With such a beautiful city and so many cameras around, don’t you want to get some pictures of the amazing architecture and views surrounding the island of Manhattan?

We are putting together a photo tour of the Upper West Side of Manhattan with the waterfront, beautiful buildings and Central Park in the afternoon. Stay tuned for details and write us if you are interested in one of our early spring tours of the area.

We can do photo tours anywhere in the city, so if there is somewhere you would like to go, let us know and we can customize a tour for you and your group.

Historic, but not famous

Barnett Baff was a poultry dealer, murdered on November 24, 1914 by an organized crime syndicate that represented the “poultry trust”. The trust extorted $10 per truckload of poultry from merchants.  Baff’s death led to an investigation of organized crime in New York City and led to the resignation of Captain John McClintock, the deputy Police Commissioner.

Historic, but not famous

Bruce Wright, judge

Bruce McMarion Wright (1917 – 2005) was a jurist who served on the New York State Supreme Court. Though he was born in Baltimore, he spent most of his adult life in Harlem. In 1939, he received a scholarship to  Princeton University, but was denied admission when he arrived and the university learned that he was black.  Notre Dame also denied him admission on the same grounds. He was able to study at Virginia Union University, and graduated from Lincoln University in 1942.

He served in the Army, in a segregated unit during World War II and eventually ended up in Paris. His early ambition to become a poet was fulfilled when he wrote “From the Shaken Tower.” The book was edited by Langston Hughes and published in 1944. He left poetry for Law and studied at Fordham University Law School, obtaining his law degree from New York Law School.

He was named general counsel for the New York City Human Resources Administration in 1967 and assigned to the bench for the first time in 1970, serving in the Criminal Court of New York City. Judge Wright was soon publicly critical of the judicial system and voiced his belief that race and class all too frequently determined the outcomes of trials. He denounced what he called racism in the criminal justice system, and created a furor by often setting low bail, and sometimes no bail, for poor or minority suspects.

His views and low bails made him unpopular with police officers and prosecutors and he was assigned to civil court. After a lawsuit, he was brought back to the criminal court. Throughout his career, Wright held onto his belief that the judicial system, including bail, was stacked against poor and minority defendants.

Judge Wright spent 25 years on the bench hearing criminal and civil cases. He was the author of a 1987 book, Black Robes, White Justice, about the role of race in the judicial system, which won a 1991 American Book Award. He later authored an autobiography, “Black Justice In A White World.” Sixty-five years after being denied admission to Princeton because of his race, he was made an honorary member of their Class of 2001.

Historic, but not famous

Isaac Hopper, abolitionist, prison reformer

Isaac Tatem Hopper (1771 – 1852) was an abolitionist who was active in Philadelphia in the anti-slavery movement and protecting fugitive slaves and free blacks from slave kidnappers. He moved to New York City in 1829 to run a Quaker bookstore. From 1841-1845 he served as treasurer and book agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1845 he became active in prison reform and devoted the rest of his life to the Prison Association of New York.

He influenced his daughter, who started the Women’s Prison Association to work for prison reform as well. His work was known by legislatures in Albany and the governor trusted his opinion on the pardoning of many prisoners.

The Isaac T. Hopper Home of the Women’s Prison Association

The Isaac T. Hopper House, a Greek Revival townhouse at 110 Second Avenue in the East Village of Manhattan stands in his honor and for the work he did with the Quakers and prison reform. The house has been part of the prison reform system since the 1870s. It continues to serve as a half way house for female prisoners.  The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, and was designated a New York City landmark in 2009.