Planes Trains and Automobiles

New York City from the sky: The first aerial photographs

One hundred and nine years ago this month, a tiny airplane made history over the waterways of New York City. These weren’t the first flights over the city — those had occured in the fall of 1909, during the Hudson-Fulton Celebration — or even the most daring or most publicized. (Aerial competitions like the Great Gimbels… Read More

Bowery Boys Bookshelf Wartime New York

The marks of World War I, scattered throughout the five boroughs

Echoes of the first World War, one hundred years behind us, can still be found in virtually every neighborhood of New York City. In Kevin C. Fitzpatrick’s revealing and compact guidebook World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War, these memories linger in familiar landmarks and obscure… Read More

Bowery Boys New York Islands

Perks of Being A Patreon Member: A Flight Through Governors Island

Happy 2016! For the past several months we have been blessed to interact with listeners and readers through our involvement with the Patreon program, a crowdfunding patronage platform allowing us to provide exclusive content for a sliding scale of donations. It’s because of our Patreon supporters (as well as our advertisers) that we have been… Read More

Podcasts Wartime New York

Adventures on Governors Island

PODCAST What can you find on Governors Island? Almost 400 years of action-packed history! This island in New York Harbor has been at the heart of the city’s defense since the days of the Revolutionary War, and its story takes us back to the very beginnings of European occupation in America. Its two fortifications —… Read More

Wartime New York

New York: The City of Forts

The vestiges of America’s oldest wars surround us to this day. New York City has had more military fortifications contained within it than perhaps any other major American city. Part of this has to do with its roots in the American Revolution and the subsequent fears of a return invasion in the early 19th century. Today’s existing forts… Read More

Brooklyn History On The Waterfront Podcasts

Red Hook, Brooklyn: A rich seafaring history, organized crime and the isolation of a beleaguered neighborhood

PODCAST Red Hook, Brooklyn, the neighborhood called by the Dutch ‘Roode Hoek’ for its red soil, became a key port during the 19th century, a stopping point for vessels carry a vast array of raw goods from the interior of the United States along the Erie Canal. In particular, two manmade harbors were among the… Read More


The New York Giants, before they were giants

At the legendary Polo Grounds 1925, where the Giants football team (after a couple false starts) finally make their mark on the sport.The New York Giants, currently in the playoffs and on their way to tackle the formidable Green Bay Packers this Sunday, are football’s oldest existing NFL team, and among its greatest — with… Read More

Who won the Great Gimbels Air Race of 1911?

The place to be one hundred years ago today was Greeley Square, that bustling public space just south of 34th Street from Herald Square. Thousands of people crowded the sidewalks outside the department stores that afternoon, and many hundreds more shoved themselves into the elevated subway station. These crowds were centered around Gimbels department store… Read More

‘Fringe’ benefits light up a forgotten New York fort

I’m an unabashed junkie of the sci-fi TV series ‘Fringe’, and the writers (or at one of them) seems to be a fan of New York history. One of the conceits of the series involves an alternate universe with things are just slightly different from ours. Most notably, the World Trade Center was never attacked.… Read More

Buried treasure: The beauty of ‘Past Objects’, underfoot

Much of our fair city is built on a foundation of yesterday’s trash. Studying an early map of Manhattan and comparing it to the island’s current shape reveals the city’s growth by landfill, a staggering — albeit slow and piecemeal — project as great as any superior monument or skyscraper. (From this view, you can… Read More

Harbor holiday: Governor’s Island opens this weekend

Above: Drawing of Governor’s Island 185 years ago (courtesy NYPL) New York’s island getaway reopens for the summer with free live concerts, art shows, bike rentals, family activities and something by the art collective No Longer Empty called ‘The Sixth Borough’. But you don’t even need to have a reason to go out there; it’s… Read More

100 Years Ago: Curtiss and the first long-distance flight

Up In The Air: Glenn Curtiss and his Hudson FlyerPicture courtesy In 2010, there will be well over 100 million passengers coming and going from the New York metropolitan area’s three principal international airports. In 1910, you could count the number of passengers on your hand. And the pilot and passenger of the very… Read More

The return of New York’s nuttiest island this Saturday

The city reopens Governor’s Island this Saturday. Sitting between downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, Governor’s is a five minute ferry ride to a true flashback to New York history. Forts, abandoned military homes, quiet bike paths and wide green fields. It feels like you’re strolling through an empty college campus with a magnificent view of the… Read More

Scary sculpture babies: JOIN US on Governors Island

Governors Island has been open for a few weeks now and greeting people as they wander this historic military base are dozens of sculptures and installations, certainly the most comprehensive display of public art in the city outside a museum. The Sculptors Guild takes to the grounds of Nolan Park on its 70th anniversary with… Read More

Governors Island: bits and pieces

Some tidbits we forgot to throw into our podcast on Governors Island…. Governors Island holds a special place in aviation history. When Wilbur Wright, he of the famous duo, lifted his small aircraft from the airfield at Governor’s Island to circle the Statue of Liberty and return, in Sept 1909 it was the first time… Read More