Planes Trains and Automobiles

The Horror Underground: New York’s first subway disaster — during rush hour, one hundred years ago today

On January 6, 1915, a seemingly minor incident under the streets of Midtown caused a terrible panic, “the worst disaster in the history of the New York subway” up to that date, injuring hundreds of commuters and killing one.  That morning, two electrical cables feeding into manholes at Broadway and 52nd Street suddenly shorted out, […]

Gilded Age New York

Frozen in time: The Blizzard of 1888 knocks New York City off its feet, creating the deadliest commute in history

PODCAST This year is the 125th anniversary of one of the worst storms to ever wreak havoc upon New York City, the now-legendary mix of wind and snow called the Great Blizzard of 1888. Its memory was again conjured up a few months ago as people struggled to compare Hurricane Sandy with some devastating event […]


The toy radio magic of Fulton Street’s Electro Importing Co.

If you were the type of child who idolized the inventor over the sports hero, then the decade of the 1900s was something of a creative revolution. Children enamored by the flurry of new inventions in the late 19th century — the railroad, the telegraph, the camera — could only imagine interacting with these devices. […]

Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Electric New York: From gaslight to Edison’s Pearl Street Station, illuminating the shadows, re-visualizing the night

The soft luminescence of electric light brings a mysterious glow to City Hall, the New York World Building and the newly opened City Hall subway station in 1904. PODCAST The streets of New York have been lit in various ways through the decades, from the wisps of whale-oil flame to the modern comfort of gas […]

Brooklyn History

Let There Be Light: Brooklyn illuminates Manhattan with a spotlight that ‘will burn your skin at three hundred feet’

That Gotham glow: The powerful Sperry searchlight drapes the dark city in light. The Woolworth Building is lit up like a candle. A thin, bright streak of light brushes across the sky and dances off the clouds above. With few buildings over fifteen stories and the city’s electrical lights at a fraction of the intensity […]

A trip to Times Square 1904: Lights and old whiskey

From atop the Times Tower, in 1904, another world lights up below. The year that turned a ragged, uptown intersection into the place known as Times Square also brought an important work of advertising to the area, for a product that has been all but forgotten. Oscar J. Gude was already a master of outdoor […]