Once Upon A Time In Five Points: The Bowery Boys Movie Club revisits Scorsese’s Gangs of New York

As a celebration of filmmaker Martin Scorsese (whose film The Irishman opens this month), we’ve just released an episode of the Bowery Boys Movie Club to the general Bowery Boys: New York City History audience. This is an exclusive podcast for those who support us on Patreon.

For current patrons, we’ve also just released a brand new episode of the Movie Club, looking at the 1987 film Moonstruck. To listen to that episode and the past Movie Club episodes (discussing Midnight Cowboy, On The Town, Eyes of Laura Mars and many other films) become a Patreon supporter today!


Gangs of New York is a one-of-a-kind film, a Martin Scorsese 2002 epic based on a 1927 history anthology by Herbert Asbury that celebrates the grit and grime of Old New York.

Its fictional story line uses a mix of real-life and imagined characters, summoned from a grab bag of historical anecdotes from the gutters of the 19th century and poured out into a setting known as New York City’s most notorious neighborhood — Five Points.

Listen in as Greg and Tom discuss the film’s unique blend of fact and fiction, taking Asbury’s already distorted view of life in the mid 19th century and reviving it with extraordinary set design and art direction. The film itself, released a year after September 11, 2001, had dated itself in some interesting ways.

And unfortunately some elements of the film are more relevant in 2019 than ever.

How do I get regular episodes of the Bowery Boys Movie Club? Simply support the Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast at any level on Patreon. 

Once you’re signed on, you’ll see a private RSS link that can be put directly into your favorite podcast player. It can also be played directly from the Patreon app once you’re signed in. Your support of the Bowery Boys podcast on Patreon assists us in producing our podcast and this website and it helps as we endeavor to share our love of New York City history with the world!

Should you watch the movie before you listen to this episode? This podcast can be enjoyed both by those who have seen the film and those who’ve never even heard of it.  

We think our take on Gangs of New York might inspire you to look for the film’s many fascinating (but easy to overlook) historical details, so if you don’t mind being spoiled on the plot, give it a listen first, then watch the movie! Otherwise, come back to the show after you’ve watched it. 

If you’d like to watch the movie first, it’s currently streaming on iTunes and Amazon. Or rent it from your local library.

Thank you for supporting the Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast!