Streams

Tell the Story of New York in 10 Objects

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New York City

The BBC and the British Museum have told A History of the World in 100 Objects, now it’s your turn to tell A Story of New York in 10 Objects! Tell us which objects you think tell the story of New York—from the iconic to the everyday. All objects must be able to fit inside a museum, and can be things like an elevator from the Empire State Building, a bagel, or a subway token. Include a brief description of why you think the object helps define New York City, and include a picture if you like.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 10, at 5 pm. Then, it’ll be your turn to vote on your favorite objects!

**Please nominate only one object per entry. You can to nominate as many objects as you want.**

 

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Comments [19]

Steve from Coney Island from Brooklyn

Anyone who has been to Nathans lately would surely scratch it from their list along with all that's recently happened to Coney Island. My out-of-town family always preferred to go to Katz's for a pastrami on rye. Everything about the experience from the punch ticket at the door...the sign: Send a salami to your boy in the Army...to the lines to get served....with counterman's sample...and the obligatory tip says everything you'll ever need to know about New York City. Oh, and the sandwich is always the best! It should be added to your list.

Feb. 23 2012 03:43 PM
derek berg from New York City

I come late to this collection but I do hope someone has entered our Yellow taxis.

Feb. 20 2012 01:08 PM
Sallie from Manahattan

There are very few items to vote on here. Also I had a difficult time finding this site to read posts. Perhaps consider reopening this. I know initially I was confused by "fits in a musuem". Anything I could thing of like subway cars, or other icon items of NYC are quite large.

Feb. 14 2012 01:32 PM
Dorothy from Chelsea

A Chock-full-o-nuts(sp?) whole wheat donut with powdered sugar -- I think they were a dime when I came to NY. Coffee and the best donut ever for twenty cents. No tipping, which changed about a year after I arrived in NY (no connection). ;-)

Feb. 13 2012 11:17 AM
Michael Lefanto

I nominate the 35mm/70mm film projector used by projectionists all over NYC for years. An object of art in itself. One is still occasionally used at the Chelsea 9.

Feb. 12 2012 01:09 AM
judith earley

Did no one mention a water tower? Oh I see -- West54th did. I vote for that.

Feb. 11 2012 04:46 PM
Judith Cressy

I'm sorry I heard about this too late to submit, but I'm surprised I didn't see any mention of 60 guilders worth of cloth, beads, and trinkets -- or Moondog's horned helmet!

Feb. 11 2012 10:20 AM
Jared from Brooklyn

The 1868 Henry Erben organ in St. Patrick's Old Cathedral--extravagant living symbol of mid-19th century New York, built down the street in the city's largest factory at the time. Still has original pump mechanism for the bellows intact. Approx $15,000 post Civil War dollars spent to construct it, after they rebuilt the Old Cathedral after a fire, and were building the new Cathedral on 51st St.

Feb. 11 2012 09:03 AM
John from Lincoln Park from Lincoln Park, NJ

The egg cream. To see how NYC it is just ask for one in other parts of the country.

Feb. 10 2012 09:03 PM
Penny in Forest Hills

Subway mosaics: In our hurried underground lives, they exude a colorful and diverse city, often provoking a smile or puzzlement, even as we scurry from home to work and back. All fine relics of our civilization. http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/artwork

Feb. 10 2012 07:54 PM
Lee Fischman from Scarsdale

Manhattan schist. This hard granite underlies the island and made possible the dense, vertical skyline of the city. New York might have turned out a very different place had it not been underpinned by granite.

Feb. 10 2012 07:37 PM
David Breitkopf

How about that battery wall that was discovered with the expansion of South Ferry a few years back. Also the negro burial grounds.

http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_136/batteryswallrediscovered.html

Feb. 10 2012 07:05 PM
larry jones

Love the series, very informative of a inclusive global history.
nothing can chronicle the history of new york like the coble stone.

Feb. 09 2012 07:07 PM
Larry Kaplan from Upper Westside

A stickball stick. Not just any "stick", this was usually a broom handle. I remember as a feral boy scrounging my Kew Gardens neighborhood looking for a discarded broom. We'd pounce and remove it to a place where we could transform it into a stickball stick. Remove the broom end and then wrap it with electricl tape. used with a Spaulding rubber ball and we were ready to hit the streets and back lots to play ball.

Feb. 05 2012 01:56 PM

You have to include wooden roof top water tank as one of object that tells the story of NYC. Sad to say it is a dying breed in this beautiful city.

Feb. 03 2012 11:30 AM
Mark Schuyler from Everywhere

Sewer plate or utility street covers. No other object represents more of the public and private, unseen life, of our fair metropolis. No other object is as utilitarian yet artistic and requires demanding craftsmanship in service to everyone. Nothing else provides a syncopated punctuation to our street life than the sound of vehicles passing over a street opening cover in any borough. Nothing else creates a sense of place better, because we have our covers here and ours alone.

Feb. 02 2012 01:38 PM
Ben from Westchester

I left them in the "drop box," but I'll also put five objects here:

1) I don't think you can tell the history of New York without putting a subway car in the exhibit. The reasons are many, but the 24/7 nature of the city, the bringing together of cultures, races, and classes in a small space, these are all about the subway. There is no more enduring symbol of the city than a single red bird 1 car from the 1980s.

2) A pay phone. You can't possibly explain the import of pay phones to anyone under 25 years of age. But this was the symbol of New Yorkers always in touch, always on the go.

Growing up, on the north end of the Times Square mini block of 43rd St., the island between 7th and Broadway, there used to be about twenty pay phones in a row. That was a total symbol of New York.

3) I'd love the guest book for any ultra-popular restaurant from the 1980s or 1990s, any era, really. You could argue Elaine's, Babbo, Daniel, I don't really care. I just think the booking of a thousand people into time and space, with phones and names and notes of who is how important and who knows who -- speaks to New York City's nature of access, exclusivity, getting in, being seen, etc.

4) Finally, I'll nominate one of Manhattan's ugliest buildings for a very specific reason. 33 Thomas St. is a huge, windowless tower, full of telephone switching equipment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33_Thomas_Street

The "nerve center" quality of New York is best expressed by looking at this giant building whose sole purpose, identity, and design is based around the flow of terabytes of information per nanosecond.

5) The golden orb clock that sits in the middle of Grand Central Terminal. Its ability to masquerade as an object of classic art, while in fact it remains connected to the coming and going of a thousand trains and a million people every day, is pure New York City.

Jan. 31 2012 01:30 PM
Dorothy Magnani from Jackson Heights

We Love your show and the History of the world in 100 objects v....we had down-loaded this series from the BBC and enjoyed it immensely...and was delighted to hear that it was being broadcast on your show.
Our list of 10 objects from NYC is:
Checker cab
Subway token
Stick ball and spalding ball
Turnstile
Yankee baseball cap
scooter made out of fruit crates with skate wheels
Spray paint can
Bagel
Nathan's hotdog
carousel

Jan. 29 2012 11:15 PM
Dorothy Magnani from Jackson Heights

We Love your show and the History of the world in 100 objects v....we had down-loaded this series from the BBC and enjoyed it immensely...and was delighted to hear that it was being broadcast on your show.
Our list of 10 objects from NYC is:
Checker cab
Subway token
Stick ball and spalding ball
Turnstile
Yankee baseball cap
scooter made out of fruit crates with skate wheels
Spray paint can
Bagel
Nathan's hotdog
carousel

Jan. 29 2012 11:13 PM

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