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Food History Queens History

A Grocery Story: America’s First Supermarket Opens in Queens 1930

Did you know the modern supermarket was created in New York City? The ways people purchased groceries in the first few decades of the 20th century had evolved very rapidly. And by the 1930s all roads to the grocery store would lead to Queens. During the 19th century grocers provided shoppers with a limited number […]

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Podcasts Queens History

The World of Tomorrow: Visiting the World’s Fair of 1939-40, the kitschy futurescape of Queens

PODCAST Visiting the first World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the unimaginable playground of the future, planted inescapably within the reality of the day. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the fourth largest park in New York City and the pride of northern Queens, has twice been the doorway to the future. Two world’s fairs have […]

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Queens History Revolutionary History

George Washington’s inauguration and the 1939 World’s Fair

Today (April 30th) is the 230th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington, sworn in atFederal Hallas the first President of the United States.  It is also the 80th anniversary of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  That was not an accident. The monumental events of America’s founding would be immortalized by the fair in some rather unusual […]

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Podcasts Queens History

The History of Astoria and Long Island City, Queens

PODCAST The Bowery Boys head to northwestern Queens to uncover the origin of two close neighborhoods with divergent histories. The borough of Queens has a history unlike any in the New York City region, but the story of its northwestern region — comprising Astoria, Long Island City and about a half dozen other, smaller neighborhoods […]

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Queens History

The Fall of Ravenswood, Old Aristocratic Queens

Ravenswood is a dramatic name for a New York City neighborhood and certainly wasted on its primary resident today — Big Allis, the Con Edison generating power station that provides the Queens waterfront with its most unattractive feature. This pocket district is situated on the western edge of Queens just north of Hunter’s Point. Situated […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Queens History

The International Express: The Personality of the 7 Train

The New York subway system has been a frightening place recently — derailments, stalled trains underground, agonizing delays. Most of these interruptions are experienced in a unique way, a group of strangers coping with a  situation outside their control. After a few minutes of waiting, people get impatient, pace the train, grumble silently, turn up […]

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Neighborhoods Queens History

The breezy story of Ozone Park, Queens: “the Harlem of Brooklyn”

Ozone Park, a quiet residential Queens neighborhood near Woodhaven, is one of those places created by real estate developers in the 1880s. It happens to have one of the best neighborhood names in all of New York City. So where did it come from? Ozone is a gas that exists as part of the Earth’s atmosphere and, […]

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Podcasts Queens History

Ruins of the World’s Fair: The New York State Pavilion, or how Philip Johnson’s futuristic architecture was almost forgotten

  A little bit Jetsons, a little bit Gladiator, a little bit P.T Barnum. Photo/Marco Catini PODCAST The ruins of the New York State Pavilion, highlight of the 1964-65 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, have become a kind of unofficial Statue of Liberty of Queens, greeting people as they head to and from LaGuardia […]

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Queens History Robert Moses

Robert Moses rejected this terrifying Margaret Keane painting from hanging at the 1964-65 World’s Fair

The World’s Fair of 1964-65 at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was a major American event forward-looking in its intent and, in many ways, backwards in its practice.  In particular, Robert Moses did not care for cheap carnival amusements, nor did he care for music or art that was particular edgy or controversial. Moses’ tastes ruled supreme […]

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Queens History Robert Moses

Robert Moses rejected this terrifying Margaret Keane painting from hanging at the 1964-65 World’s Fair

The World’s Fair of 1964-65 at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was a major American event forward-looking in its intent and, in many ways, backwards in its practice.  In particular, Robert Moses did not care for cheap carnival amusements, nor did he care for music or art that was particular edgy or controversial. Moses’ tastes ruled supreme […]

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Mysterious Stories Queens History

MYSTERY! “Doctor Busted” and the skeleton of College Point

Above is an illustrated bird’s eye view of College Point, Queens, from a 1917 guidebook “Illustrated Flushing and vicinity.” As that book goes on to describe, “COLLEGE POINT is essentially a manufacturing town—the industrial center of the Flushing District.  It is an old settlement like Flushing and Whitestone, both of which it immediately adjoins on […]

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Queens History

A new film about New York State Pavilion, the space-age ruin from the World’s Fair 1964-65

Many cities have turned the sites of World’s Fairs into public places that have endured through the decades.  Chicago’s Jackson Park and the Midway were greatly upgraded after their use in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  The odd-looking Sunsphere, a highlight of the Knoxville World’s Fair in 1982, is now the city’s most recognizable monument. […]

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Queens History

The religious controversy behind a lonely Roman column just standing around by itself in Flushing Meadows Park

. The second oldest manmade object in New York City — outside, that is, not in a museum or private collection — is a solitary little Roman column built in 120 AD for the Temple of Artemis in the ancient city of Jerash.  It once stood among a chorus of ‘whispering columns’, creating an effect […]

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Queens History Robert Moses

Assorted mishaps from the 1964 New York World’s Fair — in its first month and before it even opened

Certainly Robert Moses expected there to be a few little problems to arise at the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair on April 22, 1964.  And for the most part, the most popular attractions launched without a hitch.  But a host of bad press on opening day and a litter of minor issues created a […]

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Amusements and Thrills Queens History

African lions and dinosaurs, musical plastics and electricity: The sights and sounds of the 1964-65 World’s Fair

The World’s Fair of 1964-65 opened fifty years ago today!  We visited this unusual New York mega-event on the podcast a few years ago.  Give this show a listen to get a good introduction to our city’s strangest celebration of the future.  You can listen to it here or download it from the Bowery Boys […]