home" project. Here, I used snapzpro to capture the PPoint as a movie. For NYC Video Resources does a very good job in documenting local and feel good stories of New York. The website streams many of the video segments shown on tv. With snapzpro I can capture these as quicktime movies for viewing offline. They come in handy not only for project based work but for topical lessons on news and holiday celebrations. For example, Sept 15-Oct 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. I might put together a folder of ny1 movies that feature Dominican, Puerto Rican and Mexican life in the city. Students would then view the movies and then do a narrative response using a word template that I created. Ms. Rosen's 3rd grade travel project of 2004-2005 dealt with visits to China, Russia, India and Puerto Rico. These nations were representative of the background of her students. From my archived ny1 collection I was able to augment their knowledge. This was done in a "push in" fashion with Ms. Rosen's and her student teacher's help. The kids worked with these movies on laptops in their classroom. Here's a slide show from ny1 that deals with a Chinese oral history exhibit at the Museum of the Chinese in America. Here's a word template that I used with Ms. Rosen's class. Their job was do write their versions of what the corresponding characters in the ny1 clip said. I did this in stages, at first they merely had to cut and paste the proper pre-written choices from another word file.

Video Resources With A Primary Look

Two movies that I have found invaluable in examing older incarnations of New York City and the LES are, "Once Upon A Time in America," and "Naked City." (They also give glimpses of home life in many scenes).The latter was made in 1948 and was one of the first films shot on location, the former was made in 1984. "Naked City" is considered a film noir classic (whatever that means). It's director, Jules Dassin, and its screenwriter, Albert Maltz, were later blacklisted. "Once Upon A Time" attempts to be an historic fictional account of Jewish Gangsters on the Lower East Side. In the two linked clips we see in "Naked City" a scene where the movie's villain is being chased through the streets of the Lower East Side. I believe we see parts of Rivington, Clinton and Delancey Street. I have to ask Sam where Kobren's Haberdasher was, because that will clarify things. You get to see the SE corner of Clinton and Delancey that Sam described. It is where the police precinct and the old Apollo Theater existed. You also get to see what the entrance of the Williamsburgh Bridge used to look like, as well as old newsstands like Hank's. In the Once Upon A Time Clip, the boys are gathering to do a job for their gangster employer. Note the horses that Kisseloff's recorders described.

Very Primary Documents

For the folks from "You Must Remember This" (slide show) this was a very elusive primary document. Here's a very simple project to do: After proper background instruction with oral histories, assign characters and record the kids reading the stories. They may want to improvise some dialogue after a while. Later that dialogue can be transcribed. Again, we are talking about multiple ways of providing literacy instruction. Carol Elkins, who does volunteer work with many of our ELL kids, uses a similar approach when she makes her incredible movies. This is the same Carol who is the grandaughter of chief NYC subway architect, William Barclay Parsons.

That's Gold Jerry, That's Gold!

While looking around for information on the Rivington Street pickleman Jack Greenfield and his son, who died in WW2, I remembered the interesting plaque of WW2 veterans that was on the corner of Our Lady of Sorrows School. I found it interesting because the list was ecumenical, i.e.inclusive of gentiles and jews. Two years ago I felt that plaque was a great seed for a collaborative school project with the Catholic School still housed at the site. I couldn't sell it to the principal there, I think the salesman was "too Jewish" for her taste and the ecumenical feeling was lost in history. Anyway, I didn't see a Greenfield on the plaque, but I see a Max and Joseph Margolies. Bill Margulies mentioned a brother who was a war hero. Maybe the name was spelled with an o in the census. Sure enough-bingo! I find a Max Margolies who has a brother named Willie and a sister named Sarah. Willie (William, Bill) would be 83 years old, just like he said. And btw, they came from Rumania. Here's a slide show about the Lady of Sorrows plaque, (the slide show actually does a good job explaining the how to of the proposed project) (fitting in with this primary thread) and a substitute for the Banya, "That's Gold Jerry." audio I had been in search of. Actually, what I need is "That's synchronicity, Jerry." Any guesses as to the character accompanying the quote? If you are new to this blog and totally confused, go to the archives and view the 7/23.05 entry, entitled, Podcast VI: Bill Margulies. PS64, Mr. Krappner, Hymie Perrick

PS20 Archives

We seem to be on a primary document roll. In school we can make use of more than our old student record card collection. Many items are on view in the front display cases. Here is a slide show with old news clippings and another that has photos.

