History

The Bowery Boys: New York City History

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New York City history is America's history. It's the hometown of the world, and most people know the city's familiar landmarks, buildings and streets. Why not look a little closer and have fun while doing it?

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#286 Uncovering Hudson Yards

55:21 | Mar 22nd

What's under Hudson Yards? We explore the fascinating story that lies beneath the city's newest development.

#285 Boss Tweed's House of Corruption

58:22 | Mar 8th

The Tweed Courthouse is more than a mere landmark. Once called the New York County Courthouse, the Courthouse better known for many traits that the concepts of law and order normally detest -- greed, bribery, kickbacks and graft.

#284 Scott Joplin in New York: A Ragtime Mystery

1:06:30 | Feb 23rd

Today we examine the mysterious and overlooked decade that Scott Joplin, the "King of Ragtime", spent in New York -- and how he could have died forgotten by the public.

#283 Walt Whitman in New York and Brooklyn

1:12:58 | Feb 8th

The Bowery Boys explore the history of Walt Whitman in New York and Brooklyn, presented live at the Bell House, with special guests.

#282 Taxi Driver (Bowery Boys Movie Club)

1:17:54 | Jan 31st

The Bowery Boys take a trip to Times Square in the 1970s (not to mention Columbus Circle, the East Village and even Cadman Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn) in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece Taxi Driver.

#281 The Treasures of Downtown Brooklyn

1:07:00 | Jan 25th

Greg and Tom tell the fascinating and often overlooked history of Downtown Brooklyn.

#280 House of Mystery: The Story of the Collyer Brothers

44:37 | Jan 10th

The strange story of the Collyer Brothers, two hermits who retreated from the world inside their dilapidated Harlem mansion.

#279 A New Year in Old New York: From Times Square to Chinatown

1:00:29 | Dec 27th, 2018

The ultimate history of New Year's celebrations in New York City.

#278 Newark vs. LaGuardia: The Tale of Two Airports

57:38 | Dec 14th, 2018

Newark Liberty International Airport or LaGuardia Airport? Which do you prefer? (Or is the answer -- none of the above. Give me JFK!) Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy history! In this episode, we present the origin stories of New Yor...Show More

#277 The New York Comedy Scene: A Marvelous History

1:05:30 | Nov 30th, 2018

The hilarious history of New York's comedy scene -- from vaudeville to film, radio, TV and comedy clubs.

#276 Murder on Bond Street: Who Killed Dr. Burdell?

57:22 | Nov 16th, 2018

The murder of Dr. Harvey Burdell was the most talked-about and scandalous event of 1857 -- who could have done such a violent act, and in his own home on Bond Street in Manhattan?

#275 Return to Tin Pan Alley: Saving American Music History

56:15 | Nov 1st, 2018

The history of Tin Pan Alley, the birthplace of the American popular music industry, and the latest efforts to protect this unlandmarked district from the wrecking ball.

#274 Ghost Stories of Hell's Kitchen

58:16 | Oct 19th, 2018

The Manhattan neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen has a mysterious, troubling past. So what happens when you throw a few ghosts into the mix? Greg and Tom find out the hard way in this year's ghost stories podcast, featuring tales of mystery and mayhem si...Show More

#273 Peter Stuyvesant and the Fall of New Amsterdam

1:09:41 | Oct 5th, 2018

There would be no New York City without Peter Stuyvesant, the stern, autocratic director-general of New Amsterdam, the Dutch port town that predates the Big Apple. The willpower of this complicated leader took an endangered ramshackle settlement and ...Show More

#272 Life in New Amsterdam

58:49 | Sep 20th, 2018

We are turning back the clock to the very beginning of New York City history with this special two-part episode, looking at the very beginnings of European settlement in the area and the first significant Dutch presence on the island known as Manhatt...Show More

