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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘New York Neon’: A history of the city’s most mythical lights

A sizzling 52nd Street in July 1948 (courtesy LOC)BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way that’s uniquely unconventional or exposes a previously unseen […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

History in the making: Book worms and comic books edition

“New York is the concentrate of art and commerce and sport and religion and entertainment and finance, bringing to a single compact arena the gladiator, the evangelist, the promoter, the actor, the trader and the merchant.” — E. B. White Book Advice: Out-of-state bookstores are sometimes the best place to find obscure books about New […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The Great Gatsby’s New York City, in ten different scenes, from the Queensboro Bridge to the Plaza Hotel

BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way that’s uniquely unconventional or exposes a previously unseen corner of our city’s complicated past.  Then over the […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The Great Gatsby’s New York City, in ten different scenes, from the Queensboro Bridge to the Plaza Hotel

BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald I re-read The Great Gatsby a few weeks ago on purpose, not because I had a school assignment. Unlike my first experience with Gatsby at age 14, I actually read it, without the signposts of a Cliff’s Notes to tell me what […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

A chat with Matthew Goodman, author of ‘Eighty Days’

So how do you follow two journalists around the world, in opposite directions and from the vantage of almost 125 years in the future?  I asked Matthew Goodman, the author of “Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World,” this month’s Bowery Boys Book of the Month, about the two competitors […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The Amazing Race: In ‘Eighty Days’ Nellie Bly tries to outdo Jules Verne while a New Orleans writer vows to beat both

Greetings from Columbo, Ceylon, one of the many glamorous destinations you’ll visit in Matthew Goodman’s new book.BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘The Measure of Manhattan’: The grid plan of New York comes to life, as does its eccentric creator

BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way that’s unconventional and different or exposes a previously unseen corner of our city’s complicated past.  Then […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

How to make a mermaid: A chat with Mark Siegel, the creator of ‘Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson’

A passenger steamer passes along the Hudson, early 1900s. (Courtesy LOC)As a kick-off to the Bowery Boys Book of the Month section, I thought I’d ask Mark Siegel, the author of “Sailor Twain or The Mermaid in the Hudson,” a few questions on his inspiration for the graphic novel.  I was especially interested in the […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘Sailor Twain’ : A mystery at the bottom of a haunted river (Bowery Boys Book of the Month)

We’re trying out a new feature here on the blog by debuting our very first ever Bowery Boys Book of the Month selection!  Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘The Irish Way’ to becoming American: a hard-fought history of the dockworkers, the vaudevillians and the chambermaids

The Irish Way: Becoming American in the Multi-Ethnic Citypart of the Penguin History of American Life seriesBy James R. BarrettPenguin Group The Irish were the first to immigrate to this country en masse in the 1840s, only to find themselves near the bottom of almost every aspect of American life. In James R. Burnett‘s tidy and studied […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘The Greatest Grid’ and an even greater book

Reason to love New York No. 12,306: A museum honoring the city’s history has a hit on its hands with an elaborate show about surveying and real estate. ‘The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan 1811-2011‘, the smash-hit exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, is the most fully realized and in-depth […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Langston Hughes: A few Harlem stops on his birthday

Dapper gentlemen: At a 1924 celebration in Langston’s honor, at the home of Regina Andrews on 580 St. Nicholas Avenue. The author is to the far left, followed by future sociologists Charles S. Johnson and E. Franklin Frazier; novelist and future doctor Rudolph Fisher; and Hubert T. Delany, who would become a New York justice […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Gilded Age New York

Mark Twain was here: Mapping a trail of his misadventures

Last year at this time, I did a podcast on Mark Twain in New York and featured this map of notable places Twain worked, lectured, lived and played. Today is the author’s birthday — he was born 176 years ago — so I thought I’d reprint the map in case you wanted to revisit a […]