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Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver
September 17th, 6:30 - 9th Floor

2007 marks the 100th anniversary of the first gas-powered, taxi-metered cabs; today more than 12,000 licensed yellow cabs operate in Manhattan alone. Graham Russell Gao Hodges, a former New York City cabdriver, and currently the George Dorland Langdon, Jr. Professor of History at Colgate University, will show film clips and speak about his recent book, Taxi! A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver (Johns Hopkins University Press). Taxi! is the first book-length history of New York City cabdrivers and the community they compose. Hodges tells the tale through contemporary news accounts, Hollywood films, social science research, and the words of the cabbies themselves.



Word and Deed: John Bowne and the Flushing Remonstrance
September 24th, 6:30 - Recital Hall

In 1657, 350 years ago, the citizens of Flushing, Queens wrote to Peter Stuyvesant protesting a decree prohibiting Quakers from worshipping in the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Known as the Flushing Remonstrance, Stuyvesant was unmoved. Seven years later, John Bowne’s forceful argument for religious tolerance prompted the Dutch West India Company to order Stuyvesant to allow all colonists, regardless of faith, to worship freely. This forum examines the struggle of colonists to win religious tolerance in New Netherland. Legal scholars believe that the Flushing Remonstrance influenced the principles codified in 1791 in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Panel Participants: Donald R. Friary, Director Emeritus, Historic Deerfield, Inc; Evan Haefeli, Assistant Professor of History, Columbia University; Daniel J. Hulsebosch, Professor of Law, New York University, and Carla Gardina Pestana, W.E. Smith Professor of History, Miami University, Ohio.

This forum is funded by generous grants from New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.

Co-sponsored with The Bowne House Historical Society and Flushing Quaker Meeting House.



Building Capitol: The Vernacular Architecture of the Garment District
October 9th, 6:30 - Recital Hall

The Garment District is one of the most famous neighborhoods of New York City. This is an area well known to labor historians, but virtually unknown to historians of the city's built environment. Andrew Dolkart, the James Marston Fitch Associate Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University's School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and author of the award-winning Morningside Heights: A History of its Architecture and Development, will give an illustrated lecture on the vernacular architecture of the Garment District, examining the forces that resulted in the extraordinary rapidity of development of showrooms, factories, and lofts.

Co-sponsored with the Leon Levy Foundation as part of its “Garment Industry History Initiative.”


White, Ethnic New York: Jews, Catholics and the Shaping of Postwar Politics
October 25th, 6:30 - Recital Hall

Joshua Zeitz, Professor of History at Pembroke, Cambridge University, will talk about his new book, White, Ethnic New York: Jews, Catholics and the Shaping of Postwar Politics (University of North Carolina Press). Historians of postwar America often identify race as the driving force behind the dynamically shifting political culture. Zeitz instead places ethnicity at the forefront, arguing that ideological conflict among Irish Catholics, Italian Catholics, and Jews in New York City had an important impact on the shape of liberal politics.

Co-sponsored with The Center for Jewish Studies.



New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg
November 6th, 6:30 - Recital Hall

Acclaimed historian Marshall Berman and journalist Brian Berger gather a stellar group of contributors from the forthcoming New York Calling (University of Chicago Press), including John Strausbaugh and Joe Anastasio.

New York City in the 1970s was the setting for Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, and Saturday Night Fever; the nightmare playground for Son of Sam; and the proving grounds for graffiti, punk, and hip-hop. Musicians, artists, and writers were reinventing the city in their own image. Others, fed up with crime, filth, and frustration, simply split. Fast-forward three decades. Is this fresh-scrubbed, affluent city really an improvement on its grittier predecessor? New York Calling reminds us of what has changed––and what’s been lost ––along the way.



Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? 75th Anniversary Celebration
November 26th, 6:30 - Recital Hall

“Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” the “Anthem of the Great Depression”, was written in New York City in 1932 and remains a timeless song of protest for millions around the world. With music by Jay Gorney and words by Yip Harburg (CCNY class of ’17), the great American lyricist known as “Broadway’s social conscience,” the song’s title came from New Yorkers suddenly jobless—part of the unemployed “one third of the nation”—forced to stand on street corners and ask passersby for change to buy food.

The Yip Harburg Foundation will present a multi-media event, “’Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?’: New York City Songs for Social Justice,” featuring remarks by Yip Harburg himself (on video), period footage, songs of the ‘30s, and the participation of Harburg’s son and grandson, as well as special guest singers and songwriters.

Co-sponsored with the Yip Harburg Foundation.



Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History
December 10th, 6:30 - Recital Hall

The SDS Comic Show, a traveling exhibit drawing upon the book Students for a Democratic Society: a Graphic History, will be open at the CUNY Graduate Center in December. Come see the exhibit and join us for a book signing and panel discussion for Students for a Democratic Society: a Graphic History, scripted by Harvey Pekar and others and edited by Paul Buhle, editor of the 1960s SDS magazine Radical America. Harvey Pekar, real-life star of the award-winning film and the book series American Splendor (and sometime Letterman Show guest), will deliver a talk on comics and politics, followed by a panel including Buhle, former SDS-NY regional officer, Weatherman Jeff Jones, and members of the New SDS.




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