You Must Remember This: Horse Tales

Continuing with those great oral histories from Kisselhoff's book (some require editing for the censors)-Sam mentioned some of the funky smells of old LES. Here's a segment that's very fragrant. The image above comes from the 1891 Bromley map. In addition to the previously mentioned breweries and other factories, there were also many stables spread out in the neighborhood. You can see one here on Montgomery, between Cherry and Monroe. The LaGuardia projects now occupy this area.

Friday, July 29, 2005

On Line Video Resources

I mentioned United Streaming before as a resource for educational videos. I'll let this slide show do the explaining. Also here's a sample from the Jean Fritz book entitled, "Sh.., They're Writing The Constutution." It's a title very valuable for the upcoming September celebration of the Constitution. An initial browse of the united streaming database shows that the adaptable titles for "home" center around different cultural and nation groups, e.g. "How People Live In Mexico" or "Native Americans of the Northeast," etc.

Home Stories From The Past

Another wrinkle on the tenement tale was done by Ms. Capic's class two years ago. Instead of working with the student cards as inspiration they constructed a narrative using the cues given by the actress playing the role of Victoria Confino. Again, where the story suggests images, those can be obtained from the Internet or scanned in. Adding an audio recording makes the project into a "living" book. The project has value as a stand alone, but it also has a second life as reading material for struggling de-coders or kids who just absorb knowledge more easily by listening.

In Search Of Zubik and Ancestor Student Stories

Remember Katy Zubik, part of the Hungarian enclave of the LES and a PS13 attendee? While I was searching for the death record of Greenfields, (and realizing how difficult that can be with such a common name) I tried searching Zubik. Could this (above) be her? Not the exact match of birth dates and it would require her to retain her maiden name and move to Boston..who knows. There's a seed for research project here, i/e. plotting data of years lived of former PS20 graduates. We would use the pretty much guaranteed deceased graduates from the early 1900's and I guess concentrate on males. Back to Mr. Kerne's kids. Here's a slide show that was done by the "ghost" of Catherine Fazio. Two years ago the project link was with the Tenement Museum, a current project could focus on the home aspect.

Podcast XII: Sam and Greenfield The Pickle Man

I'm sad to say that this concludes the Sam Podcast. (I'm also sad to say that Yanks just lost to the Angels) I may have heard Sam's jokes a 100 times, but I never cease to learn something new when I talk to Sam about LES history. Like DV, the image of the pickle juice clogged drain stuck in my mind. In my google search the best I could match it up with is the dumping of prohibition liquor. No Mr. Greenfield, but Sol Kaplan of the old Guss' Pickles on Essex Street. Actually, I remember the original Guss when he was on Hester Street across from Gertel's Bakery. I spent some time trying to find the unlucky Mr. Greenfield in the 1930 census. Sifting through a lot of Greenfields I found him to be named Jack and he lived right near his store at 176 Rivington, a next door neighbor of Sam's! Jack's 8 year old son Bernard in 1930 must have been the Bernard who later died in World War II. Ethel must have been the daughter who would later have children with birth defects. Anyway here's the concluding segment.

Podcast XI: Sam and the Rosenbergs

Also tales of Sam's mother working "a la Lucy" at the Chunky Candy Factory on Ridge and Delancey Street, a reference to Sacco and Vanzetti and Sam's rival trying to impress everyone with all his knowledge during the taping.
Listen to part 5 of Sam here and view another oral history treat from Jeff Kisselhoff here. BTW Lucille Ball was questioned during the McCarthy era because she belonged to the Communist Party in the 30's.

