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Gilded Age New York Podcasts

That daredevil Steve Brodie! Did the former newsboy really jump off the Brooklyn Bridge?

PODCAST A tale of the ‘sporting life’ of the Bowery from the 1870s and 80s. A former newsboy named Steve Brodie grabs the country’s attention by leaping off the Brooklyn Bridge on July 23, 1886. Or did he? The story of Steve Brodie has all the ingredients of a Horatio Alger story. He worked the streets as a newsboy when he […]

Categories
Amusements and Thrills

Subway Tavern: ‘greasy’ church-operated bar alternative

  LOCATION: Subway Tavern Bleecker and Mulberry, Manhattan In operation 1904-05 The early planners of the New York City subway negotiated that very first route through some of the city’s mostly heavily populated areas, those obviously in need of rapid transit. The locations of the first underground stations were based on the amount of available […]

Categories
Friday Night Fever

The Wildest Era In New York History: My New York Magazine Investigation

New York Magazine produces an annual buffet of New York City history each year called the Yesteryear Issue.  It’s probably the biggest celebration of the city’s past in print and usually corrals some of New York’s finest writers and celebrities.  Last year’s issue featured eight entertainers from New York’s past including Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan […]

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It's Showtime Podcasts

Billie Holiday’s New York: Here’s to Swing Street, Harlem’s 133rd Street and other landmarks of jazz

  PODCAST Grab your fedora and take a trip with the Bowery Boys into the heart of New York City’s jazz scene — late nights, smoky bars, neon signs — through the eyes of one of the greatest American vocalists who ever lived here — Billie Holiday. Eleanora Fagan walked out of Pennsylvania Station in […]

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Friday Night Fever

Recalling the opening of Roseland Ballroom at the start of Prohibition, the ‘phantasmal’ atmosphere, the private dancer

The Roseland Ballroom closes its doors next month on April 7th after a round of Lady Gaga concerts.  The storied big band venue — the ‘world’s foremost ballroom cafe’ — originally opened on December 31, 1919 at 1658 Broadway (at 50th/51st Street).  In the 1950s, it moved to its present location on 52nd Street, a […]

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Friday Night Fever

The Incident at Healy’s: Wild nightlife in Columbus Circle, police brutality and spirited protests against ‘cafe curfew’

Columbus Circle in 1921, looking west. Healy’s was a few blocks north of this scene. Many of New York’s most popular restaurants and cafes a century ago were located around Columbus Circle, lively hot spots that drew in the theater and burlesque patrons well into the late hours.  Crowds would exit the Park Theater and head […]

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
Friday Night Fever

Recollections of the Electric Circus: “If you remembered much of what happened, you weren’t really there.”

The interior of the Electric Circus on St. Mark’s Place. Pic courtesy Christian Montone/flickrWARNING The article contains a couple light spoilers about last night’s ‘Mad Men’ on AMC.  If you’re a fan of the show, come back once you’re watched the episode.  But these posts are about a specific element of New York history from […]

Categories
Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: New York becomes an LSD playground

A mind-twisting exhibit at the Riverside Museum, formerly at 310 Riverside Drive/103rd Street, makes it on the cover of a national magazine. But not everybody would enjoy the trip.WARNING The article contains a couple spoilers about last night’s ‘Mad Men’ on AMC. If you’re a fan of the show, come back once you’re watched the […]

Categories
Friday Night Fever

Rays of light: Madonna and the music video club, 1984

Girl gone wild: Madonna enjoys the video opulence of Private Eyes with former boyfriend and producer Jellybean Benitez, July 17, 1984 It’s 1984, and the hottest trend in American pop culture is the music video . MTV had debuted a channel of non-stop music videos in 1981, and just three years later, most new pop superstars were […]

J. Edgar Hoover parties at New York’s hottest nightclub

Work hard, play hard: The FBI director in his early days There are at least three scenes in the new Clint Eastwood-directed J. Edgar Hoover biopic ‘J. Edgar’ set in New York, one of which might surprise you. The first features Hoover on Ellis Island, but he’s hardly there to greet new arrivals. The FBI […]

A swanky, hip hop to New York’s provocative Playboy Club

Manhattan’s Playboy Club, at 5 East 59th Street NBC’s saucy new series ‘The Playboy Club’ starts this Monday. I believe it’s set in Chicago, however I thought this was a fine time to revise and reprint an article I wrote last year on the Manhattan branch of the Hugh Hefner club, which was featured in an […]

Purging ‘Evil’: New York vs. the Concert Saloon!

A torrid night at Harry Hill’s concert saloon on Houston Street. Naturally, such fun must be stopped! (Pic courtesy NYPL) Yes, yes, the Civil War began 150 years ago this year. I hope you have not grown tired of hearing that fact, as I’ve got an entire summer of posts and podcasts relating to it! […]

Bridge Whist Club: The worst booze your taxes can buy!

Just a barrel of laughs: Prohibition agents dump illegal containers of wine into the streets. FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER To get you in the mood for the weekend, on occasional Fridays we’ll be featuring an historic New York nightlife haunt, from the dance halls of the old Bowery, to the massive warehouse clubs of the mid-1990s. […]

Blue Bell Tavern: War and romance in Washington Heights

The Blue Bell Tavern, a rustic pit stop along Bloomingdale Road, witness to the changing fortunes of war. (Courtesy NYPL) FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER To get you in the mood for the weekend, on occasional Fridays we’ll be featuring an old New York nightlife haunt, from the dance halls of 19th Century Bowery, to the massive […]