Categories
Film History

The Current War: The new film about Edison and Westinghouse is a sublime jolt for history lovers

The Current War, an epic detailing the battle for electrical power in the 19th century, was supposed hit theaters in the fall of 2017. But its distributor was the Harvey Weinstein Company and its release date was delayed by more important matters. Flash forward to the fall of 2019 and The Current War has finally […]

Categories
It's Showtime

The first Shakespeare performance, recorded by Edwin Booth

The plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare, as the finest examples of the English written word, were also the first recorded sounds ever made.  The first recording ever made at Alexander Graham Bell‘s Volta Laboratory in Washington DC in 1881 was that of Bell’s very own voice reading Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Here’s another recording of Bell’s […]

Categories
Science

Long live Nikola Tesla! A new PBS documentary debuts Tuesday

Nikola Tesla was an artist who worked within the medium of the physical world, not only finding ways to develop electricity but demonstrating his experiments in ways that left people speechless. This is one of the intriguing theories behind “Tesla,” the latest episode of American Experience, debuting on PBS on Tuesday, October 17. Tesla has […]

Categories
It's Showtime

An ode to the early Bronx film industry

In 1910, D.W. Griffith made one of first films ever produced in Hollywood, CA, appropriately called In Old California. Before then, film production companies were scattered throughout the United States, with two of the most successful based here in New York City. The American Vitagraph Company, originally located at the Morse Building on 140 Nassau […]

Categories
Those Were The Days

The first-ever film of a New York City blizzard

What storm is this? The horrific blizzard that hit New York on February 17, 1902.  It would be considered the worst snowstorm to hit the metropolitan area since the Great Blizzard of 1888. (Read all about it here.)  I assume we’re actually in the aftermath of the blizzard here, as the snow shovels are out, and […]

Categories
Those Were The Days

Where did New Yorkers first buy recorded music?

“Photograph shows a boy and a girl dancing while an Edison Home Phonograph plays in a house in Broad Channel, Queens, New York City.” — taken between 1910-1915 Here’s something many people thought they’d never see again in New York City — the opening of a new record store.  Rough Trade, known for their famous […]

Categories
Pop Culture

A film milestone in New York, 1913, but sadly out of sync

 The future (almost): Edison’s kinetophone system On February 17, 1913, on the day that the Armory Show was preparing to reinvent American art, Thomas Edison was attempting a revolution of his own for the young moving pictures industry. On that date, he debuted a new projection system called the kinetophone in four vaudeville houses in New […]

Categories
Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Electric New York: From gaslight to Edison’s Pearl Street Station, illuminating the shadows, re-visualizing the night

  The soft luminescence of electric light brings a mysterious glow to City Hall, the New York World Building and the newly opened City Hall subway station in 1904.   PODCAST The streets of New York have been lit in various ways through the decades, from the wisps of whale-oil flame to the modern comfort […]

100 Years Ago: Frankenstein monster stalks the Bronx

In 1910, DW Griffith made the first film ever made in Hollywood, CA, called In Old California. Before then, film production companies were scattered throughout the United States, with two of the most successful based here in New York City. The American Vitagraph Company, originally located at the Morse Building on 140 Nassau Street, made […]

History in the making – 1/5

Pizza in Park Slope Jeremiah gives us a (wonderful but depressing) rundown of all the New York history destroyed by redevelopment in 2007. [Vanishing New York] Roosevelt Island’s super-spooky Renwick Ruin, New York’s former smallpox hospital turned haunted mansion, is falling apart. [City Room] Corona, Queens’ Jewish community may get landmark status bestowed on its […]

Categories
Podcasts

PODCAST: Coney Island – The Golden Age

The Coney Island that greeted vacationers and city folk in the years 1904 to 1911 was one of infinite imagination manifested in fantastic but cheaply built extravaganza. A world of amusement starts here in New York — Coney Island, the world’s oldest and strangest collection of amusement parks, a mishmash of sideshows, concession stands, gambling […]