Monday, November 2, 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Municipal Archives offer rare glimpse into NYC’s nearly 400-year history most people will never know BY GINGER ADAMS OTIS


Australian historian Shane White at the New York County Clerk Records office, which he said has "the best set of records I have ever seen."

Some of the city’s best-kept secrets are all hidden in one place — but you have to know what you’re looking for to find them.
Inside the Municipal Archives, there’s a remarkable set of records full of forgotten history: the District Attorney’s Indictment Papers.
They’re part of an incredible 221,000 cubic feet of documents kept by the city’s team of archivists and conservationists. Almost anything related to New York City life can be found there, from 1645 all the way through the Bloomberg years.
This includes things like the very earliest etchings of the green space that became Central Park, tales of a black millionaire who got his start running brothels in the city and Robert Moses’ vision to create a huge expressway in lower Manhattan.
Moses’ plan to turn Tribeca into a highway will be re-created for a city Department of Records’ exhibit opening Wednesday. It will feature a large-scale model of what the expressway would have looked like.


White has found records on libel cases, drunken brawls, murders and even some old evidence from long-ago cases within the archives.

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