Notes from the podcast: (#141) New York Beer History

Year-Round Brews: This calendar from 1895 celebrates the Harlem breweries of James Everard. An older Everard brewery building on W. 28th Street was converted into a Turkish bathhouse in 1888. It became the location of a variety of notorious activities during the 20th century. Everard’s breweries became the plaintiff in a Prohibition-era Supreme Court case regarding… Read More

The phantom of a great fire in Bryant Park

Were you in Bryant Park yesterday? Did you happen to imagine that you sniffed a very slight whiff of smoke? It was just a ghostly reminder of one of the most famous fires in all of New York history — the destruction of the legendary Crystal Palace exhibition hall, which sat here for five glorious… Read More

Defying gravity: New York’s most famous daredevils

Bird in the sky: The delicate Ms. Millman makes it look easyLast night on my walk home, I observed something you just don’t always see everyday — a renegade acrobat dangling from the top of the Williamsburg Bridge! The perilous pair, Seanna Sharpe and Savage Skinner, performed this foolhardy trapeze as traffic whizzed by below them, and… Read More

Critical mass: Montgomery Schuyler on the bridges

Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, well before the FDR Drive. New York Times architectural critic Montgomery Schuyler passed away in 1914, just as New York was entering a new era of the skyscraper. Schuyler was “a stanch advocate … who believed it was a legitimate development and architectural expression of the times.” An unfortunate loss,… Read More


Manhattan Bridge: New York City’s dysfunctional classic

[from Flickr, taken by ajagendorf25] We love the Manhattan Bridge, but there’s no doubt it’s had a rocky history. For one hundred years, it’s withstood more than just comparisons to its far more iconic neighbor, the Brooklyn Bridge. Built to relieve pressure on the East River’s best known bridge, the Manhattan Bridge went through two… Read More

Hazy City: Brooklyn Bridge 1982

Hovering over the Brooklyn Bridge, 1982, Jet Lowe photographer (Photo courtesy LOC) Click photo for larger view

Still more Brooklyn Bridge jumpers, attention seekers

Illustration of Brodie’s infamous jump, from a 1939-40 World’s Fair brochure George Dessel’s Old New York, advertising the Old New York section of the fiar created by Messmore and Damon Apparently, it’s still the rage to jump from the Brooklyn Bridge, as a forlorn soul (or misguided daredevil) plunged off the side last night, according… Read More

The days before DUMBO: Brooklyn Bridge, June 29, 1909

From a pamphlet celebrating the Brooklyn Bridge’s 50th anniversary in 1933. (Click photo for larger view.)

Sarah Bernhardt’s favorite New York landmark

Sarah Bernhardt may be the most famous and most mysterious actress who ever lived and certainly “the greatest celebrity of her era.” Working mostly in the days before recorded medium (there are exceptions), Bernhardt crafted a legend matched by outrageous behavior and provocative stage performance. Naturally, she brought both with her when she came to… Read More

Mayor Franklin Edson: Bronx man and distillery king

Above: a cartoon mocking Edson’s hiring practices (courtesy New York Public Library Digital Gallery) KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here. Mayor Franklin Edson In office: 1883-1884 Although the… Read More

Brooklyn Bridge – Winter 1962

Photgraphed by Leonard Mccombe, courtesy Life archives

Strange and Beautiful

No regular post today, just a shot I took of the East River a couple weeks ago when it was strangely overcast at around 3pm, and the suns reflection on the water turned it green, giving it an unnatural feel and the Brooklyn Bridge a toyish quality. (Click to make bigger)

She doesn’t look a day over 120!

This Memorial Day the city is celebrating the 125th birthday of the Brooklyn Bridge. What are you doing to celebrate? Go here for a list of the official list of events in honor of Roebling’s baby. Or listen here to hear our podcast on the birth of the bridge.

Extra! Newsies strike! Mobs on the Brooklyn Bridge!

Is there an image of old New York that better captures the era than a scrappy young newsboy shouting EXTRA! on a street corner? Sadly the only newsies today are those glum middle-aged ladies and older men who pass out the AM New York free newspapers. They’re nothing like the newsies of old, full of… Read More

Know Your Mayors: William Jay Gaynor

Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here. Walk from Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge, take the first ramp off the bridge, turn right to Cadman Plaza, and you will run smack dab… Read More