Come to our first live recorded show — NYC Podfest, April 9th in Brooklyn!

This April we will be recording a show in front of a live audience that will be released as an upcoming podcast — in honor of the 10th anniversary of recording the first episode of the Bowery Boys: New York City History. And we would really, really love for you to be a part of … Continue reading Come to our first live recorded show — NYC Podfest, April 9th in Brooklyn!

The New Brooklyn: The ups and downs of a very frenetic borough

The subtitle to Kay S. Hymowitz‘s engaging and often provocative new book The New Brooklyn: What It Takes To Bring A City Back is a bit of a misnomer. Brooklyn is not back in any conventional sense of the word. It has not returned to any kind of sense of normalcy or financial stability. In fact, Brooklyn has … Continue reading The New Brooklyn: The ups and downs of a very frenetic borough

I Called Him Morgan: The Murder of a Jazz Star in wintry 1970s New York

It was during one of those terrible February nights — blizzard winds with the streets packed tight with snow — at a jazz club in the East Village named Slug’s Saloon, packed with people haloed in cigarette smoke, that a woman named Helen Morgan walked up to one of the performers, her common-law husband, a rising … Continue reading I Called Him Morgan: The Murder of a Jazz Star in wintry 1970s New York

Barnum and the Greatest Show on Earth: NYC and the American Circus

PODCAST The story of Phineas Taylor “P. T.” Barnum and his world-famous circus extravaganza. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages — the Bowery Boys present to you the tale of P. T. Barnum and his “Greatest Show on Earth,” the world’s most famous circus! You can’t even bring up the discussion of circuses without mentioning … Continue reading Barnum and the Greatest Show on Earth: NYC and the American Circus

Nikola Tesla and the Wireless World: The Invention of Remote Control

THE FIRST: STORIES OF INVENTIONS AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES  The Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla is known as one of the fathers of electricity, the curious genius behind alternating current (AC), the victor in the so-called War of the Currents. But in this episode of The First, starting in the year 1893, Tesla begins conceiving an even grander scheme … Continue reading Nikola Tesla and the Wireless World: The Invention of Remote Control

Going Up: New York got its first commercial elevator 160 years ago

Cast-iron construction, pioneered in America by architect James Bogardus in the 1850s, became the preferred method of building large dry goods shops and department stores in the mid- and late nineteenth century, thanks to the speed with which these enormous buildings could go up and the savings they presented over heavier, more cumbersome construction methods. Today … Continue reading Going Up: New York got its first commercial elevator 160 years ago

City of Memory: The Metropolitan Museum’s intimate New York exhibit

Up in one of those difficult-to-find rooms at the Metropolitan Museum of Art — so difficult that perhaps it simply vanishes after you leave it — is a series of 27 small oil paintings that one must view with a magnifying glass. The subjects of the paintings all reside in the same universe — a … Continue reading City of Memory: The Metropolitan Museum’s intimate New York exhibit

The Arrival of the Irish: An Immigrant Story

PODCAST One of the great narratives of American history — immigration — through the experiences of the Irish. You don’t have a New York City without the Irish. In fact, you don’t have a United States of America as we know it today. This diverse and misunderstood immigrant group began coming over from Ireland in significant numbers starting … Continue reading The Arrival of the Irish: An Immigrant Story

The New York Riots of 1964: Violent history with a haunting familiarity

One hot summer’s morning, in the neighborhood of Yorkville on the Upper East Side, high school student James Powell was shot and killed by police officer James Gilligan. Powell either attempted to stab the officer or else the unarmed boy was brutally set upon by a man with violent tendencies. Gilligan, a war veteran, was either … Continue reading The New York Riots of 1964: Violent history with a haunting familiarity

The Big Story Of Old Bet, America’s First Circus Elephant

PODCAST Before the American circus existed, animal menageries travelled the land, sometimes populated with exotic creatures. This is the story of the perhaps the most extraordinary wandering menagerie of all. This year marks the end to the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus and, with it, the end of the traditional American circus. Once at the core of … Continue reading The Big Story Of Old Bet, America’s First Circus Elephant