The Big Wind of 1912: New York skyscrapers in peril, as monster gales hurl “men and women down city streets”

Trauma in Times Square: An electrical sign destroyed by the massive windstorm of February 22, 1912. One Times Square sits to the left, and the Hotel Astor is in the distance. [LOC] Shorpy has an another angle of this damaged storefront. “The great gale that blew in with Washington’s birthday will not soon be forgotten. It… Read More

Bowery Boys Bookshelf Science

Miracle ABOVE 34th Street: A rainmaker trys to keep NYC quenched

It seems like a conspiracy theory from 2019 — a government plot to conjure weather conditions favorable to New York City by literally seeding the sky from government planes. But it really did happen in 1950. The results, however, were a bit more — shall we say — chilling. Howell’s StormNew York City’s Official Rainmaker and… Read More

Gilded Age New York Podcasts

Frozen in time: The Blizzard of 1888 knocks New York City off its feet, creating the deadliest commute in history

PODCAST This year is the 125th anniversary of one of the worst storms to ever wreak havoc upon New York City, the now-legendary mix of wind and snow called the Great Blizzard of 1888. Its memory was again conjured up a few months ago as people struggled to compare Hurricane Sandy with some devastating event… Read More

Gilded Age New York

Before Al Roker and Sam Champion, there was Farmer Dunn, New York’s weather guru of the late 19th century

How did New Yorkers know to panic over the weather in the 19th century? How could they know to run through the streets in terror at the upcoming snowpocylpse/blizzardtastrophe if there was no brightly colored Accuweather radar or a friendly weather person with perfectly coiffed hair? In the 1880s, New Yorkers turned to one man… Read More

Those Were The Days

Ten pictures of the New York winter we haven’t had (yet)

 So far this has been pretty much been a low-accumulation winter in New York City, with only a half-inch of measured snow in Central Park so far this season. The worst snowfall was technically last fall,  with that sloppy Nor’easter which hit just a few days after Sandy. But many of New York City’s most… Read More

Those Were The Days

Ten pictures of the New York winter we haven’t had (yet)

Above: Sledding in Brooklyn Heights, from the corner of Henry and Joralemon Streets, according to the caption, ca. 1872-1887.  (Photographed by George Bernard Brainerd, courtesy Brooklyn Museum) So far this has been pretty much been a low-accumulation winter in New York City, with only a half-inch of measured snow in Central Park so far this… Read More

Nasty Nor’easter: Horses, balloons suffer in strange storms

The illustration above overemphasizes the appeal of the windblown look. (Courtesy NYPL)  We really, really don’t need a Nor’easter right now. No, really. But unfortunately it is that time of year, when the northeast United States and eastern Canada are whacked with gale force winds and bitter cold, a wet and chilling blast that can… Read More

Panic at the Polo Grounds: The first Boston-New York World Series sparks an insane stampede 100 years ago

Above: the crowds at the Polo Ground for Game One. Many of these same people were certainly on hand for the fateful Game Four. One hundred years ago today, in the frantic fall of 1912, even as the nation was in the midst of an intense three-way race to elect a new president, New Yorkers… Read More

Scenes from a snowstorm: Clearing streets in old New York

Above: The slow, bitterly aggravating work of clearing the streets of New York during the blizzard of 1888.The second largest snow-filled month in New York City history! The snowiest January ever! The eighth biggest snowstorm ever! These are some of the records being thrown out this morning after last night’s wild thunder-filled snow apocalypse. Most… Read More

Always a lady, even in a New York blizzard

(click for larger view)1899 “On the streets in a New York blizzard.” I can’t quite figure out where this is taken. Any guesses? Photo taken by the Byron Company, one of the city’s leading photography studios of the day. Remarkably, a descendant of founder Joseph Byron still operates a photo studio today. From the Library… Read More

Winter fashion for the Williamsburg hipster

One ingenious Brooklyn inventor came up with this rather fashion-forward way of beating the cold weather, in an article which ran in a 1876 issue of Scientific American magazine. This “patented…neck, ear, and throat protector” will keep those extremities toasty while allowing “free use of a hat or cap.” Oh, to have seen an actual… Read More