St. Patrick’s Cathedral – one spectacular folly!

Architect: James Renwick Jr. Built: 1858-1879 John Hughes, Archbishop of New York, had a vision for a new, grandiose Catholic cathedral that would offset the indignities suffered by the Catholics in 19th century New York. They called it Hughes’ folly. Up until the 19th century, New York was a Protestant stronghold with an insignificant Catholic…

Audrey Munson – American Venus

  There are many rags to riches stories in the American experience, as well as the stories of falling from grace and losing fortunes. But out of all of them – hers was the most bizarre. Her name was Audrey Munson. The name was forgotten, but her likeness, cast in granite, bronze, and marble, is…

Owls in Manhattan

James Gordon Bennett Jr. was obsessed. His obsession was quite unusual – it was owls. Some of them, with flickering eyes, can be seen on Herald Square, guarding James Gordon Bennett Monument. Herald Square takes its name from the New York Herald, a newspaper founded by James Gordon Bennett Sr and inherited by Gordon Bennett…

Evelyn Nesbit and “the Trial of the Century”

The premiere of “Mam’zelle Champagne” did not go well. Despite the lovely songs and beautiful ingenues, the show was simply a bore. The performance took place on the rooftop of Madison Square Garden – a lavish venue designed by Stanford White, an accomplished architect and a socialite about town. That fateful night the famous architect…