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Gilded Age New York

Before Al Roker and Sam Champion, there was Farmer Dunn, New York’s weather guru of the late 19th century

How did New Yorkers know to panic over the weather in the 19th century? How could they know to run through the streets in terror at the upcoming snowpocylpse/blizzardtastrophe if there was no brightly colored Accuweather radar or a friendly weather person with perfectly coiffed hair? In the 1880s, New Yorkers turned to one man […]

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Gilded Age New York

The Fifth Avenue Hotel: Opulence atop a potter’s field, and accommodations for heated Republican power brokering

By the date of this photo (1890), the Fifth Avenue Hotel, facing Madison Square Park, had already seen its share of American political drama.The double-breasted, cigar-chewing gentlemen who gathered in the sumptuous rooms of the Fifth Avenue Hotel were occasional connoisseurs of New York City history, and in particular, these amateur historians spoke of the very […]

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Gilded Age New York Podcasts Uncategorized

Notes from the podcast (#132): Electric New York

Manhattan grid illuminated, taken from the Metropolitan Life Tower in Madison Square, looking downtown. I’m not sure when this photo was taken, but a reasonable guess might be the late 1910s. The caption says ‘New York Edison Company, Photographic Bureau.’ (Photo courtesy NYPL)FOR MORE INFORMATION: We just scratched the surface on the ‘war of the […]

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Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Electric New York: From gaslight to Edison’s Pearl Street Station, illuminating the shadows, re-visualizing the night

The soft luminescence of electric light brings a mysterious glow to City Hall, the New York World Building and the newly opened City Hall subway station in 1904. PODCAST The streets of New York have been lit in various ways through the decades, from the wisps of whale-oil flame to the modern comfort of gas […]

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Gilded Age New York Uncategorized

All of the Lights: An invention of Edison’s invention

A new podcast will be ready for download later this evening! The film ‘Edison, The Man‘ was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, which is appropriate because most of the movie is entirely fictional, including this re-imagining of Edison’s Pearl Street Station and the first blocks cast in the glow of incandescent lights. In truth, the ‘switch’ was flipped from […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Gilded Age New York

Mark Twain was here: Mapping a trail of his misadventures

Last year at this time, I did a podcast on Mark Twain in New York and featured this map of notable places Twain worked, lectured, lived and played. Today is the author’s birthday — he was born 176 years ago — so I thought I’d reprint the map in case you wanted to revisit a […]

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Gilded Age New York

Mark Twain in New York, or His Adventures on Fifth Avenue

Photo courtesy LOC PODCAST You hear the name Mark Twain and think of his classic characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, his locales along the Mississippi River and his folksy wit. But he was equal parts New York as well, and the city helped shape his sharp, flamboyant character. Follow his course, from his first […]