Disaster at the Empire State Building

Seventy years ago today, July 28, 1945, a B-25 bomber on its way to Newark Airport swerved off course, meandering over the foggy city and smashing into the Empire State Building.  Some rather startling details of the event: — The pilot, Lt. Colonel William Smith, was simply on his way to pick up his commanding … Continue reading Disaster at the Empire State Building

Super City: New York and the History of Comic Books

PODCAST  A history of the comic book industry in New York City, how the energy and diversity of the city influenced the burgeoning medium in the 1930s and 40s and how New York’s history reflects out from the origins of its most popular characters.  In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and … Continue reading Super City: New York and the History of Comic Books

History in the Making 7/21: Summer Baby Edition

A special new podcast is on the way for this Friday. It’s extra challenging so the blog will be a little quiet until then. Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy a few pictures of small children keeping cool during a hot New York City summer over 100 years ago. Pictures courtesy the Library of Congress.   … Continue reading History in the Making 7/21: Summer Baby Edition

Podcast Rewind: Webster Hall Nights “I’ve Been To A Marvelous Party”

PODCAST REWIND  Webster Hall, as beautifully worn and rough-hewn as it was during its heyday in the 1910s and 20s, disguises a very surprising past. It’s a significant venue in the history of the labor movement, Greenwich Village bohemians, gay and lesbian life, and pop and rock music. The Webster Hall ballroom has hosted the likes … Continue reading Podcast Rewind: Webster Hall Nights “I’ve Been To A Marvelous Party”

The fire at Barnum’s American Museum 150 years ago

One hundred and fifty years ago this week (July 13, 1865), New York City lost one of its most famous, most imaginative and most politically incorrect attractions. When P.T. Barnum opened his museum in 1841, the kooky curiosities contained within the building at the corner of Broadway and Ann Street — at the foot of … Continue reading The fire at Barnum’s American Museum 150 years ago

Blackout! One ugly night in 1977

REVIEW The evening of July 13, 1977, will be remembered as one of the worst in New York City history, a catastrophic electrical blackout that plunged an already-weakened city into terrifying anarchy. Meanwhile, up on the top floors of the World Trade Center, they were having a party. The thrilling new documentary Blackout — making its … Continue reading Blackout! One ugly night in 1977

Hell’s Kitchen: New York’s Wild West

PODCAST 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 over 150 years. This sprawling tenement area was home to some of the most notorious slums in … Continue reading Hell’s Kitchen: New York’s Wild West

Hey gang, let’s go down to the Recreation Pier!

The end of the 19th century saw many new ways to get people out of New York City’s over-crowded tenement districts, with trains to beach havens like Coney Island and Rockaway Beach and steamers making day-trips up the Hudson River and to spots in Long Island. For those who didn’t have the luxury of a free afternoon,  some … Continue reading Hey gang, let’s go down to the Recreation Pier!

PODCAST REWIND: Rockefeller Center

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 compact look at the complicated lineage of Rockefeller Center, from its controversial … Continue reading PODCAST REWIND: Rockefeller Center

Terror Spree: Harvard professor bombs U.S. Capitol, shoots JP Morgan

In the early days of July 1915, the United States was preparing for a subdued celebration of America’s 139th Independence Day.  It was hardly a festive time. War was still raging in Europe, and America was debating its entry on the side of Britain, Italy and France. The deaths of 128 Americans aboard the RMS Lusitania on May 7 … Continue reading Terror Spree: Harvard professor bombs U.S. Capitol, shoots JP Morgan