Bronx History Podcasts

A History of the Bronx Part Two: Building The Borough

PODCAST The story of how the Bronx became a part of New York City and the origin of some of the borough’s most famous landmarks. In the second part of the Bowery Boys’ Bronx Trilogy — recounting the entire history of New York City’s northernmost borough — we focus on the years between 1875 and… Read More

Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘Spectacle’: The Story of Ota Benga

In 1906, visitors to the Bronx Zoo observed a rather bizarre sight in the Monkey House — the exhibition of a man in African dress, often accompanied by a parrot or an orangutan. An African pygmy, so read the sign, “Age, 23, Height, 4 feet 11 inches, Weight 103 pounds, Brought from the Kasai River, Congo Free… Read More

Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Happy birthday Herman Melville! Some New York City trivia Plus: News on our upcoming podcasts

“Of a Sunday, Wall-Street is deserted as Petra; and every night of every day it is an emptiness.” — Herman Melville, Bartelby the Scrivener.  The lithograph above is what Wall Street would have looked like in Melville’s day. (NYPL) Herman Melville, one of America’s greatest writers of the 19th century, was born 195 years ago… Read More

Those Were The Days

Fun money: The Buffalo nickel, 100 years old this month, makes Wall Street messenger boys rich (for a couple hours)

The U.S. Sub Treasury Building — today’s Federal Hall — as it appeared in a colorized postcard in the 1900s (courtesy NYPL)“Hey! Getcha buffalo nickels here. Only 15 cents!” On March 1, 1913, the usual bustle of Wall Street was enlivened with the voices of young men — mostly messenger boys, bank runners and peddlers,… Read More

Amusements and Thrills

Movin’ out! The Bronx Zoo closes the Monkey House

The charismatic Baldy the Chimp, on display during the 1910s, was one of the House of Primates’ most famous inhabitants. (Pic courtesy Wildlife Conservation Society) The landmarked Monkey House at the Bronx Zoo was officially closed as an exhibition space this past Monday. It was really quite a throwback, a lovely fossil of a building… Read More

Coney Island unveils a new alternative to pedicabs

Goats were the environmentally friendly way to see Coney Island in 1904. The short lived ‘Coney Island Zoo’ was actually a part of Dreamland amusement park, alongside the bizarre dwarf village Lilliputia and the infamous room of premie babies in incubators. The goats pictured above were joined at the modest zoo with a collection of thalycines — also called Tasmanian… Read More

Other scary animals that have escaped the Bronx Zoo

These 1906 Bronx zoo employees won’t let this snake out of sight. (NYPL) Escapes from the Bronx Zoo are relatively rare today, so news of a 20-inch Egyptian cobra slithering away last Friday — its current whereabouts unknown — struck fear and excitement in the hearts of Bronx residents. The slithery beast has even inspired… Read More


The Bronx Zoo: the tale of NYC’s biggest animal house

Postcard of the elephant house, now the central Zoo Center — and home today to a baby rhino below. (Courtesy NYPL) PODCAST New York City’s most exotic residents inhabit hundreds of leafy acres in the Bronx at the once-named New York Zoological Park. Sculpted out of the former DeLancey family estate and tucked next to… Read More

A ride around New York’s remaining merry-go-rounds

Carousels aren’t really for kids anymore. Sure, you won’t see many adults truly captivated by the process of mounting a wooden animal and twirling in a circle. But well-preserved models of the famous amusements are nostalgia goldmines; tinkling calliope music and a few flashing light bulbs can sometimes capture a by-gone era more than a… Read More