The House I Live In: Richmondtown

Ms. Bertoni's 3rd graders of 2003-4 at Richmondtown Restoration Village in Staten Island. In this clip we hear the tour guide along with Sam filling in additional information.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The House I Live In: Leffert's Homestead

Ms. Bertoni's 3rd graders went on two trips two years ago for their historic landmark study. The first was to the Lefferet's Homestead. One of the tricks of our trade is to have Sam go along and videotape the trip, providing some commentary as well. Then we digitize the tape so that the class can view it on computers. They can review it, freeze it to capture images and create captions (in microsoft word). This can also be done as a shared reading and writing activity using a computer projector. I've discovered that making templates with separate text boxes for the images and text work well. This makes it easier for the kids to format. Another option with the digitized film is to replace the audio with the kids' own narrated track. Here's a portion of the digitized film.

The House I Live In: Wyckoff House

Mentioned before was the great model of the Wyckoff House built by Ms. Stewart's class two years ago. For almost a year a picture of it and Ms. Peters' Olympic Field were the sole representatives of project based learning on the region's web portal. Here's a slide show made from their visit there. Note: a project can be as simple as a written narrative response to the trip experience. Marta took it one step further by letting the response take a different stylistic form, i.e. the first paragraph was in the guise of a question, e.g. Have you ever, did you know?

Q & A

I am going to use this post to answer some questions I've been getting from people about pseudo intellectualism
Q: Why do you combine images in your posts? Why don't you put them up separately like on a web page?
Jack Yablokoff
A: Jack, Blogs have many advantages. They are so much easier to do then a website, but they are not really suited for images.
When I put up separate images on one posting the layout becomes distorted.
Q: Do you think anyone bothers to read your blog?
Anna Lytic
A: That's not important Anna. I'm doing this as an alternative to increasing my daily dosage and the really educational stuff
(like the definition of two baggers) will eventually go onto a real school website. Once the content is in this form it's just a
matter of cut and paste.
Q: What's so great about delivering content in a slide show format?
Dinah Sore
A: Dinah, first of all I feel it is more engaging for the viewer, whether it be kids or adults. It can tell a story unto it itself. Using the compression capabilities of quicktime allows me to deliver images with a smaller file size than if they were sent separately. The file can also be downloaded to disk.
Q: Why are you breaking up Sam's interview into parts, why can't we have it all at once?
I. M. Impatient
A: Is that you Izzy? Well, I don't know everybody's different connection speed and the total interview file is about 30MB. To download that in its entirety might take a long time.
Q: What is the best knish you ever tasted?
Pepe Roni
A: Without a doubt a Mrs. Stahl's cabbage knish.
Q: How come no matter what title you guys give to the learning fair it always seems the same.
Miya Buttreaks
A: Miya, could you step back a bit. You know in a way it is, but that's because whether you are talking about buildings or homes or means of transportation there is one common element to all and that is the people involved in them. Besides what may seem the same to you is new to the kids in your class and they enjoy doing projects and showing off their work. As a wise man once said, these events (along with the great music and dance and team sports) provide the glue that holds a school together.
Q: Are you and Sam gay lovers?
Just Askin
A: Just, I once told Sam that someone was gay and he didn't even know what the word meant.
But, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Q: Do you have any friends and are any of them not imaginary?
Sandy Krac
A: Yes, there's Israel and Little Sonia, Kiang Hang, Bill the copy machine guy from the District Office, Ramon, John the Hip Hop Cleaner, Sal from Rosario's Pizza, Pearl Jones, Suzanne Muller, Miguel Figueroa and Max Weintraub, Dr. Love, Zumila Yardon, Frank Siblano, Joe Shannon, Pedro the waiter from Zafi's, Lenny Greher and Faye's brother the soda guy

