Podcasts Skyscrapers

The World Trade Center in the 1970s

PODCAST The World Trade Center opened its distinctive towers during one of New York City’s most difficult decades, a beacon of modernity in a city beleaguered by debt and urban decay. Welcome to the 1970s. EPISODE 350 This year, believe it or not, marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers on […]

Amusements and Thrills Podcasts

Digital City: New York and the World of Video Games

PODCAST The history of video games and arcades in New York City. New York has an interesting, complex and downright weird relationship with the video game, from the digital sewers below Manhattan to the neon-lit arcades of Times Square. It’s not all nostalgia and nerviness; video games in the Big Apple have helped create communities […]


Federal Hall: Now and Always An American National Treasure

Federal Hall National Memorial, currently administered by the National Park Service, has always been a popular landmark with tourists thanks to its position on one of the most photographed intersections in New York. Who can resist that noble statue of George Washington silently meditating on the financial juggernaut of Wall Street? Today Federal Hall was officially named […]


A trip to Little Syria, New York’s first Middle Eastern neighborhood

Manhattan is profound for the layers of history that exist on even a modest spot of land. And in the case of blocks south of the World Trade Center, you don’t even have to go back far in time to find some surprising stories of the past. One hundred years ago, strolling along the southern ends of Washington and […]

Pop Culture

Upcoming history: New York City in new films and miniseries

Tired of superhero movies? An abundance of new period films and television mini-series are on the horizon, presenting unique aspects of New York City history (and the surrounding metropolitan area, as in the first example below).  Which ones are you excited for?   SHOW ME A HERO HBO, six-part mini-series, Sunday, August 16 From the […]

American History

Blackout! One ugly night in 1977

REVIEW The evening of July 13, 1977, will be remembered as one of the worst in New York City history, a catastrophic electrical blackout that plunged an already-weakened city into terrifying anarchy. Meanwhile, up on the top floors of the World Trade Center, they were having a party. The thrilling new documentary Blackout — making its […]

Pop Culture

‘The Walk’: The World Trade Center in 3D?

Robert Zemeckis, the Oscar-winning director of Forrest Gump, is turning the best documentary of 2008 Man on Wire — about Philippe Petit’s unbelievable tightrope walk between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 — into a feature length film. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  In 3-D. And, apparently, on IMAX. So what do you think? […]


The grand opening of the World Trade Center on April 4, 1973; Richard Nixon, labor strikes and “General Motors Gothic”

Photography on this page, from various periods, by Edmund V. Gillon, courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.  Check out their online gallery for some more beautiful black-and-white shots.  Let me take you back to a simpler time, back to a time where it might have been okay to hate the actual World […]

A strange, new skyline: World Trade Center 1971

Two beautiful and unique 1971 photographs by Life Magazine’s Henry Groskinsky showing the nearly completed World Trade Center.  These are fascinating not only for the appearance of the towers as they prepare to lord over the ’70s skyline, but also to note what’s notably not there yet — the entire Battery Park City area. At this point […]

Picture 1: Flickr/eralsotoPicture 2: Flickr/ Madison GuyPicture 3:

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 […]

Tribute to a scrappy typewriter tower in lower Manhattan (yes, typewriters, remember those?)

I found this advertisement in an issue of the New York Tribune from one hundred years ago: Although the famous Underwood Typewriter Company had principal manufacturing plants in Hartford, it was a New York company through and through. Its founder John Thomas Underwood became so wealthy that he built a stately home in the neighborhood of Clinton […]

The Twin Towers, in their glamorous film performances

From the forgotten Carroll O’Connor vehicle Law And Disorder, from 1974 I just found the most fantastic website to peruse on a day like today. The World Trade Center In Movies is a methodical — some would say obsessed — look at the Twin Towers as they appear in motion pictures. This site seem to […]

Mad Men

‘Mad Men’ notes: Swanky steaks and a market soiree

A postcard from Jim Downey’s showing a plethora of theatrical faces who frequented the place. Every Monday I’ll try and check in with the Mad Men episode from the night before and focus in on one or two historical references made on the show. Spoilers aplenty, so read no further if you don’t want to […]

Antoni Gaudi’s grand New York hotel — built by sci-fi

Joshua Jackson, looking down at Gaudi in an alternate universe. Courtesy Fringe Files I promise, this is my last post on fake New York City history for awhile, but I couldn’t let the season finale of the FOX sci-fi series Fringe pass without comment. A running scientific theory running through the series is the notion […]