Categories
Christmas Pop Culture

The real ‘Miracle On 34th Street’: 21 great historical details from New York City’s most famous Christmas movie

The Bowery Boys Obsessive Guides look very, very closely at a classic movie filmed in New York City, finding buried history, additional context and a few secrets within various scenes and plot points. Filled with film spoilers so read this after you’ve seen the movie — or use it to follow along as you watch […]

Categories
Holidays

Wacky, windy and weird: 1964 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Linus the Lion-Hearted at the 1964 Macy’s Parade The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of 1963 had been a downer of a parade. President John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated a few days before but, deciding that cancelling the event would be “a disappointment to millions of children,” the parade went on as planned.  Leading […]

Categories
Holidays

History in the Making 11/24: Big Thanksgiving Rodents Edition

Mickey Mouse at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1980 (courtesy the Museum of the City of New York)  The Christmas Trash Strike of 1981 My new story for A24 Films and A Most Violent Year is up — a look at the strike by the New York sanitation department which kept New Yorkers in feet of […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Podcasts

The sumptuous story of Ladies’ Mile: Cast-iron grandeur and Gilded Age architecture

The opening of Siegel-Cooper department store, 1896, created one of the great mob scenes of the Gilded Age.  Today, TJ Maxx and Bed Bath and Beyond occupy this once-great commercial palace.   PODCAST  Ladies’ Mile — the most famous New York shopping district in the 19th century and the “heart of the Gilded Age,” a […]

A whirlwind tour of Herald Square: More than just Macy’s, the intersection of publishing, theater and debauchery

Herald Square at night, 1910, with the flurry of shoppers, the churn of printing presses, the clanking and soot exhaust of the elevated train, the rush of the streetcar. The theaters, the drinking, the dancing. (Courtesy the blog Ajax All Purpose Blog) PODCAST Welcome to the secret history of Herald Square, New York City’s second […]

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Podcasts

A whirlwind tour of Herald Square: More than just Macy’s, the intersection of publishing, theater and debauchery

Herald Square at night, 1910, with the flurry of shoppers, the churn of printing presses, the clanking and soot exhaust of the elevated train, the rush of the streetcar. The theaters, the drinking, the dancing. (Courtesy the blog Ajax All Purpose Blog) PODCAST Welcome to the secret history of Herald Square, New York City’s second […]

Categories
Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: The secrets of the New Yawk accent

On the upper floor — or flooah? — with the upper crust: Ladies coats at Sak’s Fifth Avenue in 1960, photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt (LIFE)WARNING The article contains a few spoilers about last night’s ‘Mad Men’ on AMC, so if you’re a fan of the show, come back once you’re watched the episode. A culture […]

Categories
Christmas

Christmas in the afternoon: A tour around Greeley Square

I’m not 100% sure on the date of this photo, but I’ll place it in the late 1940s, as Life photographer Nina Leen did a great many photoshoots for the magazine in this period. The statue of Horace Greeley sits astride the big Christmas tree as perfect afternoon light casts shadows upon the corner of 33rd and […]

Gimbels Bridge over troubled shoppers

The blocks just south of Herald Square are pretty grim. Malls full of chain stores, bland electronic store fronts and fast food restaurants disguise a once vibrant shopping outpost, as department-store competitors of Macy’s flocked to the neighborhood in the early part of the 20th century. One strange vestige of this retail nostalgia still exists, […]

Macy’s Strangest Thanksgiving Day Balloons Ever

Above: The parade in the 1930s was a veritable freakshow of oddball balloon creatures Not every balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade latches on to your memories like Underdog, Charlie Brown and Snoopy do. Below are a few examples of Macy’s stranger offerings over the years: This Thing (Turkey?) 1932I swear, if I saw […]

The boat that keeps on sinking

The Carpathia docks off of Pier 54, emptied of its cargo of Titanic survivors Ninety-six years ago today, the RMS Titanic sank in the icy waters south of Newfoundland, killing 1,517 people, including three of New York City’s most prominent and richest citizens, sending a shock wave through high society and the mercantile elite. William […]

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Holidays Podcasts

PODCAST: Macy’s – the Man, the Store, the Parade

What year is this picture taken? (Click on it to view details.) Note the elevated rail line, no automobiles, and the New York Herald building still standing. You can also tell that the building’s later additions have not yet extended it down towards 7th Avenue. A little research on the Hippodrome and when the shows […]

A goddess in Herald Square gets a makeover

Lovely Herald Square once again becomes the center of manic activity next week for next week’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Few realize that Santa Claus, the Rockettes, and a throng of tourists share the square with a Roman goddess and two fellows named after Hebrew demons. Or that this year, said goddess and demons will […]