The Bowery Boys: New York City History

The Bowery Boys: New York City History

art19.com/shows/the-bowery-boys
A fresh look at the history and culture of New York City
#239 Murder at Manhattan Well
Oct 12 • 54 min
There once was a well just north of Collect Pond (New York’s fetid source of drinking water in the late 18th century) in a marshy place called Lispenard’s Meadow, in the area of today’s SoHo. One cold day in December – in the year 1799 — a boy came across…
#238 Astoria and Long Island City
Sep 28 • 65 min
The borough of Queens has a history unlike any in the New York City region, but the story of its northwestern region — comprising Astoria, Long Island City and about a half dozen other, smaller neighborhoods — is particularly surprising. And there are…
#237 Columbus Circle: A Century of Controversy
Sep 14 • 55 min
Columbus Circle, a center of media and shopping at the entrance to Central Park, has a history that, well, runs against the grain. Counter-clockwise, if you will. When the park was completed in the mid 19th century, a ‘Grand Circle’ was planned for a busy…
#236 Times Square in the ’70s
Sep 7 • 63 min
Take a trip with us down the grittiest streets in Times Square — the faded marquees of the grindhouses, the neon-lit prurient delights of Eighth Avenue at night. Times Square in the 1970s was all about fantasy — from the second-run theaters of 42nd Street…
#235 The Crash of ‘29: New York In Crisis
Aug 31 • 64 min
Something so giddy and wild as New York City in the Jazz Age would have to burn out at some point but nobody expected the double catastrophe of a paralyzing financial crash and a wide-ranging government corruption scandal. Mayor Jimmy Walker, in a race…
#234 Queen of the Speakeasies: A Tale of Prohibition New York
Aug 17 • 59 min
Texas Guinan was the queen of the speakeasy era, the charismatic and sassy hostess of New York’s hottest nightclubs of the 1920s. Her magnetism, sharpened by years of work in Hollywood, would make her one of the great icons of the Prohibition era. She’s…
#233 The Roaring ’20s: King of the Jazz Age
Aug 3 • 59 min
The Bowery Boys are heading to the speakeasy and kicking back with some bathtub gin this month — with a brand new series focusing on New York City during the Prohibition Era. The 1920s were a transformational decade for New York, evolving from a Gilded…
#232 The Story of SoHo
Jul 20 • 59 min
Picture the neighborhood of SoHo (that’s right, “South of Houston”) in your head today, and you might get a headache. Crowded sidewalks on the weekend, filled with tourists, shoppers and vendors, could almost distract you from SoHo’s unique appeal as a…
The Bowery Boys Present: The First Broadway Musical
Jul 6 • 28 min
While Greg and Tom are away this week on life-changing adventures, please enjoy this very New York City-centric episode of the Bowery Boys spinoff podcast The First: Stories of Inventions and their Consequences — The Black Crook is considered the…
#231 The Stonewall Riots Revisited
Jun 22 • 57 min
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, undercover police officers attempting to raid the Stonewall Inn, a mob-controlled gay bar with darkened windows on Christopher Street, were met with something unexpected — resistance. That ‘altercation’ was a…
#230 Before Harlem: New York’s Forgotten Black Communities
Jun 8 • 61 min
Today we sometimes define New York City’s African-American culture by place – Harlem, of course, and also Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, neighborhoods that developed for groups of black residents in the 20th century. But by no means were these the…
#229 Live in Brooklyn! The Bowery Boys: Ten Years of Podcasting
May 25 • 83 min
In early June of 2007, Tom Meyers and Greg Young sat around a laptop and a karaoke microphone, looked out over Canal Street in the Lower East Side and began recording the very first Bowery Boys: New York City History Podcast. For ten years the Bowery Boys…
#228 The Pirate of Pearl Street: The New York Adventures of Captain Kidd
May 11 • 53 min
The area of Lower Manhattan below Wall Street is today filled with investment bankers, business people and tourists. But did you know, over 300 years ago, that the same streets were once crawling with pirates? In the early decades of the British colony of…
#227 The Hindenburg Over New York
Apr 27 • 52 min
On the afternoon of May 6, 1937, New Yorkers looked overhead at an astonishing sight — the arrival of the Hindenburg, the largest airship in the world, drifting calmly across the sky. New York City was already in the throes of “Zeppelin mania” by then.…
#226 The Beauty Bosses of Fifth Avenue
Apr 13 • 51 min
The Midtown Manhattan stretch of Fifth Avenue, once known for its ensemble of extravagant mansions owned by the Gilded Age’s wealthiest families, went through an astonishing makeover one hundred years ago. Many lavish abodes of the rich were turned into…
#225 P. T. Barnum and the Greatest Show on Earth
Mar 30 • 59 min
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages — the Bowery Boys present to you the tale of P. T. Barnum and his “Greatest Show on Earth,” the world’s most famous circus! You can’t even bring up the discussion of circuses without mentioning the name of…
#224 The Arrival of the Irish: An Immigrant Story
Mar 16 • 59 min
You don’t have a New York City without the Irish. In fact, you don’t have a United States of America as we know it today. This diverse and misunderstood immigrant group began coming over in significant numbers starting in the Colonial era, mostly as…
#223 The Algonquin Round Table
Mar 2 • 64 min
One June afternoon in the spring of 1919, a group of writers and theatrical folk got together at the Algonquin Hotel to roast the inimitable Alexander Woollcott, the trenchant theater critic for the New York Times who had just returned from World War I,…
#222 Who Killed Helen Jewett? A Mystery By Gaslight
Feb 16 • 53 min
In the spring of 1836, a young woman named Helen Jewett was brutally murdered with a hatchet in a townhouse on Thomas Street, just a few blocks northwest from City Hall. This was not a normal crime. Helen was a prostitute of great beauty and considerable…
#221 New York: Capital City of the United States
Feb 2 • 53 min
During a handful of months in 1789 and 1790, representatives of the new nation of the United States came together in New York City to make decisions which would forever affect the lives of Americans. In this second part of our two-part show on New York as…
#220 George Washington’s New York Inauguration
Jan 19 • 56 min
The story of New York City’s role in the birth of American government is sometimes forgotten. Most of the buildings important to the first U.S. Congress, which met here from the spring of 1789 to the late summer of 1790, have long been demolished. There’s…
#219 Newsies on Strike!
