New York City

This Photographer Brilliantly Documented Crime on the Mean Streets of New York City

Back in 2001, I stumbled upon a photography show at the Getty Center in Los Angeles that I still think is one of my favorite museum exhibits I’ve ever seen. It showcased the work of a photographer who went by the name of Weegee.

Weegee captured street scenes in New York City like no other photographer during the 1930s and 1940s. While he sometimes focused his lens on regular folks going about their daily business, it was his stark black and white photos of crime scenes that made Weegee a legend and exposed people to the dark side of American society.

Weegee was born Usher Fellig in 1899 in what is now part of Ukraine. When he was 10-years-old, his family emigrated to New York. Weegee started taking photographs at a young age, working his way up through several companies before striking out of his own as a freelancer in 1935.

Weegee installed a police scanner in his car so he could be the first photographer on the scene to document New York City’s murders, accidents,…

Hamilton Star Jordan Fisher Gives a Tour of Alexander Hamilton’s NYC Home

Growing up, Jordan Fisher was not a history buff. “I was a science guy in school, numbers and science and formula, what made things work and how to bring them forward—not what happened,” he told mental_floss. He’d memorize facts about historical figures simply to pass his tests; he didn’t care about them. But being cast in the Broadway musical Hamilton—where he played both John Laurens and Philip Hamilton from November 2016 to March 2017—changed all that.

“All it took was humanization. It took putting humanity in these people who had been mythologized, and seeing the relationships and the West Coast/East Coast rivalry in this musical about the construct of our country,” he said, adding that he’s a “brand new lover of American history—very passionate.” Now, Fisher has joined up with the National Parks Service and the National Park Foundation to help launch Parks 101—a series that will explore the lesser known histories and stories of America’s parks—to give a tour of Alexander Hamilton’s New York City home, the Hamilton Grange National Memorial. Mental_floss tagged along as Fisher and Park Ranger Vladimir Merzlyakov gave a tour.

The Grange is located all the way uptown, at 141st Street—which would, in Hamilton’s time, have been the country. Hamilton’s “sweet project,” as he called it, was completed in 1802, just two years before his death, and was moved twice during the next 200 years before ending…

A Big Stretch of Manhattan Is Going Car-Free for Earth Day

On Saturday, April 22, New Yorkers will be forced out of their cars. While the city is already one of America’s most pedestrian-friendly metropolises, Manhattan is giving more urban space over to people to walk and cycle in honor of Earth Day, as Gothamist reports.

A full 30 blocks of Broadway, one of the city’s major thoroughfares, will be closed to cars, trucks, and buses that Saturday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That’s a major upgrade from last year’s Earth Day celebration when only four blocks of the street went car-free. The city’s other boroughs will also close some roads to cars for the day, though none of the other areas affected are as large as the Manhattan closure.

It’s a move in line with New York City’s plans to improve traffic safety and make the city more…

Compare New York City’s Past and Present in a New App

America’s Gilded Age, defined as roughly the 1870s to 1900, represented a period of vast wealth and vast corruption, a time when the economy of the United States was rapidly expanding, immigrants were streaming into the country, labor rights activists were organizing, and farmers were revolting. In New York City, the Gilded Age was a time when the fabulous wealth of newly minted industrial titans like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie was on full display.

In 2013, the Museum of the City of New York debuted Gilded New York, an ongoing exhibition exploring this period in the city’s history. And now it’s an app.

The museum’s first app is a virtual walking tour of New York City through time. You can compare present-day New York City landmarks to what they looked like…