Categories
Brooklyn History

Treasures of Downtown Brooklyn: Remnants of the former independent city, hidden in plain sight

PODCAST The fascinating history of Brooklyn’s most bustling — and most frequently misunderstood — neighborhood. Downtown Brooklyn has a history that is often overlooked by New Yorkers. You’d be forgiven if you thought Brooklyn’s civic center — with a bustling shopping district and even an industrial tech campus — seemed to lack significant remnants of […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

A city of bridges: One century ago, Scientific American predicted a future of elevated sidewalks

Imagine a city where the High Line isn’t just a novel park, but the primary form of urban conveyance. In 1913, with the proliferation of the automobile, it seemed humans were being crowded out at ground level.  People were beginning to think of themselves as removed from the street.  Daredevils were experimenting with flight, and […]

Categories
Parks and Recreation

Bryant Park: The Fall and Rise of Midtown’s Most Elegant Public Space

NEW PODCAST  In our last show, we left the space that would become Bryant Park as a disaster area; its former inhabitant, the old Crystal Palace, had tragically burned to the ground in 1858.  The area was called Reservoir Square for its proximity to the imposing Egyptian-like structure to its east, but it wouldn’t keep that name for […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

The many lives of the Limelight, aka the facade formerly known as the Church of the Holy Communion

Above: The Church of the Holy Communion — and once the quite infamous nightclub Limelight — as the less lauded follow-up, called Avalon.  Within a couple years, the club would be transformed again — into a high-end retail experience.  Below: Michael Alig, one of its more notorious nightly residents. (source)PODCAST If you had told 1840s […]

Categories
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 […]

Eleven breathtaking views of the New York Herald Building, one of midtown Manhattan’s earliest tourist attractions

Click into the images within this post for a more closeup view! When the extravagant James Gordon Bennett Jr. decided to move the offices of the New York Herald from grimy, old Park Row to the frenzy of uptown Manhattan, he wanted something spectacular and eye-catching.  As we mentioned in our newest podcast on the […]

Eleven breathtaking views of the New York Herald Building, one of midtown Manhattan’s earliest tourist attractions

Click into the images within this post for a more closeup view! When the extravagant James Gordon Bennett Jr. decided to move the offices of the New York Herald from grimy, old Park Row to the frenzy of uptown Manhattan, he wanted something spectacular and eye-catching.  As we mentioned in our newest podcast on the […]

A whirlwind tour of Herald Square: More than just Macy’s, the intersection of publishing, theater and debauchery

Herald Square at night, 1910, with the flurry of shoppers, the churn of printing presses, the clanking and soot exhaust of the elevated train, the rush of the streetcar. The theaters, the drinking, the dancing. (Courtesy the blog Ajax All Purpose Blog) PODCAST Welcome to the secret history of Herald Square, New York City’s second […]

A whirlwind tour of Herald Square: More than just Macy’s, the intersection of publishing, theater and debauchery

Herald Square at night, 1910, with the flurry of shoppers, the churn of printing presses, the clanking and soot exhaust of the elevated train, the rush of the streetcar. The theaters, the drinking, the dancing. (Courtesy the blog Ajax All Purpose Blog) PODCAST Welcome to the secret history of Herald Square, New York City’s second […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles Podcasts

The High Line: The wild, wild West Side, cowboys included, inspires an elevated railroad and a remarkable park

Joel Sternfeld’s extraordinary four-seasons photographs of the High Line — displayed in his 2002 show Walking The High Line — revealed a ribbon of nature surrounded by urbanity and presented a peek into forgotten history. These images greatly influenced the later design of the park, a mix of seamless design and tastefully untethered flora. Courtesy […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

This woman’s work: Exhausting images of Astor Place and Lafayette Street

Gritty streets, circa 1912. Looking up Lafayette Street, below Astor Place. “The breaking point. A heavy load for an old woman.” The building to the right is the DeVinne Press Building, built in the 1880s, and today home to Astor Center Wine & Spirits. In the distance: the Wanamaker Department Store building, today the home to […]

Categories
Health and Living Podcasts

Notes from the podcast (#131) The First Apartment Building

The Stuyvesant Apartments in 1934, already being dwarfed with a newer structure on the right. Please note the ornate entrance to the Third Avenue elevated train to the left of the picture, as well as the streetcar tracks, no longer in use along East 18th Street in 1934, running down the cobblestone street. And I’m fairly sure […]

As the High Line expands, return to a world without it

Above: Eleventh Avenue in 1911, pre-High Line. This photo disturbs me greatly. This is courtesy, of course, of Shorpy, so click in to admire (and cringe) at the detail. One loose horseshoe on a train track, and it’s no longer pretty! The High Line, an experimental and highly successful park using the elevated train tracks […]

The History of New York Public Transportation: Recap

Just because it’s underground, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up. It is train travel, after all. (June 1959, photographer Stan Wayman, courtesy Life Google images) Thanks for listening in on our several-part series of podcasts on the history of New York City public transportation. We’re moving on to other topics — although I’m not quite […]

New York City’s Elevated Railroads: Journey to a spectacular world of steam trains along the avenues

Above: The Third Avenue Line as it looked running along the Bowery, changing the nature of New York street life, even as its innovations helped expand the city. PODCAST Before there were subways, New York City transported travelers up and down the length of Manhattan by elevated railroad, an almost unreal spectacle to consider today. […]