James Montgomery Flagg, illustrator, Uncle Sam

James Montgomery Flagg (June 18, 1877 – May 27, 1960) was an American artist and illustrator. He worked in media ranging from fine art painting to cartooning, but is best remembered for his political posters. He began drawing while quite young and had illustrations accepted by national magazines by the age of 12 years. He created his most famous work in 1917, a poster to encourage recruitment in the United States Army during World War I. It showed Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer (inspired by a British recruitment poster showing Lord Kitchener in a similar pose) with the caption… Read More

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Lewis H. Michaux, bookstore owner, civil rights activist

Lewis H. Michaux (1895–1976) was a Harlem bookseller and civil rights activist. Between 1932 and 1974 he owned the African National Memorial Bookstore in Harlem, New York City, one of the most prominent African-American bookstores in the country.  Before coming to New York he worked as a pea picker, window washer and deacon in a church in Philadelphia. Michaux opened the African National Memorial Bookstore in 1932 on 7th Avenue and stayed there until 1968, when he was forced to move the store to West 125th Street (on the corner of 7th street) to give space to the State Harlem… Read More

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Joseph Mason and Ernest Von Au, “The Candy Men”

Mason and Von Au had a factory that manufactured Mints and Candy Bars as Mason, Au and Mangenheimer Candy in 1885 at #20 Henry Street, at the NW corner of Middagh in Brooklyn. The company was founded in 1864. By 1880 Mason and Au were joined by Emil Zollinger, and the name changed to Mason, Au & Zollinger. Two of their most popular candies were Mason Peaks, a coconut-chocolate combination (like Mounds) and  Mason Mints, a chocolate-covered mint patty (like today’s Peppermint Pattie). Mason also made Dots, a fruit or cinnamon-flavored gumdrop, and Crows, a licorice-flavored gumdrop. Both are still… Read More

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Anthony “Speed” Hanzlick, sportsman, pilot

Anthony Hanzlik, a photographer and a pioneer pilot for aerial photography managed Flushing Airport in Queens from 1936 until his death in 1974. Mr. Hanzlik did aerial photography for New York newspapers and was noted for his skill in piloting news photographers on hazardous assignments such as fire and train wrecks. He got his nickname, Speed, as a youngster when he served as a messenger at the WrightMartin Aircraft Company’s factory in Long Island City, Queens. He was a flyer in WWI and tested pilots for the Royal Airforce in WWII. In 1960, he was taking pictures of a fire… Read More

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Everardus Bogardus, minister, Dutch Reformed Church

Everardus Bogardus (1607 – 27 September 1647) was the second minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, the oldest established church in present-day New York, which was then located on Pearl Street (Manhattan) at its first location built in 1633, the year he came to New Amsterdam. Rev. Bogardus frequently called out the Governor Willem Kieft and prominent citizen Otto Von Twiller from the pulpit for their running of the colony and public drunkeness. He died in a shipwreck while returning to Amsterdam on church business, but his descendants have also made their mark on NYC, including James Bogardus, who pioneered… Read More

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Astin Jacobo, Unofficial Mayor of Crotona, Baseball Academy founder

Astin Jacobo (1929-2002), was a community advocate who played an important role in the renewal of his problem-ridden Bronx neighborhood, Crotona, a neighborhood he had lived in since 1970. He was often called the Unofficial Mayor of Crotona. Besides doing volunteer work and serving as an organizer, Mr. Jacobo worked for decades as the custodian of St. Martin of Tours elementary school in Crotona. After moving to Crotona from his home in the Dominican Republic, he used his knowledge of sports to form children’s sports teams. A baseball academy was eventually begun in his name in The Bronx. He got… Read More

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Holcombe Rucker, activist, basketball tournament founder

Holcombe Rucker (March 2, 1926 – March 20, 1965) was a playground director in Harlem for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation from 1948 to 1964. He founded the New York City pro-am basketball tournament, that still bears his name and is the namesake of a world-famous basketball court in Harlem. Rucker grew up in Manhattan and  started the tournament in 1950 at a playground on 7th Avenue between 128th and 129th streets. He insisted that education be a fundamental part of the Rucker League, in keeping with its motto — “Each one, teach one.” Through his… Read More

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