#271 Counter Culture: Diners, Automats, and Luncheonettes in New York

1:03:06 | Sep 7th, 2018

The classic diner is as American as the apple pie it serves, but the New York diner is a special experience all its own, an essential facet of everyday life in the big city. They range in all shapes and sizes -- from the epic, stand-alone Empire Dine...Show More

#270 Heaven on the Hudson: A History of Riverside Park

56:32 | Aug 23rd, 2018

In peeling back the many layers to Riverside Park, upper Manhattan's premier ribbon park, running along the west side from the Upper West Side to Washington Heights, you will find a wealth of history that takes you back to Manhattan's most rugged day...Show More

#269 Harry Houdini and the Golden Age of Magic in New York

1:02:34 | Aug 9th, 2018

Harry Houdini became one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, a showman whose escape artistry added a new dimension to the tried-and-true craft of stage magic. In this show, we present not only a mini-biography on the daredevil wizard, b...Show More

#268 The Astonishing Saga of the Atlantic Cable

55:10 | Jul 26th, 2018

New Yorkers threw a wild, exuberant celebration in the summer of 1858 in honor of 'the eighth wonder of the world', a technological achievement that linked North America and Europe by way of an underwater cable which sat on the floor of the Atlantic ...Show More

#267 Broadway: The Story of a Street

55:41 | Jul 13th, 2018

Today we're joined by Fran Leadon, the author of a new history of Broadway, called “Broadway: A History of New York in 13 Miles”. We've discussed Broadway, the street, in just about every show we’ve done -- as so many of the city’s key events have t...Show More

#266 New York City during the Revolutionary War (1776-1783)

57:10 | Jun 29th, 2018

What was life like in New York City from the summer of 1776 to the fall of 1783 -- the years of British occupation during the Revolutionary War? New York plays a very intriguing role in the story of American independence. The city and the surroundin...Show More

#265 Absolutely Flawless: A History of Drag in New York City

57:33 | Jun 15th, 2018

Television audiences are currently obsessed with shows like RuPaul's Drag Race and FX's Pose, presenting different angles on the profession and art of drag. New York City has been crucial to its current moment in pop culture and people have been perf...Show More

#264 The Landmarks of Coney Island

50:59 | Jun 1st, 2018

The Coney Island Boardwalk -- officially the Riegelmann Boardwalk -- just became an official New York City scenic landmark, and to celebrate, the Bowery Boys are headed to Brooklyn's amusement capital to toast its most famous and long-lasting icons. ...Show More

#263 Ebbets Field and the Glory Days of the Brooklyn Dodgers

1:01:02 | May 18th, 2018

The Robins. The Bridegrooms. The Superbas. The Dizziness Boys. Dem Bums. The Boys of Summer. Whatever you call them, they will always be known in the hearts of New Yorkers as the Brooklyn Dodgers, the legendary baseball team that almost literally def...Show More

#262 Secrets of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

1:07:59 | May 4th, 2018

The Bowery Boys have finally made to one of the most enigmatic and miraculous houses of worship in America – the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This Episcopal cathedral has a story like no other and a collection of eccentric artifacts and allegori...Show More

#261 The Huddled Masses: Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty

1:06:31 | Apr 20th, 2018

The words of the The New Colossus, written 135 years ago by Jewish writer Emma Lazarus in tribute to the Statue of Liberty, have never been more relevant -- or as hotly debated -- as they are today. What do these words mean to you? "Give me your tir...Show More

#260 Journey to Grey Gardens: A Tale of Two Edies

55:16 | Apr 6th, 2018

In this episode of the Bowery Boys, Greg digs into the back story of one of the most famous documentaries ever made – Grey Gardens. The film, made by brother directing team Albert and David Maysles, looks at the lives of two former society women lead...Show More

#259 Crossing to Brooklyn: How the Williamsburg Bridge Changed New York

52:50 | Mar 23rd, 2018

Sure, the Brooklyn Bridge gets all the praise, but New York City's second bridge over the East River has an exceptional story of its own. In this episode, we'll answer some interesting questions, including: -- Why is the bridge named for a 19th cen...Show More