Dec 23, 2016 • 57 min
We’re in the mood for a good old-fashioned Gilded Age story so we’re replaying one of our favorite Bowery Boys episodes ever — Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst vs. the newsies! It was pandemonium in the streets. One hot summer in July 1899,…
#218 Lincoln Center and West Side Story
Dec 8, 2016 • 60 min
Warm up the orchestra, lace up your dance slippers, and bring the diva to the stage! For our latest show we’re telling the origin story of Lincoln Center, the fine arts campus which assembles some of the city’s finest music and theatrical institutions to…
#217: Truman Capote’s Black And White Ball
Nov 23, 2016 • 56 min
Truman Capote is a true New York character, a Southern boy who wielded his immense writing talents to secure a place within Manhattan high society. Elegant, witty, compact, gay — Capote was a fixture of swanky nightclubs and arm candy to wealthy,…
#216: Edwin Booth and the Players Club
Nov 10, 2016 • 59 min
Edwin Booth was the greatest actor of the Gilded Age, a superstar of the theater who entertained millions over his long career. In this podcast, we present his extraordinary career, the tragedies that shaped his life (on stage and off), and the legacy of…
01 The Wheel: Ferris’ Big Idea (‘The First’ Podcast Special Preview)
Oct 27, 2016 • 50 min
01: The first Ferris Wheel was invented to become America’s Eiffel Tower, making its grand debut at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. The wheel’s inventor George Washington Gale Ferris was a clever and optimistic soul; he did everything in his power to…
#89 Chelsea Hotel
Oct 20, 2016 • 38 min
Arguably New York’s least conventional hotel, the Chelsea Hotel (or rather, the Hotel Chelsea) is the one of New York’s counter-culture centers, a glamorous, art-filled Tower of Babel for both creativity and debauchery. From Mark Twain to Andy Warhol,…
#215 Ghosts of the Gilded Age
Oct 13, 2016 • 66 min
For this year’s 10th annual Bowery Boys Halloween special, we’re highlighting haunted tales from the period just after the Civil War when New York City became one of the richest cities in the world — rich in wealth and in ghosts! We go to four boroughs in…
#88 Ellis Island: The Immigrant Story
Oct 6, 2016 • 35 min
For millions of Americans, Ellis Island is the symbol of introduction, the immigrant depot that processed their ancestors and offered an opening into a new American life. But for some, it would truly be an ‘Island of Tears’, a place where they would be…
#214 Bronx Trilogy (Part Three) The Bronx Was Burning
Sep 29, 2016 • 62 min
The Bronx was burning. The Bronx is now rising. In the third and final part of our Bronx history series, we tackle the most difficult period in the life of this borough — the late 20th century and the days and nights of urban blight. The focus of this…
#87 Kings of New York Pizza
Sep 22, 2016 • 25 min
New Yorkers are serious about their pizza, and it all started with a tiny grocery store in today’s Little Italy and a group of young men who became the masters of pizza making. In this podcast, you’ll find out all about the city’s oldest and most revered…
#213 Bronx Trilogy (Part Two) The Bronx is Building
Sep 15, 2016 • 61 min
In the second part of the Bowery Boys’ Bronx Trilogy — recounting the entire history of New York City’s northernmost borough — we focus on the years between 1875 and 1945, a time of great evolution and growth for the former pastoral areas of Westchester…
#86 Boss Tweed and the Glory Days of Tammany Hall
Sep 8, 2016 • 38 min
You cannot understand New York without understanding its most corrupt politician — William ‘Boss’ Tweed, a larger than life personality with lofty ambitions to steal millions of dollars from the city. With the help of his ‘Tweed Ring’, the former…
#212 Bronx Trilogy (Part One) The Bronx Is Born
Sep 1, 2016 • 59 min
The story of the Bronx is so large, so spectacular, that we had to spread it out over three separate podcasts! In Part One — The Bronx Is Born — we look at the land that is today’s borough, back when it was a part of Westchester County, a natural expanse…
#85 Moses vs. Papp! A History of Shakespeare In The Park
Aug 24, 2016 • 16 min
What started in a tiny East Village basement grew to become one of New York’s most enduring summer traditions, Shakespeare in the Park, featuring world class actors performing the greatest dramas of the age. But another drama was brewing just as things…
#211 The Notorious Madame Restell: The Abortionist of Fifth Avenue
Aug 18, 2016 • 55 min
Ann Lohman, aka Madame Restell, was one of the most vilified women of the 19th century, an abortion practitioner that dodged the law to become one of the wealthiest self-made women in the Gilded Age. But is her reputation justified? Thoughts on abortion…
#84 Prospect Park: Brooklyn’s Natural Work of Art
Aug 11, 2016 • 34 min
Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s biggest public space and home to the borough’s only natural forest, was a sequel for Olmsted and Vaux after their revolutionary creation Central Park. But can these two landscape architects still work together or will their egos…
#210 Digital City: New York and the World of Video Games
Aug 4, 2016 • 57 min
New York has an interesting, complex and downright weird relationship with video games, from the digital sewers below Manhattan to the neon-lit arcades of Times Square. In this grab bag episode – filled with nostalgia and nerdyness — we capture all sides…
#83 Henry Hudson and the European Discovery of Mannahatta
Jul 28, 2016 • 14 min
We turn the clock back to the very beginnings of New York history — to the European discovery of Mannahatta and the voyages of Henry Hudson. Originally looking for a passage to Asia, Hudson fell upon New York harbor and the Lenape inhabitants of lands…
#209 The Waldorf-Astoria’s Complicated History
Jul 21, 2016 • 55 min
You might think you know this tale, but do we have surprises for you. The Waldorf-Astoria — or the Waldorf=Astoria or even the Waldorf Astoria — has been a premier name in hotel accommodations since the opening of the very first edition on 34th Street and…
#82 Roosevelt Island
Jul 15, 2016 • 42 min
Originally a quiet island of orchards and stone quarries, the place we call Roosevelt Island today was once New York’s ‘city of asylums’, the place where it sent its infirm, its incarcerated, its insane. Today it has the peculiar air of a small town with…
#208 Great Hoaxes of Old New York
Jul 7, 2016 • 54 min
New Yorkers can be tough to crack, maneuvering through a rapidly changing, fast-paced city. But they can, at times, also be easily fooled. In this episode, we explore two of the wackiest stories in early New York City history, two instances of tall tales…
#207 The First Subway: Beach’s Pneumatic Marvel
Jun 23, 2016 • 55 min
The first subway in New York — the first in the United States! – travelled only a single block and failed to influence the future of transportation. And yet Alfred Ely Beach’s marvelous pneumatic transit system provides us today with one of the most…
#81 The Puck Building: “What Fools These Mortals Be!”
Jun 14, 2016 • 20 min
A 6-foot plump gold impish figure stares down at you as you look up to observe the gorgeous red-brick design of the Puck Building, built for one of the 19th Century’s most popular illustrated publications. But this architectural masterpiece was very…
#206 The Lenape: The Real Native New Yorkers
Jun 9, 2016 • 56 min
Before New York, before New Amsterdam – there was Lenapehoking, the land of the Lenape, the original inhabitants of the places we call Manhattan, Westchester, northern New Jersey and western Long Island. This is the story of their first contact with…
#205 The Disappearance of Dorothy Arnold
May 26, 2016 • 49 min
The young socialite Dorothy Arnold seemingly led a charmed and privileged life. The niece of a Supreme Court justice, Dorothy was the belle of 1900s New York, an attractive and vibrant young woman living on the Upper East Side with her family. She hoped…
#80 Pennsylvania Station
May 19, 2016 • 36 min
The story of Pennsylvania Station involves more than just nostalgia for the long-gone temple of transportation as designed by the great McKim, Mead and White. It’s a tale of incredible tunnels, political haggling and big visions. Find out why the original…
#204 The Cotton Club: The Aristocrat of Harlem
May 12, 2016 • 38 min
The Cotton Club, Harlem’s most prominent nightclub during the Prohibiton era, delivered some of the greatest music legends of the Jazz Age — Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson, Ethel Waters, the Nicolas Brothers. Some of the most iconic…
#79 The Whyos: Gang of New York
May 5, 2016 • 20 min
The Whyos (pronounced Why-Ohs) were New York’s most notorious gang after the Civil War, organizing their criminal activities and terrorizing law abiding citizens of the Gilded Age. Find out when they lived, how they broke the law and who they were — from…
#203 Nikola Tesla in New York
Apr 28, 2016 • 51 min
The Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla was among the Gilded Age’s brightest minds, a visionary thinker and inventor who gave the world innovations in electricity, radio and wireless communication. So why has Tesla garnered the mantle of cult status among…
#78 The Great Fire of 1835
Apr 21, 2016 • 38 min
The Great Fire of 1835 devastated the city during one freezing December evening, destroying hundreds of buildings and changing the face of Manhattan forever. It underscored the city’s need for a functioning water system and permanent fire department. So…
#202 The Lower East Side: A Culinary History
Apr 15, 2016 • 60 min
Join us as we experience the tastes of another era by visiting some of the oldest culinary institutions of the Lower East Side. From McSorley’s to Katz’s, Russ & Daughters and Economy Candy — when did these shops open, who did they serve, and how, in the…
#201 GOWANUS! Brooklyn’s Troubled Waters
Apr 1, 2016 • 62 min
This is the dirtiest Bowery Boys podcast ever. Literally. Brooklyn’s Gowanus — both the creek and the canal — is one of the most mysterious and historically important waterways in New York City. By coincidence, it also happens to be among its most…
#200 Jane Jacobs: Saving the Village
Mar 18, 2016 • 65 min
Washington Square Park torn in two. The West Village erased and re-written. Soho, Little Italy and the Lower East Side ripped asunder by an elevated highway. This is what would have happened in New York City in the 1950s and 60s if not for enraged…
#77 Freedomland U.S.A.
Mar 10, 2016 • 23 min
What is Freedomland U.S.A.? An unusual theme park in the Bronx, only in existence for less than five years, Freedomland has become the object of fascination for New York nostalgia lovers everywhere. Created by an outcast of Walt Disney’s inner circle,…
#199.5: Bowery Boys - Behind the Scenes
Mar 8, 2016 • 44 min
As we prepare for our #200th episode — and the release of the first-ever Bowery Boys book — we’ve decided to take a look back at our last 100 shows, at some of the highlights of the past six or so years. What were some of our favorite episodes? The most…
#76 Woolworth Building
Feb 25, 2016 • 38 min
F.W. Woolworth was the self-made king of retail’s newfangled ‘five and dime’ store and his pockets were overflowing with cash. Meanwhile, in New York, the contest to build the tallest building was well underway. The two combine to create one of…
#199 Battle For The Skyline: How High Can It Go?
