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Listen To These Podcasts After You Watch HBO’s The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age is finally here! The HBO Julian Fellowes prestige television drama, that is, in the vein of his lavish signature series Downton Abbey.

It’s been awhile since New York City history has been depicted on screen; The Alienist, The Deuce and The Knick themselves seem like ancient history.

The Gilded Age depicts the social worlds of New York during the 1880s, a time of great wealth and power within a turbulent metropolis. It’s a tale of old money and new, the dyed-in-the-wool Knickerbockers vs. the ambitious nouveau riche.

And performed by a cast largely comprised of Broadway stars and award-winning actresses? Our tables are set.

Bowery Boys host Tom Meyers is, for a second season, the co-host of the official Gilded Age Podcast. And The Gilded Gentleman is your ongoing podcast resource for all things from this historical era.

Over the years, the Bowery Boys Podcast has also explored many Gilded Age subjects. And a handful of our past shows provide the perfect backdrop for the series.

Before settling in to watch stars Christine Baranski, Carrie Coon and Audra McDonald engage in social warfare, get into the perfect mindset with these shows from the Bowery Boys (and Gilded Gentleman) back catalog. (This list is updated for season two.)

The Gilded Age Mansions of Fifth Avenue

At the heart of New York’s Gilded Age — the late 19th century era of unprecedented American wealth and excess — were families with the names Astor, Waldorf, Schermerhorn and Vanderbilt, alongside power players like A.T. StewartJay Gould and William “Boss” Tweed.

They would all make their homes — and in the case of the Vanderbilts, their great many homes — on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

But by 1925 most of the mansions below 59th Street were gone, victims of changing tastes and alterations to the city landscape. 

The Roeblings: The Family Who Built The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, which was officially opened to New Yorkers 140 years ago this year, is not only a symbol of the American Gilded Age, it’s a monument to the genius, perseverance and oversight of one family.

This episode is arranged as a series of three mini biographies of three family members — John Roebling, his son Washington Roebling and Washington’s wife Emily Warren Roebling Through their stories, we’ll watch as the Brooklyn Bridge is designed, built and opened in 1883.

Edith Wharton’s New York

In this show we examine the story of Edith Wharton — the acclaimed American novelist who was born in New York City and raised inside this very Gilded Age social world that she would bring to life in her prose.

She was a true ‘insider’ of New York’s wealthy class — giving the reader an honest look at what it was like to live in the mansions of Fifth Avenue, to attend an elite dinner soiree featuring tableaux vivant and to carry forth an exhausting agenda of travels to Hudson River estates, grand Newport manors and gardened European villas.

A Gilded Age Tour Up the Island of Manhattan

Carl Raymond of The Gilded Gentleman podcast presents a fascinating tour through over 100 years of New York history, showing how the Gilded Age developed and evolved from an architectural and urban planning point of view. 

He’s joined by guest historian and tour guide Keith Taillon, taking listeners on a journey explaining how key Gilded Age neighborhoods became established and grew. 

The Early Years of Central Park

Stroll the romantic, rambling paths of historic Central Park in this week’s episode, turning back the clock to the 1860s and 70s, a time of children ice skating on The Lake, carriage rides through The Mall, and bewildering excursions through The Ramble.

In this rambling walking tour Greg visits some of the most beloved attractions of the park including Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Naumburg Bandshell, Bow Bridge and Belvedere Castle.

And he’s joined by two very special guests: Sara Cedar Miller, historian emerita of the Central Park Conservancy, and Dr. Emma Guest-Consales, president of the Guides Association of New York City 

Black Gotham: Origins of Gilded Age New York’s Black Elite

Dr. Carla Peterson, author of Black Gotham: Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City, joins Carl to share her research and perspective on the growth and development of the prosperous black professional class throughout the nineteenth century up to the Gilded Age. 

In her 2012 groundbreaking book, Peterson sheds light on how this particular corner of the black community grew as New York became enriched in the late 19th century. She provides insight into leading African-American figures of the day, many missing in contemporary accounts of the period. 

Who Was The Real Mrs. Astor?

In The Real Mrs. Astor, Carl looks at one of the most legendary figures of the period – Caroline Astor, or the Mrs Astor, the ruler and creator of New York’s Gilded Age high society in the early 1870s. 

In collaboration with Southern social climber Ward McAllister, Astor essentially created the rules for who was ‘acceptable’ in New York social circles.

The Opening of the Metropolitan Opera

The original Metropolitan Opera House — nicknamed the Yellow Brick Brewery for its bulky exterior design — was built by the families representing New York’s nouveau riche who felt slighted by Old New York’s upper class.

While it was technically Gounod’s opera Faust which played from the stage, most of the spectacle was actually in the audience — and up in the regal boxes, called the ‘golden horseshoe’ for its extravagant roster of social-climbing elite.

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