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Hells Kitchen: The Political History of the NY Irish Walking Tour


Sunday, March 23, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

Hells Kitchen: The Political History of the NY Irish...

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Tour ticket Ended $12.50 $1.30

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Event Details

Tour Leader: James Kaplan, Historian, Lawyer & Walking Tour Guide

This working class Irish neighborhood of old and new law tenements immediately west of the theater district was once one of the toughest areas in the City where the Irish street gangs, bootleggers, gamblers and mobsters held sway. However, it is today home to major law, accounting and advertising firms, off broadway theaters and trendy bars and restaurants as well as upscale apartment buildings in which actors and young professionals reside.

Nevertheless, many do not realize that the political leadership of the area has remained the same for the last 100 years. For the past 50 years, the Democratic party district leader of the area has been the legendary Jimmy McManus, fourth generation of the McMani of Tammany Hall, whose McManus Midtown Democratic Club is the oldest continuously functioning Democratic Club in New York City, and has controlled the area politically since 1892 when Jim's great grand uncle defeated Tammany leader George Washington Plunkitt. Another notable figure the tour will discuss is Frances Perkins. Perkins, a social worker in Hell's Kitchen who later became FDR's Labor Secretary and creator of Social Security, got her start in New York politics in 1910 by a chance meeting with Thomas J. McManus.

This unique tour will discuss the political history of the area, including its evolution from the days when the gentleman mobster Owney Madden (believed to be the inspiration for Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby) ran the liquor distribution in the City during Prohibition (as well as the Cotton Club in Harlem and leading prize fighters) to the days in the 1950's of turf wars between Irish and Puerto Rican gangs (the inspiration for West Side Story), to the ultimately successful struggle in the 1970's by the community in alliance with the Catholic Church to save the area and the adjacent theater district from the proliferation of pimps, prostitutes and pornographic purveyors.

The tour will also discuss the close and symbiotic relationship of the Hell''s Kitchen community with the theater district, and how Off Broadway theater companies and playwrights such as Wendy Wasserstein helped revitalize the Broadway theater. It will also discuss the influence of such groups as the "West Side Kids" whose alumni include the area's representatives in both Congress and the New York State assembly, as well as political consultants who managed the successful reelection campaigns of President Bill Clinton and President Boris Yeltsin.

It will end with a visit to one of the neighborhood's local bars, Mickey Spillanes.

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When & Where

St. Patrick's Cathedral
5th Ave
New York, NY 10022

Sunday, March 23, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

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CultureNOW dedicates itself to celebrating our vast cultural environment as a gallery that exists beyond museum walls through cultural tourism and arts education.  It believes that the three facets to understanding the world around us are art, architecture and history.  CultureNOW is powered by a network of professionals - scholars, artists, architects, urban planners, educators, curators, historians - who generously volunteer their time and expertise to advance our mission.

Currently, over 75 public art collections across America are collaborating with cultureNOW to create a digital National Gallery of art and architecture in the public realm, in other words a "Museum Without Walls". Already one of the largest and most comprehensive compendiums in the country, the online collection encompasses more than 11,000 sites and 21,000 images supplemented by over 1050 podcasts by artists, architects, historians and curators. In addition, cultureNOW has adopted GPS technology to develop a sophisticated iPhone app that serves as a guidebook to the Museum Without Walls.

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Hells Kitchen: The Political History of the NY Irish Walking Tour
New York, NY Events Tour Community

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