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Amusements and Thrills

The fire at Barnum’s American Museum 155 years ago

One hundred and fifty-five years ago (on July 13, 1865), New York City lost one of its most famous, most imaginative and most politically incorrect attractions. When P.T. Barnum opened his museum in 1841, the kooky curiosities contained within the building at the corner of Broadway and Ann Street — at the foot of Park […]

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Amusements and Thrills

Before seeing ‘The Greatest Showman’, listen to these three Bowery Boys podcasts

The latest, lavish movie musical arrives this week to movie theaters and it’s the story of P. T. Barnum! The Greatest Showman (opening Wednesday, Dec. 20) featuring Hugh Jackman as the title impresario, certainly a role he was born for. The film will recount Barnum’s life and his most audacious projects including such pivotal characters […]

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Mysterious Stories

The Fejee Mermaid, New York’s original mermaid freak

  Today let’s give a little love to New York original mermaid queen — the hideous Fiji (Fejee) Mermaid! This sickening Frankenstein monster — comprising a monkey’s head sewn onto a fish torso — was displayed in  PT Barnum’s American Museum off and on for almost twenty years.  Believe it or not, Barnum actually leased […]

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Health and Living Podcasts

The startling history of Bellevue Hospital, beyond the horror stories, the last resort for the New York unwanted

Bellevue from the waterfront, 1879.  Proximity to the shoreline — which once gave the original mansion here that ‘belle vue’ — was key in the early years of Bellevue, as sometimes it was the fastest way to get to the hospital when roads were less than ideal. (Courtesy NYC HHC) PODCAST Bellevue Hospital, you might […]

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Amusements and Thrills

Commodore Nutt: Barnum’s dwarf star, NYC police officer

The attentions of most New Yorkers 150 years ago today were understandably occupied by the events of the Civil War. The general mood in April 1862 had turned cynical and grim. It had been one year since the first battle at Fort Sumter. The bloodiest skirmish yet, the Battle of Shiloh in northwestern Tennessee, left […]