It's Showtime Podcasts

The Broadway Musical: A trip through American theater history

  The Broadway Musical is one of New York City’s greatest inventions, over 150 years in the making! It’s one of the truly American art forms, fueling one of the city’s most vibrant entertainment businesses and defining its most popular tourist attraction — Times Square.  But why Broadway, exactly? Why not the Bowery or Fifth… Read More

Landmarks Podcasts

The Origin of Broadway: The Story of a Street

PODCAST What makes a street so extraordinary that it becomes a destination in itself? What makes it Broadway? This is the history of New York City’s most famous street and a progression through the entire history of the city. In this episode, Tom is joined by Fran Leadon, the author of a new history of Broadway, called Broadway:… Read More

Parks and Recreation

Marks of the grid: A remarkable find in Central Park

So this random little bolt in a rock may not look like much, but it could be the last remaining on-site evidence of the creation of New York City’s grid plan. Inspired by Marguerite Holloway’s book ‘The Measure of Manhattan‘, I went looking for this unusual object hidden in Central Park, discovered by geographers several… Read More

Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘The Measure of Manhattan’: The grid plan of New York comes to life, as does its eccentric creator

BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way that’s unconventional and different or exposes a previously unseen corner of our city’s complicated past.  Then… Read More

Bowery Boys Bookshelf

‘The Greatest Grid’ and an even greater book

Reason to love New York No. 12,306: A museum honoring the city’s history has a hit on its hands with an elaborate show about surveying and real estate. ‘The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan 1811-2011‘, the smash-hit exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, is the most fully realized and in-depth… Read More


Notes from the Podcast (#122) The Manhattan Grid Plan

From H.S. Tanner’s ‘The American Traveller; or Guide Through the United States’, 1836 (book published book 1840) Stuyvesant Street is mentioned as one of the few streets in New York that was allowed to break the grid, and its diagonal path between Second and Third avenues is a reminder of the original farm grid of… Read More

Health and Living Podcasts

Building Blocks: The Commissioners Plan of 1811, inventing a New York grid of streets and avenues

The simplicity of the New York grid system, seen overhead in a 1939 classic photo by Margaret Bourke-White. PODCAST The Commissioners Plan of 1811 How did Manhattan get its orderly rows of numbered streets and avenues? In the early 19th century, New York was growing rapidly, but the new development was confined on an island,… Read More

Bloomberg’s Time Square plan: a blast from the past?

ABOVE: Park Avenue — before the cars came I’ve posted the extraordinary picture above of pre-1920s Park Avenue a couple times in the past, but I wanted to do so again in light of Michael Bloomberg’s recent proposal to turn Times Square and Herald Square into partial traffic-free plazas. His plan calls for “traffic lanes… Read More

Who is Christopher? The story of a street

The events of the Stonewall Riots so reverberate within the international gay community that the thousands-strong Pride Parade every June ends here every year, while over in Europe (specifically major cities in Germany), their annual celebration is actually called Christopher Street Day. But the Christopher of Christopher Street would most likely be scandalized to learn… Read More