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Revolutionary History

Fort Tryon Park: The breathtaking park in Manhattan named for an American enemy

Ask any New Yorker at random where the site of Fort Washington once stood, and chances are your query will be met with a furrowed brow, followed by frantic tapping on a smartphone. (ANSWER: It was located on the site of today’s Bennett Park in Washington Heights.) But ask about Fort Tryon, and chances are […]

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Revolutionary History

George Washington’s copy of the Declaration of Independence

George Washington’s copy of the Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most well-known of the almost 200 copies first made of the document. As a facsimile, it’s certainly not the the most valuable document held by the Library of Congress — after all, they have Thomas Jefferson’s actual rough draft of the Declaration, along with tens of thousands of his other […]

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Podcasts Revolutionary History

New York City during the Revolutionary War: Besieged and occupied by the British (1776-1783)

PODCAST What was life like in New York City from the summer of 1776 to the fall of 1783 — the years of British occupation during the Revolutionary War? New York plays a very intriguing role in the story of American independence. The city and the surrounding area were successfully taken by the British by […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Revolutionary History

The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: Uncovering New York’s darkest secrets of the Revolutionary War

The Brooklyn Navy Yard, no longer a bustling shipyard, lives on as a vibrant commercial compound of movie studios, bourbon distilleries and organic rooftop farms. Its waterfront, facing into Wallabout Bay, is relatively peaceful today. There are no remnants of its genuinely disturbing past. During the Revolutionary War, New York was a British stronghold, and […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf

The history and future of Gowanus: Interview with author Joseph Alexiou

Brooklyn gentrification has reached a curious impasse — the Gowanus Canal. The neighborhood surrounding it thrives with new housing developments, trendy restaurants and bars, music venues, shuffleboard clubs and even a Whole Foods. Curbed just named it neighborhood of the year. It’s now a destination for foodies. Pity about that fetid and uniquely aromatic body of […]

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Podcasts Revolutionary History

Perilous Night: The Great Fire of 1776

PODCAST The circumstances surrounding the Great Fire of 1776, the events of the Revolutionary War leading up to the disaster, and the tragic tale of the American patriot Nathan Hale. A little after midnight on September 21, 1776, the Fighting Cocks Tavern on Whitehall Street caught on fire. The drunken revelers inside the tavern were unable […]

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Parks and Recreation

The Convent of Central Park and a famous Revolutionary War site

Pictured above is a remarkable structure that once dominated the scenery on the northern side of Central Park. This was the Academy of Saint Vincent on a hill that bore its name.  Located on the northern portion of the park, next to the charming Harlem Meer (and nearest 103rd Street), the Academy sat nestled amid a collection […]

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Wartime New York

New York: The City of Forts

The vestiges of America’s oldest wars surround us to this day. New York City has had more military fortifications contained within it than perhaps any other major American city. Part of this has to do with its roots in the American Revolution and the subsequent fears of a return invasion in the early 19th century. Today’s existing forts […]

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Parks and Recreation

Ten Images of Bowling Green and Ten Facts about its Marvelous History

Bowling Green, at the very tip of Manhattan island, is a small oval park so calm in comparison to its surroundings that it’s hard to believe this is one of the oldest sections of the city of New York.   Here are ten facts about Bowling Green, accompanied by ten images and photographs from various periods in […]

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Pop Culture Revolutionary History

A primer before this Sunday’s Revolutionary War series Turn

Courtesy AMC This Sunday (9pm EST) marks the debut of AMC’s new Revolutionary War drama Turn, documenting the beginnings of George Washington’s mysterious spy circuit The Culper Ring and starring Jamie Bell as Washington’s spy leader Abraham Woodhull. Follow along with me on Twitter this Sunday as I throw in a few historical details related […]

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Bridges

The patriotic story of how the Kosciuszko Bridge got its name

The approach to the Kosciuszko Bridge, photographed in 1939 by the Wurts Brothers.  Photo courtesy the Museum of the City of New York“That sound that crashes in the tyrant’s ear – Kosciuszko!” — Lord Byron Byron was talking about Polish hero Tadeusz KoÅ›ciuszko, who was (most likely) born on this date in 1746.  Hopefully, within […]

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Revolutionary History

‘My American Revolution’: Imagining 1776 surrounding us

BOWERY BOYS BOOK OF THE MONTH Each month I’ll pick a book — either brand new or old, fiction or non-fiction — that offers an intriguing take on New York City history, something that uses history in a way that’s uniquely unconventional or exposes a previously unseen corner of our city’s complicated past.  Then over […]

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Revolutionary History

From prison to post office: The odd fate of a Dutch church

Say a prayer for the Middle Dutch Church (pictured here from sometime before the war) as things are about to get very ugly.  One need only walk through the Limelight Marketplace — perhaps stopping to grab a slice of Grimaldi’s pizza or a champagne damask lace duvet at Brocade Home — to understand the strange […]

Notes from the Podcast (#121) Fraunces Tavern

Courtesy Flickr/Harry J. Bizzarro A slight correction:I inferred in this week’s show that the very first Supreme Court — with Chief Justice John Jay — met in Federal Hall. They actually first convened on February 2, 1790, in a building very close by to Fraunces — the Royal Exchange Building. Also called the Merchant Exchange, […]

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Podcasts Revolutionary History

Fraunces Tavern: Raise your glass to the Revolution!

Courtesy NYPL PODCAST Fraunces Tavern is one of America’s most important historical sites of the Revolutionary War and a reminder of the great importance of taverns on the New York way of life during the Colonial era. This revered building at the corner of Pearl and Broad street was the location of George Washington‘s farewell […]