Amusements and Thrills

History in the Making 3/19 “Opulent Grandeur” Edition

Arriving at Madison Square Garden one century ago, you would find the Barnum & Bailey circus in town with their new spectacular, The Wizard Prince of Arabia. (Poster from the blog My Delineated Life) All Nine Lives: The odd, little tale of Peter, the pole-sliding fire cat from Bushwick. [The Hatching Cat] Prince Charles: What do… Read More

Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The Alienist by Caleb Carr, released 20 years ago this week: Retracing the steps of this Gilded Age murder mystery

NOTE: This article has a few plot spoilers but no major twists are revealed or discussed.  I’ve tried to write the descriptions within the interactive map as vaguely as possible. The Alienist by Caleb Carr was published 20 years ago this week, an instant best-seller in 1994 that has become a cult classic among history… Read More

Those Were The Days

Let’s go see the horses at Madison Square Garden!

These unbearably cute orphans seen above were lined up to go to the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden which began on November 15, 1913. ┬áThese are of course the days of the Garden down at the northeast corner of Madison Square, the glorious McKim, Mead and White structure topped with a glittering statue… Read More

Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: New York City on January 31, 1968

A press photo from Hair, the hottest show in town in early 1968, photographer Kenn DuncanWARNING The article contains a couple light spoilers about last night’s ‘Mad Men’ on AMC.  If you’re a fan of the show, come back once you’re watched the episode.  But these posts are about a specific element of New York… Read More

Tammany Hall hosts the city’s first Democratic Convention: Susan B. Anthony, the KKK, and a reluctant nominee

Many of you may remember New York’s sole Republican National Convention, held in 2004 at Madison Square Garden, celebrating the re-election bid of George W. Bush. Some may recall any one of New York’s three recent Democratic National Conventions — two (1976, 1980) for Jimmy Carter, and a rather memorable one in 1992 that placed… Read More

Pardon our appearance. Please enjoy this smoking clown.

It’s time to spruce it up around here! I’m experimenting with new banners over the next day and figuring out which looks the best. Some other design features might change as well. So if things look occasionally weird, it’s most likely only temporary. Thanks for your patience! In the meantime, here’s a picture of a… Read More

Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: Between Julia Child and Weight Watchers

WARNING The article contains a couple spoilers about last night’s ‘Mad Men’ on AMC. If you’re a fan of the show, come back once you’re watched the episode. But these posts are about a specific element of New York history from the 1960s and can be read even by those who don’t watch the show… Read More

Fight of the Century: Madison Square Garden, March 8, 1971

It might have saturated the media with mountains of preemptive hype (such as the spectular Life Magazine cover above), but few would argue that the ‘Fight of the Century’ at Madison Square Garden didn’t live up to its high expectations. On the date of that much anticipated battle, a packed Garden watched as Joe Frazier become the first man… Read More

Worldwide Plaza, all business in a scruffy neighborhood

New York’s PBS affiliate WNET tonight debuts the documentary ’50th & 8th: A Skyscraper Story’ about the construction of One Worldwide Plaza, the complex of buildings in Hell’s Kitchen that fashioned itself as an architectural pioneer of midtown’s west side. I would not have thought this exemplar of 1980s architecture, a modern try at replicating… Read More

Spicy Bit, My Own Brucie and other odd Best In Show dog names

Yes, they are: from a book by noted New York graphic designer and dog breeder John Vassos. [source] Hickory, the winner of last night’s Westminster Kennel Club dog show, might seem to embody a refreshing return to normalcy when it comes to dog names. In fact, the deerhound’s full name is a bit more exotic… Read More


Yes, there really was a FIFTH Madison Square Garden

A packed house at MSGBowl on June 21, 1932, turning out for a prizefight between Max Schmeling and Jack Sharkey Picture courtesy Awesome Stories There was so much to speak about during the Madison Square Garden podcast that we didn’t have time to mention that, for a brief time, the borough of Queens once had… Read More


Madison Square Garden, World’s Most Famous Arena(s)

Augustus Saint-Gauden’s Diana twirling overhead on the second and arguably greatest version of Madison Square Garden Madison Square Garden is certainly the recognizable name in arena entertaining, hosting Rangers and Knicks games, concerts, even political conventions. But it inherited that reputation from three other buildings which also called themselves ‘Madison Square Garden’. The first, inspired… Read More

It's Showtime

Stars of MSG: Two great Johns on a Thanksgiving night

STARS OF MADISON SQUARE GARDEN: Elton John and John Lennon LOCATION: MSG IV John Lennon’s last stage performance ever took place on 1974 at Madison Square Garden, and he only did it because he lost a bet.   Elton John, an up and coming young star fresh from the successes of his album Goodbye Yellow… Read More

Stars of MSG: Fears of Ku Klux Klan and a political dud

STARS OF MADISON SQUARE GARDEN: John W. DavisLOCATION: MSG II Both the Republicans and Democrats have held presidential nomination conventions here at Madison Square Garden, and with some success. The Republicans, in their only New York convention, re-nominated George W. Bush here in 2004. The Democrats propelled both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton from MSG… Read More

Stars of MSG: the Garden goes gospel – summer 1957

STARS OF MADISON SQUARE GARDEN: Billy GrahamLOCATION: MSG III Sitting squarely where boxers and hockey stars frequently bloodied themselves, worshippers sit and listen to evangelist Billy Graham, during a run of 98 ‘Crusade’ sermons at the Garden in 1957, beginning on May 15. Events that summer would also continue onto Times Square and Yankee Stadium.… Read More