Jeremiah Moss, creator of the award-winning blog Vanishing New York, is the pen name of Griffin Hansbury. He is the author of Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul (2017) and works as a psychoanalyst in New York City. (March 2018)
The flames spread fast, moving upward to engulf the three floors of the successful factory where garment workers cut and sewed ladies’ blouses. The majority of those workers were young immigrant women; trapped and panicked, they died of smoke inhalation and burns. Some fell to their deaths. In the end, 146 were killed in what was, until September 11, 2001, New York City’s deadliest workplace disaster. Michael Hirsch, a genealogist and historian, has made it his mission to care for the graves of the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Over the course of the year, every year, Hirsch visits sixteen different cemeteries in and around New York City. “I know their stories,” he says. “I do this as a mitzvah.”
I am one of the last tenants of the St. Denis, a 165-year-old building on East 11th Street, just south of Union Square in New York City, that is in the process of being emptied and readied for gutting. For decades, the St. Denis has been a haven for psychotherapists of every sort, but a seismic shift is taking place and the therapist buildings are getting squeezed. Imagine a future Manhattan without shrinks. What will happen to the psyche of that city?