New York’s oddest tourists: the Chinese delegation of 1911

Above: Chinese naval officers, with Mayor William Jay Gaynor, mounting the steps of Grant’s Tomb, 9/11/11. Workers at the Hudson waterfront awoke on September 11, 1911, to catch quite a curious sight in the water that day. It wasn’t the size of the ship that struck gathering crowds or its loud, rumbling engines; after all, the Chelsea… Read More


The Bowery Boys live event this Saturday at Lit Crawl! “Scalawags, Scoundrels, and Satanists”

Come join The Bowery Boys this Saturday, Sept. 10, at Swift Hibernian Lounge (34 East 4th St.) as part of this weekend’s fourth annual Lit Crawl, a combination literary festival/pub crawl taking place throughout the East Village and the Lower East Side. The Lit Crawl is a free event featuring almost two dozen readings throughout… Read More

Why not? Let’s build this outlandish Manhattan airport!

The ultimate terminal for air and sea, if you don’t mind eliminating a few neighborhoods. Goodbye Hell’s Kitchen! (Click image to enlarge) Are you a Manhattan business professional who’s tired of sitting in maddening traffic to get all the way out to John F. Kennedy Airport? Does LaGuardia Airport seem dreary and dismal to you? And Newark Liberty… Read More

True Crime

William ‘Boss’ Tweed meets his end on Ludlow Street

Today is a day of big historical remembrances, from the 150th anniversary of the first battle of the Civil War to the 50th anniversary of man’s first entry into space. But to me, April 12th will always be the day that William ‘Boss’ Tweed died in his cell at the Ludlow Street Jail in 1878,… Read More

Odds and Ends: Castles, panoramas and Matt Damon

Above: Fonthill Castle in the neighborhood of Riverdale in the Bronx, built in 1852 as the personal kingdom (if only briefly) of one of the world’s great Shakespearean actors, Edwin Forrest. The actor was born today, 205 years ago. The lavish home has long since been a part of the campus of the College of… Read More

History in the Making: Ain’t It Strange Edition

The National Book Award for Non-Fiction was awarded last night to a book loaded with gritty New York History — ‘Just Kids’, the lovely memoir by Patti Smith about her friendship with Robert Maplethorpe. If you’re a fanatic of Manhattan in the ’70s, it’s simply a must-read, from meandering along St. Mark’s Place to hanging… Read More

November ’65: The night the lights went out in New York

ABOVE: Liberty keeps her lights on during the blackout of November 9, 1965Photos courtesy Life Magazine, via the Blackout History Project Forty-five years ago, during the 5pm rush hour, the entire American Northeast and parts of Canada were attacked by Unidentified Flying Objects from outer space who used their intergalactic powers to cause an electrical… Read More

Bowery Boys On The Go: History of NYC Transportation

Wheels converge: Motor buggies, horse drawn carriages and other conveyances glide and to and from the railroad terminal ferry station at West 23rd Street (i.e. Chelsea Piers) Pic courtesy NYPL Tomorrow we begin our first official summer blockbuster: a set of several podcasts in a row, themed BOWERY BOYS ON THE GO. Every two weeks,… Read More


A History of New York City in 100 Buildings (Nos. 51-100)

THE FINAL PART UPDATED BELOW – THE FUTURE CITYSee map below for all the locations mentioned in this story I’m splitting the second half of this series off into a separate posting for easier navigation. Please see the post below this one for the introduction and entries 1 through 50. ————————————————————————-PART SIX: SUBWAY CITY 51… Read More


A History of New York City … in 100 Buildings (Nos. 1-50)

PART FIVE UPDATED BELOW – CONSOLIDATED CITYSee map below for all the locations mentioned in this story One of the truly great podcast pleasures of the past two months has been the BBC’s A History of the World In 100 Objects, a daily chronological journey through human history via carefully selected items from the British… Read More


The Bowery Boys 2009: A Year of Podcasts In Review

Here’s the whole menu of our 2009 podcasts. As always, you can download them all for free from iTunes and or your favorite podcast aggregator. The original blog page for each is listed below, along with a link to download directly from our satellite site. WEBSTER HALLBlog page: Webster Hall, more than a dance hallDownload… Read More

History in the Making: Tea and Peanuts Edition

Local comedian and theatre star Gus Phillips, known professionally as Oofty Gooft , threw on a production of ‘Under The Gaslight’ in New York sometime around 1879, starring himself and his wife Mary Hooper, who once shot him. Christmas Past: The Morgan Library & Museum unveils an early copy of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’… Read More

Greenwich Village, when it was green and a village

Above: Macdougal Alley in 1936. The plantation home of New Amsterdam director-general Wouter van Twiller would have been situated very close to where this picture was taken. (Find the alley here.) NAME THAT NEIGHBORHOOD Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations… Read More


History in the making – 5/30

I’ll take two! A salesman goes the course to sell a spring hat in an unnamed New York City department store, circa 1962. (Courtesy LIFE, photographer Yale Joel) How Do I Look? The Tenement Museum blog and historian Warren Shaw has the scoop on how the old Lower East Side was depicted in the old… Read More

Special delivery: Pretty postcards at the Met Museum

Tucked up on the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard” gives those colorful rectangular tourist tools their due. Evans, known mostly for his defining photography of the Great Depression, was an avid postcard collector, and the Met fills its walls with his collection. You’ll be straining your… Read More