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Film History

New York City stories: Great documentaries about the Apollo Theater, Statue of Liberty and the Bronx

One positive side of the near-infinite television choices we now face in 2019 — more documentaries than ever! And in the past two weeks, HBO Documentaries and PBS’ Independent Lens have given us films that are firmly rooted in New York City history and culture. The Apollo Premieres tonight on HBO Few building embody American […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Romare Bearden: ‘An American Odyssey’ through the Harlem Renaissance and the SoHo art scene

Sometimes an artist’s biography can work on two levels, providing both the sweep of history within the subject matter of the artist’s own output and a grand view of American art history in the artist’s working life. In Mary Schmidt Campbell’s absorbing biography of the painter, illustrator and collagist Romare Bearden, we get to look at […]

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It's Showtime Podcasts

Billie Holiday’s New York: Here’s to Swing Street, Harlem’s 133rd Street and other landmarks of jazz

  PODCAST Grab your fedora and take a trip with the Bowery Boys into the heart of New York City’s jazz scene — late nights, smoky bars, neon signs — through the eyes of one of the greatest American vocalists who ever lived here — Billie Holiday. Eleanora Fagan walked out of Pennsylvania Station in […]

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It's Showtime

Harlem on a high note: The grand Harlem Opera House

A ton of people on-stage at the Harlem Opera House in 1907. During this period, it was owned by vaudeville impresario Keith Proctor and called Proctor’s Harlem Opera House. Pictures courtesy the Museum of the City of New York   The Hotel Theresa, subject of this week’s podcast, had a rather unusual neighbor in its early […]

Four New York City landmarks turn 100 years old this year

1) Grand Central TerminalThe Grand Central Depot was first built at 42nd Street in 1871 as a hub for Cornelius Vanderbilt’s railroad operations. It was greatly expanded at the turn of the century. and by this time, the tracks headed north were electrified and buried, creating Park Avenue. The present terminal was conceived in 1903 […]

Four New York City landmarks turn 100 years old this year

1) Grand Central TerminalThe Grand Central Depot was first built at 42nd Street in 1871 as a hub for Cornelius Vanderbilt’s railroad operations. It was greatly expanded at the turn of the century. and by this time, the tracks headed north were electrified and buried, creating Park Avenue. The present terminal was conceived in 1903 […]

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 […]

Happy Re-Birthday, Apollo Theater!

Pic courtesy LOCSeventy-six years ago today, the Apollo Theater re-opened in Harlem. Before this date in 1934, the Apollo catered to an all-white crowd, left over from the theater’s early days as a burlesque venue. Reflecting Harlem’s rapid changes in the 1920s and 30s as the center of African-American life in New York, however, the […]

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PODCAST: The Apollo Theater

Harlem’s jewel, the Apollo Theater, has more than lived up to its promise as a place “where stars are born and legends are made.” It’s been the cultural centerpiece of New York for more than seven decades, not bad for a former burlesque theater. And find out which icon made his name — and held […]