Category Archives: Adventures In Old New York

Cheers to the Free and Independent Republic of Greenwich Village!

There’s a spiral staircase inside the western half of the Washington Square Arch, which grants access to the rooftop and fabulous views straight up Fifth Avenue. Public entrance is prohibited, of course, although that didn’t stop six fearless malcontents (including the artists Marcel Duchamp and John Sloan) from breaking in to declare a bohemian revolution late in the evening of January 23, 1917.

Below: A few months after our art revolutionaries take to the arch, it was decorated in support of America’s involvement in World War I.


The escapade was organized by Gertrude Drick, a poet mostly forgotten today but known at the time by the name Woe (as in “Woe is me”).

According to cartoonist Art Young:

“One night [Drick] discovered the blind, unlocked door of the passage and stairway which leads to the top of the arch. A few nights later she had made all the arrangements, invitations, Chinese lanterns, balloons and refreshments for her privately conducted picnics.”

Once atop the Arch, the group decorated the outdoor space with lanterns and balloons, and spent the entire night around a fire, drinking wine and tea (the beverage of revolution). They shot off cap pistols into the wintry night air.

Below: John Sloan’s classic etching depicting the event. The original is at the Met.

A radical shift in the art scene had already begun in New York,
emanating from the streets around Washington Square. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s Studio Club was nearby, as were the apartments of many artists associated with the Ashcan School, including Sloan himself.

Greenwich Village, long a magnet for the unconventional, energized this new wave of painters and playwrights as they bonded in nearby cafes and studios. It was in this spirit that the so-called Arch Conspirators, shielding their candles from the wind, unfurled an unusual parchment late that night that declared “a Free and Independent Republic of Greenwich Village.”

The only evidence of this grand proclamation the following morning was the balloons that still clung to the Arch’s violated rooftop. But the Village did become free and independent to an extent, a pocket universe of creativity for the rebellious musicians, artists, and writers of the twentieth century.

Celebrate the Arch Conspirators tonight at Judson Memorial Church at a centennial Celebration from 6-8pm, presented by Atlas Obscura and Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. More details here.


The above is an excerpt from the book The Bowery Boys: Adventures In Old New York, now available in bookstores everywhere




Two new Bowery Boys live events — this December!

Come out and join us for two events that we are co-hosting this December in association with two terrific New York institutions.

“Hosts of the popular podcast The Bowery Boys: New York City History, Greg Young and Tom Meyers, test your wits with a night of trivia. Admission is $10, and comes with two drink coupons. Teams of no more than six and no smaller than four will compete over five rounds of trivia. If you don’t come with a team, we’ll be happy to add you to one. Doors and the bar open at 6 p.m. If you haven’t arrived by 6:30 p.m. to claim your spot, the Tenement Museum reserves the right to re-sell your ticket to those waiting in a stand-by line. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second, and third place teams. The Bowery Boys’ book, The Bowery Boys: Adventures in Old New York: An Unconventional Exploration of Manhattan’s Historic Neighborhoods, Secret Spots and Colorful Characters will be for sale with a 15% discount. If you have any questions, contact Laura Lee at or (646) 518-3032.

Tickets: $10
Venue: Tenement Museum
103 Orchard Street, New York, NY
(corner of Delancey Street)




“How do you make history accessible, relevant, and exciting for overstimulated New Yorkers today?

Though they employ very different media, one aural, the other visual, The Bowery Boys and the Museum of the City of New York share the common goal of investigating the city’s rich past and making it relevant to today’s audiences. How do you work with older forms of media — a 1923 building, a physical exhibition mounted on four walls, or a radio podcast — to render and interpret key moments of history in digestible and interesting bursts? In our hyper-connected world of instant and ever-present communication, how do you stoke people’s interest in digging into the city’s past?

Join Greg Young and Tom Meyers of the acclaimed local history podcast The Bowery Boys and Dr. Sarah Henry, chief curator and deputy director of the Museum of the City of New York, for a conversation that goes behind the scenes of the making of New York at Its Core, the museum’s new landmark permanent exhibition. Hosted by Andy Lanset, director of archives for New York Public Radio.”

