See the real New York City beyond the usual tourist sites with We Can Tour That

First time visitors to New York City generally head straight for Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. While these are all must see attractions, they are just the tip of the iceberg of all that the city has to offer. To really get to know the city, you need to venture outside the well trafficked tourist districts and head for the neighborhoods where New Yorkers live. In other words, you have to go off the beaten path and explore. Our goal at We Can Tour That is to assist you in seeing all that New… Read More

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Dr. Alexander Skene, inventor of surgical instruments

Alexander Johnston Chalmers Skene (1837 – 1900) was a British gynecologist from Scotland who described what became known as Skene’s glands. He came to North America at the age of 19 to study. He began his studies in Toronto, continued in Michigan and and finally at the Long Island College Hospital (now the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center) in Brooklyn. He graduated in 1863 and began a career in the Army. After the army he entered private practice in Brooklyn and became a Professor of Disease of Women at Long Island College Hospital. He was professor of gynecology at the Medical School of New York in 1884,… Read More

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Jacob Schiff, philanthropist

Jacob Henry Schiff (born Jakob Heinrich Schiff; 1847 – 1920) was a Jewish-American banker, businessman, and philanthropist. Among many other things, he helped finance the expansion of American railroads. He was born in Germany and migrated to the United States after the American Civil War and joined the firm Kuhn, Loeb & Co on Wall street. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in September 1870 Mr. Schiff was the most well known and influential Jewish leader from 1880 to 1920 in what later became known as the “Schiff era”, grappling with all major Jewish issues and problems of the day, including the plight of Russian Jews under the Tsar, American and… Read More

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General Winfield Scott

Winfield Scott (1786 – 1866) was a United States Army general and the unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852 against General William Henry Harrison (winner) and Senator Henry Clay. He served on active duty as a general longer than any other person in American history, is rated as one of the Army’s most senior commissioned officers, and is ranked by many historians as the best American commander of his time. Over the course of his 53-year career, he commanded forces in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Mexican–American War, and the Second Seminole War. He developed many strategic plans for the wars as well as… Read More

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Austin Roe,Tavern keeper

Austin Roe (1749 – 1830) was the owner of Roe’s Tavern and Roe’s Eagle Hotel and a member of the Culper Ring, a successful spy network during the American Revolution that was organized in 1778 by George Washington. Mr. Washington stayed at the Tavern on a visit to East Setauket in 1790 on a tour of Long Island. Mr. Roe, as part of  the spy ring, was as a courier for messages across the 55 miles that separated the spy ring’s two centers of operation – New York City and Setauket. Both areas were occupied by the British, but he was able to secretly relay messages from… Read More

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Stuart Constable, NYC Parks Department

As performances for Shakespeare in the Park are announced, lets take a look at the man who almost stopped them from happening. This NYC institution was started by Joe Papp in Central Park on the lawn in the 1950s, but in 1959, Stuart Constable (1900 – 1979) went up against the event in the park. As the 1959 Shakespeare In The Park season was set to begin and Robert Moses, Park Commissioner, was on vacation, leaving decisions to Stuart Constable, his right hand man in all matters park. Constable was violently anti-communist. Upon hearing that Joe Papp had been called… Read More

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Alfredo Thiebaud

Alfredo Thiebaud (December 13, 1939 – September 19, 2014) was the founder and president of Delicioso Coco Helado, known for its coconut flavored ices. He was born in Honduras in 1939. By the 1960s he had immigrated to the Bronx and opened the business that recreated a dessert popular in Latin America and the Caribbean. The business started in the kitchen of his  apartment. He would eventually added more flavors such as cherry and mango. Alfredo employed workers and supplied vendors with pushcarts that he built himself in his factory basement. These employees became his family, as well as the Bronx community… Read More

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Carrie McHenry Thomas, Parks Department

Carrie McHenry Thomas (1913 – 2013) was the first African-American to work at the Arsenal in Central Park with the New York City Parks Department. She was recruited in 1937 by Stuart Constable, the Director of Parks under Robert Moses. She worked in Room 100, which was then the Capital Projects division for Parks. She was one of three women working there, and started out as a Contract and Specification Writer. She worked in the Capital Projects division until 1978. She also advocated for the hiring of other African-Americans in the park department including engineers and architects. Ms. Thomas worked… Read More

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