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Adventures In Old New York

The Great Fire of July 19, 1845: Lower Manhattan in Flames

The devastating results of the monstrous Great Fire of 1835 helped change the course of Manhattan — hastening the residential migration up the island, rewriting the architectural nature of downtown and essentially erasing the past. There would never be another fire of such intensity and magnitude. But New York didn’t suddenly become fire-proof. In fact, […]

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Bridges

Visit the glorious High Bridge, New York’s tribute to the ancient world

The thirst for water has transformed New York. The Dutch were sold on the island’s placement in the harbor at the mouth of the mighty Hudson River, making it a convenient waypoint for explorers and traders. Soon its ports had built the foundation for New York’s—and later America’s—financial sector. The city’s most influential nineteenth-century businessman, […]

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Mysterious Stories Podcasts

Who Murdered Helen Jewett? A horrible crime exposes New York’s darkest secret

PODCAST The story of a brutal murder in a New York brothel and the prime suspect’s controversial trial which captivated Americans in the 1830s. In the spring of 1836, a young woman named Helen Jewett was brutally murdered with a hatchet in a townhouse brothel on Thomas Street, just a few blocks northwest from New […]

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Podcasts

At The Ready: The History of the New York City Fire Department

  The distinguished members of New York’s various volunteer fire brigades, posing for the photographer Matthew Brady in 1858PODCAST  The New York City Fire Department (or FDNY) protects the five boroughs from a host of disasters and mishaps — five-alarm blazes, a kitchen fire run amok, rescue operations and even those dastardly midtown elevators, always […]

“Not since the Great Blizzard!” “Bigger than 1821!” Hurricane Sandy inspires historical superlatives

When things get really, really bad, history provides validation and context.   The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has already inspired newscasters, meteorologists and journalists to reach to the greatest disasters in New York City history for comparison. These can seem very hyperbolic at times and even a little weird. (‘7 Devastating Hurricanes: Where Will Sandy Rank?‘ […]

Mayor Cornelius Lawrence, son of Bayside

Above: New York by 1837 (in an painting by Edward Williams Clay) — a city surviving financial ups and downs, fires and water shortage, riots, cholera and the mayoralty of Cornelius W. Lawrence KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

PODCAST: The Great Fire of 1835

The Great Fire of 1835 devastated the city during one freezing December evening, destroying hundreds of buildings and changing the face of Manhattan forever. It underscored the city’s need for a functioning water system and permanent fire department. So why were there so many people drinking champagne in the street? Listen in as we recount […]

Know Your Mayors: Philip Hone, the party mayor

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. Many of our city’s early mayors are marginal figures obscured by a lack of personal information in publications of the day. We only know a […]