Calendar of Events

Events in May 2023

  • Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal

    Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal

    May 2, 2023

    In this talk, Eric K. Washington recalls a once prominent figure from a half-forgotten bygone era — when travel by train, though once luxurious, was dependent upon a legion of anonymous baggage handles. Based on his award-winning biography, Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal, Washington chronicles the world of the chief porter who organized a multitude of Harlem-based Black men into the essential labor force of America’s most august railroad station. He reveals that despite the highly racialized and often exploitative nature of the work, the Red Cap was a highly coveted job for college-bound Black men determined to join New York’s burgeoning middle class. With Washington’s biography, Williams must now be considered, along with Cornelius Vanderbilt and Jacqueline Onassis, one of the great heroes of Grand Central’s storied past.

    This talk is part of HDC's 2023 Preservation Conference series which focuses on sites of cultural significance, non-buildings, places of commemoration or trauma, and monuments and public art. How can we acknowledge and commemorate the significant history of the Red Caps within the physical space of Grand Central Terminal?

    $20 General Admission; $15 Friends of HDC

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  • 2023 Preservation Conference

    2023 Preservation Conference

    May 20, 2023

    Looking Beyond Landmarks: Celebrating That Which is Difficult to Preserve

    Saturday, May 20, 2023

    9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

    New York Law School, 185 West Broadway

    Join the Historic Districts Council at the Annual Preservation Conference, which will examine sites that are difficult to preserve, including sites of cultural significance, non-buildings, places of commemoration and trauma, and monuments and public art.

    Preserving the physical features of many sites doesn’t necessarily convey their underlying historical or cultural significance. Public art, landscapes, and memorials can often be erased or forgotten over time. What is the best way to reassess them; commemorating or protecting these places that warrant it for the future? Representatives from organizations such as Living New Deal, Queens Memory Project, the San Francisco Cultural Districts Program, CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, and more will join us to share examples of how they are doing this work.

    In addition to the conference, join HDC for related programming throughout May and June, including in-person and virtual walking tours that will further explore these topics. Dates and location information will be released in the coming weeks.

    General Admission $35; Friends of HDC $25
    Free for students with a valid id

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  • Preservation School – How to Become a Tour Guide

    Preservation School – How to Become a Tour Guide

    May 24, 2023

    Wednesday, May 24, 2023

    6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

    Via Zoom

    Join HDC and Licensed NYC Tour Guide Ann McDermott in this Preservation School about becoming a tour guide. In this class Ann will explain the steps you should take to become a tour guide. She will discuss best practices for developing and leading a tour and will provide different tactics for in-person tours vs. virtual tours. You will learn how to do research, prepare a route, and how to ensure you are heard on the loud New York City streets. If you’ve ever considered becoming a NYC tour guide, this class is for you!



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  • Six to Celebrate Crow Hill Walking Tour

    Six to Celebrate Crow Hill Walking Tour

    May 27, 2023

    May 27, 2023
    11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

    The neighborhood between Nostrand and Washington avenues, from Atlantic Avenue to Eastern Parkway is today known as “Crow Hill.” It’s an old name that has traveled from different locations and has had different origins over the centuries. It’s also unique — a mixture of residential housing, industrial, commercial, religious and civic buildings. The neighborhood includes a brewery, a hospital, and a formerly cloistered nunnery. It has fine rowhouse and apartment blocks and the remnants of Brooklyn’s historic Automobile Row. Some of Brooklyn’s finest 19th-century architects worked in the neighborhood, and it shows. Crow Hill lies between rapidly gentrifying eastern Prospect Heights and Crown Heights North and has been the site of massive development. Chosen as one of Historic Districts Council’s “Six to Celebrate,” this tour will highlight a historic neighborhood worthy of being designated as one of the city’s landmarked Historic Districts. The tour will be led by Suzanne Spellen, architectural historian and board member of the Crown Heights North Association, which is leading the landmarking efforts.

    Friend of HDC (use code CROW) / MAS Member: $20; General Admission: $30

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