Guido Bruno, Bruno’s Garrett

Guido Bruno (1884–1942) was a well-known Greenwich Village character, and small press publisher and editor, sometimes called ‘the Barnum of Bohemia’. He emigrated to the United States from Prague as a second cabin class passenger under the name Kurt Kisch in December 1906. He was based at his “Garret on Washington Square” where for an admission fee tourists could observe “genuine Bohemian” artists at work. He staged “bohemian” working environments with painters, writers and models” and charged admission for the expectant visitors. He produced a series of little magazine publications from there and sold them to the tourists and others. From July 1915 to December 1916, Bruno’s Weekly published poems, short stories,… Read More

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Christopher Gray, author and architecture critic

Christopher Gray (1951-2017), an architectural detective and social historian whose Streetscapes column in The New York Times brought to light all of the architectural wonders of New York City. The column ran from 1987 to 2016 in the Real Estate section on Sunday in the NY Times and many readers made it their first stop on Sunday morning. The  columns “were narratives of creation, abandonment and restoration that lovingly highlighted quirky design and backstairs gossip from decades past.” (NY Times) Mr. Gray also founded the Office for Metropolitan History in 1975. The office could be hired to do research on a building including… Read More

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Franz Sigel, military commander

Franz Sigel (November 18, 1824 – August 21, 1902) was a military officer, revolutionist and German immigrant to the United States who was a teacher, newspaperman, politician, and served as a Union major general in the Civil War. He was able recruit German-speaking immigrants to the Union armies, greatly appreciated by President Abraham Lincoln. Sigel served in the German military for many years, he became Secretary of War and commander-in-chief of the revolutionary republican government of Baden and was wounded during battle. He immigrated to New York in 1852 along with many others from his corp. He taught in the New York Public schools, but eventually moved to St. Louis to… Read More

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Oliver E. Allen, historian, writer, editor, Tribeca preservationist

Oliver E. Allen, historian, writer and editor for Life magazine and later editor at Time-Life Books, authored more than a dozen books, including two histories of New York City: “New York, New York”  and “The Tiger,” a history of Tammany Hall. In Tribeca, where he moved to a Hudson Street loft overlooking Duane Park with his wife Deborah in 1982, Allen was best known for his Tribeca Trib column, “Old Tribeca,” and for his volunteer contributions to the community as co-founder of Friends of Duane Park. He also was part of a small group whose work led to the designation… Read More

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John de Morgan, author, Staten Island park advocate

Frank Sheridan a.k.a. John de Morgan, (1848-1926) was an Irish-born writer with a background in the classics. He worked as a tax-collector in Staten Island, New York. He  was a regular contributor of historical novels (specializing in Colonial and American revolutionary War stories), science fiction and other subjects for serials for Norman L. Munro’s Golden Hours from 1888 and also published three serials in George Munro’s Fireside Companion. He also wrote parodies and essays using the pseudonyms Captain Luther Barr, John L. Douglas, Frank Sheridan, and An Old Salt”. Mr. de Morgan lived on Staten Island from 1883 until his death… Read More

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Iris De La Cruz, AIDS activist

Iris De La Cruz helped found a support group for prostitutes and after she became infected with the AIDS virus, she started several groups for people like her. She started the first support group for positive women and another for hetero singles. She confronted people who looked at her struggle with drugs and prostitution and finally with AIDS as shameful and telling them she was not ashamed. She fought the stigma of AIDS, her body weakened but her spirit and humor never waned.  She was an inspiration to so many people. She did a lot in the short time she was… Read More

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Ida Rauh, suffragist, actress, sculpture, poet

Ida Rauh (March 7, 1877 – February 28, 1970) was a lawyer, suffragist, actress, sculptor, and poet who helped found the Provincetown Players in 1915. The group originally performed in Provincetown, RI, but moved to MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. She directed the first production of O’Neill’s one-act play “Where the Cross Is Made”, and in the Village she became known for her intensely emotional acting. Ms. Rauh graduated from New York University Law School in 1902, but had little hope of practicing law as the profession did not allow women to present cases. She moved her interest to Union organization and helped with… Read More

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