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Brooklyn History Film History

Motherless Brooklyn: 10 things to know before checking out Edward Norton’s detective film

Motherless Brooklyn, a radical retro transformation of Jonathan Lethem’s book of the same name, refits the bright noir of the movie Chinatown into 1950s New York City. Edward Norton, who wrote and directed this adaptation, also stars as its central figure — Lionel Essrog or simply Brooklyn, a detective with Tourette syndrome and a photographic […]

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Film History

The World of Today: How the New York World’s Fair connects to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The New York World’s Fair of 1939-40, held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, was an extravagant wonderland of ideas, filled with technological wonder and futuristic imagination. It was fun for all ages — if you could afford it. Children were a key audience, of course, and the fair was advertised to them in a variety […]

Categories
Podcasts Queens History

The World of Tomorrow: Visiting the World’s Fair of 1939-40, the kitschy futurescape of Queens

PODCAST Visiting the first World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the unimaginable playground of the future, planted inescapably within the reality of the day. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the fourth largest park in New York City and the pride of northern Queens, has twice been the doorway to the future. Two world’s fairs have […]

Categories
Queens History Revolutionary History

George Washington’s inauguration and the 1939 World’s Fair

Today (April 30th) is the 230th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington, sworn in atFederal Hallas the first President of the United States.  It is also the 80th anniversary of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  That was not an accident. The monumental events of America’s founding would be immortalized by the fair in some rather unusual […]

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Bowery Boys Bookshelf Sports

Opening Day at Shea Stadium: A nostalgic trip to the New York Mets’ beloved old home

Shea Stadium has been gone ten years now. With mourning fans looking on, the final section of seats were torn out on the morning of February 18, 2009. Awaiting fans a short distance away was the sparkling new Citi Field which would open for business with a thrilling game between the San Diego Padres and the field’s home […]

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Neighborhoods Robert Moses

‘Citizen Jane’: A new film explores the legacies of Moses and Jacobs

FILM REVIEW The story of Robert Moses versus Jane Jacobs has grown to such an epic scale by this point that it scarcely represents reality anymore. Their legacies have taken on super heroic form — the Avengers of New York City history, if you will — representing the basic evils of corrupt government and the essential good of […]

Categories
Museums

Here’s how to view the new display ‘New York 1942’ at Gracie Mansion

Seventy-five years ago, in 1942, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses convinced Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to move his family from their home in East Harlem (Fifth Avenue and 109th Street) to an old mansion in Carl Schurz Park. It was the former home to merchant Archibald Gracie, built in 1799, to look out at the ships […]

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It's Showtime

West Side Story: The Making of Lincoln Center

PODCAST The origin story of Lincoln Center, an elegy to the neighborhood its campus replaced, and a celebration of West Side Story, the film that brings together several aspects of this story in one glorious musical number. Warm up the orchestra, lace up your dance slippers, and bring the diva to the stage! For our latest show […]

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Bronx History

A History of the Bronx Part Two: Building The Borough

PODCAST The story of how the Bronx became a part of New York City and the origin of some of the borough’s most famous landmarks. In the second part of the Bowery Boys’ Bronx Trilogy — recounting the entire history of New York CIty’s northernmost borough — we focus on the years between 1875 and 1945, […]

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It's Showtime

Joseph Papp vs. Robert Moses: The saga of Shakespeare in the Park

PODCAST The fascinating story of the Public Theater and Joseph Papp’s efforts to bring Shakespeare to the people. (Episode #85) What started in a tiny East Village basement grew to become one of New York’s most enduring summer traditions, Shakespeare in the Park, featuring world class actors performing the greatest dramas of the age. But […]

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Parks and Recreation

PODCAST REWIND: A Short History of Prospect Park

PODCAST REWIND Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s biggest public space and home to the borough’s only natural forest, was a sequel for Olmsted and Vaux after their revolutionary creation Central Park. But can these two landscape architects still work together or will their egos get in the way? And what happens to their dream when McKim, Mead […]

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It's Showtime

Beyond Hamilton: A flurry of new stage shows take on Robert Moses, Black Crook, Wild Party and more

A string of New York City history related shows is hitting the stage this summer and fall, bringing interesting new interpretations to well-known historical events or revitalizing forgotten old shows in curious ways.  I’ve had so many recommended to me in the past couple weeks that I thought I’d share the list for those of you […]

Categories
Bowery Boys Bookshelf

For More on Jane Jacobs….

We hope you enjoyed our 200th Bowery Boys podcast on Jane Jacobs. For further reading on her life, philosophy and work, we recommend the following books, most of which we used as source material for this show. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs — Obviously you should start with Jacobs’ […]

Categories
Preservation

Jane Jacobs: Saving Greenwich Village

PODCAST The story of Jane Jacobs, the urban activist and writer who changed the way we live in cities and her fights to preserve Greenwich Village in the 1950s and ’60s.   Washington Square Park torn in two. The West Village erased and re-written. Soho, Little Italy and the Lower East Side ripped asunder by […]

Categories
Amusements and Thrills

The 1965 New York World’s Fair: Opening Day

The New York World’s Fair opened for its second and last season on April 21, 1965.  The grand opening the previous year had been rocky indeed — protests, rain, even a parking lot riot.  Thankfully the second season was met with beautiful weather and abundant crowds.  In order to jazz it up a bit — not […]