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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 […]

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Pop Culture Uncategorized

Pete Seeger 1919-2014

 Pete Seeger with Woody Guthrie, performing at the Music Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts, 1950 (Photo courtesy NPR)  “I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody.” — Pete SeegerPete Seeger with the Weavers — Washington Square Blues   […]

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Pop Culture

Inside ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, a gauzy, surreal homage to 1960s New York bohemian life

Out in the cold: Llewyn Davis gets no respect. Pic courtesy CBS FilmsNOTE: This article contains minor spoilers for the film Inside Llewyn Davis, so proceed with caution if you have not yet seen the movie! The latest movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis, meanders through a coolly tinted rendition of New […]

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Pop Culture

AMC’s ‘Turn’: The next great New York history TV show?

BBC America’s Copper, depicting the grit and crime of 1860s New York, was recently cancelled (although petitions are currently circulating, demanding a Season Three). But the void of history-related television will soon be filled again with Turn, AMC’s Revolutionary War-era drama on George Washington’s spy network, called The Culper Ring.  What do you think? Although […]

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Pop Culture

Lou Reed RIP 1942-2013

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Pop Culture

The real Sleepy Hollow didn’t have a Starbucks

An 1864 wood engraving of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ for Harper’s Magazine (NYPL) The new Fox television show Sleepy Hollow debuted last night.  The storyline involves Continental Army soldier Ichabod Crane who confronts a masked Hessian soldier on the battlefields of Westchester County in 1781.  He chops off the Hessian’s head but is knocked unconscious. […]

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Podcasts Pop Culture

NYC in the modern TV age, from Sesame Street to Seinfeld, as the arrival of cable brings new production to the city

PODCAST In the third part of the Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, I give you a grand tour of the New York City television production world from the 1970s to today, from the debut of Sesame Street in the Upper West Side to the new productions which flourished in the 1990s. Along the way, hear […]

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Pop Culture

Movin’ On Up: A skewed history of New York City as depicted by the opening themes of 1970s TV shows

The camera zooms over the New York City skyline as an earnest pop tune — usually devoid of any rhythm or edginess, but insanely catchy — descends as though sent from outer space. The next shot focuses on one particular landmark, a bridge or a park, letting you know, see we’re not in some television studio […]

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Podcasts Pop Culture

New York City in the Golden Age of Television: Behind the scenes with nine classic TV shows filmed in the city

The Beatles in one of their many appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. [source]PODCAST This is the second part of the Bowery Boys TV Mini-Series, covering the years of New York City television production from the late 1940s to the 1960s.  Some of the most classic television shows ever made — and many still around today […]

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Pop Culture

Monkey business: This video encapsulates everything you need to know about our new podcast

Make The Connection was a show hosted by Gene Rayburn (later of Match Game fame) that was broadcast on NBC in 1955 and filmed from the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center. Please note all the classic hallmarks of early television: The blatant sponsorships, the chaos of live broadcasting, the celebrity panel, the live audience, a […]

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Podcasts Pop Culture

New York City and the birth of the television industry, experimental broadcasts from the city’s greatest landmarks

An illustration from Science & Invention, one of Hugo Gernsback’s many technology journals, demonstrating the possibilities of his ‘telephot’ system. (Courtesy The Verge) PODCAST It’s the beginning of The Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, three podcasts devoted to New York City’s illustrious history with broadcast television — from Sarnoff to Seinfeld!  In our first show, […]

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Mad Men Pop Culture

‘Mad Men’ ends this Sunday, and ‘Copper’ begins, but war and assassinations unite both

WARNING The article contains a couple light spoilers about the current season ‘Mad Men’ on AMC and a few on last season’s ‘Copper’ on BBC America.   While 1968 comes to a close on Sunday night with the season finale of ‘Mad Men‘, another version of New York history returns on another channel. ‘Copper‘, starting […]

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Pop Culture

The Broadway Melody: New York’s first Oscar victory and an ironic success for the Astor Theatre in Times Square

The second film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture was hardly a movie at all. ‘The Broadway Melody’, a frothy Hollywood revue about the mounting of an frothy Broadway revue, was a total celebration of every strength and weakness of the early Broadway stage, and a hopeful sign that the New York […]

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Brooklyn History Pop Culture

The curious tale behind the first film ever made in Brooklyn

Millions and millions of hours of television and film have been made within the five boroughs since the invention of the camera.  But have you ever wondered where the very first roll of film was ever shot? That distinction most likely goes to a nondescript rooftop studio built atop a building at 1729 St. Marks Avenue […]

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Pop Culture

A film milestone in New York, 1913, but sadly out of sync

 The future (almost): Edison’s kinetophone system On February 17, 1913, on the day that the Armory Show was preparing to reinvent American art, Thomas Edison was attempting a revolution of his own for the young moving pictures industry. On that date, he debuted a new projection system called the kinetophone in four vaudeville houses in New […]