Feb 19, 2016 • 59 min
This year is the one hundred anniversary of one of the most important laws ever passed in New York City — the 1916 Zoning Law which dictated the rules for building big and tall in the city. So we thought we’d take this opportunity to ponder on the many…
#75 Williamsburg(h), Brooklyn
Feb 8, 2016 • 20 min
Williamsburg used to have an H at the end of its name, not to mention dozens of major industries that once made it the tenth wealthiest place in the world. How did Williamsburgh become a haven for New York’s most well-known factories and how did it then…
#198 Greenpoint, Brooklyn: An Industrial-Strength History
Feb 5, 2016 • 58 min
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has a surprising history of bucolic green pastures and rancid oil patches. Before the 19th century this corner of Brooklyn was owned by only a few families with farms (and slaves tending them). But with the future borough of Brooklyn…
#197 Danger In The Harbor: The Black Tom Explosion of 1916
Jan 21, 2016 • 51 min
On July 30, 1916, at just after 2 in the morning, a massive explosion ripped apart the island of Black Tom on the shoreline near Jersey City, sending a shockwave through the region and thousands of pounds of wartime shrapnel into the neighboring Ellis…
#196 Ready to Wear: A History of the Garment District
Jan 8, 2016 • 57 min
The Garment District in Midtown Manhattan has been the center for all things American fashion for almost one hundred years. The lofts and office buildings here still buzz with industry of making clothing — from design to distribution. New York’s long…
#195 Midnight in Times Square: New Year’s Eve in New York City
Dec 10, 2015 • 54 min
In this episode, we look back on the one day of the year that New Yorkers look forward. New Years Eve is the one night that millions of people around the world focus their attentions on New York City — or more specifically, on the wedge shaped building in…
#194 Nellie Bly: Undercover in the Madhouse
Nov 12, 2015 • 59 min
Nellie Bly was a determined and fearless journalist ahead of her time, known for the spectacular lengths she would go to get a good story. Her reputation was built on the events of late September-early October 1887 — the ten days she spent in an insane…
#193 St. Mark’s Place: Party in the East Village!
Oct 29, 2015 • 55 min
St. Mark’s Place may be named for a saint but it’s been a street full of sinners for much of its history. One of the most fascinating streets in the city, St. Mark’s traces its story back to Peter Stuyvesant, meets up with the wife of Alexander Hamilton…
#192 Haunted Landmarks of New York
Oct 15, 2015 • 59 min
Don’t be frightened! It’s the ninth annual Bowery Boys ghost stories podcast. We’re here to guide you through the back alleys … OF TERROR! In this installment, we take a look at the spectral lore behind some of New York City’s most famous landmarks,…
#191 The Great Fire of 1776
Oct 1, 2015 • 55 min
A little after midnight on September 21, 1776, the Fighting Cocks Tavern on Whitehall Street caught on fire. The drunken revelers inside the tavern were unable to stop the blaze, and it soon raged into a dangerous inferno, spreading up the west side of…
#190 The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary
Sep 17, 2015 • 55 min
The gripping and startling tale of Typhoid Mary is a harrowing detective story and a chilling tale of disease and death. Why are whole healthy families suddenly getting sick with typhoid fever — from the languid mansions of Long Island’s Gold Coast to the…
#189 TAXI: History of the New York City Taxicab
Sep 3, 2015 • 62 min
In this episode, we recount almost 175 years of getting around New York in a private ride. The hansom, the romantic rendition of the horse and carriage, took New Yorkers around during the Gilded Age. But unregulated conduct by ‘nighthawks’ and the messy…
#188: The Murder of Stanford White
Aug 6, 2015 • 58 min
On the evening of June 25, 1906, during a performance of Mam’zelle Champagne on the rooftop of Madison Square Garden, the architect Stanford White was brutally murdered by Harry Kendall Thaw. The renown of White’s professional career — he was one of New…
#74 The Ziegfeld Follies
Jul 29, 2015 • 43 min
Cue the dancing girls, lower the props, raise the curtain — it’s the Bowery Boys and we’re taking on Broadway’s most famous producer, Florenz Ziegfeld! We give you a brief overview of the first days of Broadway, then sweep into Ziegfeld’s life — from his…
#187: Super City: New York and the History of Comic Books
Jul 23, 2015 • 57 min
In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book. Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — in blockbuster summer…
#73 Webster Hall “The Devil’s Playhouse”
Jul 16, 2015 • 22 min
Webster Hall, as beautifully worn and rough-hewn as it was during its heyday in the 1910s and 20s, disguises a very surprising past, a significant venue in the history of the labor movement, Greenwich Village bohemia, gay and lesbian life, and pop and…
#186 Hell’s Kitchen: New York’s Wild West
Jul 9, 2015 • 55 min
Hell’s Kitchen, on the far west side of Midtown Manhattan, is a neighborhood of many secrets. The unique history of this working class district veers into many tales of New York’s criminal underworld and violent riots which have shaken the streets for…
#72 Rockefeller Center
Jul 2, 2015 • 38 min
PODCAST REWIND JD Rockefeller Sr. may have earned his money is some rather unscrupulous ways, but his son Junior made good by giving midtown a towering city-within-a-city, a complex of Art Deco buildings that serves as New York’s beating heart. We take a…
#185 Adventures on Governors Island
Jun 25, 2015 • 63 min
What can you find on Governors Island? Almost 400 years of action-packed history! This island in New York Harbor has been at the heart of the city’s defense since the days of the Revolutionary War, and its story takes us back to the very beginnings of…
#71 Saks Fifth Avenue
Jun 18, 2015 • 29 min
PODCAST REWIND A podcast that’s “very Saks Fifth Avenue,” we get to the origins of the famous upscale retailer, follow its path from Washington D.C. to Heralds Square and then to “the most expensive street in the world,” and tell you a little about a…
#184 The Flatiron Building: A Story from Three Sides
Jun 11, 2015 • 55 min
For our 8th anniversary episode, we’re revisiting one of New York City’s great treasures and a true architectural oddity — the Flatiron Building. When they built this structure at the corner of Madison Square Park (and completed in 1902), did they realize…
#70 The Bowery Files
Jun 10, 2015 • 28 min
PODCAST REWIND This is our “potpourri” episode with a little bit of everything in it. We open up some of our favorite readers mail, we take you behind the scenes of how we put together an episode, and we describe three of our very favorite history-related…
#183 Orchard Street: Life in the Lower East Side
May 29, 2015 • 62 min
The Lower East Side is one of the most important neighborhoods in America, with a rich history as dense as its former living quarters. Thousands of immigrants experienced American life on these many crowded streets. In this podcast, we look at this…
#182 Mae West, “Sex” on Broadway
May 15, 2015 • 56 min
Mae West (star of I’m No Angel and She Done Him Wrong) would come to revolutionize the idea of American sexuality, challenging and lampooning ideas of femininity while wielding a suggestive and vicious wit. But before she was America’s diamond girl, she…
#181 Park Slope and the Story of Brownstone Brooklyn
May 1, 2015 • 63 min
Park Slope – or simply the park slope, as they used to say – is best known for its spectacular Victorian-era mansions and brownstones, one of the most romantic neighborhoods in all of Brooklyn. It’s also a leading example of the gentrifying forces that…
#180 The Chelsea Piers and the Age of the Ocean Liner
Apr 16, 2015 • 55 min
The Chelsea Piers were once New York City’s portal to the world, a series of long docks along the west side of Manhattan that accommodated some of the most luxurious ocean liners of the early 20th century. Passenger ocean travel became feasible in the mid…
#179 The Fight for Bryant Park
Apr 2, 2015 • 56 min
In our last show, we left the space that would become Bryant Park as a disaster area; its former inhabitant, the old Crystal Palace, had tragically burned to the ground in 1858. The area was called Reservoir Square for its proximity to the Murray Hill…
#178: The Crystal Palace: America’s First World’s Fair
Mar 19, 2015 • 51 min
New York’s Crystal Palace seems like something out of a dream, a shimmering and spectacular glass-and-steel structure — a gigantic greenhouse — which sat in the area of today’s Bryant Park. In 1853 this was the home to the Exhibition of the Industry of…
