Midnight in Times Square: The history of New Year’s Eve in New York City

PODCAST The tale of New York City’s biggest annual party from its inception on New Years Eve 1904 to the magnificent spectacle of the 21st century.  In this episode, we look back on the one day of the year that New Yorkers look forward. New Years Eve is the one night that millions of people […]

Newspapers and Newsies

Shameless Urchins and Mighty Frauds: 19th Century Views of April Fools Day

The celebration of April Fools Day traces back to the Middle Ages and possibly as far back as the Roman era. In the mid-19th century, the unofficial holiday for pranks provided a good excuse to attack political opponents.  Here are a couple samples of writing from New York publications from this period which I’m quoting at […]

Bowery Boys Bookshelf

“A History of New York in 101 Objects” by Sam Roberts: or why you should never throw anything out

BOOK REVIEW Looking at history as a collection of objects is a pursuit best suited for a hoarder.  Every item strewn along the timeline has the potential of being totemic to human experience.  A similar review of your own life might imbue symbolic power to such things as an old teddy bear or a dried […]

New York Islands

Roosevelt Island – from the New York Times to tomorrow’s podcast!

In this weekend’s New York Times Travel section, I chat with Emily Brennan about three places outside the borough of Manhattan that would make ideal destinations for tourists if the lines get too long at the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.  You can read the interview here, but the places I discuss […]

Windswept melodrama and vicious New York critics: The strange story of the Ziegfeld Theatre’s longest-running film

The Ziegfeld Theater, one of Manhattan’s last single-screen movie theaters, is reported to be running into some financial difficulties with rumors of possible closure. (The owner of the theater, Cablevision, denies this.) I think the real story here is how — in a landscape of multiplexes and state-of-the-art home theaters — this respected dinosaur, sitting […]

Close-up at the DeMille: ‘Psycho’ opens in Times Square

Photo courtesy the Hitchcock Papers Fifty years ago today, a movie by a British director that was mostly filmed in Los Angeles made its New York City debut. That film, Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’, would change the medium forever, from its unrelenting suspense and terrifying soundtrack to that famous shower scene. The movie was first shown […]

In the Times: There’s something about Mary

I promise, I’m not turning this into an obituary blog! But I was reading the New York Times on Saturday and came across this small write-up. Usually, the paper features two or three short articles of notable people who have passed on; Ms. Mon Toy’s obit was instead in the paid section: “MARY MON TOY, […]

Ada Louise Huxtable, still shaping Manhattan’s skyline

Above: Ada Louise in 1974, photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt Tomorrow night the grande dame of architecture Ada Louise Huxtable will be feted by the Museum of the City of New York with the Louis Auchincloss Prize, a prize honoring essential writers and artists that are influenced and inspired by New York City culture. Huxtable, the […]

From whence came Bruni: NY Times’ first restaurant review

Delmonico’s Restaurant set the standards in fine dining by which future restaurants would be judged. But don’t just take my word on it. In the January 1, 1859 edition of the New York Times, Delmonico’s and other eateries of the city were the topic of that paper’s very first restaurant review. And the establishment of […]


PODCAST: New Years Eve at One Times Square

The Times Square New Years Eve celebration would not be the same without One Times Square and its annual ball drop. But the quirky history of this sometimes abused building reaches all the way back to the naming of Times Square and its original tenent — the New York Times. Download this show it for […]