#258 Tales from Tribeca History

59:59 | Mar 16th, 2018

TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal) is a breathtaking neighborhood of astounding architectural richness. But how much do you know about this trendy destination and its patchwork of different histories? You'll be surprised to learn about the many facets ...Show More

#257 Frozen In Time: The Great Blizzard of 1888

49:42 | Mar 7th, 2018

This year marks the 130th 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. The battering snow-hurricane of 1888, with its freezing temperatures a...Show More

#256 DUMBO: Life on Brooklyn's Waterfront

58:33 | Mar 2nd, 2018

Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) is, we think, a rather drab name for a historically significant place in Brooklyn where some of the daily habits of everyday Americans were invented.  This industrial area between the Brooklyn and Manhatt...Show More

#255 The Rescue of Grand Central

55:42 | Feb 23rd, 2018

The survival of New York City's greatest train station is no accident. The preservation of Grand Central Terminal helped create the protections for all of America's greatest landmarks.  By the 1950s, this glorious piece of architecture -- opened in ...Show More

#254 The Destruction of Penn Station

1:07:01 | Feb 16th, 2018

The original Penn Station, constructed in 1910 and designed by New York's greatest Gilded Age architectural firm, was more than just a building. Since its destruction in the 1960s, the station has become something mythic, a sacrificial lamb to the ca...Show More

#253 Opening Day of the New York City Subway

57:48 | Feb 9th, 2018

What was it like to experience that epic symbol of New York City – the world famous New York City subway system – for the first time? In this episode, we imagine what opening day was like for the first New York straphangers. We begin by recounting t...Show More

#252 The Underground Railroad: Escape through New York

1:13:25 | Feb 2nd, 2018

For thousands of African-American enslaved people -- escaping the bonds of slavery in the South -- the journey to freedom wound its way through New York via the Underground Railroad.  The Underground Railroad was a loose, clandestine network of home...Show More

#251 McGurk's Suicide Hall: The Bowery's Most Notorious Dive

53:26 | Jan 18th, 2018

The old saloons and dance halls of the Bowery are familiar to anyone with a love of New York City history, their debauched and surly reputations appealing in a prurient way, a reminder of a time of great abandon. The Bowery bars and lounges of today ...Show More

#250 The Empire State Building: Story of an Icon

1:13:27 | Jan 12th, 2018

Start spreading the news .... the Bowery Boys are finally going to the Empire State Building!  New York City's defining architectural icon is greatly misunderstood by many New Yorkers who consider its appeal relegated to tourists and real estate tit...Show More

#249 Madam C.J. Walker: Harlem's Hair Care Millionaire

51:38 | Jan 4th, 2018

In 1867, Sarah Breedlove was born to parents who had once been enslaved on a Louisiana plantation. Less than fifty years later, Breedlove (as the hair care mogul Madam C.J. Walker) would be the richest African-American woman in the United States, a s...Show More

#248 Sitting Down with Roz Chast of the New Yorker

1:05:50 | Dec 22nd, 2017

This week, we celebrate the end of the year by sitting down with Roz Chast, who has been contributing cartoons to the New Yorker Magazine since 1978. Chast is out with a new book, "Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York", which is a guidebook to ...Show More

#247 Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Golden Age of Broadway

59:57 | Dec 15th, 2017

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are two of the greatest entertainers in New York City history. They have entertained millions of people with their unique and influential take on the Broadway musical -- serious, sincere, graceful and poignant...Show More

#246 Tales from a Tenement: Three Families on the Lower East Side

1:02:52 | Dec 7th, 2017

In today’s show, we’ll continue to explore housing in New York, but move far from the mansions of Fifth Avenue to the tenements of the Lower East Side in the 20th Century. Specifically, we’ll be visiting one building, 103 Orchard Street, which is tod...Show More

