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Health and Living

The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary

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 and death. Why are whole healthy families suddenly getting sick with typhoid […]

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Health and Living

History in the Making 7/21: Summer Baby Edition

A special new podcast is on the way for this Friday. It’s extra challenging so the blog will be a little quiet until then. Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy a few pictures of small children keeping cool during a hot New York City summer over 100 years ago. Pictures courtesy the Library of Congress.   […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Health and Living

Hog Heaven: The wonderfully messy tale of ‘Taming Manhattan’

Here is New York — not the evened tree-lined avenues with fashionable ladies and shiny new carriages.  Not an ordered town of impressive architecture and manicured parks, emulating and even surpassing the trappings of European society.   Those things would arrive by the 1880s; before then, they were mostly aspirational designs. Here is New York as it actually was. […]

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Health and Living

History in the Making 2/3: Bundle Day Edition

Bundle Day was an organized used-clothing drive, mounted in February 1915 by the city in association with New York’s elite families (the Astors, Vanderbilts, Cooper Hewitts, among others). “Every railroad station in the city will be a receiving point for bundles bearing … tags or the bundles may be left at police stations, public schools […]

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Health and Living

The first appearance of the shower or “rain bath” in New York

With major improvements in plumbing and home design, private ‘rain-baths’ or showers began to be installed in the wealthier American homes. This is a New York Times advertisement from November 11, 1914 for a Kenney Needle Shower which inundated the body with water from multiple showerheads. The modern form of shower was once referred to […]

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Health and Living The Knick

The tale of two hospitals: Enjoy the “inexpressibly nauseating” aromas of Brooklyn’s oldest operating theater

Syms operating theater at Roosevelt Hospital in 1900, perhaps one of the cleanest places in Manhattan! (Picture courtesy Museum of the City of New York) It was not a fair fight. In 1895, in celebrating the innovative new surgery building at Roosevelt Hospital, the New York Times decided to compare its revolutionary new features to […]

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Health and Living

Above Delancey and Allen Streets: a roof garden for the blind and its unfortunate connection to the 1929 stock market crash

Above (and in the photographs below): Young and old alike enjoy the roof garden atop the Bank of the United States building, on the corner of Delancey and Allen Next to the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side on Delancey Street stands an elegant grey building incorporating regal Doric columns on its face. Echoing […]

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Health and Living

America’s first free animal hospital, at 350 Lafayette Street, with a roof garden for sick horses

The first official patient of the Free Hospital and Dispensary for Animals at 350 Lafayette Street, under the care of veterinarian Bruce Blair.The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was formed in 1866 by philanthropist Henry Bergh.  Eight years later, he helped co-found the New York Society for the Prevention of […]

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Health and Living Uncategorized

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

A snow plow at Union Square, circa 1901-1905 (LOC) 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.  The notion that it was actually the city’s responsibility to remove snow is a product of […]

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Health and Living

The world in glasses: Theodore Roosevelt, fictional athletes, glamorous secretaries, even the Bowery Boys!

If glasses are fashionable today, you can thank President Theodore Roosevelt, whose stylish C-bridge pince-nez diminished the reputation as mere apparel for the weak. — The Bowery Boys are featured this week on the official blog of Warby Parker, the fashionable eyewear company specialize in vintage-style prescription frames and sunglasses.  Thanks to Dixie Roberts for […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

The startling history of New York’s Bellevue Hospital

Bellevue from the waterfront, 1879.  Proximity to the shoreline — which once gave the original mansion here that ‘belle vue’ — was key in the early years of Bellevue, as sometimes it was the fastest way to get to the hospital when roads were less than ideal. (Courtesy NYC HHC) PODCAST Bellevue Hospital, you might […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

The startling history of Bellevue Hospital, beyond the horror stories, the last resort for the New York unwanted

Bellevue from the waterfront, 1879.  Proximity to the shoreline — which once gave the original mansion here that ‘belle vue’ — was key in the early years of Bellevue, as sometimes it was the fastest way to get to the hospital when roads were less than ideal. (Courtesy NYC HHC) PODCAST Bellevue Hospital, you might […]

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Health and Living

The Strangers Hospital: Your special home on Avenue D, brought to you by Boss Tweed’s plumber king

A genuine survivor: The building to the right was once the Strangers Hospital in the 1870s.  This picture, by Berenice Abbott, was taken many decades later, in 1937.  And the building is still around today! (Picture NYPL) New York used to lump the sick, the poor and the homeless into one mass of needy unwanted. […]

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Health and Living Those Were The Days

Close shave: A century ago, barbers riot through New York, leaving half-shaved men in vacated barber shops

A barber shop at the Hotel de Gink on the Bowery, circa 1910-15 [LOC] The fight for worker’s rights swept through a variety of occupations over a century ago as New York City laborers rebelled against unfair corporate practices and unsafe working conditions. Garment workers marched the avenues in protest following the tragic Triangle Factory […]

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Health and Living

Dueling ‘perfect babies’ in Brooklyn and Manhattan, pageantry in support of healthy infants in New York

The exaltation of fat, plucky babies via beauty contests stems from a rather grim origin — American infant mortality rates of the 19th century.  During the 1880s, as swelling immigrants and overcrowding in New York created harbors for disease and malnourishment, over one in five infants would die in America, with higher occurrence among poor […]