Landmarks Pop Culture Side Streets

The New Storytellers: Landmarks, Diners and Everyday New Yorkers

Instead of looking back to the history of New York City in this episode, we are looking forward to the future — to the new generation of creators who are celebrating New York and telling its story through mediums that are not podcasts or books. Today we are honoring all the historians, journalists and photographers… Read More


The story of ‘Painters On The Brooklyn Bridge’

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.… Read More

Podcasts Science

The First Woman Ever Photographed: Light and Magic in Greenwich Village

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… Read More

Planes Trains and Automobiles

New York City from the sky: The first aerial photographs

One hundred and nine years ago this month, a tiny airplane made history over the waterways of New York City. These weren’t the first flights over the city — those had occured in the fall of 1909, during the Hudson-Fulton Celebration — or even the most daring or most publicized. (Aerial competitions like the Great Gimbels… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More


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… Read More

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… Read More


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?… Read More