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Health and Living Know Your Mayors

Mayor Stephen Allen: A tragic end for New York’s sail-making leader

  We’re just a couple months away from a new mayor in New York City so we think it is time that you Know Your Mayors! Become familiar with other men who’ve held the job, from the ultra-powerful to the political puppets, the most effective to the most useless leaders in New York City history. […]

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Brooklyn History Health and Living

The Brooklyn origin of Pfizer and the wild world of 19th century medicine

The origin of a true Brooklyn ‘start up’ — Charles Pfizer and Co, who went from developing intestinal worm medication in 1849 to being a leader in vaccine distribution in the 21st century. This is story of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals before the 1950s, a tale of German immigration and of early medical practices and concoctions that […]

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Health and Living Newspapers and Newsies

The hottest day in New York City history

These days of low-to-mid 90s F, high humidity temperatures got you down? Why that’s nothing! The hottest day in New York City history was eighty-five years ago last week — on July 9, 1936, when temperatures reached an agonizing 106 degrees, measured from the Central Park weather observatory. This broke the record set on August […]

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Health and Living Mysterious Stories Podcasts

The dark history of North Brother Island, New York’s forbidden place

PODCAST There are two mysterious islands in the East River with a human population of zero. North Brother Island and the smaller South Brother Island sit near the tidal strait known as Hell Gate, a once-dangerous whirlpool which wrecked hundreds of ships and often deposited the wreckage on the island’s quiet shore. In the 1880s […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Health and Living

‘Saving Stuyvesant Town’: The inside story of an historic real estate struggle

Even among New York’s many gigantic housing complexes, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village stands apart — and not just literally, walled off from the surrounding neighborhoods like a massive, post-war fortress. SAVING STUYVESANT TOWNHow One Community Defeated The Worst Real Estate Deal In HistoryDaniel R. GarodnickThree Hills/Cornell University Press With over 11,000 apartments geared […]

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Health and Living Neighborhoods

Liz Christy and the Community Gardens of the East Village

The residents of the Lower East Side one century ago would probably have never have said to themselves, “What a grand place to plant flowers!” But it would be their very tenement lots that would later lead to the sprouting of so many East Village neighborhood gardens, some of the most wonderful community gardens in […]

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Health and Living The Knick

The Knick is now on HBO Max: Our guide to this twisted medical series

The grim, bloody wonderful business known as The Knick — primarily set in a New York City hospital at the start of the 20th century — only got two seasons but they were great fun. This virtuoso dark drama, created by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, was directed by Steven Soderbergh in a shadowy and […]

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Health and Living

The origin of snow removal for all New Yorkers, rich and poor

For more information on New York City’s history with snow removal, listen to our 2019 show on the history of the city’s Department of Sanitation. For some of New York City’s history, snowstorms have been completely paralyzing, and most residents had to clear their own streets, an impossibility in areas of a more rural character. […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

Two Stories of Historic Vaccines: The End of Polio and Smallpox

We released the following show on the history of vaccines back in early April 2020 when the idea of a COVID 19 vaccine seemed little more than distant fantasy.  Just this past Monday, on December 14, Sandra Lindsay, the director of critical care at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens became the first American […]

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Health and Living

Open-air schools and sitting-out bags: Keeping children safe during tuberculosis scares

This is a sitting-out bag. No child ever wore one because he wanted to impress his friends. But this awkward example of outdoor wear was created to save lives and keep students educated during one very concerning health crisis. Teaching children during perilous moments of disease spread had been a challenge since the invention of […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary: The Race to Quell an Epidemic

PODCAST An account of a mysterious typhoid fever outbreak and the woman — Mary Mallon, the so-called Typhoid Mary — at the center of the strange epidemic. The tale of Typhoid Mary is a harrowing detective story and a chilling tale of disease outbreak at the start of the 20th century. Why are whole healthy […]

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Food History Health and Living

Upper West Side’s Astor Market: The future of grocery shopping

The Astor Market once sat on the corner of 95th Street and Broadway, a ‘model’ market built in 1915, devised by Vincent Astor, son of John Jacob Astor IV (and whose wife Brooke Astor may be better known to you) to combat some of the high food prices brought on by World War I. Astor […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Health and Living

‘The House on Henry Street’: A new book on the mothers of modern activism

If you’re looking to read something about the possibility of doing absolute good in the world, then a story about the Henry Street Settlement is a good place to start. The Lower East Side settlement house, founded by Lillian Wald in 1893, became not only a salvation to the hundreds of thousands of immigrants in […]

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Amusements and Thrills Health and Living

The Bowery Boys New York City swimsuit edition, 1880-1920

 The notion of organized ‘ocean bathing’ — actually going into the water for health, relaxation and enjoyment — was really a 19th century invention, first popularized in the United States during the 1830s at the Marine Pavilion on the Rockaway Peninsula. For propriety’s sake, people would enter a bathing hut hitched to a horse and […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

The First Ambulance: The Humans (and Horses) That Saved the City

EPISODE 329 Did you know that the first modern urban ambulance — the ‘mobile hospital’ — was invented in New York City? On June 4, 1869, America’s first ambulance service went into operation from Bellevue Hospital with a driver, a surgeon, a horse and equipment including a stretcher, a stomach pump, bandages and sponges, handcuffs, […]