The Post From Hungar(y)-Pt2

Next we have a combined image showing the census data for the 200 block of Houston Street from 1910 (yes I know it's hard to get the information that way, but anything for inquiring minds seeking Hungarian immigrant knowledge) and an office card from the PS20 archives (courtesy of Jerry Kerne's 6th grade class of two years ago). Good bet Katy Zubik was Hungarian. She attended PS13 which morphed into PS20. Remember the map showing the PS13 location? Yes, Houston, between Essex and Norfolk. Don't you feel like Sherlock Holmes? It's interesting how one block, or even building, will have all the same people from a certain background and then that will change on the next block or the next building. Hey, what are they serving at the Little Hungary tonight, some ghoulash? Here's some Hungarian dessert, apple strudel. Actually the desserts are excerpts from the wonderful collection of oral histories done by Jeff Kisseloff. The collection is entitled, "You Must Remember This." An Oral History of Manhattan from the 1890s to World War Two. Jerry read similar accounts of immigrant tales with his class. They then went on to imagine themselves in the shoes of their "ancestor" immigrant classmates and wrote diaries of their lives. There's nothing wrong with a class doing something similar this year with the home theme. "Kisseloff brings together 137 New Yorkers who witnessed daily life in Manhattan from the 1890s to World War II. Dividing the city into ten neighborhoods and devoting a chapter and about a dozen voices to each, Kisseloff offers a brief historical introduction, then lets the eyewitnesses speak for themselves. We hear a survivor's account of the harrowing Triangle Shirtwaist fire as well as tales of the sweatshops, the settlement houses, and the immigrants from around the world who poured into the Lower East Side at the turn of the century. There are vignettes of John Reed, Louise Bryant, Eugene O'Neill, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. We read of the bloody beginnings of the seamen's union and, down the street from the docks, visit with Thomas Wolfe and Edgar Lee Masters in the Hotel Chelsea. In Harlem, the Savoy and the cotton Club were in their heyday, as were Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, and Adam Clayton Powell. Throughout the book, Kisseloff engages us in a unique conversation between an all-but-bygone time and our own."A can't-put-it-down oral history."—David Gates, Newsweek "The speakers are a diverse lot; many have lived through interesting events. The accounts are vivid and down to earth. We catch the distinct flavor of neighborhoods as they were." -—Library Journal Jeff Kisseloff is a native New Yorker whose grandfather owned a dry goods shop on Orchard Street. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. These interviews were compiled over 10 years ago and I would imagine few of these people are still alive.

The Post From Hungar(y)-Pt1

The information from the big apple site ( mentioned the clustering of the Hungarian population near Houston and Clinton at the turn of the last century. I wanted to verify this and I remembered a really good mapsite showing the distribution of the different ethnic groups in New York during the immigration boom. "Bookmarks," you say-tough to sort when you have hundreds of them spread out all over. Also, if you don't take the time to retitle them they're practically worthless. But I did turn up some interesting documents. Above is a combined image of an ethnic map (not the good one I was looking for) and some data on the amount of Hungarian immigrants sorted by Ward. The data shows a large amount (about 7,0000 in the Eleventh Ward. That ward was just about centered by the Houston and Clinton intersection.

Podcast X: Sam and Dr. Kaplan's son and Hymie Frohmer

To start with, my suspicions were correct-Sam does have a checkered past and it has nothing to do with triple jumps. My assistant David Preiver went to the Police Archives and found this line up photo of Sam with his posse-mates, Louis Lepke and Bugsy Siegel. BTW, the real Bugsy has a memorial plaque with his name at the Bialystoker Synagogue. The photo collage also shows the actor Marvin Kaplan (he's still alive) and 167 Rivington Street where there used to be a photographer's studio and perhaps Hymie Frohmer's National Radio. Sam Part 4

Mid Point Correction, Review...blah,blah

I don't know if we are at the midpoint of this blog, but I think it's time for a mid point something. Sort of like a rededication of purpose to a learning fair theme or in Bush's America a pledge of allegiance or loyalty oath. I found this slide show on one of my many external hard drives. It's a karaoke version of Frank's previously posted "House I Live In" with an attempted coordination of images. Can't you just see those Texas No Child Left Behind folks lapping this up and contributing grant money, unknowing that the lyricist was really Abel Meeropol. I'm sure Gina will put this on her ipod shuffle (if she had one).

Podcast IX: Sam Resists Temptations of Criminal Element

"Not me, I was in school." I wonder how true that statement of Sam's was. It certainly wasn't true of Dr. G .
I had only downloaded and reconstructed the Bromley map recently so when Sam mentioned a police station I could envision where it was. Attorney and Clinton are short blocks, but there are also portions of them that exist South of Delancey Street.
The construction of the Williamsburg Bridge in the early 1900's and later the Seward Park Houses in the 60's obliterated much of those southern sections. Clickling on the map will open a larger version so that you can see details that are mentioned in the 3rd part of Sam's fascinating story.

