Who is Agent 355?

We can’t leave the world of Revolutionary War New York behind without finally exploring one of its captivating mysteries — the identity of agent 355. The Culper Ring was George Washington‘s clandestine spy network that operated in the streets of British occupied New York. As we mentioned in last week’s podcast, operatives would communicate with… Read More

R.I.P. St. Saviour’s?

St. Saviour’s Church, an historic cathedral in Maspeth, Queens, is being torn down by the city, but not without a fight. The website Queens Crap has been doing an excellent job detailing the futile efforts of preservationists, their battles with the city and, this week, the recent dramas as the city prepares to demolish it.… Read More


PODCAST: Life in British New York: 1776-1783

Join us as we stroll through the streets of revolutionary New York, examining what it would have been like to be a New Yorker under British rule. Listen to it HERE: New York as it looked during British occupation (i.e. before various lower Manhattan landfills!) The HMS Jersey, docked right off the show of Brooklyn,… Read More


Name That Neighborhood: Fort Greene

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (Soho, Dumbo). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this series can be found here. The Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene gathers some of the borough’s… Read More

One-eyed Willie takes the stage

Even though the British kept the burnt, chaotic city of New York as their military base during the Revolutionary War, life did manage to go on for some residents. In fact the population of New York began to swell, as those still loyal to the British — for practical as well as philosophical reasons —… Read More

The most famous tree in 1776

I often try and take my own pictures of various locales I speak about, however the battery of my camera died on me during my Prospect Park journey. The picture above of Lookout Hill and other amazing photography of New York landscapes by Dalton Rooney can be found here. —- What’s strange about talking about… Read More

Maps to an American catastrophe

Definitely something you’ll need to click into to see all the rich detail, but below is a copy of a British map run in the London Gazette, outlining the trek of the British soldiers in New York and Brooklyn (then entirely called Long Island). Although quite distorted, it references some of the main points in… Read More


History in the making – 2/23

Jack Straw and Condi Rice (as played by the Bowery Boys) sit debating at the U.N. Security Council We’d like to thank Caroline Jeanjot and Dan Schreiber for giving the two of us a smashing behind the scenes tour of the United Nations building last week. We had an absolutely fantastic time. There are regular… Read More

Podcasts Revolutionary History

PODCAST: The British Invasion: New York 1776

It’s 1776 and revolution is in the air. Join the Bowery Boys as we tackle the British invasion and takeover of New York City. Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE Worked-up New Yorkers, rushing down to Bowling Green to rip down… Read More


Name That Neighborhood: Murray Hill

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Murray Hill is one of Manhattan’s quieter neighborhoods, extending on the east side from 42nd street to 34th street —… Read More

Revolutionary History

What’s your favorite Nathan Hale death spot?

Nathan Hale was a 21 year old Connecticut native who volunteered for George Washington’s Continental Army and stayed behind in New York after the Army’s retreat in September 1776 in order to gain intelligence from the British. Hale was unfortunately caught — in Flushing Bay, Queens — brought to Manhattan and hanged, though not before… Read More

Essex Street’s market improvement

Above: Essex Market then…. The Lower East Side this weekend was filled with young fashionable people in their 20s flitting about from restaurant to bar from dusk till the early morning. Of course the neighborhood still has a strong presence from the Puerto Rican and Chinese communities, but they close up well before the nightowls… Read More


History in the making – 2/16

Fred W. McDarrah’s photograph of Robert F Kennedy touring a Lower East Side tenement on May 8, 1967, a year before his assassination. He was there visiting the apartment once inhabited by a young Jacob Javits, the New York Senator born to Russian Jewish parents who spent his childhood in the Lower East Side. What… Read More


PODCAST: Katz’s Delicatessen

We stop for a nosh at three Jewish culinary stalwarts of the Lower East Side — Katz’s Delicatessen (a movie-friendly dining experience), Russ and Daughters (a tale of herrings and girl power) and the Yonah Schimmel Knishery (and its surprising connection to Coney Island). Listen to it here or download it from iTunes and other… Read More

The Pickle Civil War!

It’s odd to hear people speak passionately about pickles, as if they’re a lifestyle. But that’s how people talk about Guss Pickles, the self-proclaimed ‘largest pickle emporium in the world’ and an institution of the Lower East Side since 1910. But as you shall see, those calling themselves the ‘largest’ and that store currently sitting… Read More