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Holidays ON TELEVISION Podcasts

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: A History in Branches

PODCAST The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has brought joy and sparkle to Midtown Manhattan since the early 1930s. The annual festivities may seem steady and timeless but this holiday icon actually has a surprisingly dramatic history. Millions tune in each year to watch the tree lighting in a music-filled ceremony on NBC, and tens of […]

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Holidays New Amsterdam

How Dutch New Amsterdam helped create the American Christmas tradition

After reading this article on the origins of Christmas in America, find some information about a virtual Christmas in Old New York tour from Bowery Boys Walks. There are many different ways to celebrate Christmas, a national holiday derived from the union of Christianity and capitalism. How one chooses to mark the occasion is a […]

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Health and Living Holidays

Toxic Turkey Day: New York City’s smoggy holiday crisis

On November 24, 1966, millions of spectators flooded Broadway in New York City to watch the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. The iconic floats – Superman, Popeye, Smokey the Bear – were set against a grey sky that can only be described as noxious. A smog of pollutants was trapped over New York City, […]

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Food History Holidays

Loft’s Candies: Vintage Halloween treats from the Jazz Age

The Loft Candy Company exclusively operated several locations throughout the New York area in the 1910s-30s, many of them proper restaurants. For the Jazz Age candy lover, they were heaven on earth. Occasionally you’ll find an old Loft’s neon sign today, peering from a crumbling facade. Loft’s candy factory was over in Long Island City, […]

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Holidays Newspapers and Newsies

How New York newspapers covered the first Labor Day — September 5, 1882

Clothing cutters, horseshoers, shoemakers, upholsterers, printers, house painters, freight handlers, cabinet makers, varnishers, cigar makers, bricklayers and piano makers. The first American Labor Day began on September 5, 1882, with 10,000 workers from a wide variety of occupations circling Union Square, then parading up to the area of today’s Bryant Park. (A picnic ‘after party’ […]

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Holidays Those Were The Days

Bowlers and Bonnets: A History of the New York Easter Parade

For almost 150 years, budding fashionistas have been prancing up and down Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday, displaying elaborate bonnets, hairdos and colorful outfits. Given that modern holiday celebrations are often relatively new (for instance, trick-or-treating has only been a common activity on Halloween since the 1950s), this decorative practice located at this particular spot […]

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Holidays

‘Twas The Night: A New York Christmas tradition in an uptown cemetery

Clement Clarke Moore, the lord of Chelsea (the manor for which the neighborhood is named), lived a long and distinguished life as an educator and land developer, dying in 1863 at his home in Newport, Rhode Island. He was originally buried in the churchyard of St. Luke-in-the-Field (pictured below) in the area of today’s West Village. In […]

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Events Holidays

The Bowery Boys Holiday Special: Finding a little joy in a difficult year

The Bowery Boys Holiday Special is now available for those who support the Bowery Boys Podcast on Patreon at any level. To join in the revelry, head to Patreon and sign up! Spike that hot cocoa and put on your finest Robert Moses-dressed-as-Santa-themed pajamas because Greg and Tom are celebrating! The Bowery Boys look back […]

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Gilded Age New York Holidays

The story of the world’s first Christmas tree with electric lights

The world’s very first Christmas tree with electric lights was displayed in 1882 at the home of Edward Hibberd Johnson in the Murray Hill neighborhood of New York City. Not only did it glow with this innovative new form of illumination, this Christmas tree also spun around, revolving like a flashy new car at an […]

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Holidays

Easter in Old New York: The Fifth Avenue Fashion Stroll

In the picture above: People in Sunday finery stroll past the New York Public Library building. The library had not even been open two years by the time this picture was taken in March 23, 1913. New York City’s time-honored Easter custom — the Sunday morning Fifth Avenue Easter bonnet stroll — once turned the […]

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Holidays Neighborhoods Podcasts

The history of the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights: An electric holiday tradition illuminates Brooklyn

PODCAST: The history of the Dyker Heights Christmas lighting extravaganza, Brooklyn’s fabulous and flashy celebration of the holiday season. EPISODE 305 There’s a special kind of magic to Christmas in New York City. From that colossal Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center to the fanciful holiday displays in department store windows. But in the past three […]

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Holidays

Happy New Year! Photographs from over a century of Chinese New Year celebrations in Manhattan

Head over to Chinatown this Sunday afternoon (February 17, starting at 1pm) for the Lunar New Year Parade and Festival, topping off two weeks of celebrations in honor of the Year of the Pig. (Find the parade route here. And get there early for a great spot.) [We also did a podcast episode on the history of New Year’s Eve […]

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Holidays Podcasts

A New Year in Old New York: A history of celebration from Times Square to Chinatown

PODCAST The ultimate history of New Year’s celebrations in New York City. This is the story of the many ways in which New Yorkers have ushered in the coming year, a moment of rebirth, reconciliation, reverence and jubilation. In a mix of the old and new, we present a history of early New Year’s festivities, before […]

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Holidays

Two holiday excerpts from the Bowery Boys’ book Adventures In Old New York

If you’re looking for some last many gifts for loved ones this year, may we suggest our book The Bowery Boys’ Adventures In Old New York? Find it in bookstores or order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or your independent bookstore. Here are a couple holiday-themed excerpts from the book, situated alongside hundreds of […]

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Holidays The First

How Electric Light Changed Christmas Forever

‘THE FIRST’ PODCAST The surprisingly rich history of Christmas lights in America. That string of multi-colored Christmas lights wrapped around your tree (or your house) is far more influential to American history than you might think. The first electric Christmas lights debuted in 1882, shortly after the invention of the incandescent light bulb itself, in […]