Wartime New York

Fernando Wood, the scoundrel mayor during the Civil War: Will New York and Brooklyn secede from the Union?

His Honor, one of the most ambitious, most duplicitous leaders of New York in its history — as photographed by no less than Matthew Brady. PODCAST The first part of our Bowery Boys Go To War! trilogy of podcasts set during the years of the American Civil War. Fernando Wood, New York’s mayor at the […]

The mysterious Central Park convent: Mount Saint Vincent

House on the hill: the stark and mysterious convent of Central Park, 1861 In tomorrow’s podcast, I’ll be spending a bit of time in 1861 and will be briefly mentioning Central Park. So I thought I’d give you a look at what it looked like then. Pictured above is a structure that once dominated the […]

The Bowery Boys Go To War!

The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast celebrates its FOURTH ANNIVERSARY this week! And we’re using the occasion to debut a trilogy of summer podcasts, starting July 1st, featuring New York City’s involvement during the Civil War as a dramatic backdrop. The secession of Southern states starting in February 1861 brought out the best in New […]

Getting serious: Civil War barracks in City Hall Park

By the middle of May 1861, almost a month into the Civil War, most New Yorkers still swelled with enthusiasm for the Union cause, demonstrated at the great rally in Union Square just a few weeks earlier. Since that historic gathering, the streets were regularly filled with parades, rallies and general cries of support for President […]

New York’s flag day: The Civil War rally at Union Square

Throngs gather in Union Square in support of the Union cause, April 20, 1861. Just in case you’re slightly confused by the placement, the crowd is standing on Fourth Avenue (Park Avenue South) facing into the east side of the park; the Washington equestrian statue once stood at the southeast corner. Look here for comparison. […]

Stories from Midtown: The journey of an old church, surviving Civil War riots to become a garage

Drive-in salvation: the former All Souls church welcomed automobiles into the fold in 1908. (Courtesy Shorpy) Another story of a long-gone, forgotten building and one that would have celebrated its dedication 150 years ago this week. This time the story has a strangely sacreligious twist! It’s safe to say that most Americans were extremely anxious […]

On the Waterfront, in photographs

Above: Diane Cook’s dreamy “Little Red Lighthouse, Fort Washington Park, Manhattan, 2002” You can see the picture above and lots of other impossibly good-looking pictures at the Museum of the City of New York‘s new show The Edge of New York: Waterfront Photographs. The exhibition features an array of images from all eras of New […]

Mayor Charles Godfrey Gunther, Coney Island-bound

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 C. Godfrey GuntherIn office: 1864-1865 His past glories were built on a mountain of fur pelts, and his future would wash up […]


PODCAST: The Story of Grant’s Tomb

What’s buried in Grant’s Tomb? A quirky history that includes an ambitious architect, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, lots of ugly raspberry paint, and charges of prostitution and animal sacrifice! Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE Ulysses S. […]

Couldn’t they have just written a sternly worded letter?

Think of what it would take for you to go out into the streets of New York City, wielding a ballbat or a knife, to join in a mad unstoppable riot. Then amble over to the corner of 5th Avenue and 44nd Street, across the street from the Best Buy, and put yourself in a […]