Real Estate

Seen & Heard: Civil rights activist gets her due

Matt S. send this summary of a remarkable downtown story resurfacing in the media: Little known Lower Manhattan civil right pioneer Elizabeth Jennings is featured in the latest episode of Mo Rocca’s new podcast and was also featured in the Times’ series Overlooked. Nearly 100 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in Montgomery, Jennings was asked to get off a trolley car that she boarded at Pearl and Park Row to make room for white passengers. It was 1855. She refused and was roughed up by the conductor, the driver and the police. Her father, a prosperous tailor on Church Street who invented a dry cleaning machine, hired a 26-year-old lawyer from Vermont, Chester Arthur – who will later become the president of the United States — and won a lawsuit against the Third Avenue Railroad System.

(The Times’ Sam Roberts had this genius lede: “Because she was running behind one Sunday morning, Elizabeth Jennings turned out to be a century ahead of her time.”)

Around the timestamp 14:15, Mo asks an expert why Elizabeth Jennings isn’t well known, and one potential reason cited is that her “story doesn’t fit with the narrative of the story we like to tell about the North. So in order to know about Elizabeth Jennings, you have to know that slavery existed in the North. You have to know that slavery existed in the North for almost as long as it did in the South. You have to be willing to acknowledge that the legacy of slavery haunted the black population in the North for generations. You have to be willing to pull back the curtains and have an honest conversation.”

Former Uber bad-boy CEO Travis Kalanick has acquired 66 Leonard, the Textile building, for $10.5 million and 376 Broadway, Mandarin Plaza, for $9.3 million in his new role as head of City Storage Systems. From The Real Deal: “The holding company previously said it aims to target distressed assets in sectors like parking, retail and industrial, and then repurpose the spaces for digital-age businesses.” Think CloudRetail.

The man who caused the six-car pile-up that killed a woman on West Street in December was indicted for murder, according to Patch. Prosecutors say he was driving 100 miles per hour. According to Patch, “Harrison sparked a six-car crash on West Street in an Audi A6 around 7:20 a.m. on Sat., Dec. 29, prosecutors said. He’s accused of ramming into Amy Phillipson’s Honda CRV at West and Laight streets, causing her car to flip and burst into flames. Paramedics pronounced Phillipson, from Mill Basin, Brooklyn, dead on the scene.”
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