Gilded Age New York Parks and Recreation Podcasts Skyscrapers

It Happened at Madison Square Park: The Heart of New York During the Gilded Age

So much has happened in and around Madison Square Park — the leafy retreat at the intersections of Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street — that telling its entire story requires an extra-sized show, in honor of the Bowery Boys 425th episode. Madison Square Park was the epicenter of New York culture from the years… Read More

Amusements and Thrills Film History

The Trans-Lux experience: New York’s ‘modern’ mini-movie houses

I’m a sucker for severe electric-laden art-deco theaters like the Trans-Lux Modern Theater which was once located in Midtown Manhattan on the corner of 58th Street and Madison Avenue. Most every Midtown movie theater by the 1920s dabbled into electric signage to grab attention. But Trans-Lux worked in the opposite direction. To underscore the importance… Read More

Gilded Age New York Holidays

The story of the world’s first Christmas tree with electric lights

The world’s very first Christmas tree with electric lights was displayed in 1882 at the home of Edward Hibberd Johnson in the Murray Hill neighborhood of New York City. Not only did it glow with this innovative new form of illumination, this Christmas tree also spun around, revolving like a flashy new car at an… Read More

Mad Men

Mad Men 1966-67: Speculation, context and flashbacks

Our favorite randy, drunken Madison Avenue suits return this Sunday with an extra-special long episode of ‘Mad Men‘ this Sunday. As with prior seasons, I’ll try and follow up most shows on Monday with a little historical commentary. The wonderful thing about this show is that they’re nothing if not hyper-sensitive about historical accuracy. From hints… Read More

Try getting this catchy tune out of your head!

And a little something silly for Friday: The Hotel Seville was a brilliant Beaux-Arts jewel exemplar of the glory days of Madison Avenue, opening in 1904 — just days before the New York subway — and designed by Harry Allen Jacobs. The architect was a master of the ebullient Beaux-Arts style, applying it to apartment… Read More

Spoiler alert! Angelina Jolie and a Park Avenue treasure

ABOVE: St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue in 1928, ten years after the first service was held in its scarcely completed chapel and eighty-two years before Angelina Jolie plays the title role in the action thriller “Salt” where she blows part of it up with explosives. You can find a nicely written short history… Read More