Author Archives: Ben


Visits with my younger daughter who lives in France are fewer than I would prefer: once or, if I am lucky, twice a year. We plan our time together when I arrive serendipitously, choosing local sites, repairing things in her house side-by-side, doing laundry, cooking together and enjoying a normal and pleasant adult relationship. But […]

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Picking a Beautiful Bronx Mansion’s Lock

[Acknowledgement: The author graciously acknowledges being introduced to the Keil Mansion described below by Frances Stern, some many years ago.] On a chilly November morning I knocked on the door of 381 East 165th Street in the Bronx, a short walk from the busy, modern stretch of the Bronx Judicial Center complex on 161st Street, […]

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On the Wings of Angels

During the weeks after my mother’s passing on December 4, 2016, I was particularly comforted by the invitation of my friend Abe, the bal koreh (official Torah reader) at Park Avenue Synagogue on 87th Street and Madison Avenue, to attend Shabbes (Sabbath) services and recite the mourner’s kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead that […]

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A Widow’s Mite: Virginia Penny and the Struggle for Equal Employment and Pay for Women in the USA in the Late 19th Century

Well-known social reformers of many a stripe are interred in Green-Wood Cemetery.  Single Taxer Henry George, anti-slavery leader Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, (known in his time as The Great Divine for his oratory and inspirational skills), and Henry Bergh, founder of the ASPCA and The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children […]

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In Charles Yerkes’ Corrupt Footsteps: The Trilogy of Desire, Philadelphia Version: 2016

Walking down Broadway a few weeks ago, my cell-phone rang, and despite the caller’s number being unknown to me, and suspecting a sales call of some sort, I answered and was rewarded in spades. Visions of time-share re-purchasers and other cons jumped to mind, and I was far but not so far from wrong. An […]

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The Measure of a Man

The size of a funeral is the measure of a man, and in 1932, Upper West Sider Sol Brill’s departure from this earth was larger than life.  An, honest, dignified, gentle soul was cut down by cancer at age 54, at the height of his career as a movie-theater builder and operator.  Brill’s funeral was […]

Posted in A Walker in the City: Flaneur Pieces, Lost New York, Sol Brill, Sol Brill, Uncategorized, Yiddish Land + Jewish Themes | Leave a comment

A Review of “East in Eden: William Niblo and His Pleasure Garden of Yore”

From New York Irish History Volume 28 (2014), released November, 2015: East in Eden, William Niblo & His Pleasure Garden of Yore by Benjamin Feldman (The Green-Wood Historic Fund in association with New York Wanderer Press, 2014) William Niblo (1790–1878), an Irish immigrant who amassed an entertainment and real estate empire in New York City […]

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All that remains….

Embarked on another difficult voyage, I thought I finally spied land from afar, in a quest to repatriate to its rightful heir yet another found object, in this case a trove, rescued from the trash, of family pictures and memorabilia.   I’ve searched for Kathy Denton Saville for a good four years, my only clues […]

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A minor correction must be added to my biography of William Niblo East in Eden: William Niblo and His Pleasure Garden of Yore.  On page 92, third line, I mistakenly identified the location of the New York City Almshouse in 1818 as being on Blackwell’s (now Roosevelt) Island in the East River.  In fact the Almshouse, […]

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The Toast of the Town….

                                  Billy Niblo is quite the man these days, despite being gone since 1878 ! Come hear this blogger speak about Niblo’s fascinating career as New York’s premier tavernkeep and then pleasure garden owner in the early and mid-19th century […]

Posted in Lost New York, Talks & Events, William Niblo biography | 2 Comments