New York Hocus Pocus: Kellar and the Spirit Cabinet

Many late 19th century New Yorkers were hypnotized by the the glamor of the spiritualist circuit, mediums, magicians and mind readers purporting communications with the ghostly world and conveniently in performance form with hefty ticket prices. One of the most popular was Harry Kellar, Kellar the Magician, whose technical slight of hands in such tricks […]

A new ‘Metropolis’ — for our metropolis — at the Ziegfeld

Fritz Lang claims the Manhattan skyline influenced the look of his film ‘Metropolis’ . In fact, the film’s fantasy city resembles futuristic sketches rendered by American magazine illustrators of the late 19th century. The giant screen at the Ziegfeld Theatre goes silent this Friday as a two-week run of Fritz Lang’s fantasy masterpiece ‘Metropolis’ opens, […]

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Niblo’s Garden: New York’s entertainment complex and home to the first (bizarre) Broadway musical

Show-stopping: The interior of Niblo’s Garden Theatre. Illustration by Thomas Addis Emmet, courtesy NYPL PODCAST It’s the 1820s and welcome to the era of the pleasure garden, an outdoor entertainment complex delighting wealthy New Yorkers in the years before public parks. Wandering gravel paths wind past candle-lit sculptures, songbirds in gilded cages, and string quartets […]