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ON TELEVISION Pop Culture

Movin’ On Up: New York City as depicted in the opening themes of 1970s TV shows

In honor of the 100th birthday of television icon Norman Lear (creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Good Times and many, many more) I’ve revised and re-edited this, yes, rather strange round-up originally published in 2013 about New York City and television intros and theme songs. Please play the TV themes as you… Read More

Categories
American History

How American Newspapers Reported the New York Blackout of 1977

Forty years ago today, New York City was plunged into darkness. The city has certainly seen longer blackouts in its history but none as violent or as deadly in its effects than the Blackout of 1977. The deteriorating city, in the midst of a withering heat wave, was ill-equipped for such emergencies. Hundreds of stores… Read More

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Politics and Protest

‘Fear City’: The unthinkable tale how New York City almost went bankrupt

Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics, the title of Kim Phillips-Fein’s riveting new book on the 1970s financial catastrophe, isn’t wantonly comparing New York City to the devilish landscape of a horror film. It’s the actual title of a grim pamphlet the New York Police Department distributed to tourists in 1975,… Read More

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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… Read More

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True Crime

‘Days of Rage’ and Nights of Terror

Right before noon on March 6, 1970, an explosion tore open a lovely Greenwich Village townhouse at 18 West 11th Street and awoke New York City to a violent new threat. The remains of three bodies were discovered in the smoking debris but they weren’t residents of this quiet neighborhood. They were members of The Weather… Read More

Categories
Skyscrapers

The grand opening of the World Trade Center on April 4, 1973; Richard Nixon, labor strikes and “General Motors Gothic”

  Photography on this page, from various periods, by Edmund V. Gillon, courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.  Check out their online gallery for some more beautiful black-and-white shots.  Let me take you back to a simpler time, back to a time where it might have been okay to hate the… Read More

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

New York City’s “stripped and abandoned” car crisis

The fate of an automobile at Breezy Point, 1973 (Courtesy US National Archives) The abandoned car, that most dramatic symbol of urban blight, is a sight that has pretty much vanished from most New York City streets. (Most, not all.) In a city refitted for the automobile by the mid 20th century, people just began… Read More