It's Showtime

The first Wizard of Oz adaptation blows into Columbus Circle

The very first musical version of The Wizard of Oz opened at the Majestic Theatre (at 5 Columbus Circle) on January 20, 1903, after playing to enthusiastic audiences in Chicago.   L. Frank Baum wrote the book to the musical, based on his novel ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ which was published in 1900. The temperatures… Read More

Bowery Boys Movie Club

Eyes of Laura Mars: The glamour of 1970s SoHo

Join the Bowery Boys Movie Club! Support us on Patreon at any level and get these Patreon-exclusive, full-length and ad-free podcast. Each month we talk about one classic (or cult-classic) film that says something interesting about New York City. In the new Bowery Boys Movie Club, Tom and Greg visit the year 1978 and a cult classic thriller… Read More

Those Were The Days

Columbus Discovers Columbus Circle

There are a great many statues in New York City of the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, a rather controversial figure today who many consider to be a sadist and a bumbling idiot who destroyed indigenous cultures in the name of European glory.  He was obviously more celebrated at the end of the 19th century when colonization and violent conquest were still… Read More


Wacky, windy and weird: 1964 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Linus the Lion-Hearted at the 1964 Macy’s Parade The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of 1963 had been a downer of a parade. President John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated a few days before but, deciding that cancelling the event would be “a disappointment to millions of children,” the parade went on as planned. Leading… Read More

Friday Night Fever

The Incident at Healy’s: Wild nightlife in Columbus Circle, police brutality and spirited protests against ‘cafe curfew’

Columbus Circle in 1921, looking west. Healy’s was a few blocks north of this scene. Many of New York’s most popular restaurants and cafes a century ago were located around Columbus Circle, lively hot spots that drew in the theater and burlesque patrons well into the late hours.  Crowds would exit the Park Theater and head… 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

Parks and Recreation

That time Christopher Columbus annoyed Robert Moses

Christopher Columbus is among the most honored figures in New York statuary, appearing abundantly throughout the five boroughs — standing prominently, nestled in parks and squares, peering from building features. I’ve located a seemingly complete list of New York Columbus monuments, strangely enough, on a German website, inclusive even of Chris’s appearance of 8th Avenue subway… Read More

Friday Night Fever

Reisenweber’s Cafe: glamour, late nights and hot jazz

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 the dance halls of 19th Century Bowery, to the massive warehouse clubs of the mid-1990s. Past entries can be found here. LOCATION Reisenweber’s Cafe Columbus Circle, 58th Street and 8th… Read More

Pre-Trump Columbus Circle: 1933

Before Time Warner, before Trump International Hotel, before the Museum of Art and Design (click on photo for much greater detail) And even further back (1921) …


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… Read More

Columbus Dazed

(the view of Columbus Circle and adjoining Merchants Gate to Central Park, from the second floor vantage of the Time Warner Center, click photo to see detail) The Columbus Day Parade yesterday sailed through midtown turning everyone Italian, with not too much focus on the man who, in 1492, ‘discovered’ America, or so they said… Read More