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Music History

Forever Lena Horne: Nine New York places to celebrate her life and legacy

The superstar and civil rights activist Lena Horne had such a dynamic, multi-faceted and enduring career — starting in 1933, she worked regularly well into the late 1990s — that we all may have different views of who she was. Horne was one of the first African-American women to break through in Hollywood in the… Read More

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It's Showtime Music History

The Ultimate Guide to Judy Garland’s New York: From the World’s Fair to the Palace Theatre

Frances Ethel Gumm was born 100 years ago (June 10, 1922) in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a world away from the glamour of Hollywood and the lights of Broadway. Yet — as Judy Garland — she would change both places forever, becoming one of the most beloved entertainers in the world. And she remains beloved to… Read More

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Black History Music History Podcasts Queens History

The Wonderful Home of Louis and Lucille Armstrong

PODCAST New York City has an impressive collection of historic homes, but none as unique and joyful as the Louis Armstrong House and Museum, located in Corona, Queens. What other historic home in the United States has aqua blue kitchen cabinets, bathroom speakers behind silver wallpaper, mirrored bathrooms and chandeliers over the bed? The Louis… Read More

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Landmarks Music History Podcasts

The Dark, Glamorous, Sexy and Joyously Musical History of the Ansonia

PODCAST The strange, scandalous and sex-filled story of The Ansonia, an Upper West Side architectural gem and a legendary musical landmark. In the television show Only Murders in the Building, Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez play podcasters attempting to solve a mystery in a building full of eccentric personalities. Their fictional apartment building is… Read More

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Music History The Gilded Gentleman

Divas, Diamonds and Drama: The Opening of the Metropolitan Opera 1883

The opening of the new Metropolitan Opera at the height of the Gilded Age had perhaps more drama going on in the audience than on the stage. Carl Raymond, host of The Gilded Gentleman history podcast, a new spin-off show from the Bowery Boys podcast, begins his adventure with a fascinating look at one of… Read More

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Landmarks Music History

Making Music History at the Hotel Pennsylvania

The following article is an excerpt from a new Bowery Boys mini-podcast — following up on this week’s episode on the Hotel Pennsylvania — which has been made available to those who support the show (at the Five Points level and above) on Patreon. In the latest episode of the Bowery Boys podcast on the… Read More

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Music History Podcasts Preservation

Last Dance at the Hotel Pennsylvania

PODCAST When it opened in 1919, the Hotel Pennsylvania was the largest hotel in the world. Over a hundred years later, its fate remains uncertain. Is it too big to save? After the Pennsylvania Railroad completed its colossal Pennsylvania Station in 1910, the railroad quickly realized it would need a companion hotel equal to the station’s exquisite… Read More

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Black History Friday Night Fever Music History

The story of Café Society where Billie Holiday found her song

There once was a modest basement nightclub in an old West Village building which opened the door to a revolutionary (and now obvious) idea in New York City music and delivered one of the most significant moments in all of music history. In the 30s Midtown Manhattan clubs were alight with the bourgeoisie, tuxes and… Read More

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Music History

‘The Search for John Lennon’: The short, surprising life of a music legend

John Lennon was shot and killed 40 years ago today out in front of his home at the Dakota Apartments. That fact you probably know. Many aspects of his later years — but most especially his death — have been replayed and mythologized upon the streets of New York City, the unique result of a… Read More

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Museums Music History

Visit Bill Graham & the Rock and Roll Revolution before it closes

If you’ve listened to our show on Beatlemania in New York and you’re still in the mood for some 1960s music history, head on over to the New-York Historical Society to check out their harmonious exhibition on concert promoter Bill Graham. Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution summons the gods and goddesses of… Read More

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Music History Podcasts

The Beatles Invade New York! Memories of Beatlemania from the fans who helped create it

PODCAST: EPISODE 346 How Beatlemania both energized and paralyzed New York City in the mid 1960s as told by the women who screamed their hearts out and helped build a phenomenon. Before BTS, before One Direction, before the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, before Menudo and the Jackson 5 — you had Paul, John, George and… Read More

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Music History

Did you experience Beatlemania in New York firsthand? Let us know!

We are recording a new show about Beatlemania in New York City — tales of wild fans at JFK Airport and the Plaza Hotel, concerts at Carnegie Hall and Shea Stadium and, of course, those Ed Sullivan Show appearances. Were you or your parents or grandparents swept up in Beatlemania during that period? Do you… Read More

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Friday Night Fever Music History

The return of Webster Hall: A tale of debauchery and activism in one of New York’s oldest clubs

The East Village nightclub Webster Hall reopens this evening with a concert by Jay-Z after an extensive interior renovation by new owner Barclays/Bowery Presents. Have tickets to tonight’s show? Then you’ll be able to judge for yourself whether the storied venue retains its “idiosyncratic grandeur.” The hall has had many facelifts over the past 133 years, evolving to mirror the… Read More

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Music History

Why New York City needs a tribute to Billie Holiday, our sweet Lady Day (UPDATE: They’re building it!)

UPDATE (March 11, 2019): The city has announced that it will commission a Billie Holiday memorial, joining new statues for Elizabeth Jennings Graham, Katherine Walker and Dr. Helen Rodríguez-Trías. Graham, the subject of a landmark case that desegregated New York City mass transportation, was also suggested by our readers. The city previously announced the creation of a monument to Shirley Chisholm. Here’s our pitch for a monument to Holiday which ran back… Read More

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Music History Podcasts

Scott Joplin in New York: A Ragtime Mystery

PODCAST How did one of the greatest composers of the 20th century end up buried in Queens in a pauper’s grave? Scott Joplin, the “King of Ragtime”, moved to New York in 1907, at the height of his fame. And yet, he died a decade later, forgotten by the public. He remained nearly forgotten and buried… Read More