Categories
Podcasts Wartime New York

Danger in the Harbor: World War I and the Black Tom Explosion of 1916

PODCAST The tale of the Black Tom Explosion which sent shrapnel into the Statue of Liberty and rocked the region around New York harbor.  On July 30, 1916, at just after 2 in the morning, a massive explosion ripped apart the island of Black Tom on the shoreline near Jersey City, sending a shockwave through the […]

Categories
True Crime Wartime New York

In 1914, a Jersey City fireworks and munitions plant exploded. Was it sabotage by the Germans?

One hundred years ago today, the Detwiller & Street fireworks plant, located in the Greenville section of Jersey City, exploded in a horrible shower of fire and glass.  Four men were killed instantly and dozens of employees were injured.  Several surrounding buildings “fell to pieces like houses of cards.”   The rumble shook buildings throughout […]

Categories
Skyscrapers

The grand opening of the World Trade Center on April 4, 1973; Richard Nixon, labor strikes and “General Motors Gothic”

Photography on this page, from various periods, by Edmund V. Gillon, courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.  Check out their online gallery for some more beautiful black-and-white shots.  Let me take you back to a simpler time, back to a time where it might have been okay to hate the actual World […]

Categories
Podcasts Revolutionary History

Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton: The terrible consequences of an ugly insult

PODCAST Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met at a clearing in Weehawken, NJ, in the early morning on July 11, 1804, to mount the most famous duel in American history. But why did they do it? This is the story of two New York lawyers — two Founding Fathers — that so detested each other […]

Categories
Bridges Podcasts

The Bridge to Everywhere: The George Washington Bridge strangely political, unexpectedly naked, undeniably beautiful

PODCAST  The George Washington Bridge is best known for being surprisingly graceful, darting between Washington Heights and the Palisades, a vital connection in the interstate highway system.  It’s also been part of more than a few political scandals. And we’re not even counting the current scandal involving New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Figuring out a way […]

Holland Tunnel, still drying out, turns 85 years old today

Contract No. 3. South tunnel, New York. taken December 1923  [NYPL]  The Holland Tunnel, New York’s first automobile tunnel, linking downtown Manhattan with Jersey City, New Jersey, turns 85 years old today after a hard month for the city’s underground passages. The tunnel was closed for several days after Hurricane Sandy, reopening on November 7. […]

Categories
Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: New Jersey invades the Statue of Liberty

The lady of Liberty Island makes an appearance in a 1965 United Airlines ad campaign. Don Draper, of course, prefers American Airlines. (Courtesy Flickr/What Makes The Pie Shop Tick)  WARNING The article contains a few spoilers about last night’s show, so if you’re a fan of the show, come back once you’re watched the episode. ‘Mad […]

Notes from the podcast (#120): NYC early film history

Fashion weak: Mary Pickford finds millinery mischief in the 1912 feature ‘The New York Hat’, a Biograph film by D.W. Griffith. This was an especially unusual show to arrange and represents a closely cultivated tour through New York City’s early film history. But early movie studios spread beyond New York’s borders. Most notably, Fort Lee, […]

Categories
Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: Naked truths about New York nudism

Every Monday I’ll try and check in with the Mad Men episode from the night before and focus in on one or two historical references made on the show. Spoilers aplenty, so read no further if you don’t want to know…. While the inebriated men of Sterling Cooper Draper Price were accepting Clio Awards at […]