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Pop Culture

Upcoming history: New York City in new films and miniseries

Tired of superhero movies? An abundance of new period films and television mini-series are on the horizon, presenting unique aspects of New York City history (and the surrounding metropolitan area, as in the first example below).  Which ones are you excited for?   SHOW ME A HERO HBO, six-part mini-series, Sunday, August 16 From the […]

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Christmas Pop Culture

The real ‘Miracle On 34th Street’: 21 great historical details from New York City’s most famous Christmas movie

The Bowery Boys Obsessive Guides look very, very closely at a classic movie filmed in New York City, finding buried history, additional context and a few secrets within various scenes and plot points. Filled with film spoilers so read this after you’ve seen the movie — or use it to follow along as you watch […]

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It's Showtime Podcasts

Rudolph Valentino, the seductive, tragic idol of the Jazz Age

  PODCAST  Rudolph Valentino was an star from the early years of Hollywood, but his elegant, randy years in New York City should not be forgotten.  They helped make him a premier dancer and a glamorous actor. And on August 23, 1926, this is where the silent film icon died.   Valentino arrived in Ellis Island in 1913, one of […]

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Amusements and Thrills Bridges

How the cliffhanger was born 100 years ago

What does the George Washington Bridge have to do with The Perils of Pauline, the classic film serial which debuted 100 years ago this week?  They’re both cliffhangers of the literal sort — and almost the same cliffs, it turns out. Many consider the Pauline film series to be the first “movie blockbuster,” filled with […]

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Those Were The Days

The first-ever film of a New York City blizzard

What storm is this? The horrific blizzard that hit New York on February 17, 1902.  It would be considered the worst snowstorm to hit the metropolitan area since the Great Blizzard of 1888. (Read all about it here.)  I assume we’re actually in the aftermath of the blizzard here, as the snow shovels are out, and […]

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Pop Culture

The first Sherlock Holmes film ever was made in Union Square. And the second? In Flatbush, Brooklyn

Above: While Sherlock Holmes made his film debut in 1900, he hit the stage a bit earlier.  William Gillette was the most acclaimed Sherlock of the day, touring the United States in a play he co-wrote with the detective’s creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  After a tryout in Buffalo, the play made its debut at […]

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Mysterious Stories Pop Culture

The real ‘Ghostbusters’: 25 spooky, historical New York facts about 1984’s slimiest supernatural comedy

Malevolent entities and pretty special effects drape themselves over New York City. I have gained an incredible appreciation for the Ivan Reitman-directed horror comedy Ghostbusters ever since we started recording ghost-story podcasts seven years ago. This goofy, supernatural tale starring Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson was one of the biggest hits of […]

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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 […]

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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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Pop Culture

The Broadway Melody: New York’s first Oscar victory and an ironic success for the Astor Theatre in Times Square

The second film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture was hardly a movie at all. ‘The Broadway Melody’, a frothy Hollywood revue about the mounting of an frothy Broadway revue, was a total celebration of every strength and weakness of the early Broadway stage, and a hopeful sign that the New York […]

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Brooklyn History Pop Culture

The curious tale behind the first film ever made in Brooklyn

Millions and millions of hours of television and film have been made within the five boroughs since the invention of the camera.  But have you ever wondered where the very first roll of film was ever shot? That distinction most likely goes to a nondescript rooftop studio built atop a building at 1729 St. Marks Avenue […]

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Pop Culture

A film milestone in New York, 1913, but sadly out of sync

 The future (almost): Edison’s kinetophone system On February 17, 1913, on the day that the Armory Show was preparing to reinvent American art, Thomas Edison was attempting a revolution of his own for the young moving pictures industry. On that date, he debuted a new projection system called the kinetophone in four vaudeville houses in New […]

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Landmarks

Grand Central Terminal’s Ten Greatest Moments on Film

Grand Central Terminal has seen millions of people rush across its Main Concourse over the past one hundred years, and more than a few movies have captured that commuter ebb and flow.  But while Grand Central is occasionally a backdrop for romance — especially during World War II, when returning soldiers would arrive to meet […]

New trailer for The Great Gatsby: What’s behind the collar?

When the original trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ came out in May, I respectfully nitpicked its depiction of 1920s Times Square. That same article applies to the new trailer Read it here: Times Squared: Lovingly nitpicking ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer The Arrow collar sign makes a more prominent appearance […]

New trailer for The Great Gatsby: What’s behind the collar?

When the original trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ came out in May, I respectfully nitpicked its depiction of 1920s Times Square. That same article applies to the new trailer Read it here: Times Squared: Lovingly nitpicking ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer The Arrow collar sign makes a more prominent appearance […]