Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

The Story of SoHo: The Iron-Clad History of ‘Hell’s Hundred Acres’

PODCAST The history of SoHo, New York’s 19th century warehouse district turned shopping mecca Picture the neighborhood of SoHo (that’s right, South of Houston) in your head today, and you might get a headache. Crowded sidewalks on the weekend, filled with tourists, shoppers and vendors, could almost distract you from SoHo’s unique appeal as a […]

Categories
Pop Culture

History in the Making 11/18: Celebrated Jumping Frogs Edition

Hoppin’ History: Samuel Clemens broke through 150 years ago today.  The man who would become Mark Twain first published his now famous short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (under its original title “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” 150 years ago today in the New York Saturday Press.  I speak about this […]

Categories
It's Showtime Podcasts

Billie Holiday’s New York: Here’s to Swing Street, Harlem’s 133rd Street and other landmarks of jazz

  PODCAST Grab your fedora and take a trip with the Bowery Boys into the heart of New York City’s jazz scene — late nights, smoky bars, neon signs — through the eyes of one of the greatest American vocalists who ever lived here — Billie Holiday. Eleanora Fagan walked out of Pennsylvania Station in […]

Union busted: Hotel and restaurant workers end their strike

Above: Restaurant workers walk off the job at Sherry’s Restaurant at Fifth Avenue in 1912 One hundred years ago today, a rather peculiar worker’s strike ended, a protest which had paralyzed New York’s restaurant and hotel industries for almost two months. The strike had begun in early May, and by the month’s end, thousands of […]

Categories
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 […]

Troubled times: Dr. King and Abe Lincoln visit New York

February 1961: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is presented with an award by the Americans for Democratic Action. On either side of him is former New York governor Herbert H. Lehman and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited New York University and spoke to the campus […]

Try getting this catchy tune out of your head!

And a little something silly for Friday: The Hotel Seville was a brilliant Beaux-Arts jewel exemplar of the glory days of Madison Avenue, opening in 1904 — just days before the New York subway — and designed by Harry Allen Jacobs. The architect was a master of the ebullient Beaux-Arts style, applying it to apartment […]

A TV shout-out to a debonair palace for independent women

postcard from Old New York With Mad Men making its return last night on AMC, myself and many other bloggers (like the fabulous Natasha Vargas-Cooper and the folks over at the City Room) are scouring the episodes for fun New York City history references. One of my favorite buildings in the city made an appearance […]

Before CBGB’s, parties at 315 Bowery were for the birds

Above: The first of hundreds of Bowery hotels — the old Gotham Inn in 1862. The inn, which dated from the 1790s, sat quite close to where 315 Bowery is today, just north of Houston Street. (Pic courtesy NYPL) The early history of buildings at 315 Bowery — the address that would later become the […]

Antoni Gaudi’s grand New York hotel — built by sci-fi

Joshua Jackson, looking down at Gaudi in an alternate universe. Courtesy Fringe Files I promise, this is my last post on fake New York City history for awhile, but I couldn’t let the season finale of the FOX sci-fi series Fringe pass without comment. A running scientific theory running through the series is the notion […]

Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky….

Above: Lena Horne at the Copacabana, October 1948 Lena Horne, the Brooklyn-born entertainer who broke color barriers in the New York nightclub scene as well as in Hollywood, died in a New York hospital yesterday at age 92. She would make history in Harlem, in segregated hotspots like The Cotton Club, where the entertainment was […]

Categories
Mad Men

Cocktails with ‘Mad Men’ at the Hotel Pierre

The following posting is littered with television spoilers, so please avert your eyes if you’re a ‘Mad Men’ fan who hasn’t seen last night’s season finale. The show is always a scavenger hunt for New York history buffs, the dialogue sprinkled with famous locations and events, most notably an entire episode to the destruction of […]

Postcard from the Past: New York, September 1959

TEXT: “Sept 16th and 17th 1959‘Ice Capades’Plymouth Hotel Fire at 4:30 AMThursdayMerman in ‘Gypsy’” The Hotel Chesterfield (130-136 West 49th Street), built in 1927, was a luxury accommodation conveniently near Rockefeller Center and various Broadway theaters. The Ice Capades referred to in this card are the well-reviewed Ice Capades program launched at Madison Square Garden. […]