Bowery Boys Bookshelf Health and Living

‘The Doctors Blackwell’: The riveting biography of two medical mavens

In 1857 Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell threw open the doors to the New York Infirmary for Women and Children at 58 Bleecker Street, revolutionary as being the first hospital in the world to employ an all-female staff. We rightly see this today as a major stride in the rights of women as medical professionals and… Read More

Health and Living Podcasts Staten Island History

The Staten Island Quarantine War

EPISODE 325 In 1858, during two terrible nights of violence, the needs of the few outweighed the needs of the many when a community, endangered for decades and ignored by the state, finally reached its breaking point. In Staten Island, just south the spot of today’s St. George Ferry Terminal, where thousands board and disembark… Read More

The Knick

The Knick Season 2: A History Recap from the brothel to the freak show

Pictured above: Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) explore several experimental procedures in the second season of The Knick, some more successful than others. This post contains light spoilers of general themes from this season of The Knick although there are no specific plot twists discussed. You can use this as a primer for the second… Read More

Bowery Boys Bookshelf

Modern Family: Black and Latino Alliances in New York City

The political landscape of modern New York City is a stew of neighborhood, borough, financial and ethnic interests built upon over two centuries of experience and tradition.  The most interesting story of the past fifty years — both locally and nationally — is the ascension of minority voices into the public sphere, reflecting population changes but… Read More

Health and Living

History in the Making 7/21: Summer Baby Edition

A special new podcast is on the way for this Friday. It’s extra challenging so the blog will be a little quiet until then. Stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy a few pictures of small children keeping cool during a hot New York City summer over 100 years ago. Pictures courtesy the Library of Congress.  … Read More

Health and Living The Knick

The tale of two hospitals: Enjoy the “inexpressibly nauseating” aromas of Brooklyn’s oldest operating theater

Syms operating theater at Roosevelt Hospital in 1900, perhaps one of the cleanest places in Manhattan! (Picture courtesy Museum of the City of New York) It was not a fair fight. In 1895, in celebrating the innovative new surgery building at Roosevelt Hospital, the New York Times decided to compare its revolutionary new features to… Read More

It's Showtime Podcasts

Rudolph Valentino, the seductive, tragic idol of the Jazz Age

  PODCAST  Rudolph Valentino was an star from the early years of Hollywood, but his elegant, randy years in New York City should not be forgotten.  They helped make him a premier dancer and a glamorous actor. And on August 23, 1926, this is where the silent film icon died.   Valentino arrived in Ellis Island in 1913, one of… Read More

The Knick Wartime New York

Knickerbocker Hospital: An inspiration for Cinemax’s The Knick

Photographed dated 1886, the institution was called Manhattan Hospital then, changing its name to J. Hood Wright Memorial Hospital, then to Knickerbocker Hospital in 1913 (Picture courtesy the Museum of the City of New York) On Friday begins The Knick on Cinemax, a historical drama set in the turn-of-the-century Knickerbocker Hospital. . Last year, Tom… Read More

Health and Living

The Strangers Hospital: Your special home on Avenue D, brought to you by Boss Tweed’s plumber king

A genuine survivor: The building to the right was once the Strangers Hospital in the 1870s.  This picture, by Berenice Abbott, was taken many decades later, in 1937.  And the building is still around today! (Picture NYPL) New York used to lump the sick, the poor and the homeless into one mass of needy unwanted.… Read More

A startling arrival off Canal Street — 150 years ago today

New York was hundreds of miles from the Union battle lines during the Civil War, but not a single citizen could walk the streets in 1862 without a constant reminder, from banners and fund-raisers to the sight of a man with missing limbs. And a most dramatic example docked at the Canal Street pier 150… Read More

Asylum! The insane foundations of Columbia University

The charming structure above, depicted as though it were a rest stop on the road to Eden, sits on land now occupied by Columbia University in Morningside Heights.  Students driven mad by their studies can find cold comfort knowing that the former occupants of this acreage were also mostly certifiably insane. Welcome to Bloomingdale Insane… Read More