Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

“Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers & Swells”: What a party! Courtesy Vanity Fair and the toasts of the Jazz Age

Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers & Swells: The Best of Early Vanity Fair Various authors Edited by Graydon Carter with David Friend Penguin Press BOOK REVIEW  Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers & Swells: The Best of Early Vanity Fair sounds like a soirée in book form, but it’s a lot more than that.  If anything, the book’s title is a […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

The New York City subway system opened 110 years ago today; An interview with The Race Underground author Doug Most

Crowds at the now-defunct City Hall Station of the brand new New York subway system. (NYPL) One hundred and ten years ago today, the first train of the New York City subway system began its first trip underneath the city, filled with eager and excited passengers.  Thousands lined up to take this revolutionary new ride, […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

“A History of New York in 101 Objects” by Sam Roberts: or why you should never throw anything out

BOOK REVIEW Looking at history as a collection of objects is a pursuit best suited for a hoarder.  Every item strewn along the timeline has the potential of being totemic to human experience.  A similar review of your own life might imbue symbolic power to such things as an old teddy bear or a dried […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf Revolutionary History

25 Great Books About the Founding Fathers (and Mothers)

Independence Day may be over, but our celebration of the Founding Fathers continues all this week, culminating in a brand new podcast this Friday! I thought I’d share some of my favorite books on the subject of America building, great reads on the personalities of the men and women who helped form America.  Included here […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf Skyscrapers

Supreme City: The ascent of Midtown Manhattan in the 1920s

A view of Midtown Manhattan, looking southeast, by the Wurts Brothers (NYPL)Supreme CityHow Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern Americaby Donald L. MillerSimon & Schuster Supreme City, by Donald L. Miller, certainly one of the most entertaining books on New York City history I’ve read in the past couple years, is also one of […]

Categories
Landmarks

The wonder of the Chelsea Hotel: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’ — an interview with author Sherill Tippins

The Hotel Chelsea, August 1936, photograph by Berenice Abbott (NYPL) Inside the Dream Palace The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Few places in New York exist with so many ghosts as the Chelsea Hotel. Oh, I don’t know if it’s really haunted, but the historical […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘The Big Crowd’: Kevin Baker takes on an unsolved mystery, the murder of Kid Twist and the secrets of a fallen mayor

New York City, 1953, the setting for Kevin Baker’s The Big Crowd. Photo by Eliot Elisofen, courtesy Life/Google imagesBOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Here’s 25 essential historical novels set in New York City. Help me expand the list to 50 titles!

As a follow-up to last month’s list of essential non-fiction books about New York City, here’s my list of 25 favorite historical fiction novels written in the past one hundred years, using the history of the city as a backdrop for drama, mystery, fantasy and romance. There are really two types of historical fiction — […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Thieves of Book Row: Strange treasure among the stacks inspires New York’s most intellectual black market

The used bookstores of Book Row, the above shot from Fourth Avenue and 10th Street, 1938 (courtesy NYPL)BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The readers have spoken! A revised list of 50 essential non-fiction books on New York City history

Last week I posted a list via Riffle Books of my personal choices for 25 books on New York City history that I think everybody should read.  But it was a far from perfect list, so I solicited your help to choose 25 more. And all I can say is — WOW! I got almost […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Here’s my 25 favorite books about New York City history. Help me choose 25 more!

Over the weekend, I put together this Riffle list of my favorite 25 book on the subject of New York City history, published over the last one hundred years. I’ll admit that this list reflects what’s on my shelf at the moment and is not in any way yet complete. (For instance, I’m obviously sparse […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Preservation

The neon bible: A chat with ‘New York Neon’ author Thomas E. Rinaldi about the city’s most stylish signs

Bond Clothing Store sign was a mainstay of Times Square in the 1940s and 50s. For more on Bond’s unusual transition after that, read my article from 2007 on Bond International Casino. Picture courtesy Life Magazine, Lisa Larsen photographerNew York Neon is the Bowery Boys Book of the Month for July, a superb review of the […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘New York Neon’: A history of the city’s most mythical lights

A sizzling 52nd Street in July 1948 (courtesy LOC)BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way that’s uniquely unconventional or exposes a previously unseen […]

Categories
Revolutionary History

‘My American Revolution’: Imagining 1776 surrounding us

BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way that’s uniquely unconventional or exposes a previously unseen corner of our city’s complicated past.  Then over […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The Great Gatsby’s New York City, in ten different scenes, from the Queensboro Bridge to the Plaza Hotel

BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way that’s uniquely unconventional or exposes a previously unseen corner of our city’s complicated past.  Then over the […]