Tickets: $10
Venue: The Greene Space
44 Charlton Street, New York, NY
(corner of Varick Street)

Top photo: Photographer Samuel H. Gottscho takes this image of the skyline on December 15, 1931, from River House. “View looking south over the Manhattan skyline, from the East. The Chrysler and Empire State Buildings are visible in the right background. The East River, various piers, and smokestacks are on the left.”

Next Bowery Boys live appearance: the Skyscraper Museum!

This Tuesday, August 16,  join us at the Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park City. We’ll be doing a reading and book signing on promotion of our book Adventures In Old New York, in particular chatting out some of the more unusual skyscraper architecture of downtown New York.

Here are more details about that event. It’s a free show but you have to RSVP and it’ll fill up fast!  Email your RSVP (with number of guests) to 

All book talks are free and open to the public. The gallery opens at 6:00pm.

Some of you may be wondering — what is the Skyscraper Museum? It’s a great institution that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.  Their first exhibition opened in 1997 at a location on Wall Street. Another location of theirs at 110 Maiden Lane closed after September 11, 2001, to become an emergency information center to assist downtown businesses.

Their mission is to celebrate the history of skyscrapers and to speculate on their future.Their latest exhibit space, at 39 Battery Place, features the show GARDEN CITY MEGA CITY about the Singapore-based WOHA, an architecture firm that specializes in designing for the world’s tropical urban areas. .  Since our reading will be in the gallery, you’ll get the check out this show as well!


Below: Inside the Skyscraper Museum:

Courtesy Big Maven
Courtesy Big Maven


The latest Bowery Boys appearances — WFUV, Curbed, Brooklyn Magazine and more

OUR LATEST LIVE APPEARANCE — We’ll be doing a reading and book signing on promotion of our book Adventures In Old New York on Tuesday, August 16 at the Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park City.

Here are more details about that event. It’s a free show but you have to RSVP and it’ll fill up fast!  Email your RSVP (with number of guests) to 

All book talks are free and open to the public. The gallery opens at 6:00pm.

And yes I’m betting that we chat about famous skyscrapers this time around. Maybe even this one.


PRESS APPEARANCES: We’ve been grateful to the many newspapers, blogs, magazines and radio shows who have reached out to us to talk about our book. Here are a few from the past 2-3 weeks that you should check out:

From Curbed New York: 10 Fascinating New York City Secrets, Courtesy of The Bowery Boys

A fun interview with Brooklyn Magazine:

Chatting with The Bowery Boys on NYC History, Podcasts and More


We also sat down with Sherman’s Travel to explore “The Secret Side of New York History

Q&A: The Bowery Boys Dish on the Secret Side of New York History

And finally we appeared on WFUV’s Cityscape podcast with George Bodarky. We have a marvelous time recording this at Fordham. Listen to it here or download and subscribe to it at NPR and listen to it later:

For other press notices from the past couple months, check out this post from June and of course ABOUT US in the Press in the dropdown at top.


And finally we had a spectacular trivia event at Fraunces Tavern last week. I’ll put up some of the trivia questions next week as well. But more live trivia events to come!


PODCAST REWIND: Here’s Henry Hudson!

PODCAST REWIND 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 that would later make up New York City. The river that was eventually named after Hudson may not have provided access to Asia, but it did offer something else that attracted the Dutch and eventually their very first settlement — New Amsterdam.


THIS IS A SPECIAL ILLUSTRATED PODCAST!  Chapter headings with images have been embedded in this show, so if your listening device is compatible with AAC/M4A files, just hit play and a variety of pictures should pop up.  The audio is superior than the original as well. (This will work as a normal audio file even if the images don’t appear.)

For this and our older episodes (Episodes #5-#81), subscribe to The Bowery Boys: NYC History Archive feed, on iTunes, directly from our host page, or directly via our RSS feed.


The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast is brought to you …. by you!

We are now producing a new Bowery Boys podcast every two weeks.  We’re also looking to improve the show in other ways and expand in other ways as well — through publishing, social media, live events and other forms of media.  But we can only do this with your help!

We are now a member of Patreon, a patronage platform where you can support your favorite content creators for as little as a $1 a month.

Please visit our page on Patreon and watch a short video of us recording the show and talking about our expansion plans.  If you’d like to help out, there are five different pledge levels (and with clever names too — Mannahatta, New Amsterdam, Five Points, Gilded Age, Jazz Age and Empire State). Check them out and consider being a sponsor.

