It's Showtime

Stage Magic: Oh-What-A-Beautiful History of the St. James Theatre

On Sunday The Bowery Boys join up with The Ensemblist to present a special cabaret event at 54 Below — a tribute to the great St. James Theatre! Perhaps some of you may be asking — why do a live show about a individual theater? The St. James Theatre (246 West 44th Street) was prominently […]

Mad Men

Timeless: How ‘Mad Men’ changed history on television

In 1972 the Robert Altman film M*A*S*H was turned into a weekly half-hour situation comedy series. In retrospect I’m stunned that anybody thought to make this. The landscape of television comedy was cluttered with novelty premises and perfect families dealing with contrived scenarios which always, always resolved in a happy freeze-frame. There was no sense […]

Mad Men

This Is The End: ‘Mad Men’ at the Museum of the Moving Image

Mad Men begins its final season on AMC next Sunday, April 5th. If you live in New York, this has been bludgeoned into your brain though city-sponsored banners, ‘60s era dining specials and even a Mad Men-themed bench in front of the Time & Life Building.  There’s also a fine new exhibition at the Museum of the […]

Bowery Boys

Goodbye 2014! The top stories on the Bowery Boys blog

Happy 2015 to everyone! We want to thank you for listening to the show this year, checking in with the blog and following along with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Lots of incredible things in store for the next year so we hope to see you throughout the next year. For a look back […]

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: […]


History in the Making 9/9: The Former Avenue A Edition

A particularly haunting image — the caption “Junior sea breeze for sick babies — 64th Street and Avenue A.” Circa 1895, this was taken in a park at 64th and today’s York Avenue, the area of Rockefeller University.  On this 1899 map, you can see that the future Sutton Place and York Avenue were still […]

Health and Living The Knick

The tale of two hospitals: Enjoy the “inexpressibly nauseating” aromas of Brooklyn’s oldest operating theater

Syms operating theater at Roosevelt Hospital in 1900, perhaps one of the cleanest places in Manhattan! (Picture courtesy Museum of the City of New York) It was not a fair fight. In 1895, in celebrating the innovative new surgery building at Roosevelt Hospital, the New York Times decided to compare its revolutionary new features to […]

The Knick Those Were The Days

The cocaine fiends of the Gilded Age: New York stages an intervention for its over-the-counter drug problem

We once lived in a world when cocaine was in nearly everything — pain relievers, muscle relaxers, wine, fountain drinks, cigarettes, hair tonics, feminine products.  It was therapeutic, a “nerve stimulant,” a natural remedy and an over-the-counter drug sold in a variety of forms and doses. The coca plant, to many, was “the most tonic […]

On The Waterfront

Troubled Waters: The story of the Grand Republic steamboat, the cursed sister ship of the General Slocum

Above: The Grand Republic steamship. As you can see from its paddlewheel, it was a twin to the General Slocum [source] This could not have made New Yorkers feel very safe about even the briefest of river excursions. Days after the General Slocum excursion steamer caught fire and sank in the East River, killing over 1,000 people, […]

The Knick

The Lower East Side went back in time this week

Was this photograph taken yesterday on the set of Steven Soderbergh’s new mini-series The Knick, or was it taken back in the 1910s?  The answer is at the bottom of this blog post! This week, a little stage magic is manifesting in the Lower East Side. The Broome Street of 2013 has been turned briefly into […]

A trip to Times Square 1904: The Hotel Astor arrives

The Hotel Astor in its opening year, 1904. The Astor was a Waldorf; the Knickerbocker was an Astor. Makes sense? (Photo courtesy NYPL) Longacre Square didn’t become Times Square without the Astor family making a lot of money. Much of the area had been farmland that had been purchased by John Jacob Astor in the […]

Mayor William Paulding, the very respectable brother

KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor William PauldingIn office: 1824-1825; 1827-29 With these early mayors of New York, I’m really beginning to suspect they are chosen for being […]

Color me Dutch

Ever wonder why the official colors of New York are orange and blue? They show up in the uniforms of our two favorite teams, the Knicks and the Mets: And the colors clearly show up on the official New York state flag: Our flag is so hued as an homage to the flag of the […]