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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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Queens History Revolutionary History

George Washington’s inauguration and the 1939 World’s Fair

Today (April 30th) is the 230th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington, sworn in atFederal Hallas the first President of the United States.  It is also the 80th anniversary of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  That was not an accident. The monumental events of America’s founding would be immortalized by the fair in some rather unusual […]

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Podcasts Revolutionary History

New York City during the Revolutionary War: Besieged and occupied by the British (1776-1783)

PODCAST What was life like in New York City from the summer of 1776 to the fall of 1783 — the years of British occupation during the Revolutionary War? New York plays a very intriguing role in the story of American independence. The city and the surrounding area were successfully taken by the British by […]

Categories
Brooklyn History Podcasts

The History of DUMBO, the Brooklyn neighborhood built upon a legacy of coffee and cardboard boxes

PODCAST The history of Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood — from its industrial past to its hi-tech future. Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) is, we think, a rather drab name for a historically significant place in Brooklyn where some of the daily habits of everyday Americans were invented. This industrial area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges traces […]

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Revolutionary History

The Martyr and the Traitor: Choosing Sides In The Revolutionary War

You may know Nathan Hale well from history books or from New York’s numerous memorials as a symbol of American patriotism, dying for his country long before anybody actually thought it would ever be a country. The British hanged him in New York as a spy in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1776. He had performed […]

Categories
American History Podcasts

New York City and the Inauguration of George Washington

PODCAST Part One of our two-part series on New York City in the years following the Revolutionary War. The story of New York City’s role in the birth of American government is sometimes forgotten. Most of the buildings important to the first U.S. Congress, which met here from the spring of 1789 to the late […]

Categories
Landmarks

Federal Hall: Now and Always An American National Treasure

Federal Hall National Memorial, currently administered by the National Park Service, has always been a popular landmark with tourists thanks to its position on one of the most photographed intersections in New York. Who can resist that noble statue of George Washington silently meditating on the financial juggernaut of Wall Street? Today Federal Hall was officially named […]

Categories
Podcasts Revolutionary History

Perilous Night: The Great Fire of 1776

PODCAST The circumstances surrounding the Great Fire of 1776, the events of the Revolutionary War leading up to the disaster, and the tragic tale of the American patriot Nathan Hale. A little after midnight on September 21, 1776, the Fighting Cocks Tavern on Whitehall Street caught on fire. The drunken revelers inside the tavern were unable […]

Categories
Parks and Recreation

The Convent of Central Park and a famous Revolutionary War site

Pictured above is a remarkable structure that once dominated the scenery on the northern side of Central Park. This was the Academy of Saint Vincent on a hill that bore its name.  Located on the northern portion of the park, next to the charming Harlem Meer (and nearest 103rd Street), the Academy sat nestled amid a collection […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

Gotham Court and the Lower East Side neighborhood of Cherry Hill

Yesterday I went searching for remnants of the old Cherry Hill neighborhood. There are none, as far as I could tell. It’s not the first New York City neighborhood to entirely vanish in the rush of progress — is it, Robert Moses ? — however it may be the one that began with the most […]

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Parks and Recreation Podcasts

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 […]

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Revolutionary History

Richmond Hill: West Village’s former Vice Presidential mansion and the lonely refuge of Aaron Burr

Richmond Hill, the spacious mansion and 26-acre estate on the outskirts of town that had once been George Washington‘s headquarters and later the home of John Adams, was also home to another vice president — Aaron Burr.  This was the place he lived on that fateful day, July 11, 1804, when he entered into a […]

Categories
Pop Culture

AMC’s ‘Turn’: The next great New York history TV show?

BBC America’s Copper, depicting the grit and crime of 1860s New York, was recently cancelled (although petitions are currently circulating, demanding a Season Three). But the void of history-related television will soon be filled again with Turn, AMC’s Revolutionary War-era drama on George Washington’s spy network, called The Culper Ring.  What do you think? Although […]

Categories
Those Were The Days

Ten cool facts about ice cream and New York City history PLUS: where was New York’s first frozen yogurt shop?

Lewis Wickes’ photograph of a few children enjoying a bit of ice cream on a hot day, 1910. (NYPL) 1. America’s first ice cream shop was located on Dock Street** (roughly today’s Pearl Street) in 1774.  The British confectioner Philip Lenzi advertised ice cream of “any sort”, along with a host of treats, including sugar […]

Categories
Revolutionary History

‘My American Revolution’: Imagining 1776 surrounding us

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 uniquely unconventional or exposes a previously unseen corner of our city’s complicated past.  Then over […]