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… Read More

Planes Trains and Automobiles

History in the Making 11/21: Everybody Take A Cab Edition

Taxis, not as taxing! The caption for the photo above: “New York City Mayor’s Bureau of Licenses condemning a taxicab after new ordinance regulating taxicab meters went into effect on August 1, 1913.”  The law was withheld in state court 100 years ago today, kicking in a new set of lowered cab fares for New… Read More

Mysterious Stories Podcasts

Ghost Stories of Old New York: Tales from the Revolution, restless Indians, haunted forts and a drunk, headless actor

  The Van Cortlandt House, 1906PODCAST This is the Bowery Boys 7th annual Halloween podcast, with four new scary stories to chill your bones and keep you up at night, generously doused with strange and fascinating facts about New York City. For this episode, we’ve decided to go truly old-school, reaching back to old legends… Read More

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… Read More

Good news for ‘Newsies’? The Tony Awards often go local

Tom Bosley in a Tony-winning performance as Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, in ‘Fiorello!’, which tied for the Best Musical Tony in 1960 with ‘The Sound of Music’. Only one of these productions is regularly produced by high schools across the country. For those of you not watching the season finale of Mad Men this Sunday, the… Read More

Times Squared: Lovingly nitpicking ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer

The recent trailer to Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, aka ‘Moulin Rouge in Manhattan’, seems to have left everyone in a state of awe (and horror) in its vivid, hyper-electro-glossy depiction of Prohibition-era New York. And it left many feeling slight panic, even apoplexy, especially considering the entire spectacle will be rendered in 3D when… Read More

Who are Barnes and Price? And other notes from the podcast

Stuyvesant Street in 1856, an aberration to the city grid plan thanks in part to the presence of St. Mark’s Church and its well-established churchyard. The small building in the foreground is where the St. Mark’s Bookshop stands today. You can see the steeple of St. Mark’s. Hmm, what what’s the other church in the background?… Read More

Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: The delirious world of Off-Off-Broadway

Radical thoughts, limited spaces: a performance at the Caffe Cino. Photo by Ben Martin (from an excellent website by Robert Patrick about this important off-off-Broadway site)  WARNING The article contains a couple spoilers about last night’s ‘Mad Men’ on AMC. If you’re a fan of the show, come back once you’re watched the episode. But… Read More

It's Showtime

Sigourney Weaver boards an off-Broadway ‘Titanic’ in 1976

Queen of the world: Weaver sets an uncharted course on a small SoHo stage. Perhaps you are as confused as I am by the picture above, one that appears to put the lovely young Sigourney Weaver‘s face upon the body of a child. Ah, the magic of the theater! The future film star was in her… Read More

It's Showtime

Marilyn Monroe’s surprising link to a few Broadway classics

Monroe on the New York set of ‘The Seven Year Itch’, the film version of a Broadway box office success. The heavily-hyped ‘Smash‘ debuted last night on NBC, a glossy musical-drama unspooling the backstage tribulations of a new Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Although Monroe was once married to one of… Read More

A ragtime tribute to the New York Hippodrome

I hope you’ve had a chance to play around in the Library of Congress’s National Jukebox was recently launched on their website. It’s an incredible catalog of old music, from a variety of genres, and could easily play as a soundtrack to many of the posts on this page. One old tune I happened to… Read More

The Academy Awards in New York: NBC experiments, as Audrey Hepburn wins an Oscar after a long day of work

Audrey, off Columbus Circle: Hepburn sits in nervous anticipation at the New Century Theatre, moments before she wins for Best Actress. Despite the Academy Awards being a celebration of all things Hollywood, New York has actually hosted the Oscar ceremony on more than one occasion. Or rather, they co-hosted the event — from 1953 to… Read More

History in the Making: The Roxy Theatre and Kitty’s hair

ABOVE: Satisfied New York filmgoers exit into the lobby, May 1943. WHAT lobby, pray tell? This is the massive 6,000-seat Roxy Theatre, at 153 W. 50th Street, “often cited as the most impressive movie palace ever built” according to Cinema Treasures. Movies at the Roxy were presented with live orchestras and vocals. In this case,… Read More

A trip to Times Square 1969: A world of colorful decline

(Postcard picture courtesy the marvelous Vintage Chromes blog)Sixty-five years after the birth of Times Square, it was apparent that things were taking a rather bizarre left turn. The old Times Building, a building so critical to the neighborhood that its address was now One Times Square, had been stripped of its architectural finery and encased… Read More

Provincetown in the Village: A theater troupe is born

The Provincetown Playhouse, at 133 MacDougal Street, makes its debut in New York on November 3, 1916, with a series of plays that included Eugene O’Neills’s Bound East for Cardiff. In the picture above, O’Neill (on the ladder) and his troupe prepare the stage for opening night. The theater was ripped down by NYU to… Read More