Categories
Bowery Boys Movie Club

‘Jay Myself’: A new documentary invites you into the most magical address on the Bowery

The allure surrounding the building at 190 Bowery has captivated me from the first moment I laid eye upon it, a century-old bank sealed off from the trendy streets surrounding it. Very few people ever saw the interior. Nobody could have imagined the strange treasures which collected on every floor, in every room, of the building. Jay […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Movie Club

Eyes of Laura Mars: The glamour of 1970s SoHo

Join the Bowery Boys Movie Club! Support us on Patreon at any level and get these Patreon-exclusive, full-length and ad-free podcast. Each month we talk about one classic (or cult-classic) film that says something interesting about New York City. In the new Bowery Boys Movie Club, Tom and Greg visit the year 1978 and a cult classic thriller […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf Wartime New York

‘Shooting Lincoln’: The Complicated Story Behind America’s First Wartime Photographs

Alexander Gardner is a bit of a Nikola Tesla-like figure in American history in that his contributions were largely overlooked in his day, concealed within a partnership with a famous business titan. That titan was Mathew Brady, the most famous photographer of the 19th century, with studios in New York and Washington D.C. that captured […]

Categories
The First

A Cabinet of Curiosities Awaits You — The First: Stories of Invention

Tom and Greg are on life-changing adventures this week so no new  episode of the Bowery Boys: New York City History. But there is something awaiting you in the Bowery Boys feed this week — one very New York City-centric episode of The First: Stories of Invention, the Bowery Boys spinoff hosted by Greg Young. With […]

Categories
The First

The First Podcast: Miss Draper and the first portrait photograph

02: Dorothy Catherine Draper is a truly forgotten figure in American history. She was the first woman to ever sit for a photograph — a daguerrotype, actually, in the year 1840, upon the rooftop of the school which would become New York University. The circumstances that got her to this position were rather unique. She was the older sister […]

Categories
Wartime New York

History in the Making 4/14: Debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Edition

— Big Bowery Boys book news! The release date for Adventures In Old New York got pushed back to June a couple weeks but for the best reason ever — the book is enormous, almost 500 pages, and full of spectacular images. It’s really shaping up to become an attractive, entertaining and usable book. We […]

Categories
Newspapers and Newsies

Jacob A. Riis: The Power of the Flash

The daredevil antics of Nellie Bly (subject of our last podcast) proved that investigative journalism could prove a benefit to society while also selling stacks of newspapers (specifically, those of Joseph Pullitzer’s New York World). A few months after Bly’s trip to Blackwell’s Island, Jacob Riis published his first investigation for the New York Sun, revealing the wretched […]

Categories
American History

Life in New York City 1935-1945: Heavenly images from Yale University

Yale University has sprung a beautiful present onto the Internet — a searchable database of over 170,000 public-domain photographs created by the United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information, documenting the aftermath of America of the Great Depression and World War II. The photos, dating from between the years 1935 to 1945, include of […]

Categories
Bridges

The story of ‘Painters On The Brooklyn Bridge’, a classic photograph taken 100 years ago this month

The photograph above (officially called “Brooklyn Bridge showing painters on suspenders”) is perhaps the best-known image taken by Eugene de Salignac, a city employee who took municipal photography of most major New York structures during the early 20th century. His work had never appeared in a gallery until 2007, almost 65 years after his death. […]

Categories
Neighborhoods

History in the Making 9/9: The Former Avenue A Edition

A particularly haunting image — the caption “Junior sea breeze for sick babies — 64th Street and Avenue A.” Circa 1895, this was taken in a park at 64th and today’s York Avenue, the area of Rockefeller University.  On this 1899 map, you can see that the future Sutton Place and York Avenue were still […]

Categories
Those Were The Days

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid — in New York City?

Butch Cassidy and Harry Longabaugh (aka the ‘Sundance Kid‘) were notorious Western outlaws of the 1890s-1900s who were rendered into romantic icons courtesy Robert Redford and Paul Newman.  I did not realize these two scalawags had any connection to New York City until I watched this clip from tonight’s PBS American Experience documentary on the […]

Categories
Museums

The New York Public Library’s old-timey 3D magic maker

Stop what you’re doing and go play around with the New York Public Library‘s addictive Stereograminator, which gives you their collection of stereograph photography and the ability to animate them, emulating the ‘3D effect’ audiences who first viewed them would have experienced. Go here for the fun. The originals are below:

Which year was this photo was taken? (Hint: Not yesterday.)

I’m becoming slowly obsessed with the Life Magazine work of photographer Leonard McCombe, whose colorful images of midtown Manhattan render the busy streets with a warm, vibrant palette. Last week I posted another Mccombe picture of this particular street corner that perfectly captured the era. But this image manages to seem incredibly modern. The place? […]

Categories
Staten Island History

Camera Ready: The Alice Austen House, a rustic reminder of an uncommon artist and a cottage shrine to a life in pictures

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION Until May 21st, you can vote every day in the Partners In Preservation initiative, which will award grant money to certain New York cultural and historical sites among 40 nominees. Having trouble deciding which site to support? I’ll be featuring on a few select sites here on the blog, providing you with a window […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

New York City from the sky: The first aerial photographs

Frozen flight: Frank Coffyn sails underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and above the East River during the dead of winter.  This month we celebrate the 100th anniversary of a spectacular series of flights over the skies of New York City. These weren’t the first flights over the city — those had occured in the fall of […]