Categories
Pop Culture

History in the Making 11/18: Celebrated Jumping Frogs Edition

Hoppin’ History: Samuel Clemens broke through 150 years ago today.  The man who would become Mark Twain first published his now famous short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” (under its original title “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog” 150 years ago today in the New York Saturday Press.  I speak about this […]

Categories
Pop Culture

TNT’s Public Morals: NYPD Very Blue

The TNT drama Public Morals, set in the gritty corners of New York City in 1967, airs the sixth of ten episodes today.  It appears on the television landscape with fantastic credentials and a smooth cinematic hue.  In my mind, I’m imagining a television landscape where all television shows co-exist, and Detective Muldoon, played by Ed […]

Categories
Pop Culture

Upcoming history: New York City in new films and miniseries

Tired of superhero movies? An abundance of new period films and television mini-series are on the horizon, presenting unique aspects of New York City history (and the surrounding metropolitan area, as in the first example below).  Which ones are you excited for?   SHOW ME A HERO HBO, six-part mini-series, Sunday, August 16 From the […]

Categories
Pop Culture

The history of NYC in eight pop culture moments from 2014

In our 2014 Year In Review podcast, we didn’t have much time to talk about notable pop cultural events that depicted New York City history.  But here’s a recap a few films and television shows which used the city’s history in their narratives. I’ve arranged them in the chronological order in which they’ve been set: […]

Categories
Christmas Pop Culture

The real ‘Miracle On 34th Street’: 21 great historical details from New York City’s most famous Christmas movie

The Bowery Boys Obsessive Guides look very, very closely at a classic movie filmed in New York City, finding buried history, additional context and a few secrets within various scenes and plot points. Filled with film spoilers so read this after you’ve seen the movie — or use it to follow along as you watch […]

Categories
Pop Culture

‘The Walk’: The World Trade Center in 3D?

Robert Zemeckis, the Oscar-winning director of Forrest Gump, is turning the best documentary of 2008 Man on Wire — about Philippe Petit’s unbelievable tightrope walk between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 — into a feature length film. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  In 3-D. And, apparently, on IMAX. So what do you think? […]

Categories
A Most Violent Year Pop Culture

More signs of ‘A Most Violent Year’: New movie tie-in column

Looking over the East River at Brooklyn and Queens, 1981, where much of the film’s action takes place.  (Photo courtesy GeorgeLouis at English Wikipedia) A few weeks ago I posted the trailer to the new film by JC Chandor called A Most Violent Year, set in New York City in 1981. As support for the […]

Categories
A Most Violent Year Pop Culture

1981 was indeed “A Most Violent Year” in New York City

In 1981, there were more reported robberies in New York City (over 120,000) than in any year in its history.  There were over 2,100 murders that year (slightly down from the previous year) including such infamous crimes as the mob-related Shamrock Bar murders in Queens. After years of steadily increasing crime rates, it seemed unlikely in 1981 that […]

Categories
A Most Violent Year Pop Culture

1981 was indeed “A Most Violent Year” in New York City

In 1981, there were more reported robberies in New York City (over 120,000) than in any year in its history.  There were over 2,100 murders that year (slightly down from the previous year) including such infamous crimes as the mob-related Shamrock Bar murders in Queens. After years of steadily increasing crime rates, it seemed unlikely in […]

Categories
Pop Culture

Lauren Bacall’s Guide on How To Become A Successful Model in New York City, 1941

Lauren Bacall, the cinema and stage legend who died yesterday at age 89, was once the less enigmatic Betty Joan Perske, a New York girl with a lot of moxie.  As a sixteen year old, she ventured downtown from her home on the Upper West Side (84th Street, under the elevated train) to look for work […]

Categories
Pop Culture Revolutionary History

A primer before this Sunday’s Revolutionary War series Turn

Courtesy AMC This Sunday (9pm EST) marks the debut of AMC’s new Revolutionary War drama Turn, documenting the beginnings of George Washington’s mysterious spy circuit The Culper Ring and starring Jamie Bell as Washington’s spy leader Abraham Woodhull. Follow along with me on Twitter this Sunday as I throw in a few historical details related […]

Categories
Pop Culture

IT’S ALIVE! How the American teenager took over the world

College girls at Maryland State, 1923 (courtesy Shorpy) The captivating tone-poem documentary Teenage makes a convincing case for one of the 20th century’s most powerful organic inventions — the teenager.  Like the telephone or Coca-Cola, the teenager was principally an American invention which took hold throughout the Western world, a product of modernity and modern […]

Categories
Pop Culture

Meryl Streep, New York City and theater of the 1970s

Meryl Streep is one of New Jersey’s greatest natural resources.  She was born in Summit, NJ, also the hometown of Ice-T, and grew up nearby in the town of Bernardsville.  You may not otherwise associate Streep with New Jersey (at least, not in the same way we look at Bruce Springsteen) because, in 1975, after […]

Categories
Pop Culture

On Nina Simone’s birthday, a look at her breakout Town Hall performance from September 1959

Nina Simone was born on this date in 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina.  She came to New York as a student of the Julliard School, but her unique blend of genres came from her experiences in the nightclubs and cabarets of Harlem and Greenwich Village.  She wowed audiences with a memorable New York debut at the Village […]

Categories
Pop Culture

The first Sherlock Holmes film ever was made in Union Square. And the second? In Flatbush, Brooklyn

Above: While Sherlock Holmes made his film debut in 1900, he hit the stage a bit earlier.  William Gillette was the most acclaimed Sherlock of the day, touring the United States in a play he co-wrote with the detective’s creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  After a tryout in Buffalo, the play made its debut at […]