#245 The Fall of the Fifth Avenue Mansions

55:45 | Dec 1st, 2017

In this episode, the symbols of the Gilded Age are dismantled. During the late 19th century, New York's most esteemed families built extravagant mansions along Fifth Avenue, turning it into one of the most desired residential streets in the United S...Show More

#244 The Rise of the Fifth Avenue Mansions

54:16 | Nov 24th, 2017

At the heart of New York’s Gilded Age – the late 19th century era of unprecedented American wealth and excess – were families with the names Vanderbilt, Belmont and Astor, alongside power players like A.T. Stewart, Jay Gould and William ‘Boss’ Tweed....Show More

#243 New York In Neon: Signs of the City

59:55 | Nov 17th, 2017

A neon sign blazing on a rainy New York City street evokes the romance of another era, welcoming or mysterious -- depending on how many film noirs you've seen. In 2017, a neon sign says more about a business than the message that its letters spell o...Show More

#242 New York and the Dawn of Photography

59:59 | Nov 10th, 2017

We’re taking you back to a world that seems especially foreign today – a world with no selfie sticks, no tens of billions of photographs taken every day from digital screens, a world where the photograph was a rare, special and beautiful thing. New ...Show More

#241 Edgar Allan Poe in New York

1:06:07 | Oct 26th, 2017

Edgar Allan Poe was a wanderer -- looking for work, for love, for meaning. That's why so many American cities can lay claim to a small aspect of his legacy. Baltimore, Boston, Richmond and Philadelphia all have their own stories to tell about the gre...Show More

#240 The Ghosts of Greenwich Village

57:52 | Oct 20th, 2017

For this year's annual Bowery Boys Halloween ghost story podcast, we cautiously approach the dark secrets of Greenwich Village, best known for bohemians, shady and winding streets and a deep unexpected history. You will never look at its parks and t...Show More

#239 Murder at the Manhattan Well

54:13 | Oct 13th, 2017

There once was a well just north of Collect Pond (New York’s fetid source of drinking water in the late 18th century) in a marshy place called Lispenard’s Meadow, in the area of today’s SoHo.  One cold day in December – in the year 1799 -- a boy cam...Show More

#238 Astoria and Long Island City

1:05:47 | Sep 29th, 2017

The borough of Queens has a history unlike any in the New York City region, but the story of its northwestern region -- comprising Astoria, Long Island City and about a half dozen other, smaller neighborhoods -- is particularly surprising. And there ...Show More

#237 Columbus Circle: A Century of Controversy

55:59 | Sep 15th, 2017

Columbus Circle, a center of media and shopping at the entrance to Central Park, has a history that, well, runs against the grain. Counter-clockwise, if you will.  When the park was completed in the mid 19th century, a 'Grand Circle' was planned for...Show More

#236 Times Square in the '70s

1:02:51 | Sep 8th, 2017

Take a trip with us down the grittiest streets in Times Square -- the faded marquees of the grindhouses, the neon-lit prurient delights of Eighth Avenue at night. Times Square in the 1970s was all about fantasy -- from the second-run theaters of 42n...Show More

#235 The Crash of '29: New York In Crisis

1:04:01 | Sep 1st, 2017

Something so giddy and wild as New York City in the Jazz Age would have to burn out at some point but nobody expected the double catastrophe of a paralyzing financial crash and a wide-ranging government corruption scandal. Mayor Jimmy Walker, in a r...Show More

#234 Queen of the Speakeasies: A Tale of Prohibition New York

59:44 | Aug 18th, 2017

Texas Guinan was the queen of the speakeasy era, the charismatic and sassy hostess of New York's hottest nightclubs of the 1920s. Her magnetism, sharpened by years of work in Hollywood, would make her one of the great icons of the Prohibition era. Sh...Show More