#69 The Plaza Hotel
Mar 5, 2015 • 32 min
It got off to a rocky start, but the Plaza Hotel has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in New York City. We take a look at its kooky history, from its days as an upper class ‘transient hotel’ to a party place for celebrities. Starring: The…
#177 The Big History of Little Italy
Feb 20, 2015 • 56 min
Little Italy is the pocket-neighborhood reminder of the great wave of Italian immigration which came through New York City starting in the late 1870s. This was the home of a densely packed, lively neighborhood of pushcarts, cheese shops, barber shops and…
#176 Billie Holiday’s New York
Jan 23, 2015 • 41 min
Grab your fedora and take a trip with the Bowery Boys into the heart of New York City’s jazz scene — late nights, smoky bars, neon signs — through the eyes of one of the greatest American vocalists who ever lived here — Billie Holiday. This a tour of the…
#175 Bowery Boys 2014 Year In Review
Dec 25, 2014 • 55 min
When historians look back at the year 2014, what events or cultural changes within New York City will historians consider significant? In this special episode, the Bowery Boys look back at some of the biggest historical headlines of the year — the opening…
#174 American Kicks: A History of the Rockettes
Dec 11, 2014 • 55 min
The Radio City Rockettes are perhaps America’s best known dance troupe — and a staple of the holiday season — but you may not know the origin of this most iconic of New York City symbols. For one, they’re not even from the Big Apple! Formerly the Missouri…
#173 Ruins of the World’s Fair: New York State Pavilion
Nov 13, 2014 • 62 min
The ruins of the New York State Pavilion, highlight of the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, have become a kind of unofficial Statue of Liberty of Queens, greeting people as they head to and from LaGuardia and JFK airports. Its…
#68 New York City Marathon
Oct 21, 2014 • 30 min
A true five-borough episode! The New York City Marathon hosts thousands of runners from all over the world, the dream project of the New York Road Runners and in particular one Fred Lebow, an employee of the Fashion District turned athletic icon. Find out…
#172 Ghost Stories of Brooklyn
Oct 15, 2014 • 54 min
Brooklyn is the setting for this quartet of classic ghost stories, all set before the independent city was an official borough of New York City. This is a Brooklyn of old stately mansions and farms, with railroad tracks laid through forests and large…
#171 The Keys to Gramercy Park
Sep 18, 2014 • 56 min
Gramercy Park is Manhattan’s only private park, a prohibited place for most New Yorkers. However we have your keys to the history of this significant and rather unusual place, full of the city’s greatest inventors, civic leaders and entertainers!…
#170 The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino
Aug 21, 2014 • 53 min
Rudolph Valentino was an star from the early years of Hollywood, but his elegant, randy years in New York City should not be forgotten. They helped make him a premier dancer and a glamorous actor. And on August 23, 1926, this is where the silent film icon…
#169 The Tallest Building In New York: A Short History
Aug 6, 2014 • 37 min
One World Trade Center was declared last year the tallest building in America, but it’s a very different structure from the other skyscrapers who have once held that title. In New York, owning the tallest building has often been like possessing a valuable…
#168 DUEL! Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton
Jul 10, 2014 • 34 min
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met at a clearing in Weehawken, NJ, in the early morning on July 11, 1804, to mount the most famous duel in American history. But why? This is the story of two New York lawyers — and two Founding Fathers — that so…
#167 Cleopatra’s Needle and the Freemasons Secret
Jun 26, 2014 • 53 min
Cleopatra’s Needle is the name given to the ancient Egyptian obelisk that sits in Central Park, right behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is the bizarre tale of how it arrived in New York and the unusual forces that went behind its transportation…
#67 Guggenheim Museum
Jun 23, 2014 • 32 min
The spiral-ramped wonder that is the Guggenheim Museum began as the dream of two colorful characters — a severe German artist and her rich patron art-lover. So how did they convince the most famous architect in the world to sign on to their dream for a…
#166 General Slocum Disaster 1904
Jun 12, 2014 • 32 min
On June 15, 1904, hundreds of residents of the Lower East Side’s thriving German community boarded the General Slocum excursion steamer to enjoy a day trip outside the city. Most of them would never return home. The General Slocum disaster is, simply put,…
#165 Ladies’ Mile
May 30, 2014 • 53 min
Ladies’ Mile — the most famous New York shopping district in the 19th century and the “heart of the Gilded Age,” a district of spectacular commercial palaces of cast-iron. They are some of the city’s greatest buildings, designed by premier architects.…
#164 The Astor Place Riot
May 1, 2014 • 54 min
England’s great thespian William Macready mounted the stage of the Astor Place Opera House on May 10, 1849, to perform Shakespeare’s Macbeth, just as he had done hundreds of times before. But this performance would become infamous in later years as the…
#163 South Street Seaport
Apr 3, 2014 • 54 min
The glory of early New York City came from its role as one of the world’s great ports. Today the South Street Seaport is a lasting tribute to that seafaring heritage, a historical district beneath the Brooklyn Bridge that contains some of the city’s…
#162 George Washington Bridge
Mar 7, 2014 • 52 min
The George Washington Bridge is surprisingly graceful, but politically scandalous. And we’re not talking about the current crisis being faced by current New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Figuring out a way to cross over the Hudson River (not using a…
#161 Fire Department of New York (FDNY)
Feb 6, 2014 • 49 min
The New York Fire Department protects the five boroughs from a host of disasters and mishaps — five-alarm blazes, a kitchen fire run amok, and even those dastardly midtown elevators, always getting stuck! But today’s tightly organized team is a far cry…
#160 Tompkins Square Park
Jan 10, 2014 • 52 min
Central Park has frequently been called ‘the people’s park,” but we think Tompkins Square Park may have a better claim to that title. From its inception, this East Village recreational spot — named for Vice President Daniel D Tompkins — has catered to…
#159 The Broadway Musical: Setting the Stage
Dec 12, 2013 • 61 min
The Broadway Musical is one of New York City’s greatest inventions, 150 years in the making! It’s one of the truly American art forms, fueling one of the city’s most vibrant entertainment businesses and defining its most popular tourist attraction — Times…
#158 Hotel Theresa: The Waldorf of Harlem
Nov 14, 2013 • 27 min
The Hotel Theresa is considered a genuine (if under-appreciated) Harlem treasure, both for its unique architecture and its special place in history as the hub for African-American life in the 1940s and 50s. The luxurious apartment hotel was built by a…
#157 Early Ghost Stories of Old New York
Oct 17, 2013 • 61 min
This is the Bowery Boys 7th annual Halloween podcast, with four new scary stories to chill your bones and keep you up at night, generally doused with strange and fascinating facts about New York City. For this episode, we’ve decided to go truly…
#156 The Boy Mayor of New York
Sep 19, 2013 • 48 min
As New York City enters the final stages of this year’s mayoral election, let’s look back on a decidedly more unusual contest 100 years ago, pitting Tammany Hall and their estranged ally (Mayor William Jay Gaynor) up against a baby-faced newcomer, the…
#155 Sesame Street to Seinfeld: NYC TV 1969-2013
Aug 22, 2013 • 26 min
In the third part of the Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, we give you a grand tour of the New York City television production world from the 1970s to today, from the debut of Sesame Street in the Upper West Side to the flourishing 1990s, where the city…
#154 New York in the Golden Age of Television
Aug 2, 2013 • 57 min
It’s the second part of the Bowery Boys TV Mini-Series, covering the years of New York City television production from the late 1940s to the 1960s. This podcast is arranged a little bit like a leisurely Midtown walking tour, taking you past four of the…
#66 Who Killed Mary Rogers?
