Charles Higgins, ink maker

Charles M. Higgins (1854-1929) began his ink business about 1880. His first ink was Higgin’s India ink. By 1888, magazines like Harper’s Weekly, were using his ink for their drawings. His first successes were with artists when many publications recommended his drawing and waterproof inks. He began using famous artist testimonials to promote his drawing products. His success allowed him to advertise widely as he expanded his line of products. He introduced laundry Ink, Higgins Indelible Ink and a vegetable mucilage, not a starch or flour based products like other companies wee making but a new chemical discovery. Patent registrations increased… Read More

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David Sharps, Hudson Waterfront Museum

David Sharps, after working as a street performer and serving long stints on cruise ships, found himself studying theatrical movement in Paris. While there, he lived on a houseboat on the Seine. When he returned to New York, David wanted to continue living on a boat, so a tugboat captain introduced him to the Lehigh Valley No. 79 Barge, which he bought for $1.   The barge had 300 tons of mud in it, and it took 7 years to restore it a seaworthy condition. In 1992, a conference led by the legendary Pete Seeger was the cornerstone of Sharps finding… Read More

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Anthony Janszoon van Salee, landholder, merchant, and creditor

Anthony Janszoon van Salee (1607–1676) was an original settler of and prominent landholder, merchant, and creditor in New Netherlands. Van Salee is believed to be the son of  a Dutch pirate and a  Moorish mother. He was likely raised as a Muslim; he may have been the first of this background to settle in the New World. Though upon settling in New Amsterdam,  he and his wife practiced Christianity. He was born in Spain and captured off the coast, becoming a pirate before returning to his family and moving to Morocco. He married a German woman in 1629 and they moved to New Amsterdam… Read More

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Arthur Wood, Broken Angel House

Brooklyn artist Arthur Wood purchased a 4-story brick tenement building in 1979 for $2,000 in the Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy neighborhood. He proceeded to add on to the building with his wife Cynthia over the next 27 years. The house was a mix of pieces from various projects and Arthur had a camera obscura on the top area and a room that looked like it floated in the air. The inside was like a huge cathedral with arches and colorful “stained glass windows” that were made from the remains of bottles and glass. (I looked out my bedroom window and saw the house… Read More

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Charles Sibirsky, teacher, jazz musician

Charles Sibirsky has been a Jazz pianist in the New York City area for over 30 years. He has performed at every jazz venue in NYC. He was just 17 when he started his musical career, playing with trios and quartets in the Catskill Mountains. He majored in music at Brooklyn College and began his teaching career at Academy Music Studios in Brooklyn. While teaching he met legendary pianist Sal Mosca and studied with him for over 2 decades. Mr. Sibirsky is a performer and composer. In Brooklyn he founded  and serves as the director of Slope Music where he continues to… Read More

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Adolph Namm, dry good store owner in Brooklyn

Adolph I. Namm (1856 – 1920) was a Polish immigrant, coming to NYC in 1870, and opening  an embroidery and upholstery business in Manhattan along Ladies Miles on 6th AVenue. In 1885, he moved his business in Brooklyn, and by 1891 he opened a new store at 452 Fulton. At the time, that stretch of Fulton Street was emerging as a popular commercial shopping destination. His son, Benjamin Harrison Namm, eventually took over the business in 1910 due to Adolph’s poor health. During its heyday, the store was enormously successful. It was also one of the largest cash-only enterprises in… Read More

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Dave Herman, City Reliquary

The beginnings of the City Reliquary date to 2002, when founder Dave Herman (born 1976) began displaying objects in the windows of his ground-floor Williamsburg apartment. People walking by were drawn to the odd array of local artifacts, and Herman received object donations and loans from people who wanted to share their own odd items with others in the community. As the collection grew, Herman moved the repository to a location on Metropolitan Avenue. The new museum opened on April 1, 2006.   Dave Herman grew up in Orlando, Fla., home to Disney World and had little interest in the “false history”… Read More

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