Clinton Street 1852

Three years ago when Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland and Paradise Alley, came to speak at 20, Adam and I projected the larger version of this map as a backdrop for Baker's discussion of what the LES looked like. In Paradise Alley, Baker vividly described Tom O'Kane's work as a butcher along a row of shops on Houston Street. After work Tom would go watch a battle of some wild dogs (?) that took place somewhere in the area of Pitt and Delancey. It was a raucous amusement amidst a backdrop of betting. The map helped me in imagining the context of the story and I think maps can serve the same purpose for the kids in understanding history. I used the section of the map shown to help accompany Sam's oral history.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Podcast VIII: Sam and the Fighting Sullivans

I tried to catch Sam in a mistake but the old guy was just too crafty. The Fighting Sullivans came out in 1944 and in a way the tragedy it portrayed was the impetus for the fictional rescue of Private Ryan. The picture shown has the newspaper stand that still exists (there are very few in the city that still do) on the corner of Clinton and Delancey. It's open in the mornings.The block I lived on on Suffolk Street is now a parking lot. Some day I'll tell the synchronistic story of 76 Suffolk Street. Here's Sam

Using Archival Maps For Context

I put together some sections of a 1916(?) real estate map that I scanned from Oscar Israelowitz's Guide To The Lower East Side. It's the only thing redeeming about that book. He got the maps from the municipal archives. Pointed out is the spot where Little Hungary was (then Liberty Hall) as well as some of the places Sam mentions (or will mention) on Clinton Street. A question to consider for a newcomer to LES history, what's with all these halls? Sam talks about a manual training high school near him. I wonder whether that is where a PS174 is located. That spot on Attorney St. is now taken up by the Nathan Straus Park that adjoins PS140.

Podcast VII: Sam I Am-Part 1

After a little tour of Little Hungary its time to bring our clean up hitter Sam to the plate. I didn't expect to see Sam until later in the summer, but he stopped by the school to try out some jokes he got from a pirogi and borscht store on Brighton Beach Avenue. I told him I wanted some Clinton Street tales and off he went. Here's part one. Above we see Sam mesmerizing Joyce Matthew's kids with Trolley Car memories. That's Michael recording him. The audio was included in the classes' learning fair project. As an additional special treat we have one of my favorite singers serenading Sam's old haunts. The first slide, 172 Rivington, was where Sam grew up.

Little Hungary II

First let me direct you to the NYPL site where I found Little Hungary menus. Next here's some information on the neighborhood that coexisted with that old catering hall. I found it on a really good NYC history reference site, The Big Apple, "A series of citations, quotations, and evidence on the true origins of a New York City nickname, with additional material on other words and terms associated with the city."
“Little Hungary” is part of what is now the “East Village.” The term is not used any more, but “Little Hungary” was probably the first “Little” to follow “Little Italy.” 3 July 1896, New York Times, pg. 9 “Little Hungary,” that east side domain with indefinable boundaries, had its sensation yesterday. 8 July 1896, Los Angeles Times, pg. 4: OF AEPFELWEIN STUBES.
The Quaint Little Shops on the East Side of the City. (New York Mail and Express:) Alternated with the cafes and saloons of Little Hungary are the aepfelwein stubes. The cross streets running east from the Bowery, as far north as Tenth street, have at least one to a block. 4 August 1901, New York Timesw pg. SM24: The settlement worker led the reporter down into “Little Hungary,” which lies along East Houston Street, from Allen to the river, and of the northeast fringe of the sweat shop district.

Little Hungary

Back to Harry Golden. His building is no longer there-just about the entire west side of Eldridge, between Delancey and Rivington is gone. There are some old tenements left on the west side, where University Settlement is located. In his book Harry mentions that he worked as a newsboy and that one of his best days for sales was the day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was assassinated. This occured in 1914 and it was the event that led to World War I. Harry was selling papers in front of the Little Hungary. What was Little Hungary? It was a very famous catering hall and social club at 257 Houston Street. Currently it houses a day care center. A picture of it is above. In a close up view you would notice some elaborate ornamental work on its facade. An internet search didn't turn up any old photos of the building, but I did find some archival menus as part of the NYPL collection.

