A Curation of Information About New York City


A Vistor
The first person to visit the area which is now known as New York City was Giovanni da Verrazano who discovered the area in 1524, when he sailed into the area and landed there. The discovery and first settlement of the area occurred in 1609 by Henry Hudson, who found the location while searching for a new route to Asia. The settlement was called New Amsterdam and established as a Dutch trading colony. The name of the settlement would eventually become New York in 1664, when the British took control of the colonies.

New York City became an important city during the Revolutionary War period and for a brief time period, it was Capital of the new United States after the colonies declared their independence. In the 1800’s, with the opening of the Erie Canal providing passage to the Great Lakes, New York became one of the most important sea ports on the Atlantic Ocean, and became a center of trade. This lead to a substantial population growth into the largest city in the United States.

New York City also became a destination for immigrants coming in to the country to begin a new life. In the early 1900’s millions of people came though Ellis Island seeking citizenship in the United States. A vast majority of these immigrants settled in New York City, which today is still one of the most diverse populations in the world.

Over time the city has grown to be a population center in the United States as well as a center for various activities. New York City is known for Broadway, the fabulous skyline, Central Park, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, top sports venues and teams, and is one of the top destinations for tourists around the world.

Madison Ave
The Bear Stearns Building is located at 383 Madison Avenue in New York City and is so large that it takes a full city block. It is located in between Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues and 47th and 48th Streets. Conveniently located in midtown Manhattan, the building is only one block west of the affluent Park Avenue and borders the western edge of the famous Rockefeller Center.

In the 1980’s the original site for 383 Madison Avenue had a proposal for a 72 story tall tower that was unable to be constructed due to a restriction on air space. In the year 2000 developers Sterling Equities & Hines Interests commissioned architect David Childs (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP) to build what would become the 88th highest building in the world for Bear Stearns & Company.

383 Madison Avenue was officially completed in 2001 but the official ceremony and grand opening of 383 Madison Avenue (better known as the Bear Stearns Building) did not happen until 2002. But 383 Madison Avenue was not just designed to be one of the tallest skyscrapers in New York; the primary design was to limit business interruptions through massive oil and water reservoirs and unique uninterruptible power supplies and back-up emergency power systems. These unique properties of 383 Madison Avenue helped it achieve the New York Construction Award of Merit in 2001 and the BOMA Award in both 2002 and 2003.

The architectural style of 383 Madison Avenue is known as” post modern” and stands 757 feet tall with an octagonal-shaped tower sitting atop a rectangular base. But the most predominant feature of the building is the 70 foot, seven story octagonal glass crown that stands proud within the New York City skyline.

Like most skyscrapers 383 Madison Avenue is made of steel to withstand both natural elements and disasters. The exterior of the steel is clad in “Deer Island” granite and features large tinted glass windows with chrome colored metal trim.

The interior of 383 Madison Avenue features 47 floors and has a total surface space of 1,200,000 square feet. When originally opened 383 Madison Avenue was the world headquarters for Bear Stearns’ trading operations and was strategically located on the top six floors of the eight story rectangular base. Each trading floor accommodated nearly 420 traders on a daily basis and covered approximately 42,000 square feet. The interior design of the building also has some very unique features. An average office has 12 foot tall ceilings while 383 Madison Avenue has an open concept with the octagon tower reflecting what appear to be several extremely tall trading floors.

But just like any other architectural structure the Bear Stearns Build at 383 Madison Avenue was not without criticism. Joseph Giovannini of the New York Magazine was quoted as saying “As if revealing the subconscious desire of what the tower really wanted to be, a tiara of translucent glass emerges at the top.” “The notion of a tiara is lovely, but given the girth of this one, it is more like a choker.”

Upon the collapse and sale of Bear Stearn in 2008 the Bear Stearns building (better known as 383 Madison Avenue) is now owned by JP Morgan Chase. But it is no longer referred to as the Bear Stearns building it is commonly known to New Yorkers as New York City’s lighthouse because when illuminated at night the seven story glass crown shines like a beacon in the night.

NYC Cheesecake
Cheesecake in its present form is a relatively “young” culinary invention, but cheesecake itself goes back for centuries. With the natural sweetness of young cheese, it was natural that it wouldn’t take long before some smart cookie started playing around with it in desserts.

All the way back in Roman times, in the first century A.D., there was a sweet cake often used as a temple offering called libum. See if the ingredients sound a little familiar: cheese, flour, eggs and occasionally honey. Culinarily, that’s not all that terribly far from what we know today, although the libum was designed to be cooked and wrapped in leaves in a fire. These are a few steps removed from a Viking oven with electronic temperature control.

When the Romans invaded most of Europe and part of Asia, they brought their foods with them, including libum. The genius of the libum recipe is that it’s made of ingredients that are available in almost every culture. It’s also very simple, so even the most inexperienced or illiterate (as most were back then) cook can execute it with a fairly high chance of success. Another benefit to its simplicity is that it’s open to interpretation, and one look at the vast array of modern cheesecake varieties will tell you that has happened in a big way.

Numerous people and restaurants, as with any food discovery traced back to the early 20th Century, claim cheesecake in New York. The most popular candidate, however, is Arnold Reuben, who owned the now-legendary Turf Restaurant in New York City. He claimed the New York cheesecake was a family recipe, and his claim deserves legitimacy if only for the number of people who were introduced to the wonders of its simple flavors at the restaurant.

Wherever the New York cheesecake recipe came from, and whatever person or family we have to thank for it, it has become a landmark on our culinary landscape and one of the cornerstones of what we now call American cuisine.