Happy Duel Day 2011: When Vice Presidents attack!

Alexander Hamilton was shot by Aaron Burr 207 years ago today in their infamous morning duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton would die of his injuries the next afternoon, July 12, 1804. Just imagine Joe Biden and Timothy Geithner rowing to New Jersey and shooting at each other*! This bluff overlooking the Hudson River was the bloodsoaked… Read More

Old Swamp Church and the first U.S. Speaker of the House

Federal Hall, home to the first House of Representatives 1789 [NYPL] This week the United States got a new Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, and its first female ex-Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. This changing of the guard got me to wondering how many politicians representing New York had ever held this powerful job.… Read More

The First Inauguration: New York’s big party for George

Obama’s inauguration next Tuesday will closely adhere to the traditions of many presidents past, but with some serious leanings towards that other Illinois president Abraham Lincoln. But as ostentasious as some his plans seem — even eating foods that Abe might have noshed on — it can’t possibly top the ‘hope and change’ of the… Read More

Polling New York City’s voting history

Historic Vote: Women in New York City participate in their first election in 1922 (pic from Women in Congress) Sorry, it’s been a hectic few days and I haven’t gotten to update the blog. However I thought you’d be interested in this little piece from Columbia University Press about the historical voting patterns of New… Read More


PODCAST: New York Stock Exchange

We steal this week’s topic straight for today’s headlines! We look at the early days of New York finance and the creation of the New York Stock Exchange, beginning with Alexander Hamilton, some pushy auctioneers, a coffee house and a sycamore tree. And find how this seminal financial institution ended up in its latest home… Read More

Hamilton Grange: Movin’ on up!

Pic courtesy of Friends of St Nicolas Park The Hamilton Grange National Monument is finally on the move! The home of Alexander Hamilton, built in 1802 and inhabited by the Founding Father for all of two years before his fateful duel with Aaron Burr, is being slowly lifted from its cramped, ingracious little spot next… Read More


PODCAST: New York Post

Extra! Extra! Scandal Sheet Revealed To Be Started By Founding Father! New York Post May Be Responsible For Central Park! Rupert Murdoch Property Was Once A Nest of Liberal Sympathizers! PLUS: Was there really a “headless body” in a “topless bar”? Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can… Read More

New York City’s curious, modern-day Olympus

Most small community colleges feature a statue or two honoring somebody specifically related to the campus. Even massive schools could invite their monuments over for a small dinner and have room for you and your friend from out of town. Bronx Community College would need a fairly large banquet hall. This school in University Heights,… Read More

Manhattan’s long-lasting caffeine high

Gothamist ran this disturbing list of Starbucks locations in 2006. The history of the New York coffee house has taken a catastrophic twist in the 21st century. Before I go further — this is not a defacto attack on Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks is over-priced, often high-calorie burnt tasting swill. However it has a fairly good… Read More

I’ll have Founding Fabulons for $800, Alex.

Alexander Hamilton is the granddaddy of New Yorkers. Others may have had more influence on the city itself, but no other NYCer has had as much influence on the nation. He is to the Founding Fathers what James Dean is to Hollywood : a live fast, die young revolutionary rebel with a cause. Before being… Read More