Fernando Wood: More on Lincoln’s wily scoundrel

While the Confederacy may be the enemy in Stephen Spielberg‘s new film ‘Lincoln‘, it is a defeated and toothless one, tattered and on the cusp of surrender. But as this is a legislative melodrama, not a war film, the real foes are the South-sympathizing, anti-war Democrats, opposed to passing Abraham Lincoln’s signature Thirteenth Amendment, which […]

Tammany Hall hosts the city’s first Democratic Convention: Susan B. Anthony, the KKK, and a reluctant nominee

Many of you may remember New York’s sole Republican National Convention, held in 2004 at Madison Square Garden, celebrating the re-election bid of George W. Bush. Some may recall any one of New York’s three recent Democratic National Conventions — two (1976, 1980) for Jimmy Carter, and a rather memorable one in 1992 that placed […]

Odds and Ends: St. Marks, 1930s Harlem, Fernando Wood

Above: A shave for 15 cents and a haircut for a quarter, found in Harlem on 422-424 Lenox Avenue, photographed by Berenice Abbott on this date in 1938. The business next door advertises ‘4 radio photo poses’ for a dime. The stoop on the left leads up to a small church.  Thanks to everybody for […]

Welcome to 1864! A 24-karat gold hoax, New York’s first theme restaurant, and a Confederate plot to torch the city

Barnum’s American Museum at left (the building with the flag) and the Astor House at right, from the vantage of City Hall Park, circa 1850. Both buildings were victims of the Confederate plot of 1864 to burn the city. PODCAST We’re officially subtitling this ‘Strange Tales of 1864’, presenting you with a series of odd, fascinating […]

Fernando Wood — finally on the big screen!

Well, obviously, I’m pretty stoked to hear about this. Fernando Wood, subject of episode #126, will be making his big-screen debut in Steven Spielberg‘s upcoming epic ‘Lincoln’. Playing the nefarious mayor will be Lee Pace, star of the Tony-winning The Normal Heart and lead actor from the late, lamented Pushing Daisies. Partially inspired by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s […]

Notes from the Podcast (#126) Fernando Wood

Somebody should make a movie about Fernando Wood, and the role should be played by Johnny Depp. Wood is endlessly fascinating, not only as a shady character of political theater, but as a example of bald tenacity. He was written off as finished at many occasions — and saddled with mounting corruption charges — only to […]

Categories
Wartime New York

Fernando Wood, the scoundrel mayor during the Civil War: Will New York and Brooklyn secede from the Union?

His Honor, one of the most ambitious, most duplicitous leaders of New York in its history — as photographed by no less than Matthew Brady. PODCAST The first part of our Bowery Boys Go To War! trilogy of podcasts set during the years of the American Civil War. Fernando Wood, New York’s mayor at the […]

Hot List: What To Do In New York, Sept. 28, 1860

It’s gettin’ hot in here: the Light Guard Ball at the Academy of Music in 1860 We may be 150 years separated, but the New Yorkers of 1860 had similar (if more primitive) fascinations, judging from the September 28, 1860 issue of the New York Daily Tribune. If you were stressed out about national politics […]

Case Files of the New York Police Department 1800-1915

Uniformly chic: Law enforcement officers of the New York Metropolitan Police from 1871 show off their fancy blue threads. Twenty years previous, they weren’t even required to wear standardized apparel. (Courtesy NYPL Digital Library) PODCAST We’re playing Good Cop / Bad Cop this week, as we take a close look at four events from the […]

Mayor Westervelt: “Police officers must wear uniforms!”

KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor Jacob WesterveltIn office: 1853-1855 Dutch-blooded Jacob Aaron Westervelt, 24th man to become mayor of New York since the British evacuation of 1783, […]

Mayor Charles Godfrey Gunther, Coney Island-bound

KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor C. Godfrey GuntherIn office: 1864-1865 His past glories were built on a mountain of fur pelts, and his future would wash up […]

Mayor Daniel Tiemann, colorful man of Manhattanville

KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here. Mayor Daniel F. Tiemann In office: 1858-1859 Once upon a time there was a village called Manhattanville, a small, originally Quaker community […]

The Dead Rabbits — Were they ever alive?

The Bowery Boys-Dead Rabbits kerfluffle: it definitely happened, but not how you think it did In one of the sources we used for this week’s podcast — Tyler Anbinder’s wonderful and sober history on Five Points — the author throws out a theory that’s truly devastating for lovers of New York history, one that flies […]