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Podcasts Pop Culture

NYC in the modern TV age, from Sesame Street to Seinfeld, as the arrival of cable brings new production to the city

PODCAST In the third part of the Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, I give you a grand tour of the New York City television production world from the 1970s to today, from the debut of Sesame Street in the Upper West Side to the new productions which flourished in the 1990s. Along the way, hear […]

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Pop Culture

Movin’ On Up: A skewed history of New York City as depicted by the opening themes of 1970s TV shows

The camera zooms over the New York City skyline as an earnest pop tune — usually devoid of any rhythm or edginess, but insanely catchy — descends as though sent from outer space. The next shot focuses on one particular landmark, a bridge or a park, letting you know, see we’re not in some television studio […]

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Podcasts Pop Culture

New York City in the Golden Age of Television: Behind the scenes with nine classic TV shows filmed in the city

The Beatles in one of their many appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. [source]PODCAST This is the second part of the Bowery Boys TV Mini-Series, covering the years of New York City television production from the late 1940s to the 1960s.  Some of the most classic television shows ever made — and many still around today […]

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Pop Culture

Monkey business: This video encapsulates everything you need to know about our new podcast

Make The Connection was a show hosted by Gene Rayburn (later of Match Game fame) that was broadcast on NBC in 1955 and filmed from the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center. Please note all the classic hallmarks of early television: The blatant sponsorships, the chaos of live broadcasting, the celebrity panel, the live audience, a […]

Julian Fellowes ‘Gilded Age’, New York’s ‘Downton Abbey’: Some suggestions and a few pipe dreams

It’s a different world: Illustrating the difficulty of a New York TV show set in the 1880s, above is a picture of the corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The Reservoir is off to the left, where the New York Public Library is today. More on this photo here. Ever since the announcement that […]

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Pop Culture

Election Night, live on TV! New York City newsrooms, 1952

Above: The CBS news broadcast was sponsored by Philco, an early radio and television manufacturer. In the photos of the ABC newsroom below, you’ll notice they are also sponsored by a television manufacturer, Admiral. The candidates are now at our mercy. Election Day comes in two phases. The first is in the hands of the […]

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Mad Men

Mad Men 1966-67: Speculation, context and flashbacks

Our favorite randy, drunken Madison Avenue suits return this Sunday with an extra-special long episode of ‘Mad Men‘ this Sunday. As with prior seasons, I’ll try and follow up most shows on Monday with a little historical commentary. The wonderful thing about this show is that they’re nothing if not hyper-sensitive about historical accuracy. From hints […]

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Pop Culture

Sue Simmons: A Four-Letter-Word-ing Celebration

Shake-up on the set! My favorite all-time New York news anchor Sue Simmons, a part of the WNBC news room since 1980, has been ‘let go‘ from her long-time position, as the network won’t be renewing her contract when it expires in June. One of the highest paid news anchors in New York history, Simmons is perhaps […]

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It's Showtime

When New York hosted the Oscars

NOTE: In honor of this weekend’s Academy Awards, I’m expanding this article originally posted last year with some revisions and newer information. 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 1957 […]

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Health and Living Preservation

Bialystoker Home, a remarkable Lower East Side treasure and home for assisted living–now in need of some assistance

Bialystoker Home for the Aged may not make it into many tourist guides, but this Lower East Side art deco artifact holds an important link to New York’s immigrant history. It was just born on the wrong side of the street, and because of that, it’s an endangered structure. On the south side of East […]

‘Fringe’ benefits light up a forgotten New York fort

I’m an unabashed junkie of the sci-fi TV series ‘Fringe’, and the writers (or at one of them) seems to be a fan of New York history. One of the conceits of the series involves an alternate universe with things are just slightly different from ours. Most notably, the World Trade Center was never attacked. […]

Happy Holidays from The Bowery Boys!

The Bowery Boys wish you all a spectacular holiday season! To celebrate, just hit the play button above and warm yourself in front of a great New York tradition. Many New Yorkers have fond memories of the WPIX Yule Log, which first ran in the evening of December 24, 1966, the first and most famous […]

Happy birthday George Burns, child of Rivington Street

George at his 85th birthday party in 1981 [Courtesy Life] Today is the birthday of Nathan “Nattie” Birnbaum, known to classic television audiences and “Oh God!” fanatics as George Burns. Born to Romanian immigrants, Nattie grew up on Rivington Street in the Lower East Side, first at 230 Rivington Street, then at 311 Rivington in […]