Jul 25, 2013 • 18 min
The most desirable woman in downtown Manhattan — the ‘beautiful cigar girl’ Mary Rogers — is found horribly murdered along the Hoboken shore. Hear some of the stories of the murder’s prime suspects and marvel at the excessive attentions of the penny…
#153 NYC and the Birth of Television
Jun 28, 2013 • 55 min
It’s the beginning of The Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, three podcasts devoted to New York City’s illustrious history with broadcast television — from Sarnoff to Seinfeld! In our first show, we go back to the start of the invention of the television…
#152 Bellevue Hospital
May 30, 2013 • 49 min
Bellevue Hospital, you might have heard, once had a very notorious psychiatric ward. But those horror stories have only distracted from the rather breathtaking — and heart-breaking — history of this historic institution, a lifeline not only for the sick,…
#151 The Limelight: Church, Nightclub and Mall
May 2, 2013 • 48 min
If you had told 1840s religious leader William Muhlenberg that his innovative new Church of the Holy Communion, designed by renown architect Richard Upjohn, would become the glittering seat of drugs and debauchery 150 years later, he might have burned it…
#150 Consolidation! Five Boroughs, One Big City
Apr 5, 2013 • 59 min
Here’s the story of how two very big cities and a whole bunch of small towns and villages — completely different in nature, from farmland to skyscraper — became the greatest city in the world. This is the tale of Greater New York, the forming of the five…
#149 John Peter Zenger and the Power of the Press
Mar 7, 2013 • 52 min
A long, long time ago in New York — in the 1730s, back when the city was a holding of the British, with a little over 10,000 inhabitants — a German printer named John Peter Zenger decided to print a four-page newspaper called the New York Weekly Journal.…
#148 The Great Blizzard of 1888
Feb 7, 2013 • 53 min
This year is the 125th anniversary of one of the worst storms to ever wreck havoc upon New York City, the now-legendary mix of wind and snow called the Great Blizzard of 1888. Its memory was again conjured up a few months ago as people struggled to…
#147 Art Insanity: The Armory Show of 1913
Jan 11, 2013 • 29 min
The Armory Show of 1913 was the mainstream debut of modernist art — both European and American — to New York City audiences. Galleries had previously devoted themselves to the great European masters, antiquity and American landscapes as a way to influence…
#146 Herald Square
Dec 14, 2012 • 58 min
Welcome to the secret history of Herald Square, New York City’s second favorite intersection — after Times Square, of course, just a few blocks north. But we think you may find this intersection at 34th Street, Sixth Avenue and Broadway perhaps even more…
#145 Bicycle Mania! From Velocipede to Ten-Speed
Nov 15, 2012 • 20 min
The bicycle has always seemed like a slightly awkward form of transportation in big cities, but in fact, it’s reliable, convenient, clean and — believe it or not — popular in New York City for almost 200 years. The original two-wheeled conveyance was the…
Hurricane Sandy Update
Nov 2, 2012 • 16 min
A brief snapshot into what’s happening in the city as of Friday afternoon, November 2, reviewing some of the events associated with Hurricane Sandy, the catastrophic storm which hit the Northeast this week. Featuring some of the historical context for the…
#144 Mysteries and Magicians of New York
Oct 18, 2012 • 54 min
Our sixth annual ghost story podcast takes a little twist this time around. Oh sure, we have two of New York’s most FAMOUS horror stories in our first part, beginning with a spirited sailor named Mickey who haunted a classic structure on the Lower West…
#143 Water for New York: Croton Aqueduct
Sep 20, 2012 • 46 min
One of the great challenges faced by a growing, 19th-century New York City was the need for a viable, clean water supply. Before the 1830s, citizens relied on cisterns to collect rainwater, a series of city wells drilling down to underground springs, and…
#142 New York University (NYU)
Aug 24, 2012 • 45 min
They once called it the University of the City of New York, an innovative, nondenominational school located in a intellectual castle on the northeast corner of the Washington military parade ground. Today its better known as New York University, one of…
#141 New York Beer History
Jul 26, 2012 • 49 min
New York City’s thriving craft brewing industry today hearkens to a time over a century ago when the city was one of America’s great beer-making capitols, the home to a robust industry of breweries and beer halls. In the 19th century, German immigrants…
#140 Rockaway Beach
Jun 28, 2012 • 49 min
The Rockaways are a world unto its own, a former resort destination with miles of beach facing into the Atlantic Ocean, a collection of diverse neighborhoods and a truly quirky history. Retaining a variant of its original Lenape name, the peninsula…
#139 Brooklyn Academy of Music
Jun 1, 2012 • 46 min
One of New York’s oldest cultural institutions, the Brooklyn Academy of Music has an unusual history that spans over 150 years and two locations. We trace the story from the earliest roots of a Manhattan-Brooklyn rivalry and a discussion over high-class…
#138: St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery
May 3, 2012 • 53 min
St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery is one of Manhattan’s most interesting and mysterious links to early New York history. This East Village church was built in 1799 atop the location of the original chapel of Peter Stuyvesant, New Amsterdam’s peg-legged…
#137 NYC and the World of Radio
Apr 5, 2012 • 55 min
The discovery of radio changed the world, and New York City was often front and center for its creation and development as America’s prime entertainment source during the 1930s and 40s. In this show, we take you on a 50-year journey, from Marconi’s…
#136 High Line Walking Tour
Mar 22, 2012 • 32 min
Welcome to the unofficial High Line audio walking tour! In our last podcast, we gave you a history of the High Line, the one-mile linear park situated atop a stretch of abandoned elevated railroad tracks along the West Side. This time, I’ll take you on a…
#135 The High Line
Mar 8, 2012 • 45 min
The High Line, which snakes up New York’s west side, is an ambitious park project refitting abandoned elevated train lines into a breathtaking contemporary park. This is the remnant of a raised freight-delivery track system that supported New York’s…
#134 St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Feb 10, 2012 • 46 min
One of America’s most famous churches and a graceful icon upon the landscape of midtown Manhattan, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was also one of New York’s most arduous building projects, taking decades to build. An overflow of worshippers at downtown’s old St…
#133 Red Hook: Brooklyn on the Waterfront
Jan 13, 2012 • 21 min
Red Hook, Brooklyn, the neighborhood called by the Dutch ‘Roode Hoek’ for its red soil, became a key port during the 19th century, a stopping point for vessels carry a vast array of raw goods from the interior of the United States along the Erie Canal. In…
#132 Electric New York: Edison and the City Lights
Dec 15, 2011 • 50 min
The streets of New York have been lit in various ways through the decades, from the wisps of whale-oil flame to the modern comfort of gas lighting. With the discovery of electricity, it seemed possible to illuminate the world with a more dependable,…
#131 The First Apartment Building
Nov 17, 2011 • 21 min
Well, we’re movin’ on up….to the first New York apartment building ever constructed. New Yorkers of the emerging middle classes needed a place to live situated between the townhouse and the tenement, and the solution came from overseas — a daring style of…
#130 Haunted Histories of New York
Oct 20, 2011 • 50 min
What mischievous phantoms and malevolent spirits haunt the streets of New York City today? In our fifth annual podcast of local ghost stories, we bring you the histories of four very haunted places from three boroughs and a small island in the harbor. The…
#65 Spooky Stories of New York
Oct 17, 2011 • 33 min
By popular demand, we return to the creepier tales of New York City history, ghost tales and stories of murder and mayhem, all of them at some point involving great American icons — Alexander Hamilton, P.T. Barnum, Dorothy Parker and Mark Twain. Featuring…
#129 Chinatown
Sep 22, 2011 • 45 min
Manhattan’s Chinatown is unique among New York neighborhoods as its origins and its provocative history can still be traced in many of the buildings and streets still in existence. Two hundred years ago, the sight of a Chinese person would have astonished…
#128 Hoaxes and Conspiracies of 1864
Aug 28, 2011 • 45 min
We’re officially subtitling this ‘Strange Tales of 1864’, a series of odd, fascinating stories from one pivotal year in New York City history. With the city both fatigued by the length of the Civil War and energized by Union victories, New Yorkers were…
