Bridges Podcasts Queens History

The Queensboro Bridge and the Rise of a Borough

“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald EPISODE 349 This is the story of a borough with great potential and the curious brown-tannish cantilever bridge which helped […]

Queens History

The Fall of Ravenswood, Old Aristocratic Queens

Ravenswood is a dramatic name for a New York City neighborhood and certainly wasted on its primary resident today — Big Allis, the Con Edison generating power station that provides the Queens waterfront with its most unattractive feature. This pocket district is situated on the western edge of Queens just north of Hunter’s Point. Situated […]

Religious History

Happy Pope Day! A history of the holiest of New York tourists

Pope Francis arrives in New York City today — part of his first-ever trip to the United States — and the city is rolling out the red carpet. In fact, all available carpets are being rolled out and even some throw rugs. New York loves Popes. (Not always of course.) Only the Marquis de Lafayette […]

Those Were The Days

Housewives demand open markets! One century ago, New York radically changed how people bought groceries

Setting up a market under the Manhattan Bridge. (Courtesy MCNY. Note: This photo may be of an earlier market here, but this gives you an idea of where the 1914-15 markets would have been located.) Groceries are becoming more expensive as retailers mark up prices due to food shortages (or simple price gouging at perceived […]


Over the river: Six New York bridges under construction

Manhattan Bridge, June 5, 1908 Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives Queensboro Bridge, August 8, 1907 Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives George Washington Bridge, 1927, Courtesy Life Brooklyn Bridge, late 1870s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, 1960, photo by Matthew Proujansky Williamsburg Bridge, 1902, courtesy Shorpy

Pop Culture

Movin’ On Up: A skewed history of New York City as depicted by the opening themes of 1970s TV shows

The camera zooms over the New York City skyline as an earnest pop tune — usually devoid of any rhythm or edginess, but insanely catchy — descends as though sent from outer space. The next shot focuses on one particular landmark, a bridge or a park, letting you know, see we’re not in some television studio […]

Times Squared: Lovingly nitpicking ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer

The recent trailer to Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, aka ‘Moulin Rouge in Manhattan’, seems to have left everyone in a state of awe (and horror) in its vivid, hyper-electro-glossy depiction of Prohibition-era New York. And it left many feeling slight panic, even apoplexy, especially considering the entire spectacle will be rendered in 3D when […]

Critical mass: Montgomery Schuyler on the bridges

Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, well before the FDR Drive. New York Times architectural critic Montgomery Schuyler passed away in 1914, just as New York was entering a new era of the skyscraper. Schuyler was “a stanch advocate … who believed it was a legitimate development and architectural expression of the times.” An unfortunate loss, […]


Manhattan Bridge: New York City’s dysfunctional classic

[from Flickr, taken by ajagendorf25] We love the Manhattan Bridge, but there’s no doubt it’s had a rocky history. For one hundred years, it’s withstood more than just comparisons to its far more iconic neighbor, the Brooklyn Bridge. Built to relieve pressure on the East River’s best known bridge, the Manhattan Bridge went through two […]

The 59th Street Bridge: Feelin’ groovy at 100 years

The Queensboro Bridge, otherwise known the 59th Street Bridge, turns 100 years old today. Is it wrong to call it New York’s most romantic bridge after the Brooklyn Bridge? At the time of its construction, it actually went by another name — the Blackwell’s Island Bridge, since it hovers above the island that would become […]

New York’s best performances – Part 3

It’s funny that the decade in which New York is truly at its lowest — crime at its all time high, fiscal crisis, the city’s landmarks falling apart — also happens to be the best decade ever for films about New York. I’ve already listed Taxi Driver and Saturday Night Fever, but you could wax […]

Mysteries of Roosevelt Island: Terror on the tram!

We’ve got some more on that wacky, wonderful place called Roosevelt Island! We highlighted some of the spookier stuff last week. Read it all here. One of the more intriguing aspects to Roosevelt Island is the notion of even getting there at all. For most of its existence, people used ferries to get to and […]