We greatly appreciate our listeners and readers and thank you for joining us on this journey so far. And the best is yet to come!


For the images associated with the original blog post, click here.

A replica of Henry Hudson’s De Halve Maan (Half Moon) departing the Netherlands for New York Harbor for the Hudson-Fulton Celebration of 1909.

Courtesy Nationaal Archief

“View of a naval parade on the Hudson River taken from a boat, showing crowds on a the piers for the “Henrick Hudson 300 Years Celebration.” The docks for the Red Star Line and the American Line are visible.”

Courtesy Museum of the City of New York


A postcard commemorating the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. Read my article from 2009 (on the anniversary of the festival) for more information.

Courtesy Museum of the City of New York
Courtesy Museum of the City of New York

Join us for Curbed Facebook Live chat this Monday

Monday afternoon at 3pm, join us on the Curbed Facebook page for a live chat! It’s in the similar format as a Reddit AMA conversation but on video. We’ll be on there answering questions from our viewers about the podcast and New York City in general.

We’re also featured in a new post over at Curbed written by Zoe Rosenberg — 10 Fascinating New York City Secrets, Courtesy of The Bowery Boys — featuring some of the points of interest from our book Adventures in Old New York.

Check us out on Monday and send in your questions once the conversation goes live.



It’s Trivia Night at Fraunces Tavern! New Bowery Boys event on July 26

Here’s the announcement of our latest live event — at historic Fraunces Tavern. If you’re reading this and interested in attending, you may want to consider getting your tickets now as space will be limited. Here are the details:


Fraunces Tavern Museum presents TRIVIA NIGHT

Hosted by the Bowery Boys

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Doors Open / 6:00pm
Trivia Begins / 6:30pm

Ticket prices:
Members: $15 // Public: $20

Test your knowledge of New York City history with Greg Young & Tom Meyers, hosts of the award-winning podcast Bowery Boys: New York City History.

Join us for five rounds of trivia based on the Bowery Boys podcast and new book, The Bowery Boys: Adventures in Old New York*. Teams of five will compete against each other for prizes and bragging rights.

Purchase your tickets for Trivia Night now! Ticket price includes after-hours access to Fraunces Tavern Museum’s galleries, 2 drink tickets, and trivia night entry. Each participant must purchase their own ticket. Teams will be created at the door.

*Books will be available for purchase during this event.

Click here to purchase your tickets.


Next Bowery Boys book appearance: Fishs Eddy in the Flatiron District

We would like to thank the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York for hosting us on last Tuesday, June 28, as a part of their lecture series.  The General Society is one of the oldest continually operating institutions in New York City, and they’ve been in their swanky headquarters at 20 West 44th Street for over a hundred years.

Among its unique treasures is the John M. Mossman Lock Collectiona mysterious collection of locks and keys dating back thousands of years and certain to inspire anybody who’s ever wanted to write a bank heist thriller.

Plan a visit to the General Society to investigate its library and historical artifacts. The building is often open for Open House New York too.



Our next event is at quite a different place indeed — Fishs Eddy, 880 Broadway and East 19th Street near the Flatiron Building!

Fishs Eddy is a kitchen and homeware shop specializing in quirky, vintage styles. We are huge fans of Fishs Eddy!  They’ve previously sold products with such themes as Paint By Numbers, American History and politicians (from all sides of the aisle).  They’ve sold items tied into Amy Sedaris lifestyle book ‘I Like You’ and Todd Oldham paper dolls.  And now the Bowery Boys are getting in on the act!

We’ll be doing a reading and book signing there on Wednesday, July 13, at 6:30 PM. It’s a free event so come early as it will fill up fast. And get this: Fishs Eddy will officially be selling a Bowery Boys themed item — Bowery Boys pizza topping! That’s right. You can now grab an authentic slice of New York City pizza and season it with your favorite New York City history podcast.  This is a strictly limited edition so come by on July 13 to pick some up or stop by the store that week to pick some up.


See you all there!  Our next event will be at Fraunces Tavern. And it’s  a trivia night. Check back to the blog for more information.



The Bowery Boys in the press!