#127 The Civil War Draft Riots
Jul 22, 2011 • 50 min
The week of July 13, 1863, was indeed among the most dangerous weeks to be a New Yorker. The announcement of conscription to replenish Union troops — and the inclusion of that incendiary $300 exemption fee — fell upon jaded ears, and as the draft lottery…
#126 Fernando Wood: The Scoundrel Mayor
Jun 30, 2011 • 22 min
Fernando Wood, New York’s mayor at the dawning of the Civil War, was the South’s best friend. Famous during his first term for inciting a police riot, Wood drummed up pro-slavery support amongst his Irish and German constituents and even suggested New…
#125 Sardi’s Restaurant
Jun 9, 2011 • 44 min
The famous faces on the walls of Sardi’s Restaurant represent the entertainment elite of the 20th Century, and all of them made this place on West 44th Street their unofficial home. Known for its caricatures and its Broadway opening-night traditions,…
#64 Green-Wood Cemetery
Jun 2, 2011 • 16 min
Green-wood Cemetery is one of New York’s oldest burial grounds, but its development reaches back all the way to the beginning of Brooklyn itself — in fact, to the founder of Brooklyn Heights. Find out why it took an inventive city planner with a funny…
#124 Idlewild/JFK Airport
May 12, 2011 • 49 min
Come fly with us through a history of New York City’s largest airport, once known as Idlewild (for a former golf course) and called John F. Kennedy International Airport since 1964. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia wanted a new and improved facility to relieve…
#123 TRUMP
Apr 28, 2011 • 22 min
Donald Trump - financial wizard, reality star, or political distraction? The secret in figuring him out may be contained in the roots of his wealth — a saga that stretches back to the 1880s and begins with a 16-year-old boy named Drumpf who made his…
#122: The Grid - Commissioners Plan of 1811
Apr 15, 2011 • 47 min
How did Manhattan get its orderly rows of numbered streets and avenues? In the early 18th century, New York was growing rapidly, but the new development was confined on an island, giving city planners a rare opportunity to mold a modern city that was…
#121 Fraunces Tavern
Mar 17, 2011 • 49 min
Fraunces Tavern is one of America’s most important historical sites of the Revolutionary War and a reminder of the great importance of tavern culture on the New York way of life during the Colonial era. This revered building at the corner of Pearl and…
#120 NYC and the Birth of the Movies
Feb 17, 2011 • 52 min
New York City inspires cinema, but it has also consistently manufactured it. And long before anybody had heard of Hollywood, New York and the surrounding region was a movie capital too, the home to the earliest American film studios and inventors who…
#63 New York Stock Exchange
Feb 4, 2011 • 37 min
We tackle the rich history of the New York Stock Exchange in this episode, beginning with Alexander Hamilton, some pushy auctioneers, a coffee house and a sycamore tree. And find how this seminal financial institution ended up in its latest home — that…
#119 The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Jan 21, 2011 • 39 min
The longest suspension bridge in the United States, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was one of Robert Moses’ most ambitious projects, a commanding structure that would finally link Staten Island with Brooklyn. Today it soars above New York Harbor as one of…
#118 Times Square
Dec 17, 2010 • 55 min
Times Square is the centerpiece of New York for most visitors and a place that sharply divides city residents. Nothing about it sits still. Even its oldest buildings are severely transformed and slathered with electronic imagery. In 1900, the neighborhood…
#117 Mark Twain’s New York
Dec 2, 2010 • 24 min
You hear the name Mark Twain and think of his classic characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, his locales along the Mississippi River and his folksy wit. But he was equal parts New York as well, and the city helped shape his sharp, flamboyant…
#116 American Museum of Natural History
Nov 23, 2010 • 52 min
Millions of years of space rocks, fossils, artifacts and specimens are housed in New York’s world famous natural history complex on the Upper West Side. But few know the whole story about the museum itself. Residents of New York tried a few times to…
#115 African Burial Ground
Nov 4, 2010 • 18 min
During the construction of a downtown federal administration building, an extraordinary find was discovered — the remnants of a burial ground used by African slaves during the 18th Century. In the earliest days of New Amsterdam, the first Africans were…
#114 Supernatural Stories of New York
Oct 21, 2010 • 54 min
It’s our fourth annual ‘haunted’ podcast, and we’ve got four bloodcurdling stories for the season. The first three are spooky ghost tales — a haunted boardinghouse on 14th street with violent, vain spirits; a short history of New York’s seance craze and a…
#113 Niblo’s Garden
Oct 7, 2010 • 21 min
It’s the 1820s and welcome to the era of the pleasure garden, an outdoor entertainment complex delighting wealthy New Yorkers in the years before public parks. Niblo’s Garden, at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street, was the greatest of them all, with…
#62 Shea Stadium
Sep 30, 2010 • 15 min
The New York Mets are nice and comfortable Citi Field, but we can’t overlook the great stories contained in their old home, Shea Stadium, a Robert Moses project took years to get off the ground and has been populated with world class ball players, crazed…
#112 Archibald Gracie and His Mansion
Sep 17, 2010 • 46 min
Gracie Mansion today serves as the city’s official mayoral residence. But who was Archibald Gracie, and why did the city take over his country house?
#111 Subway Graffiti 1970-1989
Sep 2, 2010 • 20 min
Art. Vandalism. Blight. Freedom. Crime. Creativity. Graffiti has divided New Yorkers since it first appeared on walls, signs and lampposts in the late 1960s. Its ascent paralleled the city’s sunken financial fortunes, allowing simple markings to evolve…
#110 New York City Subway, Part 2: By the Numbers (and Letters)
Aug 19, 2010 • 47 min
The amazing New York City subway system travels hundreds of miles under the earth and elevated through the boroughs. In this episode, we let you in on how it went from one long tunnel in 1904 to the busiest subway on earth. This is our last episode in our…
#109 New York City Subway, Part 1: Birth of the IRT
Aug 6, 2010 • 48 min
In the fourth part of our transportation series BOWERY BOYS ON THE GO, we finally take a look at the birth of the New York City subway. After decades of outright avoiding underground transit as a legitimate option, the city got back on track with the help…
#61 Pan Am Building
Jul 30, 2010 • 30 min
Special Illustrated Edition! Today it’s the Met Life Building. It’s been called the ugliest building in New York City. It sits like a monolith behind one of the city’s most enduring icons Grand Central Terminal. But it’s got some secrets you may not know…
#108 Cable Cars, Trolleys and Monorails
Jul 22, 2010 • 19 min
For the third part of our Bowery Boys On The Go series, looking back at the history of New York City public transportation, it’s a look at the long gone, forgotten methods of getting around the city. The streets were mostly dominated by horse-based…
#107 New York’s Elevated Railroads
Jul 8, 2010 • 44 min
Before there were subways, New York City transported travelers up and down the length of Manhattan by elevated railroad, an almost unreal spectacle to consider today. Steam engines sat high above several avenues in the city, offering passengers not just a…
#106 Staten Island Ferry
Jun 24, 2010 • 20 min
The Staten Island Ferry is one of the last remaining vestiges of an entire ferry system in New York, taking people between Manhattan and its future boroughs long before any bridges were built. In Staten Island, the northern shores were spiked in piers,…
#105 The Newsboys Strike of 1899
Jun 10, 2010 • 39 min
Extra! Extra! Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst vs. the newsboys! Pandemonium in the streets! One hot summer in July 1899, thousands of corner newsboys went on strike against the New York Journal and the New York World. Throngs filled the…
#104 CBGB & OMFUG
May 27, 2010 • 18 min
Modern American rock music would have been a whole lot different without the rundown dive mecca CBGB’s, a beat-up former flophouse bar that made stars out of young musicians and helped shape the musical edge of downtown Manhattan. Owner Hilly Kristal may…
#60 Five Points Part Two: The Fate of Five Points
May 20, 2010 • 33 min
In our second podcast on the notorious Five Points neighborhood, we see how the district changed with the influx of new immigrants and the valiant attempts to reform the seedier elements. With the new Italian and Chinese residents, the culture changed…
