Bowery Boys Bookshelf: Film history and a morning Danish

I feel as though I am partly responsible for the death of actress Patricia Neal, who passed away this past Sunday. Last Wednesday I was finishing up Sam Wasson’s indulgent little “Fifth Avenue 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman” and admired the author’s anecdotes about Neal, who […]

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Xenon and the strange journey of a Broadway theater: Noel Coward, Fellini, porn, disco, ‘Cabaret’, Dame Edna

You know it’s a good night at Xenon when you’re drunk on the dance floor, and all of a sudden, the actress Valerie Perrine and the Village People appear (source) FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER To get you in the mood for the weekend, on occasional Fridays we’ll be featuring an old New York nightlife haunt, from […]

Close-up at the DeMille: ‘Psycho’ opens in Times Square

Photo courtesy the Hitchcock Papers Fifty years ago today, a movie by a British director that was mostly filmed in Los Angeles made its New York City debut. That film, Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’, would change the medium forever, from its unrelenting suspense and terrifying soundtrack to that famous shower scene. The movie was first shown […]

Those other, wascally Bowery Boys: now every Saturday

For those of you looking for the old Bowery Boys — not the podcasters, not the rock band, not the gallery show from last month, not the 19th century gang (the real Bowery Boys) — but the comic movie stars from the 1930s and 40s — Turner Classics Movies now shows their films every Saturday […]

100 Years Ago: Frankenstein monster stalks the Bronx

In 1910, DW Griffith made the first film ever made in Hollywood, CA, called In Old California. Before then, film production companies were scattered throughout the United States, with two of the most successful based here in New York City. The American Vitagraph Company, originally located at the Morse Building on 140 Nassau Street, made […]

Wonderland: Walt Disney’s seven Big Apple moments

Yesterday’s news about a new Times Square flagship store for Disney had me wondering what influence if any New York had on the career of Walt Disney, arguably one of the most successful men in history to make his name on the West Coast. Come to find out, the world might never have had Mickey […]

All that ‘Jazz’: Cinema history at Broadway and 52nd, 1927

Eighty-two years ago today, The Jazz Singer debuts as Warner’s Theater at 1664 Broadway (at 52nd Street). It was the first film to feature sound in certain parts of the film. New Yorkers would have to wait another year for The Lights of New York, the first all talking picture. Why October 6th? Yom Kippur […]

Prospect Park: Montgomery Clift’s final resting place

One curious fact we mentioned in our Prospect Park podcast is that classic film actor Montgomery Clift is actually buried here, in a quiet Quaker cemetery near the southwest entrance of the park. As far as I’m aware, entrance to the tombstones is locked, and its so cloistered away in the woods that it’s difficult […]

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Bowery Boys Recommend: Sex and death in 1970s Soho

Laura is disturbed “I’m completely out of control!” BOWERY BOYS RECOMMEND is an occasional feature where we find an unusual movie or TV show that — whether by accident or design — uniquely captures an era of New York City better than any reference or history book. Other entrants in this particular film festival can […]

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Know Your Mayors

Know Your Mayors: George B. McClellan Jr.

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. Perhaps no mayor of New York City this side of Fiorello Laguardia has ever overseen so drastic a change to the landscape of the city […]

Manhatta: Art of the silent city

The Sunday New York Times had an excellent article on the restoration of the film Manhatta, purported to be the ‘first avant garde film’ ever made and one of silent film’s great sightseeing tours of New York City. The film was a collaboration between photographers Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, with a little help from […]

The oddest bridge in New York City

I’ve never quite understood the Ward’s Island Footbridge which sits at the mouth of the Harlem River like a half-finished child-sized model of an actual bridge. It’s intriguing, mystifying and quaint, rather like some rusting antique in a flea market. This bridge, with its entrance at 103rd street, connects Manhattan to Ward’s Island. Why would […]

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Podcasts

PODCAST: Breakfast at Tiffany & Co.

You’ll be surprised by Tiffany’s 170-year history as a vanguard in New York luxury. See how they went from selling horse whips to world class diamonds. Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE The original Tiffany & Young location on downtown Broadway […]

New York’s best performances – Part 3

It’s funny that the decade in which New York is truly at its lowest — crime at its all time high, fiscal crisis, the city’s landmarks falling apart — also happens to be the best decade ever for films about New York. I’ve already listed Taxi Driver and Saturday Night Fever, but you could wax […]

New York’s best film performances – Part Two

My list of New York’s best movie scenes continues with two in Brooklyn — and one that almost gets there…. Tension7. Do The Right Thing (1989)Mookie throws a trash can Spike Lee is only one of a few directors who knows how to turn New York City into a character in his films. With ‘Do […]