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Neighborhoods Podcasts Religious History

How Chelsea Became a Neighborhood: From Orchards to Nightclubs

PODCAST What does the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea mean to you? Religion and architecture? Art galleries and gay bars? Shopping and brunch after a stroll on the High Line? Tens of thousands of people, of course, call it home. But before it was a neighborhood, it was the Colonial-era estate — the home of a […]

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Gilded Age New York

Chelsea’s former opera house and the shocking murder of a New York ‘robber baron’

One hundred and fifty years ago this month (more specifically, on January 7, 1872), a shocking assassination took place at the northwest corner of 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue.  And it took place at a quite surprising venue — the Grand Opera House. Surprising in the sense that it seems unusual that an opera house […]

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On The Waterfront Podcasts

Chelsea Piers: New York City in the Age of the Ocean Liner

PODCAST The Chelsea Piers were once New York City’s portal to the world, a series of long docks along the west side of Manhattan that accommodated some of the most luxurious ocean liners of the early 20th century. Passenger ocean travel became feasible in the mid 19th century due to innovations in steam transportation, allowing […]

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Gilded Age New York Neighborhoods

Chelsea and the Chocolate Factory (or rather, Hershey and his Sixth Avenue chewing gum plant)

Hershey’s employees cut and pack chewing gum at Sixth Avenue and 21st Street. For five glorious years in the early 1920s, Hershey’s Chocolate operated a candy plant at Sixth Avenue, in the neighborhood of Chelsea. While chocolate bars and chocolate coating for other candies were produced here, the Chelsea plant primarily focused on a new […]

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Landmarks

The wonder of the Chelsea Hotel: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’ — an interview with author Sherill Tippins

The Hotel Chelsea, August 1936, photograph by Berenice Abbott (NYPL) Inside the Dream Palace The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Few places in New York exist with so many ghosts as the Chelsea Hotel. Oh, I don’t know if it’s really haunted, but the historical […]

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, 190 years ago, that an iconic poem was written in Chelsea

On Christmas Eve, one hundred and ninety years ago today, wealthy landowner and august Columbia professor Clement Clarke Moore completed a seasonal poem to read to his children. He penned the whimsical little tale — a throwaway, really, in comparison to his great and respected writings in Greek and biblical literature — from a desk […]

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, 190 years ago, that an iconic poem was written in Chelsea

On Christmas Eve, one hundred and ninety years ago today, wealthy landowner and august Columbia professor Clement Clarke Moore completed a seasonal poem to read to his children. He penned the whimsical little tale — a throwaway, really, in comparison to his great and respected writings in Greek and biblical literature — from a desk […]

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On The Waterfront

Where golf balls fly: Pier 59 at Chelsea Piers

The West Side Elevated Highway zooms past Pier 59, still in operation but long past her prime. (1951) Courtesy NYPL There are very few angles on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy that aren’t being excessively covered in other places this week. So instead of focusing on the ship and its passengers, I thought […]

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Neighborhoods

The Thermos Building, keeping it hot (and cool) in Chelsea

A charming family enjoys its insulated beverages — just as they like it, just as they need it — in an ad from 1909.  The invention of the vacuum flask in 1892 (by Scottish chemist Sir James Dewar) does not rank high among mankind’s most remarkable inventions, but its longevity relies on being a steady […]

History in the Making: The Final Chelsea Check-Out Edition

Interior of the Hotel Chelsea, photo from 1972, by Carter Tomassi Imagine taking a treasured New York landmark and slowly strangling the very reason it was famous in the first place until nothing was left of it but an empty shell. Welcome to the Chelsea Hotel, August 2011. [New York Times] You can also follow […]

Check-in for “Chelsea On The Rocks” … finally!

Chelsea On The Rocks, that long-lingering Abel Ferarra documentary about life at the Chelsea Hotel that we mentioned here, is finally getting a theatrical release, making its debut this Friday at — no surprise — the Chelsea Clearview Cinema, a couple doors down from the actual hotel. How cool is that? For the full immersive […]

Chelsea’s old Opera House: from robber barons to BBQ

In last Friday’s podcast on the Hotel Chelsea, I mentioned a building that was located very near by called the Grand Opera House, at the northwest corner of 23rd Street and 8th Avenue. Here it is: The opera house sprang up in 1868, the project of Samuel N. Pike, who purchased the land directly from […]

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Podcasts

Chelsea Hotel, the muse of New York counterculture

Berniece Abbott looks up to the Chelsea, 1936 Arguably New York’s least conventional hotel, the Chelsea Hotel (or rather, the Hotel Chelsea) is the one of New York’s culture centers, a glamorous, art-filled Tower of Babel for both creativity and debauchery. From Mark Twain to Andy Warhol, it’s been both inspiration and accommodation for artistic […]

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Christmas Writers and Artists

Sacred Santa: How a self-proclaimed Messiah became a popular Santa Claus model

Early one spring day in 1922, while dutifully posing at the Art Students League on West 57th Street, Santa Claus had a fatal heart attack in front of a classroom of students. Above — He knows when you’ve been bad or good: A Christmas issue of Judge Magazine from 1919 by Guy Lowy, who studied at the […]

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Mysterious Stories Podcasts

Gotham’s Greatest Ghosts: The Bowery Boys Halloween Specials

This year we are celebrating our 15th year of telling New York City ghost stories. Fifteen years?! Now that’s frightening. Our first show was released on October 11, 2007. Since that time we have released fourteen Halloween-related shows (from 2007 to 2020) as well as a recording of our Joe’s Pub live show. So for […]