#233 The Roaring '20s: King of the Jazz Age

59:34 | Aug 4th, 2017

The Bowery Boys are heading to the speakeasy and kicking back with some bathtub gin this month -- with a brand new series focusing on New York City during the Prohibition Era. The 1920s were a transformational decade for New York, evolving from a Gi...Show More

#232 The Story of SoHo

59:07 | Jul 20th, 2017

Picture the neighborhood of SoHo (that’s right, "South of Houston") in your head today, and you might get a headache. Crowded sidewalks on the weekend, filled with tourists, shoppers and vendors, could almost distract you from SoHo’s unique appeal as...Show More

The Bowery Boys Present: The First Broadway Musical

27:08 | Jul 6th, 2017

While Greg and Tom are away this week on life-changing adventures, please enjoy this very New York City-centric episode of the Bowery Boys spinoff podcast The First: Stories of Inventions and their Consequences -- The Black Crook is considered the fi...Show More

#231 The Stonewall Riots Revisited

56:21 | Jun 22nd, 2017

In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, undercover police officers attempting to raid the Stonewall Inn, a mob-controlled gay bar with darkened windows on Christopher Street, were met with something unexpected -- resistance. That 'altercation' w...Show More

#230 Before Harlem: New York's Forgotten Black Communities

1:00:12 | Jun 8th, 2017

Today we sometimes define New York City's African-American culture by place – Harlem, of course, and also Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, neighborhoods that developed for groups of black residents in the 20th century. But by no means were these...Show More

#229 Live in Brooklyn! The Bowery Boys: Ten Years of Podcasting

1:22:11 | May 25th, 2017

In early June of 2007, Tom Meyers and Greg Young sat around a laptop and a karaoke microphone, looked out over Canal Street in the Lower East Side and began recording the very first Bowery Boys: New York City History Podcast. For ten years the Bowery...Show More

#228 The Pirate of Pearl Street: The New York Adventures of Captain Kidd

53:59 | May 12th, 2017

The area of Lower Manhattan below Wall Street is today filled with investment bankers, business people and tourists. But did you know, over 300 years ago, that the same streets were once crawling with pirates? In the early decades of the British colo...Show More

#227 The Hindenburg Over New York

51:15 | Apr 27th, 2017

On the afternoon of May 6, 1937, New Yorkers looked overhead at an astonishing sight -- the arrival of the Hindenburg, the largest airship in the world, drifting calmly across the sky.  New York City was already in the throes of "Zeppelin mania" by ...Show More

#226 The Beauty Bosses of Fifth Avenue

51:01 | Apr 13th, 2017

The Midtown Manhattan stretch of Fifth Avenue, once known for its ensemble of extravagant mansions owned by the Gilded Age's wealthiest families, went through an astonishing makeover one hundred years ago. Many lavish abodes of the rich were turned i...Show More

#225 P. T. Barnum and the Greatest Show on Earth

58:38 | Mar 31st, 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages -- the Bowery Boys present to you the tale of P. T. Barnum and his "Greatest Show on Earth," the world's most famous circus! You can't even bring up the discussion of circuses without mentioning the na...Show More

#224 The Arrival of the Irish: An Immigrant Story

57:19 | Mar 16th, 2017

You don't have a New York City without the Irish. In fact, you don't have a United States of America as we know it today. This diverse and misunderstood immigrant group began coming over in significant numbers starting in the Colonial era, mostly as...Show More

#223 The Algonquin Round Table

1:04:11 | Mar 3rd, 2017

One June afternoon in the spring of 1919, a group of writers and theatrical folk got together at the Algonquin Hotel to roast the inimitable Alexander Woollcott, the trenchant theater critic for the New York Times who had just returned from World War...Show More

#222 Who Killed Helen Jewett? A Mystery By Gaslight

53:22 | Feb 16th, 2017

In the spring of 1836, a young woman named Helen Jewett was brutally murdered with a hatchet in a townhouse on Thomas Street, just a few blocks northwest from City Hall. This was not a normal crime. Helen was a prostitute of great beauty and consider...Show More

