Your Neighborhood at a Glance: The Oldest Attractions in NYC
While NYC is constantly progressing, improving, and changing, the city’s rich history is always present and affecting. The five boroughs always seem to be looking ahead, while at the same time understanding the importance of the past. This sentiment is evident in the many landmarks and preserved establishments that are still standing today.
Along with the help of local expert agent Keith Marder, we at the Halstead blog have compiled a list of some of the oldest sites in New York City.
Oldest Pizzeria: Lombardi’s
Licensed by NYC in 1905, Lombardi’s isn’t only the first pizzeria in the five boroughs, it’s the first pizzeria in the United States. Located in Little Italy, the coal oven pies that Lombardi’s produces are still fantastic. This establishment’s age and offered cuisine demonstrates New York’s cultural diversity and progressive attitude even in the early 1900s.
Oldest Bar: Bridge Cafe
Located in FiDi, right underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, this bar and restaurant was founded in 1794. It’s not only the oldest continually operating bar in NYC, but it was also once a brothel. Many of the architectural details, such as the ceiling, date back to when the wood-framed building was first built. They also serve some of the best soft-shell crabs in the city.
Oldest Clothing Store: Brooks Brothers
Founded in 1818, this fashionable clothing store has been at its current location, at Madison Avenue and 44th Street, since 1915. The store’s offerings have a definitive look and feel, a preppy country-club style. Abraham Lincoln actually work a Brooks Brothers coat to his second inauguration.
Oldest Jewelry Store: Tiffany & Co. (Shown Above)
The pinnacle of jewelry stores was founded in 1837 and has been at its current location, 727 Fifth Avenue in Midtown East, since 1940. The store has been featured in films, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and produces the Vince Lombardi Trophy awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl every year.
Oldest College: Columbia University
Originally called King’s College, there were only eight students in the very first class held in 1754 in the vestry room at the Trinity Church. The school got its own building in 1760, and moved to its current location in Morningside Heights in 1897. The buildings on the campus were built in an Italian Renaissance style and the alumni from this prestigious university include such historical figures as Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt, and Barack Obama.
Oldest Newspaper: New York Post
Founded by famous Columbia alumnus Alexander Hamilton in 1801, this newspaper is still popular today and is known for creative headlines, an excellent sports section, and a celebrity gossip section. In it’s early years, the publication’s liberal influence was substantial, including an early opposition to slavery and support of the 14th Amendment.
Oldest Museum: The New York Historical Society
Located on the Upper West Side, at 170 Central Park West, this museum predates the Metropolitan Museum of Art by about 70 years. The museum is packed with art and artifacts that display the history of New York City and beyond. Some pieces included in the displays are Napoleon’s authorization for the Louisiana Purchase and the original watercolors for John James Audobon’s The Birds of America.
Oldest Orchestra: The New York Philharmonic
Founded in 1842, this orchestra is not only the oldest in New York City, but the United States. They performed the American premiere of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in 1846. In 2010, they played their 15,000th concert. These days, you can catch their performances mainly at Lincoln Center, but other venues as well, including some free shows in City parks.