Neighborhoods Parks and Recreation

Nostalgia for Astoria Pool, an early Robert Moses project with a high diving, Olympic-sized history

Astoria Pool is the largest venue for swimmers in New York, outside of the Hudson and East Rivers and, of course, the ocean. Its location in Astoria Park is certainly theatrical, parallel with the river and in sight of two spectacular bridges (the Robert F. Kennedy and the Hell Gate) that sail over to Randall’s Island.… Read More

Mysterious Stories

The Ghost with the Red Hair: Two Hauntings in Long Island City

Long Island City is really a confederation of small villages and hamlets along the northwestern shore of Long Island. The name began essentially as a re-branding of Hunter’s Point then grew to eventually include Astoria, Ravenswood, Sunnyside, Blissville and other communities after the development of the Long Island Railroad improved its land value. “Fifteen years ago, outside of… Read More

Queens History

The Fall of Ravenswood, Old Aristocratic Queens

Ravenswood is a dramatic name for a New York City neighborhood and certainly wasted on its primary resident today — Big Allis, the Con Edison generating power station that provides the Queens waterfront with its most unattractive feature. This pocket district is situated on the western edge of Queens just north of Hunter’s Point. Situated… Read More

Amusements and Thrills

From ‘Hot Circuits’ to ‘Arcade Classics’: A Museum’s Quest to Preserve Video Games

ARCADE CLASSICS, the latest show at the Museum of the Moving Image, pulling from the museum’s regular collection of video arcade games, is indeed an all-star line-up of classics. But without the fussiness of an actual arcade. (For one, the experience is at pleasant decibels.) The machines will mostly be familiar to anybody who identifies as Generation… Read More

Mad Men

This Is The End: ‘Mad Men’ at the Museum of the Moving Image

Mad Men begins its final season on AMC next Sunday, April 5th. If you live in New York, this has been bludgeoned into your brain though city-sponsored banners, ‘60s era dining specials and even a Mad Men-themed bench in front of the Time & Life Building.  There’s also a fine new exhibition at the Museum of the… Read More

It's Showtime Podcasts

Rudolph Valentino, the seductive, tragic idol of the Jazz Age

  PODCAST  Rudolph Valentino was an star from the early years of Hollywood, but his elegant, randy years in New York City should not be forgotten.  They helped make him a premier dancer and a glamorous actor. And on August 23, 1926, this is where the silent film icon died.   Valentino arrived in Ellis Island in 1913, one of… Read More

Queens History

Relaxation in Astoria, in the lap of Queens history

You’ll still find a few free-standing homes on the far western end of Astoria — traditionally called Hallet’s Cove — but you won’t find the one above, a veritable (if ramshackle) plantation getaway as photographed by Berenice Abbott in 1937. The caption of this picture places this house in the hands of Joseph Blackwell, an ancestor… Read More

Parks and Recreation

That time Christopher Columbus annoyed Robert Moses

Christopher Columbus is among the most honored figures in New York statuary, appearing abundantly throughout the five boroughs — standing prominently, nestled in parks and squares, peering from building features. I’ve located a seemingly complete list of New York Columbus monuments, strangely enough, on a German website, inclusive even of Chris’s appearance of 8th Avenue subway… Read More

Two hundred years ago: Voyage on a doomed ship!

New York Harbor, possibly late 1810s (caption reads only ‘1800s’) courtesy NYPL Two hundred years ago today, a boat on its maiden voyage left New York’s harbor. This happened virtually every day in New York, of course, during this period as America’s most active and bustling port city. However, from 1807 and lasting well into… Read More


Steinway and Sons: piano men and kings of Queens

Inside Steinway Hall 1890: the 14th Street concert venue could seat 2,000 and also functioned as a showroom for Steinway pianos Henry Steinway, a German immigrant who came to New York in 1850, made his name in various showrooms and factories in downtown Manhattan, enticing the wealthy with his award-winning quality pianos. At their grand… Read More

Gilded Age New York

Do the Astors own you?

On the passing yesterday of the 105 year old Astor family monarch Brooke Astor, I thought I’d give you a brief rundown on all the places in which they’ve left a literal impression. Her passing has the feeling of an institution having left the building. She married into the family via Vincent Astor, the only… Read More