Staten Island History

‘Cropsey’: urban legend intersects with unspeakable crime at an abandoned Staten Island children’s institution

Above: Willowbrook State School in central Staten Island. Looks innocent enough…. BOWERY BOYS RECOMMEND is an occasional feature where we find an unusual movie or TV show that — whether by accident or design — uniquely captures an era of New York City as well as any reference or history book. Other entries in this… Read More

The stagecoach ‘flying machines’ from New York to Philly: when it’s your only choice, who cares about comfort?

Pic Courtesy NYPL Benjamin Franklin is, of course, awesome for many reasons. An often overlooked quality about Franklin in his early years was his ambition and fearlessness at solo traveling among the major cities along the eastern seaboard — from Boston to New York, then, in 1723, to Philadelphia. It can’t have been very easy;… Read More

On The Waterfront Podcasts

The Staten Island Ferry: its story, from sail to steam

PODCAST The Staten Island Ferry is one of the last remaining vestiges of an entire ferry system in New York, taking people between Manhattan and its future boroughs long before any bridges were built. In Staten Island, the northern shores were spiked in piers, competing ferry operators braving the busy waters of New York harbor.… Read More

Brooklyn History

Today in history: tragedies in Staten Island, Park Slope

click pic for closer view One of the strangest and most tragic accidents in New York history occurred 49 years ago today when two planes, one United Airlines, the other TWA, collided in midair above New Dorp, Staten Island. The United Airlines flight plummeted to Brooklyn, in the intersection of 7th Avenue and Sterling Place… Read More


Henry Hudson and the European Discovery of Mannahatta

We turn the clock back to the very beginnings of New York history — to the European discovery of Manahatta and the voyages of Henry Hudson. Originally looking for a passage to Asia, Hudson fell upon New York harbor and the Lenape inhabitants of lands that would later make up New York City. The river… Read More

Staten Island, by way of Cezanne?

I was in Philadelphia this weekend checking out the outrageously popular ‘Cezanne and Beyond’ show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a diverse program sitting some of Paul Cezanne’s greatest paintings next to works they inspired. Near one of Cezanne’s many depictions of the Bay of Estaques is a rather surprising view of old Staten… Read More

Holidays In Staten Island, 1930s style

Richmond Avenue in the 1930s, a few days before Christmas Courtesy of A History of Staten Island Photo by Chester Kaplan, a Richmond Avenue shop owner

Podcasts Sports

The race is on! A history of the New York City Marathon

Photo from Flickr A true five-borough episode! The New York City Marathon hosts thousands of runners from all over the world, the dream project of the New York Road Runners and in particular one Fred Lebow, an employee of the Fashion District turned athletic icon. Find out how he launched a massive race in the… Read More

Know Your Mayors: John F. Hylan

Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here. Fiorello Laguardia has his airport. James Duane has a drug store. Abram Hewitt is immortalized by the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Robert Van Wyck has an expressway… Read More


PODCAST: Staten Island: A Brief History

(flying over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge) The Bowery Boys take on the history of New York City’s most ‘forgotten’ borough, from its beginnings as a British outpost during the Revolutionary War to the controversy over that big stinky landfill. And we do it all in exactly the time it takes the Staten Island ferry to take… Read More

Snug Harbor: a port in the storm (Part 2)

(The imposing Front Five, a wall of Greek revival madness, faces the Kill van Kull and Richmond Terrace almost like a fort.) Although the sailors home that eventually became Snug Harbor was not in the location its founder Robert Richard Randall would have preferred, it quickly became as tranquil and as restful a place as… Read More