#221 New York: Capital City of the United States

53:10 | Feb 2nd, 2017

During a handful of months in 1789 and 1790, representatives of the new nation of the United States came together in New York City to make decisions which would forever affect the lives of Americans. In this second part of our two-part show on New Yo...Show More

#220 George Washington's New York Inauguration

56:24 | Jan 20th, 2017

The story of New York City's role in the birth of American government is sometimes forgotten. Most of the buildings important to the first U.S. Congress, which met here from the spring of 1789 to the late summer of 1790, have long been demolished. Th...Show More

#219 Newsies on Strike!

54:38 | Dec 23rd, 2016

We're in the mood for a good old-fashioned Gilded Age story so we're replaying one of our favorite Bowery Boys episodes ever -- Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst vs. the newsies! It was pandemonium in the streets. One hot summer in July 18...Show More

#218 Lincoln Center and West Side Story

59:44 | Dec 9th, 2016

Warm up the orchestra, lace up your dance slippers, and bring the diva to the stage! For our latest show we’re telling the origin story of Lincoln Center, the fine arts campus which assembles some of the city’s finest music and theatrical institution...Show More

#217: Truman Capote's Black And White Ball

54:35 | Nov 24th, 2016

Truman Capote is a true New York character, a Southern boy who wielded his immense writing talents to secure a place within Manhattan high society. Elegant, witty, compact, gay -- Capote was a fixture of swanky nightclubs and arm candy to wealthy, we...Show More

#216: Edwin Booth and the Players Club

58:54 | Nov 11th, 2016

Edwin Booth was the greatest actor of the Gilded Age, a superstar of the theater who entertained millions over his long career. In this podcast, we present his extraordinary career, the tragedies that shaped his life (on stage and off), and the legac...Show More

01 The Wheel: Ferris' Big Idea ('The First' Podcast Special Preview)

50:02 | Oct 28th, 2016

01: The first Ferris Wheel was invented to become America’s Eiffel Tower, making its grand debut at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. The wheel’s inventor George Washington Gale Ferris was a clever and optimistic soul; he did everything in his power ...Show More

#215 Ghosts of the Gilded Age

1:05:57 | Oct 14th, 2016

For this year's 10th annual Bowery Boys Halloween special, we're highlighting haunted tales from the period just after the Civil War when New York City became one of the richest cities in the world -- rich in wealth and in ghosts! We go to four borou...Show More

#214 Bronx Trilogy (Part Three) The Bronx Was Burning

1:00:43 | Sep 29th, 2016

The Bronx was burning. The Bronx is now rising. In the third and final part of our Bronx history series, we tackle the most difficult period in the life of this borough -- the late 20th century and the days and nights of urban blight. The focus of th...Show More

#213 Bronx Trilogy (Part Two) The Bronx is Building

59:24 | Sep 16th, 2016

In the second part of the Bowery Boys' Bronx Trilogy -- recounting the entire history of New York City's northernmost borough -- we focus on the years between 1875 and 1945, a time of great evolution and growth for the former pastoral areas of Westch...Show More

#212 Bronx Trilogy (Part One) The Bronx Is Born

57:54 | Sep 1st, 2016

The story of the Bronx is so large, so spectacular, that we had to spread it out over three separate podcasts! In Part One -- The Bronx Is Born -- we look at the land that is today's borough, back when it was a part of Westchester County, a natural e...Show More

#211 The Notorious Madame Restell: The Abortionist of Fifth Avenue

53:31 | Aug 18th, 2016

Ann Lohman, aka Madame Restell, was one of the most vilified women of the 19th century, an abortion practitioner that dodged the law to become one of the wealthiest self-made women in the Gilded Age. But is her reputation justified? Thoughts on abor...Show More

