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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… Read More

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Gilded Age New York

“The First Dandelion” and Walt Whitman’s very bad timing

In 1888, the New York Herald ran this poem by the great Walt Whitman:                                          The First Dandelion                                    … Read More

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Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Frozen in time: The Blizzard of 1888 knocks New York City off its feet, creating the deadliest commute in history

PODCAST This year is the 125th anniversary of one of the worst storms to ever wreak havoc upon New York City, the now-legendary mix of wind and snow called the Great Blizzard of 1888. Its memory was again conjured up a few months ago as people struggled to compare Hurricane Sandy with some devastating event… Read More

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Gilded Age New York

Before Al Roker and Sam Champion, there was Farmer Dunn, New York’s weather guru of the late 19th century

How did New Yorkers know to panic over the weather in the 19th century? How could they know to run through the streets in terror at the upcoming snowpocylpse/blizzardtastrophe if there was no brightly colored Accuweather radar or a friendly weather person with perfectly coiffed hair? In the 1880s, New Yorkers turned to one man… Read More

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Gilded Age New York Podcasts Uncategorized

Notes from the podcast (#132): Electric New York

  Manhattan grid illuminated, taken from the Metropolitan Life Tower in Madison Square, looking downtown. I’m not sure when this photo was taken, but a reasonable guess might be the late 1910s. The caption says ‘New York Edison Company, Photographic Bureau.’ (Photo courtesy NYPL)FOR MORE INFORMATION: We just scratched the surface on the ‘war of… Read More

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Gilded Age New York Uncategorized

All of the Lights: An invention of Edison’s invention

A new podcast will be ready for download later this evening! The film ‘Edison, The Man‘ was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, which is appropriate because most of the movie is entirely fictional, including this re-imagining of Edison’s Pearl Street Station and the first blocks cast in the glow of incandescent lights. In truth, the ‘switch’ was flipped from… Read More

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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… Read More

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Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Mark Twain in New York, or His Adventures on Fifth Avenue

Photo courtesy LOCPODCAST You hear the name Mark Twain and think of his classic characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, his locales along the Mississippi River and his folksy wit. But he was equal parts New York as well, and the city helped shape his sharp, flamboyant character. Follow his course, from his first visit… Read More

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Gilded Age New York

Do the Astors own you?

On the passing yesterday of the 105 year old Astor family monarch Brooke Astor, I thought I’d give you a brief rundown on all the places in which they’ve left a literal impression. Her passing has the feeling of an institution having left the building. She married into the family via Vincent Astor, the only… Read More