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 […]

Categories
Friday Night Fever

In good company: The local significance of Obama’s inaugural quote: “Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall”

As many others today are ruminating on the symbolic and historic implications of yesterday’s presidential inaugural ceremony, allow me to dwell a little on a curious milestone of far lesser importance. Until yesterday, no place in New York City has ever been mentioned in a presidential inaugural speech.  Not Ellis Island, not the Statue of […]

Categories
Friday Night Fever

In good company: The local significance of Obama’s inaugural quote: “Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall”

As many others today are ruminating on the symbolic and historic implications of yesterday’s presidential inaugural ceremony, allow me to dwell a little on a curious milestone of far lesser importance. Until yesterday, no place in New York City has ever been mentioned in a presidential inaugural speech.  Not Ellis Island, not the Statue of […]

The mysterious Central Park convent: Mount Saint Vincent

House on the hill: the stark and mysterious convent of Central Park, 1861 In tomorrow’s podcast, I’ll be spending a bit of time in 1861 and will be briefly mentioning Central Park. So I thought I’d give you a look at what it looked like then. Pictured above is a structure that once dominated the […]

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 […]

Bull’s Head Tavern: treating you like cattle since 1755

To get you in the mood for the weekend, every other Friday we’ll be celebrating ‘FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER’, featuring an old New York nightlife haunt, from the dance halls of 19th Century Bowery, to the massive warehouse clubs of the mid-1990s. Past entries can be found HERE. Last time around, I wrote about Max’s Kansas […]

From Washington To Lincoln, via the streets of New York

It takes lots of creativity — and a really full Metrocard — but you can conceivably visit places and important artifacts representing or associated with most of the presidents between George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in your personal celebration of Presidents Day. Just check the following places off your list (and if you have any […]

The First Inauguration: New York’s big party for George

Obama’s inauguration next Tuesday will closely adhere to the traditions of many presidents past, but with some serious leanings towards that other Illinois president Abraham Lincoln. But as ostentasious as some his plans seem — even eating foods that Abe might have noshed on — it can’t possibly top the ‘hope and change’ of the […]

Evacuation Day: Don’t let the door hit you, Brits!

George dusts his shoulders off and re-enters New York Today, November 25th, is the anniversary of the day when the British officially fled New York City after occupying the city for years during the Revolutionary War. For years after, New Yorkers celebrating this day by shimmying up a greased flagpole in Battery Park. I have […]

Categories
Podcasts

PODCAST: Union Square

This former English-garden style park became the heart of protest and the labor movement. Join the Bowery Boys as we dig into the history of Union Square, from Book Row to Klein’s. Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE An old view […]

New York City’s curious, modern-day Olympus

Most small community colleges feature a statue or two honoring somebody specifically related to the campus. Even massive schools could invite their monuments over for a small dinner and have room for you and your friend from out of town. Bronx Community College would need a fairly large banquet hall. This school in University Heights, […]

Who is Agent 355?

We can’t leave the world of Revolutionary War New York behind without finally exploring one of its captivating mysteries — the identity of agent 355. The Culper Ring was George Washington‘s clandestine spy network that operated in the streets of British occupied New York. As we mentioned in last week’s podcast, operatives would communicate with […]

Categories
Podcasts

PODCAST: Life in British New York: 1776-1783

Join us as we stroll through the streets of revolutionary New York, examining what it would have been like to be a New Yorker under British rule. Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE New York as it looked during British occupation […]

One-eyed Willie takes the stage

Even though the British kept the burnt, chaotic city of New York as their military base during the Revolutionary War, life did manage to go on for some residents. In fact the population of New York began to swell, as those still loyal to the British — for practical as well as philosophical reasons — […]

Maps to an American catastrophe

Definitely something you’ll need to click into to see all the rich detail, but below is a copy of a British map run in the London Gazette, outlining the trek of the British soldiers in New York and Brooklyn (then entirely called Long Island). Although quite distorted, it references some of the main points in […]