#103: Case Files of the NYPD
May 14, 2010 • 48 min
We’re playing Good Cop / Bad Cop this week, as we take a close look at four events from the early history of the New York Police Department. You’ll meet shining stars of the force like Jacob Hays, who kept the peace in the early 19th century armed with a…
#102 Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach
Apr 29, 2010 • 17 min
Today it’s known as Brooklyn’s thriving Russian community next door to the amusements of the neighborhood of Coney Island. But a hundred years ago, the neighborhoods of Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach were the homes of lavish hotels catering to the…
#101 The Bronx Zoo
Apr 16, 2010 • 39 min
New York City’s most exotic residents inhabit hundreds of leafy acres in the Bronx at the once-named New York Zoological Park. Sculpted out of the former DeLancey family estate and tucked next to the Bronx River, the Bronx Zoo houses hundreds of different…
#100 Robert Moses
Mar 19, 2010 • 67 min
EPISODE 100 We obviously had to spend our anniversary show with the Power Broker himself, everybody’s favorite Parks Commissioner — Robert Moses. A healthy debate about Moses will divide your friends, and we provide the resources to make your case for…
#59 Five Points: Wicked Slum
Mar 4, 2010 • 31 min
You’ve heard the legend of New York’s most notorious neighborhood, heard the story of the seedy gangs of New York. Now come with us as we hit the streets of Five Points and dig up some of the nitty, gritty details of its birth, its first residents and its…
#99 Madison Square Garden
Feb 18, 2010 • 45 min
Madison Square Garden is certainly the recognizable name in arena entertaining, hosting sports, concerts, even political conventions. But it adopted that reputation from three other buildings which also called themselves ‘Madison Square Garden’. The…
#98 Manhattan Bridge
Feb 4, 2010 • 17 min
I love the Manhattan Bridge, but there’s no doubt it’s had a rocky history. For one hundred years, it’s withstood more than just comparisons to its far more iconic neighbor, the Brooklyn Bridge. Built to relieve pressure on the East River’s best known…
#58 Delmonico’s Restaurant
Jan 29, 2010 • 18 min
Before Delmonico’s, New Yorkers ate in taverns or oyster houses. But the city caught the fine dining bug at this family-owned business, Delmonico’s Restaurant Francais, which standardized everything you know about restaurants today. Find out about…
#97 Trinity Church
Jan 21, 2010 • 34 min
Trinity Church, with its distinctive spire staring down upon the west end of Wall Street, is more than just a house of worship. Over three different church buildings have sat at this site, and the current one by architect Richard Upjohn is one of…
#96 The Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park
Dec 24, 2009 • 17 min
The Cloisters, home of the Metropolitan Museum’s repository for medieval treasures, was a labor of love for many lovers of great European art. In this podcast, I highlight three of the most important men in its history — a passionate sculptor, a generous…
#57 Carnegie Hall
Dec 17, 2009 • 30 min
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Well, we can at least show you the way through its tumultuous history, from a fortunate meeting on a Norwegian cruise ship, passed a symphonic rivalry, and into the 20th Century with some of the biggest names in classical…
#95 Tin Pan Alley
Dec 11, 2009 • 38 min
The modern music industry begins…. on 28th Street? A seemingly nondescript street in midtown Manhattan contains some of the most important buildings where early American pop music was created. Tin Pan Alley was a bustling and frenzied area, the most…
#94 Corlear’s Hook and the Pirates of the East River
Nov 27, 2009 • 18 min
Avast ye mateys, there were indeed pirates in New York! Not only did they operate throughout the New York region in the 19th century, most of their grave misdeeds were focused around the East River waterfront, and in particular, Corlear’s Hook. Once a…
#93 City Hall and City Hall Park
Nov 13, 2009 • 40 min
New York City Hall sits majestically inside a nostalgic, well-manicured park, topped with a beautiful old fountain straight out of gaslight-era New York. But its serenity belies the frantic pace of government inside City Hall walls, and disguises a…
#56 Randall’s Island
Nov 5, 2009 • 18 min
The smaller islands of the East River reveal fascinating secrets of the city’s past, and Randall’s and Ward’s Islands are no exceptions. Found out how these former potter’s fields are related to the most important Olympics-related event New York City has…
#92 Steinway: the Piano Man
Oct 22, 2009 • 19 min
Henry Steinway, a German immigrant who came to New York in 1850, made his name in various showrooms and factories in downtown Manhattan, enticing the wealthy with his award-winning quality pianos. At their grand Steinway Hall on 14th Street, the family…
#91 Haunted Tales of New York
Oct 9, 2009 • 38 min
It’s time for our third annual ‘ghost stories’ episode, our mix of historical facts and spooky legends from the annals of New York’s past. For this round of scary tales, we visit a famous 19th century townhouse haunted by a lonely spinster, a West Village…
#55 The Evolution of Central Park
Sep 25, 2009 • 33 min
When last we left Central Park, it was the embodiment of Olmstead and Vaux’s naturalistic Greensward Plan. Then the skyscrapers came. Also, how did all those playgrounds, a swanky nightclub, a theater troupe and all those hippies get here? NOTE: Please…
#90 Columbia University
Sep 13, 2009 • 41 min
We’re going back to school with one of New York’s oldest continually operating institutions — Columbia University. Or should we say, King’s College, the pre-Revolution New York school that spawned religious controversy and a few Founding Fathers to boot.…
#54 The Creation of Central Park
Aug 27, 2009 • 30 min
Come with us to the beginnings of New York’s most popular and most ambitious park — from the inkling of an idea to the arduous construction. Learn who got uprooted and find out who the park was REALLY intended for. On the 151th year anniversary of the…
#89 Chelsea Hotel
Aug 14, 2009 • 38 min
Arguably New York’s least conventional hotel, the Chelsea Hotel (or rather, the Hotel Chelsea) is the one of New York’s counter-culture centers, a glamorous, art-filled Tower of Babel for both creativity and debauchery. From Mark Twain to Andy Warhol,…
#88 Ellis Island: The Immigrant Story
Jul 31, 2009 • 35 min
For millions of Americans, Ellis Island is the symbol of introduction, the immigrant depot that processed their ancestors and offered an opening into a new American life. But for some, it would truly be an ‘Island of Tears’, a place where they would be…
#87 The Kings of New York Pizza
Jul 16, 2009 • 18 min
New Yorkers are serious about their pizza, and it all started with a tiny grocery store in today’s Little Italy and a group of young men who became the masters of pizza making. In this podcast, you’ll find out all about the city’s oldest and most revered…
#86 Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall
Jul 2, 2009 • 38 min
You cannot understand New York without understanding its most corrupt politician — William ‘Boss’ Tweed, a larger than life personality with lofty ambitions to steal millions of dollars from the city. With the help of his ‘Tweed Ring’, the former…
#85 Shakespeare in the Park
Jun 18, 2009 • 16 min
What started in a tiny East Village basement grew to become one of New York’s most enduring summer traditions, Shakespeare in the Park, featuring world class actors performing the greatest dramas of the age. But another drama was brewing just as things…
#84 Prospect Park
Jun 5, 2009 • 34 min
Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s biggest public space and home to the borough’s only natural forest, was a sequel for Olmsted and Vaux after their revolutionary creation Central Park. But can these two landscape architects still work together or will their egos…
#53 Meatpacking District
May 24, 2009 • 15 min
How did the land surrounding an old 19th century fortress develop into the city’s mainline distributor for produce and meat? And how did it go from leather bars and transsexual prostitutes to high fashion stores and boutique hotels? Welcome to the…
#83 Henry Hudson
May 21, 2009 • 15 min
We turn the clock back to the very beginnings of New York history — to the European discovery of Manahatta and the voyages of Henry Hudson. Originally looking for a passage to Asia, Hudson fell upon New York harbor and the Lenape inhabitants of lands that…
#82 Roosevelt Island
May 8, 2009 • 35 min
Originally a quiet island of orchards and stone quarries, the place we call Roosevelt Island today was once New York’s ‘city of asylums’, the place where it sent its infirm, its incarcerated, its insane. Today it has the peculiar air of a small town with…
#81 Puck Building “What Fools These Mortals Be!”