Diary Of An Early American Boy

Continuing with the Early American and everyday life flow here is a classic in that genre. I'll let some reviewers do the talking, "This is an excellent book for kids and adults. The book is fully illustrated with drawings that detail how things were built and how they worked. They capture kid's attention better than "Where's Waldo?", but unlike that meaningless book, there's a lot to be learned from this little gem. I read this book while visiting my mother in her Connecticut country home. It was the perfect place to read it as I suddenly made sense of the street names like Old Mill Road and Stoneboat Road. Eric Sloane paints an intoxicating portrait of a boy's coming of age and falling in love with the girl next door (even if next door was over the meadow and through the woods) in the earliest years of the 19th century. Life was a focus on survival, when your days were spent working your land for all the fruits that it bears to sustain you and your family. Close bonds form with neighbors and community is not only important, but a way of life. Aside from being a true (if admittedly embellished) story, it is an intense study of life at that time. How we made and used our tools; the many properties and uses of wood; how the farmer's almanac was an indispensible item in every household. You learn great little triva facts in every chapter, such as... Did you know every house was allowed only ten panes of window glass... if they had more, they would have to pay a stiff tax on each pane. Here's a slide show sample

Newsday In Education

Of all the NYC newspapers, Newsday is the best with educational resources. The only problem is that it is very hard to find those gems on their site (which has really deteriorated with regard to ease of access). A major component of the educational resource that Newsday provides is its series on Long Island History (which includes Brooklyn and Queens). There are still many original colonial homes that exist further out on the island and there are families with long family histories. All of this information is prime stuff for 4th grade social studies, but again the study of home and family is at the core of every grades curriculum, whether it be american history or world history. And again I am sure that many trade books that are being used, whatever the level, whatever the literacy strand has a reference to the way everyday people live their basic lives. Above is a collage that shows a sampling of some the items you can link to as well as the url. Here's a direct link to the major index.

Field Trips: The Lott House

Two years ago Ms. Stewart and Ms. Harmatz's classes went to view the Wyckoff House in East Fklatbush, Brooklyn. The model of the house that Ms. Stewart's class did with Mr. Stern's help was a major highlight of that year's learning fair. Another historic house worth looking at for its interior is the Lott House in Marine Park, Brooklyn. Currently they are not arranging class visitations but there is a website dedicated to the recent archaelogical excavations going on there. The Historic House Site for Lott has nothing. This is a sample of the wonderful things you can find at the site, an oral history from a direct descendant of the original owners.

Bobbie Kalman books

The books in the Kalman series are very good and a good fit for the home theme. This reviewer from Amazon shares that view: "I am a writer of historical fiction, and I absolutely rely on Bobbie Kalman's wonderful nonfiction books. This one even shows the layout of a plantation with neatly drawn illustrations of the Quarters and the various houses or work areas where all goods were made. B. Kalman's books are excellent for individuals as well as teachers to use with their classrooms." I always wonder whether these reviewers are the authors themselves. Here's a look inside the plantation book and I am sure you would agree that is indeed a good one.

Teaching The Constitution II

I just realized this wasn't in the Inspiration Chart (along with Harry Golden) Don't worry some day it will all make sense. Here's a slide show made with the first few pages from the Maestro book combined with a midi entitled, the Liberty Song. "Come, join hand in hand, brave Americans all, And rouse your bold hearts at fair Liberty's call;
No tyrannous acts shall suppress your just claim, Or stain with dishonor America's name.
Chorus In Freedom we're born and in Freedom we'll live. Our purses are ready. Steady, friends, steady; Not as slaves, but as Freemen our money we'll give. Our worthy forefathers, let's give them a cheer, To climates unknown did courageously steer;
Thro' oceans to deserts for Freedom they came, And dying, bequeath'd us their freedom and fame."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Inside Historic Homes II

This is my attempt (a pdf file) at stimulating some thought on how the upper crust lived in the Merchant/Treadwell House of the 1830's. This is something for a more advanced group because it would require interpreting additional information from that shown.