#210 Digital City: New York and the World of Video Games

56:08 | Aug 4th, 2016

New York has an interesting, complex and downright weird relationship with video games, from the digital sewers below Manhattan to the neon-lit arcades of Times Square.  In this grab bag episode – filled with nostalgia and nerdyness -- we capture all...Show More

#209 The Waldorf-Astoria's Complicated History

53:59 | Jul 21st, 2016

You might think you know this tale, but do we have surprises for you. The Waldorf-Astoria -- or the Waldorf=Astoria or even the Waldorf Astoria -- has been a premier name in hotel accommodations since the opening of the very first edition on 34th St...Show More

#208 Great Hoaxes of Old New York

51:54 | Jul 7th, 2016

New Yorkers can be tough to crack, maneuvering through a rapidly changing, fast-paced city. But they can, at times, also be easily fooled. In this episode, we explore two of the wackiest stories in early New York City history, two instances of tall t...Show More

#207 The First Subway: Beach's Pneumatic Marvel

54:56 | Jun 24th, 2016

The first subway in New York -- the first in the United States! – travelled only a single block and failed to influence the future of transportation. And yet Alfred Ely Beach's marvelous pneumatic transit system provides us today with one of the most...Show More

#206 The Lenape: The Real Native New Yorkers

55:39 | Jun 10th, 2016

Before New York, before New Amsterdam – there was Lenapehoking, the land of the Lenape, the original inhabitants of the places we call Manhattan, Westchester, northern New Jersey and western Long Island.  This is the story of their first contact with...Show More

#205 The Disappearance of Dorothy Arnold

47:33 | May 26th, 2016

The young socialite Dorothy Arnold seemingly led a charmed and privileged life. The niece of a Supreme Court justice, Dorothy was the belle of 1900s New York, an attractive and vibrant young woman living on the Upper East Side with her family. She ho...Show More

#204 The Cotton Club: The Aristocrat of Harlem

37:59 | May 13th, 2016

The Cotton Club, Harlem's most prominent nightclub during the Prohibiton era, delivered some of the greatest music legends of the Jazz Age -- Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Fletcher Henderson, Ethel Waters, the Nicolas Brothers.  Some of the most icon...Show More

#203 Nikola Tesla in New York

50:00 | Apr 28th, 2016

The Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla was among the Gilded Age's brightest minds, a visionary thinker and inventor who gave the world innovations in electricity, radio and wireless communication. So why has Tesla garnered the mantle of cult status among...Show More

#202 The Lower East Side: A Culinary History

58:12 | Apr 15th, 2016

Join us as we experience the tastes of another era by visiting some of the oldest culinary institutions of the Lower East Side. From McSorley's to Katz's, Russ & Daughters and Economy Candy -- when did these shops open, who did they serve, and how, i...Show More

#201 GOWANUS! Brooklyn's Troubled Waters

59:52 | Apr 1st, 2016

This is the dirtiest Bowery Boys podcast ever. Literally. Brooklyn's Gowanus -- both the creek and the canal -- is one of the most mysterious and historically important waterways in New York City. By coincidence, it also happens to be among its most...Show More

#200 Jane Jacobs: Saving the Village

1:04:34 | Mar 18th, 2016

Washington Square Park torn in two. The West Village erased and re-written. Soho, Little Italy and the Lower East Side ripped asunder by an elevated highway. This is what would  have happened in New York City in the 1950s and 60s if not for enraged r...Show More

#199.5: Bowery Boys - Behind the Scenes

42:31 | Mar 8th, 2016

As we prepare for our #200th episode -- and the release of the first-ever Bowery Boys book -- we've decided to take a look back at our last 100 shows, at some of the highlights of the past six or so years.  What were some of our favorite episodes? Th...Show More

#199 Battle For The Skyline: How High Can It Go?