Apr 23, 2009 • 17 min
A 6-foot plump gold impish figure stares down at you as you look up to observe the gorgeous red-brick design of the Puck Building, built for one of the 19th Century’s most popular illustrated publications. But this architectural masterpiece was very…
#80 Pennsylvania Station
Apr 10, 2009 • 36 min
The story of Pennsylvania Station involves more than just nostalgia for the long-gone temple of transportation as designed by the great McKim, Meade and White. It’s a tale of incredible tunnels, political haggling and big visions. Find out why the…
#79 The Whyos: Gang of New York
Mar 28, 2009 • 15 min
The Whyos (pronounced Why-Ohs) were New York’s most notorious gang after the Civil War, organizing their criminal activities and terrorizing law abiding citizens of the Gilded Age. Find out when they lived, how they broke the law and who they were — from…
#52 DeWitt Clinton and the Erie Canal
Mar 13, 2009 • 31 min
Meet former mayor, governor, senator and privileged son DeWitt Clinton, one of New York’s most successful politicians and champion of the Erie Canal. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
#78 The Great Fire of 1835
Mar 13, 2009 • 38 min
The Great Fire of 1835 devastated the city during one freezing December evening, destroying hundreds of buildings and changing the face of Manhattan forever. It underscored the city’s need for a functioning water system and permanent fire department. So…
#77 Freedomland U.S.A.: New York’s Weirdest Theme Park
Feb 26, 2009 • 16 min
What is Freedomland U.S.A.? An unusual theme park in the Bronx, only in existence for less than five years, Freedomland has become the object of fascination for New York nostalgia lovers everywhere. Created by an outcast of Walt Disney’s inner circle,…
#76 Woolworth Building
Feb 12, 2009 • 30 min
F.W. Woolworth was the self-made king of retail’s newfangled ‘five and dime’ store and his pockets were overflowing with cash. Meanwhile, in New York, the contest to build the tallest building was underway. The two combine to create one of Manhattan’s…
#51 McSorley’s Old Ale House
Jan 31, 2009 • 14 min
Grab yourself a couple mugs of dark ale and learn about the history of one of New York City’s oldest bars, serving everyone from Abraham Lincoln to John Lennon —- and eventually even women! www.boweryboyspodcast.com
#75 Williamsburg(h), Brooklyn
Jan 29, 2009 • 18 min
Williamsburg used to have an H at the end of its name, not to mention dozens of major industries that once made it the tenth wealthiest place in the world. How did Williamsburgh become a haven for New York’s most well-known factories and how did it then…
#50 Canal Street and Collect Pond
Jan 17, 2009 • 26 min
We celebrate a year of New York City history podcasting by re-visiting the topic of our very first show. Downtown Civic Center used to have a big pond in the middle of it which provided drinking water for the island’s first inhabitants. What happened to…
# 49 LaGuardia Airport and Early New York Flight
Jan 17, 2009 • 19 min
We embark on the tale of the birth of New York City flight — featuring a Wright brother on Governor’s Island, the site of a glue factory turned Brooklyn air strip, Queens’ forgotten first airport, and finally to the pet project of mayor Fiorello…
#74 Ziegfeld!
Jan 15, 2009 • 35 min
Cue the dancing girls, lower the props, raise the curtain — it’s the Bowery Boys and we’re taking on Broadway’s most famous producer, Florenz Ziegfeld! We give you a brief overview of the first days of Broadway, then sweep into Ziegfeld’s life — from his…
#73 Webster Hall ‘The Devil’s Playhouse’
Jan 2, 2009 • 12 min
Webster Hall, as beautifully worn and rough-hewn as it was during its heyday in the 1910s and 20s, disguises a very surprising past, a significant venue in the history of the labor movement, Greenwich Village bohemia, gay and lesbian life, and pop and…
#72 Rockefeller Center
Dec 19, 2008 • 38 min
JD Rockefeller Sr. may have earned his money is some rather unscrupulous ways, but his son Junior made good by giving midtown a towering city-within-a-city, a complex of Art Deco buildings that serves as New York’s beating heart. We take a compact look at…
#71 Saks Fifth Avenue
Dec 4, 2008 • 29 min
A podcast that’s “very Saks Fifth Avenue,” we get to the origins of the famous upscale retailer, follow its path from Washington D.C. to Heralds Square and then to “the most expensive street in the world,” and tell you a little about a glamorous milliner…
#70 The Bowery Files
Nov 21, 2008 • 28 min
This is our “potpourri” episode with a little bit of everything in it. We open up some of our favorite readers mail, we take you behind the scenes of how we put together an episode, and we describe three of our very favorite history-related websites that…
#69 The Plaza Hotel
Nov 14, 2008 • 32 min
It got off to a rocky start, but the Plaza Hotel has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in New York City. We take a look at its kooky history, from its days as an upper class ‘transient hotel’ to a party place for celebrities. Starring: Henry…
#68 New York City Marathon
Oct 31, 2008 • 30 min
A true five-borough episode! The New York City Marathon hosts thousands of runners from all over the world, the dream project of the New York Road Runners and in particular one Fred Lebow, an employee of the Fashion District turned athletic icon. Find out…
#67 Guggenheim Museum
Oct 24, 2008 • 33 min
The spiral-ramped wonder that is the Guggenheim Museum began as the dream of two colorful characters — a severe German artist and her rich patron art-lover. So how did they convince the most famous architect in the world to sign on to their dream for a…
#66 Who Killed Mary Rogers?
Oct 16, 2008 • 18 min
The most desirable woman in downtown Manhattan — the ‘beautiful cigar girl’ Mary Rogers — is found horribly murdered along the Hoboken shore. Hear some of the stories of the murder’s prime suspects and marvel at the excessive attentions of the penny…
#65 Spooky Stories of New York
Oct 10, 2008 • 34 min
By popular demand, we return to the creepier tales of New York City history, ghost tales and stories of murder and mayhem, all of them at some point involving great American icons — Alexander Hamilton, P.T. Barnum, Dorothy Parker and Mark Twain. Our older…
#64 Green-Wood Cemetery
Oct 2, 2008 • 16 min
Green-wood Cemetery is one of New York’s oldest burial grounds, but its development reaches back all the way to the beginning of Brooklyn’s surprising history — in fact, to the founder of Brooklyn Heights. Find out why it took an inventive city planner…
#63 New York Stock Exchange
Sep 26, 2008 • 37 min
We tackle the New York Stock Exchange in this episode, beginning with Alexander Hamilton, some pushy auctioneers, a coffee house and a sycamore tree. And find how this seminal financial institution ended up in its latest home — that beautiful, classically…
#62 Shea Stadium
Sep 18, 2008 • 15 min
The Mets are movin’ out to Citi Field, but we can’t overlook the great stories contained in their own home, Shea Stadium, a Robert Moses project took years to get off the ground. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
#61 The Pan Am Building
Sep 18, 2008 • 30 min
Today it’s the Met Life Building. It’s been called the ugliest building in New York City. It sits like a monolith behind one of the city’s most enduring icons Grand Central Terminal. But it’s got some secrets you may not know about. In this podcast, we…
#60 Five Points: The Fate of Five Points
Sep 18, 2008 • 33 min
Part two of our “Five Points” podcast. Join us as we explore the “wicked” neighborhood’s clean up, fall from grace, and eventual destruction. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
#59 Five Points: Wicked Slum
Sep 18, 2008 • 31 min
You’ve heard the legend of New York’s most notorious neighborhood. Now come with us as we hit the streets of Five Points and dig up some of the nitty, gritty details of its birth, its first residents and its most scandalous pastimes.…
#57 Carnegie Hall
Sep 18, 2008 • 31 min
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Well, we can at least show you the way through its tumultuous history, from a fortunate meeting on a Norwegian cruise ship, past a symphonic rivalry, and into the 20th Century with some of the biggest names in classical…
#56 Randall’s Island and the 1936 Olympic Trials
Sep 18, 2008 • 18 min
Small islands reveal fascinating secrets of New York’s past, and Randall’s and Ward’s Islands are no exceptions. Found out how these former potter’s fields are related to the most important Olympics-related event New York City has ever seen. The cast…
#55 The Evolution of Central Park
Sep 18, 2008 • 33 min
When last we left Central Park, it was the embodiment of Olmstead and Vaux’s naturalistic Greensward Plan. So how did all those playgrounds, a swanky nightclub, a theater troupe and all those hippies get here? www.boweryboyspodcast.com
#54 The Creation of Central Park
Sep 18, 2008 • 30 min
Come with us to the beginnings of New York’s most popular and most ambitious park — from the inkling of an idea to the arduous construction. Learn who got uprooted and find out who the park was REALLY intended for. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
#53 The Meatpacking District: Glamour and Gore
Sep 18, 2008 • 15 min
How did the land surrounding an old 19th century fortress develop into the city’s mainline distributor for produce and meat? And how did that once bustling place transform itself from the dilapidated home of leather bars and prostitutes to a hot spot of…
#52 DeWitt Clinton and the Erie Canal
Sep 18, 2008 • 32 min
Meet former mayor, governor, senator and privileged son DeWitt Clinton, one of New York’s most successful politicians and champion of the Erie Canal. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
#51 McSorley’s Old Ale House
Sep 18, 2008 • 14 min
Grab yourself a couple mugs of dark ale and learn about the history of one of New York City’s oldest bars, serving everyone from Abraham Lincoln to John Lennon —- and eventually even women! www.boweryboyspodcast.com
#50 Canal Street and Collect Pond
Sep 18, 2008 • 26 min
We celebrate a year of New York City history podcasting by re-visiting the topic of our very first show. Downtown Civic Center used to have a big ole pond in the middle of it which provided drinking water for the island’s first inhabitants. What happened…