A Close Up View of Historic Homes

A title like the above would never make the cut in the major leagues of jargon-babble. You would have to work in the term lens (fine, close-up) or something like unwrapping or peeling layers or digging deeper. You also have to show passion, like your observations are steeped or scaffolded or focalized or percolating. All of it is just a sublimation for a visit to a Rivington Street store (not Economy Candy). I was looking to re-work some material from the Historic House theme from two years ago. Instead of looking at the architectural elements that most of us did from the outside, we could look at how the people lived inside. The only problem is that many of these places were the homes of rich folks. If we look at the Tenement Museum, which Jerry and Debbie's kids did really well, there is great new stuff. The Tenement Museum site has panoramic movies for just about each room of all the different apartments. The one shown is from the Confino living room. This is a great inspiration for modeling, imagining, writing, etc.

Harry Golden

Here's a guy worthy of respect. Harry Golden was born in 1902 in Mikulintsy (Ukraine). His last name was actually Goldhirsch His father, Leib Goldhirsch, left Mikulintsy in 1904 for Winnipeg, Canada. The family came to New York City in 1905. Harry was a stockbroker and in 1929 his brokerage house went bankrupt. He came to Charlotte ( N.C. ) In 1941 and began to write about and speak out against segregation. From 1942 to 1958, Golden published a newspaper containing his views. It was called the Carolina Israelite. He was widely acclaimed as a writer and humorist and won numerous awards, but his opinions evoked constant criticism from people who disagreed with his belief in racial equality. One of his books, "Only in America," became a best seller in 1958. Harry attended the old PS20 on Eldridge and Rivington and an autographed book of his is part of the library's collection. I was reading that book today and learned some fascinating things, e.g. each block had their own gangs e.g. The Rivington Streeters, the Eldridge Streeters, etc. Jewish boys so feared wandering into Irish neighborhoods that it effected their swimming ability. At the turn of the century The Irish ruled the neighborhoods adjoining the East and Hudson River. The book mentioned that Harry lived on Eldridge Street, between Delancey and Rivington. Above is the census of 1910 with the Goldhirsh family at 171 Eldridge Street. Harry was Hyman. I'll check soon to see if that building is still there.

Public Service Announcement

This blog I hope has something for everyone. This Rivington Street store is currently having a customer appreciation sale.

Air America Part II

Someone remarked that the list of people I respect must be an abbreviated one. Ouch! The folks at Air America definitely make it. Here's a slide show I put together from some of pictures I took at the broadcast last Friday along with some from the Internet. I combined them with a post show audio I captured when I spoke to the Morning Sedition co-hosts Mark Maron and Mark Riley. I used the word hochma to describe my meeting a fellow air america listener two days before the broadcast on Ridge Street. I believe that's an incorrect usage. Hochma means a gem of wisdom. (I also wish I used a different word then "dude") That meeting was a wonderful coincidence, but I need a yiddish lesson. Listen here (3.2MB)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Using Maps

Maps can be very useful to place the home idea within a relevant and useful context. Map study is also part of every grade's sstudies curriculum. Last year the map idea that Ms. Diaz suggested for her classes' trip down Broadway worked out well. There was collaboration with Ms. Olivieri, Ms. Dickinson and Ms. Brotman on a kid friendly neighborhood walking trip map, but their learning fair projects were sufficiently good enough not to overdo them.
The map to the left I discovered recently on the davidrumsey site. It was created by George Washington Bromley in 1891. Searching that site is a little difficult and you have to download a specific browser. I captured the map by taking successive screen shots and then pasted them together in a big photoshop file. BTW this map will be a useful resource in the next series of podcasts starring "The King of LES History," Sam Zilberzweig


Here's an up to date inspiration chart to show some metacognitive changes. The newer segments are dark green.
Ugh-oh-I forgot using the digitized coloring books in kidpix and photoshop-wait till next up-date.

Podcast V: Bill's Strange Encounter In A Shoe Store

At the end of our almost hour talk Bill really started to wander. The shoe store's relevance to the test for a specialized school?
Maybe Sandy the Wonder Dog can figure it out. I was very happy to capture these stories for posterity but came away with a real sense of sadness. After struggling to tell one more story, I said to Bill, that's ok, you're tired we'll meet again and you'll tell me more. He then said to me, "Yes, but I so like just hearing myself tell it." Here's Bill.