The Big Apple and Rescue Missions

As I was walking around the other day, I noticed this sign on 32nd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues: 

So of course, I did some research.  Jerry McAuley was reacquainted with his spiritual side while in Sing Sing (serving time for a crime he insisted he did not commit).  However, it wasn’t until after he was released and was repeatedly helped by a city missionary when he truly realized the importance and impact of having access to such a support system.

Together, with financial help from Alfrederick Smith Hatch, the Consolidated Stock Exchange president, they opened the Helping Hand Mission at 316 Water St. in October, 1872. Men homeless, hopeless, jobless, desperate, addicted, unwanted — these were its invited guests, to be fed, to be given a place to stay, to experience acceptance — their being accepted and, if they so chose, their accepting God.

Nightly, the small and ill-ventilated meeting hall, whose walls were adorned with Scriptural texts, would fill up with ex-convicts, drunkards and other men “on the skids.” From 7:30 to 9, there would be hymns, a Bible reading, a brief talk by McAuley, and testimonies by participants as the spirit moved them to tell their own individual stories.

These personal revelations helped both the tellers and the listeners realize they were no longer alone in their situation and that change was possible. In his brief remarks, McAuley would challenge his listeners to take charge of their lives in order to effect the change for the better.

The McAuleys helped thousands of men in need, providing them with not only food and comfort but a sense of belonging and a place where they could change their life around–just like Jerry himself.

If you’d like more information about the McAuleys and the quote above click here and for more information about how NYC Rescue Mission is still helping New Yorkers click here.

The Big Apple and Pneumatic Tubes

Pneumatic tubes are [basically] vacuum tubes used to transport solid objects (think of the drive-thru bank tellers).  New York City implemented a Pneumatic Tube Mail Network in 1897 and used it until 1957.  The tube system connected 23 post offices over 27 miles.  At the height of use, the tubes transported up to 97,000 letters a day!

While I got my initial information from Buzzfeed, they link back to Untapped Cities, which is where you can read all the juicy details.Pneumatic-Tube-Mail-Network-NYC-Kate-Ascher-e1363302482168

The Big Apple and Pinball

Did you know that the beloved game of pinball was banned in New York City until the law was overturned 1976?  The NYPD even performed Prohibition-style raids in places like seedy porn shops in Harlem and Greenwich Village, which is where pinball machines moved “underground” when they were made illegal in the early 1940s.

popular mechanics

 

Read more about it Popular Mechanics!

Exploring The Big Apple

If you think way, way, way, way back you may remember that before Washington, D.C. was selected, New York City was the first city to be the capital of the United States (it then moved to Philadelphia and before permanently locating to D.C.).  I’m not going to lie, it’s not anything that I think about on a daily, weekly, or even yearly basis.

Then one day–not long after I moved here–I was reminded of this when exploring down by Wall Street. I came across Federal Hall and the statue that commemorates Washington’s Inauguration as the First President of the United States on April 30, 1789.

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While every city in the world has it’s own unique history, there is no denying that those in the original colonies are very rich in United States history and have some great stories to tell.  Since I now live in one of these cities, I’ve decided to branch out and share with you some of the interesting history New York City has to offer.  You’ll be able to find it in future posts under “The Big Apple.”

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