Categories
Christmas

The wildest Rockefeller Center Christmas display ever also caused an equally insane traffic jam

For the 1949 season, the caretakers of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree decided to go fantastically over the top. Just a few years earlier, New Yorkers were served up a plainly adorned tree with no electric lights, a reminder of the war in Europe and a nod to energy preservation.   But the war was […]

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
Landmarks

PODCAST REWIND: Rockefeller Center

PODCAST REWIND:  JD Rockefeller Sr. may have earned his money is some rather unscrupulous ways, but his son Junior made good by giving midtown a towering city-within-a-city, a complex of Art Deco buildings that serves as New York’s beating heart. We take a compact look at the complicated lineage of Rockefeller Center, from its controversial […]

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Podcasts Pop Culture

New York City in the Golden Age of Television: Behind the scenes with nine classic TV shows filmed in the city

The Beatles in one of their many appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. [source]PODCAST This is the second part of the Bowery Boys TV Mini-Series, covering the years of New York City television production from the late 1940s to the 1960s.  Some of the most classic television shows ever made — and many still around today […]

Categories
Podcasts Pop Culture

New York City and the birth of the television industry, experimental broadcasts from the city’s greatest landmarks

An illustration from Science & Invention, one of Hugo Gernsback’s many technology journals, demonstrating the possibilities of his ‘telephot’ system. (Courtesy The Verge) PODCAST It’s the beginning of The Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, three podcasts devoted to New York City’s illustrious history with broadcast television — from Sarnoff to Seinfeld!  In our first show, […]

Categories
Holidays

Good grief! Madison Avenue’s connection to ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

The first time: A TV Guide advertisement from 1965 announcing the upcoming Charlie Brown special, “presented … by the people in your town who bottle Coca-Cola.” [source] A Charlie Brown Christmas, the holiday special to end all holiday specials, needed a little encouragement from the Madison Avenue advertising world in 1965 to spring into existence. […]

Good grief! New York’s Madison Avenue connection to CBS’s original broadcast of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

The first time: A TV Guide advertisement from 1965 announcing the upcoming Charlie Brown special, “presented … by the people in your town who bottle Coca-Cola.” [source] A Charlie Brown Christmas, the holiday special to end all holiday specials, needed a little encouragement from the Madison Avenue advertising world in 1965 to spring into existence. […]

Categories
Pop Culture

Election Night, live on TV! New York City newsrooms, 1952

Above: The CBS news broadcast was sponsored by Philco, an early radio and television manufacturer. In the photos of the ABC newsroom below, you’ll notice they are also sponsored by a television manufacturer, Admiral. The candidates are now at our mercy. Election Day comes in two phases. The first is in the hands of the […]

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? […]

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Podcasts Those Were The Days

New York and the World of Radio: Live and on the air, inventors and stars at the dawning of the AM airwaves

Amateur radio operators at the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side, 1940. Courtesy the Milstein Archives PODCAST The discovery of radio changed the world, and New York City was often front and center for its creation and development as America’s prime entertainment source during the 1930s and 40s. In this show, we take […]

Bowery Boys Greatest Hits: Rockefeller Center

We’re privileged to have listeners in all over the country and in countries all over the globe. I imagine because of them, our packed podcast on the history of Rockefeller Center, a must-see stop for travelers, is our third most downloaded show. Find out the origins and secrets of JD Rockefeller’s risky midtown gambit, constructed […]

Postcard from the Past: New York, September 1959

TEXT: “Sept 16th and 17th 1959‘Ice Capades’Plymouth Hotel Fire at 4:30 AMThursdayMerman in ‘Gypsy’” The Hotel Chesterfield (130-136 West 49th Street), built in 1927, was a luxury accommodation conveniently near Rockefeller Center and various Broadway theaters. The Ice Capades referred to in this card are the well-reviewed Ice Capades program launched at Madison Square Garden. […]

Categories
Christmas

The Best Rockefeller Center Christmas Trees EVER

Not all Rockefeller Center Christmas trees are born alike. Once removed from their serene forest habitats, each winner of New York’s annual arboreal beauty pageant finds itself in a different set of circumstances, thanks to world circumstances and fashions of the day. The following trees deserve special commendation: 1931 The Original Tree By Although the […]

Categories
Podcasts

PODCAST: Rockefeller Center

Listen or download it from HERE You can also download it for free from iTunes and other podcasting services In the veritable wilderness that would become midtown Manhattan, Dr. David Hosack opens his Elgin Botanic Garden, the city’s first collection of exotic plant species that’s eventually sold to the state, who then passes the land […]

Rockefeller Center toys with Chris Burden

Summertime at Rockefeller Center plaza has seen gigantic puppy dogs and monster spiders. This year, however, they take a more literal reach into the mind of a child. Sitting at the eastern edge is this year’s summer Public Art Fund spectacle, ‘What My Dad Gave Me” by Chris Burden, a 65-foot-tall replica of the Rock […]