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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Science

Miracle ABOVE 34th Street: A rainmaker trys to keep NYC quenched

It seems like a conspiracy theory from 2019 — a government plot to conjure weather conditions favorable to New York City by literally seeding the sky from government planes. But it really did happen in 1950. The results, however, were a bit more — shall we say — chilling. Howell’s StormNew York City’s Official Rainmaker and […]

Categories
Podcasts Queens History

The World of Tomorrow: Visiting the World’s Fair of 1939-40, the kitschy futurescape of Queens

PODCAST Visiting the first World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the unimaginable playground of the future, planted inescapably within the reality of the day. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the fourth largest park in New York City and the pride of northern Queens, has twice been the doorway to the future. Two world’s fairs have […]

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It's Showtime

What’s Your Favorite New York Film? PLUS: Music Row, Gowanus Ghosts

It’s great fun to watch an outdoor movie in one of New York City’s many parks; it’s a tradition that been in the city for well over one hundred years.  But the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment wants to go bigger than that by having the entire city watch the same movie. The winning film […]

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Bridges

Visit the glorious High Bridge, New York’s tribute to the ancient world

The thirst for water has transformed New York. The Dutch were sold on the island’s placement in the harbor at the mouth of the mighty Hudson River, making it a convenient waypoint for explorers and traders. Soon its ports had built the foundation for New York’s—and later America’s—financial sector. The city’s most influential nineteenth-century businessman, […]

Categories
Amusements and Thrills

The fire at Barnum’s American Museum 150 years ago

One hundred and fifty years ago this week (July 13, 1865), New York City lost one of its most famous, most imaginative and most politically incorrect attractions. When P.T. Barnum opened his museum in 1841, the kooky curiosities contained within the building at the corner of Broadway and Ann Street — at the foot of […]

The Croton Aqueduct: How New York got its drinking water

Above: The Croton Reservoir in 1850, in what would soon become Central Park. (NYPL)PODCAST One of the great challenges faced by a growing, 19th-century New York City was the need for a viable, clean water supply. We take water for granted today. But before the 1830s, citizens relied on cisterns to collect rainwater, a series […]

The art of the reservoir, New York’s forgotten architecture

The Fortress of Fifth Avenue: the Murray Hill Reservoir We share a lot of the same needs as New Yorkers of the past, but we’ve just gotten better at hiding the unpleasant ones.  There are a great many mental institutions and specialized medical facilities in the city; they just aren’t in creepy, old Gothic buildings […]