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Parks and Recreation

Reservoir Square — 150 years ago!

Here are three stunning stereoscopic views of old Reservoir Square, the park next to the Murray Hill Reservoir that became sadly vacant after the fiery destruction of the Crystal Palace.  These stereoscopes — ancestors to the View-Masters which some of you may remember from childhood – were taken in 1865. Now without its dazzling occupant, the park […]

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Parks and Recreation

Ten Images of Bowling Green and Ten Facts about its Marvelous History

Bowling Green, at the very tip of Manhattan island, is a small oval park so calm in comparison to its surroundings that it’s hard to believe this is one of the oldest sections of the city of New York.   Here are ten facts about Bowling Green, accompanied by ten images and photographs from various periods in […]

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Parks and Recreation

Brooklyn’s Forgotten Lake: Pictures of Mount Prospect Reservoir

As you can see, the Bowery Boys: New York City  History blog has gone through some major changes this week.  We have a new URL (boweryboyshistory.com) and a dynamic new layout which will present articles, photographs and podcast audio is a more user-friendly way.  There’s still some backlogged clean up to do so thank you […]

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Parks and Recreation Podcasts

The Secrets of Gramercy Park (and you don’t even need a key)

  PODCAST Gramercy Park is Manhattan’s only private park, a prohibited place for most New Yorkers. However we have your keys to the history of this significant and rather unusual place, full of the city’s greatest inventors, civic leaders and entertainers. Literally pulled up from swampy land, Gramercy Park naturally appealed to the city’s elite, […]

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Parks and Recreation

Never Too Cold: Crazy kids conquer Central Park on sleds

During one particular winter in the early 1910s, Central Park was invaded by an army of young sledders, tearing over the snow-covered terrain without thought to temperatures or bodily injury. Believe it or not, the city encouraged children to use the city parks for sledding, especially given that the alternatives were slicked-up city streets.  In […]

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Parks and Recreation Podcasts

The ragged, rebellious history of Tompkins Square Park

A condescending illustration of Tompkins Square Park from the New York journal Hearth and Home, 1873. (NYPL)   Central Park has frequently been called ‘the people’s park,” but we think Tompkins Square Park may have a better claim to that title.  From its inception, this East Village recreational spot — named for Vice President Daniel […]

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Parks and Recreation

Marks of the grid: A remarkable find in Central Park

So this random little bolt in a rock may not look like much, but it could be the last remaining on-site evidence of the creation of New York City’s grid plan. Inspired by Marguerite Holloway’s book ‘The Measure of Manhattan‘, I went looking for this unusual object hidden in Central Park, discovered by geographers several […]

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Parks and Recreation

That time Christopher Columbus annoyed Robert Moses

Christopher Columbus is among the most honored figures in New York statuary, appearing abundantly throughout the five boroughs — standing prominently, nestled in parks and squares, peering from building features. I’ve located a seemingly complete list of New York Columbus monuments, strangely enough, on a German website, inclusive even of Chris’s appearance of 8th Avenue subway […]

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Parks and Recreation

Time Capsule: Gay Hippies vs the Nudists in Central Park!

Above: From a great photo stream of images from the 1971 parade by Me In San Fran/Flickr (check them out here) I happened across some rather extraordinary archival videos on YouTube posted by Randolfe Wicker, recorded in 1971 at New York’s second Gay Pride festivities ever, initially called the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day. In those […]

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Parks and Recreation

The Creation of Central Park: Redux

Currier and Ives’ flamboyant and unnatural depiction of an afternoon in Central Park in 1869. The building with the flag is the Arsenal, years before it became part of the Central Park Zoo. We don’t have any regular podcast this week; however I am reposting our first Central Park episode called ‘The Creation of Central […]

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Parks and Recreation Podcasts

PODCAST: The Evolution of Central Park

When last we left the Park, it was the embodiment of Olmstead and Vaux’s naturalistic Greensward Plan. Then the skyscrapers came. Also, how did all those playgrounds, a swanky nightclub, a theater troupe and all those hippies get here? Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or […]