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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Eleven holiday gift ideas for New York history buffs: The Bowery Boys favorite books of 2017

For this holiday season, what single present can satisfy a native New Yorker, a history buff enchanted with the city’s rich heritage, or a person who’s dreamed of coming here to visit one day? A book of course! Here are our picks for ideal gifts this year — from hard-hitting non-fiction to nostalgic memoir, from the Revolutionary […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘Greater Gotham’: Admiring the biggest, most important New York City history book of the year

Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, is my bible. It sits with my reference books, not with the other history non-fiction, foundational in its importance to this subject. I’ve read every page, although not in one or even 50 sittings. It winds through about 275 […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Wartime New York

‘Shooting Lincoln’: The Complicated Story Behind America’s First Wartime Photographs

Alexander Gardner is a bit of a Nikola Tesla-like figure in American history in that his contributions were largely overlooked in his day, concealed within a partnership with a famous business titan. That titan was Mathew Brady, the most famous photographer of the 19th century, with studios in New York and Washington D.C. that captured […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘Going to Town’: Roz Chast rewrites the guide book

The biggest city in the United States is really a collection of multiverses, full of enshrined anomalies and beloved inconveniences. Every New Yorker has their own list of wisdoms and observations, a batch of beloved eccentricities that make New York City such a perfect place to live for them. (For instance, I love a good bodega […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The Gargoyle Hunters at the National Arts Club: The author joins the Bowery Boys in conversation

Any plans this Tuesday, November 7th? How about a fun evening of history and literature? The Gargoyle Hunters: An Evening with author John Freeman Gill in conversation with Greg Young from The Bowery Boys Tuesday, November 7 8:00 PM John Freeman Gill’s dramatic novel The Gargoyle Hunters solves the mystery of a brazen, seemingly impossible […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘The Creative Destruction of New York City’: The Tools For Fighting Back Against Unwanted Change

Talk of hyper-gentrification, skyrocketing real estate and the ‘end of New York’ comes bundled with despair and helplessness. Walk down 59th Street and gaze as the super-talls blocking the sun, built for foreign investors who may never once step inside these luxury caverns. Or stroll along Smith Street in Cobble Hill, observing the rows of […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Revolutionary History

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: Uncovering New York’s darkest secrets of the Revolutionary War

The Brooklyn Navy Yard, no longer a bustling shipyard, lives on as a vibrant commercial compound of movie studios, bourbon distilleries and organic rooftop farms. Its waterfront, facing into Wallabout Bay, is relatively peaceful today. There are no remnants of its genuinely disturbing past. During the Revolutionary War, New York was a British stronghold, and […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

At the Strangers’ Gate: Becoming a New Yorker on the streets of 80s SoHo

The 1980s in New York City were defined by glossy magazines and gallery shows, the earnest giving way to irony, the facile passed off as profound. What would ring hollow in the following decade might have seemed still crisp and dangerous in the Ed Koch years. At the Strangers’ Gate Arrivals In New York by […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

In two new books, loving New York doesn’t mean you have to like it

Writing about New York City often means making big, bold statements — flamboyant, absurd and ridiculous — especially if you love it. And even more if you hate it. New York Is Hell Thinking and Drinking in the Beautiful Beast by Benjamin DeCasseres w. introduction by Peggy Nadramia Underworld Amusements Vanishing New York How A […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Down The Up Staircase: A Century of Black Lives In A Crumbling Old House

The extraordinary house at the heart of Down the Up Staircase is currently for sale.  “411 Convent Avenue is a House located in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood in Manhattan, NY,” the blog Street Easy dryly notes.  “411 Convent Avenue was built in 1901 and has 3 stories and 1 unit.” Bruce D. Haynes, a professor […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Queens History

The International Express: The Personality of the 7 Train

The New York subway system has been a frightening place recently — derailments, stalled trains underground, agonizing delays. Most of these interruptions are experienced in a unique way, a group of strangers coping with a  situation outside their control. After a few minutes of waiting, people get impatient, pace the train, grumble silently, turn up […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘Incendiary’: The Mad Bomber Terrorizes 1950s New York

George Metesky was just your average working joe with a unique and understandable beef against his former employer Con Edison. He was injured on the job, eventually fired and denied workers compensation for what appear to be purely bureaucratic reasons. But any sympathies one might find for Metesky, however, are quickly abandoned. In retaliation, he began a meticulously […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Wartime New York

The marks of World War I, scattered throughout the five boroughs

Echoes of the first World War, one hundred years behind us, can still be found in virtually every neighborhood of New York City. In Kevin C. Fitzpatrick’s revealing and compact guidebook World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War, these memories linger in familiar landmarks and obscure […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Politics and Protest

‘Fear City’: The unthinkable tale how New York City almost went bankrupt

Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics, the title of Kim Phillips-Fein’s riveting new book on the 1970s financial catastrophe, isn’t wantonly comparing New York City to the devilish landscape of a horror film. It’s the actual title of a grim pamphlet the New York Police Department distributed to tourists in 1975, […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘The Gargoyle Hunters’ and the Architecture of Nostalgia

BOOK REVIEW The architects and builders of the post-Civil War period provided New York City with masterpieces of great beauty — cast-iron facades, modern emblems of trade rendered in marvelous stone, fanciful medieval gargoyles upon impressive towers. Gilded Age architecture and the ornate shapes of pre-modern design have nonetheless defined the timeless identity of the city. In the 1970s […]