The Avengers Disassemble the MetLife Building

Fare thee well, you who we once called the Pan Am. We hardly knew thee. Image from Comic Book Movie Warning: This story contains light spoilers. Recent fantasy films and TV shows have found ways to alter New York City through the creation of alternate universes. ¬†On Fox’s Fringe, a parallel world features a New […]

Mural grande: War bonds in Grand Central Terminal

This gigantic mural display — at the time, some said, the ‘world’s greatest photo mural‘ and I have little reason to doubt — hung over the heads of commuters in the main hall at Grand Central, debuting with great fanfare (and a special radio broadcast) in December 1941. The 85-foot tall mural, featuring photographers employed […]

Podcast Rewind: The Pan Am Building

A special illustrated version of our podcast on the Pan Am Building (Episode #61) is now available on our NYC History Archive feed. Today it’s the Met Life Building. It’s been called the ugliest building in New York City. It sits like a monolith behind one of the city’s most enduring icons Grand Central Terminal. […]

The World of Transportation 1918, via Grand Central

A Grand Central-centric Rand McNally map of transporation options in 1918, “the subway, elevated and surface lines” available for residents of Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. (Sorry, Queens. Your borough would not be extensively served by New York’s centralized train system for years.) For a much clearer view, click into the picture or click here […]

Know Your Mayors

Know Your Mayors: George B. McClellan Jr.

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. Perhaps no mayor of New York City this side of Fiorello Laguardia has ever overseen so drastic a change to the landscape of the city […]


PODCAST: The Pan Am Building

Today it’s the Met Life Building. It’s been called the ugliest building in New York City. It sits like a monolith behind one of the city’s most enduring icons Grand Central Terminal. But it’s got some secrets you may not know about. In this podcast, we scale the heights of this misunderstood marvel of modern […]

A historic stroll down Summer Streets

The city tried out its interesting Summer Streets experiment this past Saturday morning, shutting out cars along Lafayette, Fourth Avenue and Park Avenue, from the Brooklyn Bridge up to 72nd Street. The result was a temporary respite from noise and traffic; you literally felt yourself puncturing a wall of sound upon re-entering the world of […]

Barnum’s freaky link to Madison Square Garden

Barnum star Jumbo the Elephant is used in a truly horrific thread company advertisement, being dragged by gigantic spools through the streets of New York City! Oh, PETA, where were you in the 1870s? The Barnum American Museum, America’s surrealistic showcase of the moralistic, natural and bizarre, burned down to the ground in 1865. But […]

Grand Central Murder: Glamour on the third rail!

BOWERY BOYS RECOMMEND is an occasional feature where we find an unusual movie or TV show that — whether by accident or design — uniquely captures an era of New York City better than any reference or history book. Other entrants in this particular film festival can be found HERE. During research for our Grand […]


PODCAST: Grand Central

Join the Bowery Boys for a trip through the history of Grand Central — the depot, the station, and the terminal. Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE Cornelius Vanderbilt, railroad baron and mastermind of the original Grand Central Depot Vanderbilt’s Grand […]

Metro Man: the future is history

We’re in the midst of the Transit Museum’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of Metro-North, that critical commuter train service for thousands of up-staters who work in the city. It’s worth a brief trip to the Transit’s Grand Central location to check out some of the artifacts, including what to me has to be the […]

New York’s best film performances – Part One

After spending quite an amount of time in the Revolution, then taking you to church, I’m taking it easy on you (and me, for that matter) and focusing on New York in the movies. New York City is without a doubt the most photographed and filmed city in the world. Even when filmmakers shoot in […]