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American History Landmarks

The Statue of Liberty turns 135 years old: Eleven facts about her 1886 dedication

The Statue of Liberty celebrates her 135th birthday today. Technically, I suppose, it’s the anniversary of her dedication, a star-studded, pomp-laden ceremony that took place on Friday, October 28, 1886. But for many months previous, she was a fierce presence in the harbor, as the copper monument was arduously stitched together from far flung pieces — […]

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American History

The New York Brownstone Inauguration of Chester A. Arthur

There are several enemies in Candice Millard‘s Destiny of the Republic, the terrific 2011 narrative history of the assassination of President James Garfield during the summer of 1881. The most obvious foe is the delusional Charles Guiteau, who believed himself the nation’s savior when he shot President Garfield twice at a Washington DC train station […]

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American History Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘An Open Secret’: A gay life in Jazz Age Chicago

Robert Allerton lived without a care thanks to his family’s Gilded Age fortune, built from the stockyards of Chicago’s meat processing district. As a young man, Allerton used his inherited wealth to maintain the family estate near Monticello, Illinois, cultivating a garden escape where he could be left to his own devices. And then, in […]

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American History Long Island

Road Trip to Long Island: A new Bowery Boys three-part podcast series

The Bowery Boys podcast is going on a road trip. Presenting a new three part podcast series, exploring three historic places outside of New York City.  It’s a Bowery Boys Road Trip to Long Island! Listen to the trailer here: Greg Young · Long Island Trailer We’re headed to the lands beyond Brooklyn and Queens […]

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American History Food History Podcasts

Who Wrote the First American Cookbook?

PODCAST One of America’s most important books was published 225 years ago this year.  You won’t find it on a shelf of great American literature. It was not written by a great man of letters, but somebody who described herself simply as ‘an American orphan.’ EPISODE 354 In 1796 a mysterious woman named Amelia Simmons published American Cookery, […]

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American History Podcasts

The City in Flames: The Great Fire of 1835

PODCAST This month marks the 185th anniversary of one of the most devastating disasters in New York City history — The Great Fire of 1835. This massive fire, among the worst in American history in terms of its economic impact, devastated the city during one freezing December evening, destroying hundreds of shops and warehouses and changing […]

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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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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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American History Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Sweet Taste of Liberty: Celebrating the life of Henrietta Wood

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, Henrietta Wood sued the man who kidnapped her and sold her back into slavery. In his lifetime, that man — a prison warden and general scoundrel named Zebulon Ward — often bragged about losing the case, saying “he was the last American ever to pay for a […]

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American History Podcasts

Andrew Carnegie and New York’s public libraries: How a Gilded Age gift transformed America

EPISODE 308 In the final decades of his life, steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie — one of the richest Americans to ever live — began giving his money away. The Scots American had worked his way up from a railroad telegraph office to amass an unimaginable fortune, acquired in a variety of industries — railroads, bridge […]

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American History Podcasts

The New Americans: Look into the faces of the immigrants of Ellis Island (1904-24)

PODCAST The epic tale of Ellis Island and the process by which millions of new immigrants entered the United States. For millions of Americans, Ellis Island is the symbol of introduction, the immigrant depot that processed their ancestors and offered an opening into a new American life. But for some, it would truly be an ‘Island […]

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American History Bowery Boys Bookshelf

WILD BILL: The real man behind a Western legend — and a reluctant Broadway stage star

“Hickok was a celebrity. He was famous. He was feared. He was already a legend. It is estimated that over fifteen hundred dime novels were written just about Buffalo Bill Cody, beginning in 1869, when he was only twenty-three, into the 1930s, and during the early years. Wild Bill was in that category of iconic […]

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American History True Crime

Insanity: 160 years ago today, Congressman Daniel Sickles shot and killed the son of Francis Scott Key

On the 160th anniversary of the killing of Phillip Barton Key, I’m reposting this article from 2014 which originally ran on the 100th anniversary of Daniel Sickle’s death. We don’t have large, parade-like funeral processions marching up the avenues as they once did during the Gilded Age and in the early years of the 20th […]

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American History Podcasts

The Astonishing Saga of Cyrus West Field and the Atlantic Cable, the “Eighth Wonder of the World”

PODCAST The origin of the Atlantic Cable — the first telegraph connection between the Old and the New Worlds — and the role of New York City in its creation. New Yorkers threw a wild, exuberant celebration in the summer of 1858 in honor of ‘the eighth wonder of the world’, a technological achievement that […]

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American History Podcasts

The Huddled Masses: Emma Lazarus and the many meanings of the Statue of Liberty

PODCAST The words of “The New Colossus,” written 135 years ago by Jewish poet Emma Lazarus in tribute to the Statue of Liberty, have never been more relevant — or as hotly debated — as they are today. What do they mean to you? “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your […]