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The Miracle on Eldridge Street, restoring a landmark of American Jewish history

EPISODE 304: The Miracle on Eldridge Street The Eldridge Street Synagogue is one of the most beautifully restored places in the United States, a testament to the value of preserving history when it seems all is lost to ruin. Today the Museum at Eldridge Street maintains the synagogue, built in 1887 as one of the first houses of worship […]

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Eero Saarinen and his three gifts to New York

A toast to the great 20th-century architect Eero Saarinen! The Modernist icon was born on this date in 1910 in Finland. He immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was thirteen years old. His father Eliel Saarinen was himself a brilliant architect; his son would learn from the best. Eero Saarinen was a versatile furniture designer […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Health and Living Uncategorized

The Guarded Gate: NYC’s grotesque involvement with the eugenics movement

Eugenics, as with any creation from a mad scientist, was developed to advance the human race, built from the studies of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel. Shouldn’t we pass only mankind’s most laudable attributes to the next generation? Who wouldn‘t want to weed out disease and deformity? Instead, it became one of the most insidious tools of the 20th […]

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The Earthquake of 1884! A few parallels to today’s quake

New York has never suffered severely from the effects of an earthquake. Most recently, the one felt in 2011— reportedly of 5.8 or 5.9 magnitude, centered around Virginia and affecting many Northeast metropolitan areas — ranks quite high on the list of tremors felt here. There’s no way to compare that local event to the really early quakes, as the Richter […]

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In 1895 a deadly tornado hit Woodhaven, Queens, and the ruins became a tourist attraction

The destructive force of tornado season has made itself abundantly evident in the Midwest this week, and New Yorkers can sometimes develop a false sense of security by the rarity of twister activity here. But tornados do occasionally make their way to the five boroughs. In fact Staten Island was under a tornado warning just this past […]

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Politics and Protest Uncategorized

When Carrie Nation comes to town, saloon owners brace for impact

The passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919 — prohibiting the sale of alcohol in the United States — failed to sober up the country. It merely drove its unquenchable thirst underground. Prohibition came about because of an extraordinary union of disparate groups — religious folks, racists, progressives, nativists — all possessing different motivations for […]

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New Amsterdam Uncategorized

Building The Wall: How Wall Street got its name

One of the first facts you learn as a student of New York City history is that Wall Street, that canyon of tall buildings and center of the American financial world, is named for an actual wall that once stretched along this very spot during the days of the Dutch when New York was known […]

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The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, published 170 years ago today

“The Raven” was first published in the New York Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845, and would come to define the morbid brilliance of its author Edgar Allan Poe. Poe and his sickly young wife Virginia arrived in New York in 1844, lodging at a dairy farm at today’s  West 84th Street, between Broadway and […]

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Please support our sponsors!

The Bowery Boys podcast is brought to you by…. Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create your own professional website, portfolio, and online store. For a free trial and 10% off, visit Squarespace.com and enter offer code BOWERY at checkout. A better web starts with your website.  and by…   […]

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Bowery Boys Uncategorized

Help us pick new topics for the Bowery Boys podcast!

Thanks for voting! The poll is now closed.  We’re off to turn your opinions into future Bowery Boys podcasts.  Top results: More neighborhood-centric history, true crime and law enforcement, and shows on early history.  Previously: We’ve got our podcasts planned out for the next few months, but we need your help in determining the types […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Uncategorized

Maya Angelou 1928-2014

A photo from her nightclub and theater years, G. Paul Bishop Jr. photographer ““I never agreed with Thomas Wolfe,” she remarked quietly. “I never thought you can’t go home again. I’ve been coming home to Harlem for 50 years.”— from a terrific story in the New York Times from 2007 about her ornately colorful Harlem […]

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Health and Living Uncategorized

The origin of snow removal for all New Yorkers, rich and poor

A snow plow at Union Square, circa 1901-1905 (LOC) For some of New York City’s history, snowstorms have been completely paralyzing, and most residents had to clear their own streets, an impossibility in areas of a more rural character.  The notion that it was actually the city’s responsibility to remove snow is a product of […]

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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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Christmas Neighborhoods Uncategorized

The lights of Madison Square: A Christmas tree at night

I’m not sure if the Madison Square annual Christmas tree was really the biggest in the entire world — as the 1913 Evening World at right suggests — but it was most certainly the largest in New York City. Its closest competitor in size would have been the City Hall Christmas tree. This unique tradition […]

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Bowery Boys Uncategorized

New Bowery Boys podcast artwork. How do we look?

Our designer is the exceptionally talented Thomas Cabus.  You can take a look at some of his other work — including the design of the award-winning Circle of 6 app — at this link.