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Bowery Boys

History on television: new Boardwalk Empire, Copper petition, PLUS: Bowery Boys improvements on the way!

Frank and Al Capone, with Nelson Van Alden (played by Michael Shannon), at Western Electric’s Hawthorne Works in Cicero, although I suspect this was actually filmed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. (Courtesy HBO)BOARDWALK EMPIRE: I’ve been up to my regular Sunday Tweet-alongs with historical-based television shows, this time around following the newest season of Boardwalk […]

A very strange coincidence surrounds New York’s most famous gangsters and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ inspirations

Many of the early 20th century’s most renown gangsters were born in late January! Today is Al Capone‘s birthday. (He’s pictured above in his infamous mugshot.) It’s also the birthday of gambler/ Jewish mobster Arnold Rothstein.  Joe Masseria, early New York Mafia leader, was also born on this date — January 17, 1886. Enoch ‘Nucky’ Johnson — […]

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Gangs of New York

A very strange coincidence surrounds New York’s most famous gangsters and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ inspirations

Many of the early 20th century’s most renown gangsters were born in late January! Today is Al Capone‘s birthday. (He’s pictured above in his infamous mugshot.) It’s also the birthday of gambler/ Jewish mobster Arnold Rothstein.  Joe Masseria, early New York Mafia leader, was also born on this date — January 17, 1886. Enoch ‘Nucky’ Johnson — […]

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Health and Living The Alienist

Scenes from New York’s public baths: How tenement dwellers got clean and cool (The Alienist)

HISTORY BEHIND THE SCENE What’s the real story behind that historical scene from your favorite TV show or feature film? A semi-regular feature on the Bowery Boys blog, we will be reviving this series as we follow along with TNT’s limited series The Alienist. Look for other articles here about other historically themed television shows (Mad Men, The […]

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The Alienist True Crime

The Alleged New York Murders of Jack the Ripper

HISTORY BEHIND THE SCENE What’s the real story behind that historical scene from your favorite TV show or feature film? A semi-regular feature on the Bowery Boys blog, we will be reviving this series as we follow along with TNT’s limited series The Alienist. Look for other articles here about other historically themed television shows (Mad Men, The […]

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The Alienist

The harsh lives of New York City street kids, captured — in a flash — by Jacob Riis (The Alienist)

HISTORY BEHIND THE SCENE What’s the real story behind that historical scene from your favorite TV show or feature film? A semi-regular feature on the Bowery Boys blog, we will be reviving this series as we follow along with TNT’s limited series The Alienist. Look for other articles here about other historically themed television shows (Mad Men, The […]

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The Alienist

The Slide, New York’s Most Notorious ‘Fairy Resort’: History Behind The Scene (The Alienist)

HISTORY BEHIND THE SCENE What’s the real story behind that historical scene from your favorite TV show or feature film? A semi-regular feature on the Bowery Boys blog, I’ll be reviving this series as we follow along with TNT’s limited series The Alienist. Look for other articles here about other historically themed television shows (Mad […]

Categories
The Alienist

The Slide, New York’s Most Notorious ‘Fairy Resort’

HISTORY BEHIND THE SCENE What’s the real story behind that historical scene from your favorite TV show or feature film? A semi-regular feature on the Bowery Boys blog, I’ll be reviving this series as we follow along with TNT’s limited series The Alienist. Look for other articles here about other historically themed television shows (Mad […]

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Bridges The Alienist

The Construction of the Williamsburg Bridge — History Behind the Scene (The Alienist)

HISTORY BEHIND THE SCENE What’s the real story behind that historical scene from your favorite TV show or feature film? A semi-regular feature on the Bowery Boys blog, I’ll be reviving this series as we follow along with TNT’s limited series The Alienist. Look for other articles here about other historically themed television shows (Mad […]

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Pop Culture

Jackie and Loving: History on Film 2016

The end of the year usually means a higher quality selection at the movie theater– and more films based on historical events, a popular theme for those seeking glory on awards shows. It always seems each year’s batch accidentally gathers around a certain place or era.  Last year it was New York City history of the 1950s […]

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Pop Culture

HBO’s Vinyl: Getting Into The Groove

The music industry is the focus of Martin Scorsese’s new HBO show Vinyl just as the mob-run liquor business was the focus of his last show Boardwalk Empire, but in many ways, the two are pretty much the same. Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale) runs his record label American Century Records out of the Brill Building […]

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Pop Culture

TNT’s Public Morals: NYPD Very Blue

The TNT drama Public Morals, set in the gritty corners of New York City in 1967, airs the sixth of ten episodes today.  It appears on the television landscape with fantastic credentials and a smooth cinematic hue.  In my mind, I’m imagining a television landscape where all television shows co-exist, and Detective Muldoon, played by Ed […]

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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 […]

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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: […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

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 […]