“To the memory of the Brave Soldiers and Sailors Who Saved the Union”

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on the Upper West Side has been the centerpiece for Memorial Day commemoration for decades.  Unless you actually live by it, you probably have not been there in years, if at all. It’s a vastly under-appreciated landmark, occasionally vandalized and certainly in need of work. It owes its form to the great … Continue reading “To the memory of the Brave Soldiers and Sailors Who Saved the Union”

Fantasy’s weirdest writer brings ‘Tomorrowland’ to New York City

The new Disney film Tomorrowland which opens tomorrow will feature scenes set at the 1964-65 World’s Fair, one of the most popular historical destinations for blockbuster films in recent years.  But this is only the latest show called Tomorrowland to present a flashy, futuristic vision of America. The first actually arrived in New York City in 1905, courtesy one of … Continue reading Fantasy’s weirdest writer brings ‘Tomorrowland’ to New York City

Odds and Ends: Washington Irving, Modern Ruin, Tourist Advice, The Slide

Irving Place is the remarkably pretty street that travels from the south side of Gramercy Park to the less charming ruckus of 14th Street.  It was named for the great writer Washington Irving during his lifetime by developer Samuel Ruggles.  The house at East 17th Street and Irving Place purports to be the former home … Continue reading Odds and Ends: Washington Irving, Modern Ruin, Tourist Advice, The Slide

Diamond Girl: How Mae West Brought ‘Sex’ and Scandal to Broadway

PODCAST 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 was the pride of Brooklyn!  In this podcast, we bring you the origin story of … Continue reading Diamond Girl: How Mae West Brought ‘Sex’ and Scandal to Broadway

Timeless: How ‘Mad Men’ changed history on television

In 1972 the Robert Altman film M*A*S*H was turned into a weekly half-hour situation comedy series. In retrospect I’m stunned that anybody thought to make this. The landscape of television comedy was cluttered with novelty premises and perfect families dealing with contrived scenarios which always, always resolved in a happy freeze-frame. There was no sense … Continue reading Timeless: How ‘Mad Men’ changed history on television

‘Days of Rage’ and Nights of Terror

Right before noon on March 6, 1970, an explosion tore open a lovely Greenwich Village townhouse at 18 West 11th Street and awoke New York City to a violent new threat. The remains of three bodies were discovered in the smoking debris but they weren’t residents of this quiet neighborhood. They were members of The Weather … Continue reading ‘Days of Rage’ and Nights of Terror

A Haunting Look Inside the Lusitania

The Lusitania gets dwarfed by recollections of the Titanic.  But in many ways, the destruction of the Cunard Line’s premier ocean liner on May 7, 1915, was a deeper tragedy than that of the White Star liner. As a casualty of war — sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of southern Ireland — the … Continue reading A Haunting Look Inside the Lusitania

Park Slope and the Story of Brownstone Brooklyn

PODCAST  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 are currently changing the make-up of the borough of Brooklyn … Continue reading Park Slope and the Story of Brownstone Brooklyn

Ungentrified: Brooklyn in the 1970s

The new Bowery Boys podcast that comes out this Friday will be about Brooklyn. So let’s get in the mood with some pre-Instagram tinted photography from the U.S. National Archives, most of them taken in 1974 by Danny Lyon. followed by some black and white images by Edmund V Gillon. You might have seen many of … Continue reading Ungentrified: Brooklyn in the 1970s

Jane’s Walk 2015: Ten Recommended Free Tours (And Over 100 More!)

Above: This is the Bowery, 110 years ago.  One of the recommended Jane’s Walks highlights the rapid changes along this historic street. (Picture courtesy Shorpy)   There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans. — Jane … Continue reading Jane’s Walk 2015: Ten Recommended Free Tours (And Over 100 More!)