Pictured: The New York Herald newspaper office (in Herald Square, natch) in a flamboyantly colored postcard from 1907.  The lights of Broadway theaters — many still below 42nd Street — blaze in the background.

Well, our book Adventures In Old New York is finally out, and we’ve been blessed to have it featured in several newspapers and websites in the past couple weeks. Here’s a rundown of places you can find the Bowery Boys in print and on the web:

The New York Times features the book in a great roundup of new New York City books — Guides to the Birds, Superlatives and  History of the Hidden City

Patricia Wall/The New York Times
Patricia Wall/The New York Times


The New York Post ran a two page excerpt from the book — Explore the Secrets of Old New York

DNA Info interviewed us about the book and the process we use to produce the podcast —  What We Learned About the Bowery Boys and Their New Travel Guide to Old NYC

The Travel Channel focuses on a few of the most interesting sites in the book in a photo essay — 10 Old-School NYC Sites: Visit Old New York with the Bowery Boys

Courtesy Benjamin Stone Photography


Time Out New  York featured a full-page spread illustrated by the jaunty picture above, taken on the rooftop of the building where we started the podcast back in 2007 — The Bowery Boys’ new ‘historical guidebook’ comes out this week

Brick Underground focuses upon one of the book’s more unique viewpoints, highlighting landmarks that are sometimes overlooked — The Bowery Boys Make NYC History Come To Life by Focusing on the ‘B’ Team

Untapped New York ran an excerpt from one chapter on the book, focusing on the Great Fire of 1835:

A History of NYC’s Hanover Square and East Financial District from “The Bowery Boys: Adventures in Old New York”


I was honored to interviewed by Bill Schulz for his piece for the New York Times on one tragic reminder of the General Slocum Disaster —Small Relics of a Colossal Disaster

And last but not least, Story Trail interviews me about one of the more unusual New York City experiences in my life, regarding a break-up, some cold medicine, and the filming of Godzilla — My CurioCity: Greg Young, Godzilla and Madison Square Park


And more to come throughout the summer of course! Our thanks to these publications for taking time to meet with us and share our joy of New York City history.


Image at top courtesy Museum of the City of New York. Photo of the Bowery Boys courtesy Benjamin Stone Photography

The Bowery Boys book is here at last PLUS: Info on our new live appearance

We want to offer heartfelt thanks to the many people who came out to our first live book event last Thursday night at the Museum of the City of New York.  It was a packed house that evening to hear us speak about our new book Adventures In Old New York with moderator Donald Albrecht. Afterwards, we did our very first (OMG!) book signing and got to meet a lot of you there. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of a very important night for us.  Check out the bottom of this post to see some images from that evening.

If you didn’t get to go to that one, we’ll be having several more events throughout the summer and fall. I’ll be posting the information as soon as I get it.

Our next appearance will be the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York on Tuesday, June 28, at 6:30 pm.  If you’re interested, definitely book early, as the last event sold out. Here’s the details:

“How much do you really know about NYC’s history? Introducing  a special program celebrating the launch of The Bowery Boys: Adventures in Old New York, the official companion book to the No. 1 travel podcast that offers an unconventional exploration of Manhattan’s historic neighborhoods, secret spots and colorful characters. The Bowery Boys  – Greg Young and Tom Meyers – will be here to discuss among other things,”Top Ten Hidden Secrets” of New York.

20 West 44th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

To register please  email: Advance registration is recommended.

Just $10 General admission. Further info here.

And if you can’t make this one, many more to come….

The book is finally here! If you pre-ordered it, you should be getting it in the mail this week or early next week.  If you’d like to pre-order it, head on over to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or visit your local independent book store in person. This should be popping up everyone — including international sales. AND digital versions — like this one for the Nook or the one at iTunes.



And there are a few press appearances on the way. SPOILER ALERT: Check our your copy of the New York Post this weekend.  Also Brick Underground has a nice write-up from our event at the museum last Thursday (but a pretty cool picture of us). Read that here.

Courtesy Benjamin Stone Photography
Courtesy Benjamin Stone Photography



Oh AND a new podcast this Friday. For this week’s subject, we go way, way, way back….

And finally here are the photos from last Thursday’s event:
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That’s Tom’s brother Ben holding a hot-off-the-presses copy: