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Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Boss Tweed’s House of Corruption: A Tale of Crooked Schemes and Unchecked Power

PODCAST: How the Tweed Courthouse became a symbol for everything rotten about 19th century American politics. The roots of modern American corruption traces themselves back to a handsome — but not necessarily revolutionary — historic structure sitting behind New York City Hall. The Tweed Courthouse is more than a mere landmark. Once called the New York County […]

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Know Your Mayors

New York’s first mayoral election in 1834: Riots, chaos and the election of New York’s ‘crying congressman’

New York in 1834, looking up Broadway from Bowling Green (NYPL) New Yorkers will go to the polls today to elect another mayor of New York City.  This ritual has occurred over seventy times (give or take) since the charter of New York was changed to allow for direct election of its mayors in 1834. […]

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Know Your Mayors Podcasts

The Boy Mayor of New York: John Purroy Mitchel and a series of unfortunate events shake up a New York election

John Purroy Mitchel, the ‘boy mayor’, after his resounding victory. (LOC)PODCAST As New York City enters the final stages of this year’s mayoral election, let’s look back on a decidedly more unusual contest 100 years ago, pitting Tammany Hall and their estranged ally (Mayor William Jay Gaynor) up against a baby-faced newcomer, the (second) youngest […]

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Know Your Mayors

Meet Andrew H. Mickle, perhaps the least qualified man to ever serve as the mayor of New York City

New York City Hall and its brand new water fountain, in 1846, courtesy Currier and Ives (LOC)KNOW YOUR MAYORS A modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in the Bowery Boys mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor Andrew H. MickleIn office: 1846-1847 […]

Fernando Wood: More on Lincoln’s wily scoundrel

While the Confederacy may be the enemy in Stephen Spielberg‘s new film ‘Lincoln‘, it is a defeated and toothless one, tattered and on the cusp of surrender. But as this is a legislative melodrama, not a war film, the real foes are the South-sympathizing, anti-war Democrats, opposed to passing Abraham Lincoln’s signature Thirteenth Amendment, which […]

Tammany Hall hosts the city’s first Democratic Convention: Susan B. Anthony, the KKK, and a reluctant nominee

Many of you may remember New York’s sole Republican National Convention, held in 2004 at Madison Square Garden, celebrating the re-election bid of George W. Bush. Some may recall any one of New York’s three recent Democratic National Conventions — two (1976, 1980) for Jimmy Carter, and a rather memorable one in 1992 that placed […]

Defying gravity: New York’s most famous daredevils

Bird in the sky: The delicate Ms. Millman makes it look easyLast night on my walk home, I observed something you just don’t always see everyday — a renegade acrobat dangling from the top of the Williamsburg Bridge! The perilous pair, Seanna Sharpe and Savage Skinner, performed this foolhardy trapeze as traffic whizzed by below them, and […]

A chemical company in Union Square sells a kingly elixir

One hundred years ago today (June 23), the big news was the coronation of England’s King George at Westminster Abbey. Judging from the New York papers, American fascination with this event makes the recent royal nuptials of William and Kate seem like a forgettable folly. The June 23, 1911, issue of the New York Tribune is […]

The ‘barbarous customs’ of a New York Fourth of July

Pic courtesy LOC The caption for the above 1894 illustration, looking back to headier days, reads: “Have we improved upon our manner of celebrating the Fourth? looking south on Broadway from corner of Cortlandt Street, 1834.” Here’s that view today; simply replace those buildings with Liberty Plaza. The proper classes agonized over New York’s Fourth […]

Mayor John O’Brien: his heart is as black as yours!

Above: An unemployment line in November 1933. The O’Brien administration offers no relief to the city. KNOW YOUR MAYORS 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.Mayor John Patrick O’BrienIn office: 1933 There’s […]

New York governor resigns* in disgrace (in 1913)!

STRESSED: William Sulzer in 1911, a New York City representative on his way up…and out *okay, technically he was removed in disgrace As bloggers, newshawks and politicos wait to see what, if anything, comes of the latest New York Times supposed bombshell about current governor David Paterson — he’s already protesting “I DID NOT HAVE […]

Mayor Cadwallader D. Colden: Would grandpa be proud?

KNOW YOUR MAYORS 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.Mayor Cadwallader D. ColdenIn office: 1818-1821 The most remarkable thing about New York City having a mayor named Cadwallader Colden is the fact […]

Mayor Aaron Clark: lucky Whig and New York lotto king!

KNOW YOUR MAYORS 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.Mayor Aaron ClarkIn office: 1837-1839 Aaron Clark has many claims to fame in New York history, none of them really things that recommend […]

Mayor Charles Godfrey Gunther, Coney Island-bound

KNOW YOUR MAYORS 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.Mayor C. Godfrey GuntherIn office: 1864-1865 His past glories were built on a mountain of fur pelts, and his future would wash up […]

Martling’s Long Room: power plays, power drinkers

Well, would you?Illustration from sheet music 1908 FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER To get you in the mood for the weekend, every other Friday we’ll be featuring an old New York nightlife haunt, from the dance halls of 19th Century Bowery, to the massive warehouse clubs of the mid-1990s. Past entries can be found here. LOCATION Martling’s […]