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Amusements and Thrills Podcasts

The Real Life Adventures of Tom Thumb

PODCAST The tale of one of the 19th century’s most unusual superstars, a man who spent his entire life in the media spotlight — thanks to promoter and friend P.T. Barnum and to his highly publicized ‘wedding of the century’ to Lavinia Warren at Grace Church. EPISODE #339 Charles Stratton, who would become world famous […]

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Podcasts Revolutionary History

Fraunces Tavern: Raise your glass to the Revolution!

PODCAST Fraunces Tavern is one of America’s most important historical sites of the Revolutionary War and a reminder of the great importance of taverns on the New York way of life during the Colonial era. This revered building at the corner of Pearl and Broad Street was the location of George Washington‘s farewell address to […]

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American History

Remembering the Wall Street bombing of 1920

On a usual day, lunchtime down on Wall Street today is chaotic mess of brokers and bankers on cell phones, tour groups, messengers on bikes, police officers, construction workers, people delivering lunch and perhaps a stray older lady walking her dog. One hundred years ago today, in 1920, it would have practically been the same, sans […]

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Planes Trains and Automobiles Podcasts

James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal

PODCAST EPISODE #339: An interview with author Eric K. Washington, author of “Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal”.  The Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal were a workforce of hundreds of African-American men who were an essential part of the long-distance railroad experience. […]

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American History Bronx History

The United States Capitol Dome was built in the Bronx

In the fall of 1783 Lewis Morris, signer of the Declaration of Independence, helpfully suggested in a letter to the Continental Congress that his own bucolic estate Morrisania (in today’s area of the South Bronx) would make a fine home for the new capital of the United States. That didn’t happen, of course, but the Bronx […]

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Podcasts Science

Dinosaurs and Diamonds: Stories from the American Museum of Natural History

PODCAST Ancient space rocks, dinosaur fossils, anthropological artifacts and biological specimens are housed in New York’s world famous natural history complex on the Upper West Side — the American Museum of Natural History! Throughout the 19th century, New Yorkers tried to establish a legitimate natural history venue in the city, including an aborted plan for a […]

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Parks and Recreation

Where was Manhattan Square? The Gilded Age remaking of a neglected park

Theodore Roosevelt Park (77th and 81st Streets, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue), which contains the beloved American Museum of Natural History, is the oldest developed section of the Upper West Side, purchased by the city in 1839 as a possible strolling park to be called Manhattan Square. Central Park was but a gleam in the eye back in […]

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Podcasts Writers and Artists

A New Deal for the Arts: How the WPA funded an American creative revolution

PART TWO of a two-part podcast series A NEW DEAL FOR NEW YORK. In this episode, we look at how one aspect of FDR’s New Deal — the WPA’s Federal Project Number One — was used to put the country’s creative community back to work and lift the spirits of downtrodden Americans. EPISODE 338 Federal […]

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Neighborhoods

A look back at Lord & Taylor’s splashy move to Fifth Avenue in 1914

UPDATE FOR 2020: It was announced today that Lord & Taylor, America’s first department store, has announced it will go out of business after 193 years. It began in 1826 as women’s clothing store in Lower Manhattan. In tribute, we are bumping up this article from 1914, framed around its 1914 move to the Fifth […]

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Neighborhoods Parks and Recreation

Nostalgia for Astoria Pool, an early Robert Moses project with a high diving, Olympic-sized history

Astoria Pool is the largest venue for swimmers in New York, outside of the Hudson and East Rivers and, of course, the ocean. Its location in Astoria Park is certainly theatrical, parallel with the river and in sight of two spectacular bridges (the Robert F. Kennedy and the Hell Gate) that sail over to Randall’s Island. […]

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Parks and Recreation Podcasts

Robert Moses and the Art of the New Deal

PART ONE of a two-part podcast series A NEW DEAL FOR NEW YORK. In this episode, we look at the impact New Deal funding had in shaping the city’s infrastructure — from bridges and tunnels to neighborhood parks — how New York City uniquely benefited from this government program. EPISODE 337 New York City during […]

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Black History Events

Honoring New York’s first civil rights march — a special virtual event with Green-Wood Cemetery

I’m very pleased to be able to join author Eric K. Washington in a special ‘virtual history’ discussion of the Silent Parade of 1917 — courtesy a special event sponsored by Green-Wood Cemetery. Join Eric and I on Wednesday, August 19 at 5pm for an illustrated discussion of this important moment in New York City […]

Categories
Amusements and Thrills

Circus activism: Barnum’s female stars demand right to vote

Women received the right to vote 100 years ago today with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Tens of thousands of women from all walks of life spent hard-fought decades working for this moment. Many of the most prominent suffragettes were wealthy white women of the Fifth Avenue set. It was […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

H.P Lovecraft’s very bizarre hatred of Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights

Howard Philip Lovecraft — aka H.P. Lovecraft — was born 130 years ago this week (on August 20, 1890) in Providence, Rhode Island.   The pulp-fiction storyteller, known for claustrophobic tales of the occult, lived for a time in Brooklyn. He did not enjoy it. In 1924, he moved to  259 Parkside Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn, close to Ebbets Field and Prospect Park. […]

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Podcasts Science

The story of Tesla: The spark of invention in Old New York

PODCAST The strange and wonderful life of Nikola Tesla in New York City. The Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla was among the Gilded Age’s brightest minds, a visionary thinker and inventor who gave the world innovations in electricity, radio and wireless communication. So why has Tesla garnered the mantle of cult status among many? Part of that […]