The Wise Guy of Baseball: Getting To Know Leo ‘The Lip’ Durocher

BOOK REVIEW The history of sports is often written around its most revered role models, as though the noble character of the greatest players comes from the purest devotion to their game. Leo Durocher, a sterling shortstop and manager for some of the greatest teams in baseball history, was no role model. In most ways, he was the … Continue reading The Wise Guy of Baseball: Getting To Know Leo ‘The Lip’ Durocher

How the Kosciuszko Bridge got its wonderfully bewildering name

“That sound that crashes in the tyrant’s ear – Kosciuszko!” Lord Byron was talking about Polish hero Tadeusz Kościuszko, who was (most likely) born on this date in 1746.  Tomorrow a new bridge bearing his name will open to the public,  hoping to eliminate the many grievances of those stuck upon its predecessor during rush hour. But how did the original … Continue reading How the Kosciuszko Bridge got its wonderfully bewildering name

‘Citizen Jane’: A new film explores the legacies of Moses and Jacobs

FILM REVIEW The story of Robert Moses versus Jane Jacobs has grown to such an epic scale by this point that it scarcely represents reality anymore. Their legacies have taken on super heroic form — the Avengers of New York City history, if you will — representing the basic evils of corrupt government and the essential good of … Continue reading ‘Citizen Jane’: A new film explores the legacies of Moses and Jacobs

Josephine Cochrane and her Dazzling Dish-Washing Machine

THE FIRST PODCAST Of the tens of thousands of U.S. patents granted in the 19th century, only a small fraction were held by women. One of those women — Josephine Cochrane — would change the world by solving a simple household problem. While throwing lavish dinner parties in her gracious home in Shelbyville, Illinois, Cochrane … Continue reading Josephine Cochrane and her Dazzling Dish-Washing Machine

‘The Gargoyle Hunters’ and the Architecture of Nostalgia

BOOK REVIEW The architects and builders of the post-Civil War period provided New York City with masterpieces of great beauty — cast-iron facades, modern emblems of trade rendered in marvelous stone, fanciful medieval gargoyles upon impressive towers. Gilded Age architecture and the ornate shapes of pre-modern design have nonetheless defined the timeless identity of the city. In the 1970s … Continue reading ‘The Gargoyle Hunters’ and the Architecture of Nostalgia

Deconstruction Of The Third Avenue El: A new exhibit at the Transit Museum

Who knew the dismantling of something so filthy and monstrous could be so beautiful? Sid Kaplan is a master print-maker and photography teacher who the New York Times recently called “the darkroom equivalent of the session man, the go-to guy famous musicians revere and want to work with.” Kaplan has been fascinated with photography since his … Continue reading Deconstruction Of The Third Avenue El: A new exhibit at the Transit Museum

Those crazy kids! This Friday learn all about the Great Subway Race of 1967

Here’s an event for you this Friday that’s a little bit The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and an iota of It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World — with a New York City touch, of course. It’s The Great Subway Race of 1967! Fifty years ago M.I.T. computer whiz kid Peter Samson programmed a mainframe computer about the … Continue reading Those crazy kids! This Friday learn all about the Great Subway Race of 1967

The Beauty Bosses of Fifth Avenue: Elizabeth Arden & Helena Rubinstein

PODCAST Fifth Avenue’s role in the ‘revolution’ of beauty, as led by Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, New York’s boldest businesswomen of the Jazz Age. 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 … Continue reading The Beauty Bosses of Fifth Avenue: Elizabeth Arden & Helena Rubinstein

Two strange secrets of DeWitt Clinton Park in Hell’s Kitchen

DeWitt Clinton Park, far west in Hell’s Kitchen between West 52nd and West 54th Streets, has two unusual features that harken to a time one hundred years ago — and millions of years ago! The park’s most striking feature is an unusual rock formation that juts out just west of the sports field. This unique … Continue reading Two strange secrets of DeWitt Clinton Park in Hell’s Kitchen

OUR ISOLATION IS OVER: In ‘The Great War’, PBS presents a different take on America’s entry into World War I

One hundred years ago this week, the United States of America rose to assist its European allies and officially declared war on Germany. This was an unprecedented moment in this country’s history, a signal of its rising importance on the world stage and a declaration of the United States as the standard bearer of democracy. … Continue reading OUR ISOLATION IS OVER: In ‘The Great War’, PBS presents a different take on America’s entry into World War I