57:46 | Feb 19th, 2016

This year is the one hundred anniversary of one of the most important laws ever passed in New York City -- the 1916 Zoning Law which dictated the rules for building big and tall in the city. So we thought we'd take this opportunity to ponder on the m...Show More

#198 Greenpoint, Brooklyn: An Industrial-Strength History

56:55 | Feb 5th, 2016

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, has a surprising history of bucolic green pastures and rancid oil patches. Before the 19th century this corner of Brooklyn was owned by only a few families with farms (and slaves tending them). But with the future borough of Bro...Show More

#197 Danger In The Harbor: The Black Tom Explosion of 1916

48:58 | Jan 22nd, 2016

On July 30, 1916, at just after 2 in the morning, a massive explosion ripped apart the island of Black Tom on the shoreline near Jersey City, sending a shockwave through the region and thousands of pounds of wartime shrapnel into the neighboring Elli...Show More

#196 Ready to Wear: A History of the Garment District

54:04 | Jan 8th, 2016

The Garment District in Midtown Manhattan has been the center for all things American fashion for almost one hundred years.  The lofts and office buildings here still buzz with industry of making clothing -- from design to distribution. New York's lo...Show More

#195 Midnight in Times Square: New Year's Eve in New York City

52:01 | Dec 10th, 2015

In this episode, we look back on the one day of the year that New Yorkers look forward.  New Years Eve is the one night that millions of people around the world focus their attentions on New York City -- or more specifically, on the wedge shaped buil...Show More

#194 Nellie Bly: Undercover in the Madhouse

57:07 | Nov 13th, 2015

Nellie Bly was a determined and fearless journalist ahead of her time, known for the spectacular lengths she would go to get a good story. Her reputation was built on the events of late September-early October 1887 -- the ten days she spent in an ins...Show More

#193 St. Mark's Place: Party in the East Village!

52:31 | Oct 30th, 2015

St. Mark's Place may be named for a saint but it's been a street full of sinners for much of its history.  One of the most fascinating streets in the city, St. Mark's traces its story back to Peter Stuyvesant, meets up with the wife of Alexander Ham...Show More

#192 Haunted Landmarks of New York

57:19 | Oct 16th, 2015

Don't be frightened! It's the ninth annual Bowery Boys ghost stories podcast. We're here to guide you through the back alleys ... OF TERROR! In this installment, we take a look at the spectral lore behind some of New York City's most famous landmark...Show More

#191 The Great Fire of 1776

52:28 | Oct 2nd, 2015

A little after midnight on September 21, 1776, the Fighting Cocks Tavern on Whitehall Street caught on fire. The drunken revelers inside the tavern were unable to stop the blaze, and it soon raged into a dangerous inferno, spreading up the west side ...Show More

#190 The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary

52:57 | Sep 18th, 2015

The gripping and startling tale of Typhoid Mary is a harrowing detective story and a chilling tale of disease and death. Why are whole healthy families suddenly getting sick with typhoid fever -- from the languid mansions of Long Island's Gold Coast ...Show More

#189 TAXI: History of the New York City taxicab

59:37 | Sep 4th, 2015

In this episode, we recount almost 175 years of getting around New York in a private ride.  The hansom, the romantic rendition of the horse and carriage, took New Yorkers around during the Gilded Age. But unregulated conduct by ‘nighthawks’ and the m...Show More

#188: The Murder of Stanford White

54:02 | Aug 6th, 2015

On the evening of June 25, 1906, during a performance of Mam'zelle Champagne on the rooftop of Madison Square Garden, the architect Stanford White was brutally murdered by Harry Kendall Thaw. The renown of White's professional career -- he was one of...Show More

#187: Super City: New York and the History of Comic Books

53:45 | Jul 24th, 2015

In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book.  Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever -- in blockbuster summe...Show More

#186 Hell's Kitchen: New York's Wild West

52:38 | Jul 9th, 2015

Hell’s Kitchen, on the far west side of Midtown Manhattan, is a neighborhood of many secrets. The unique history of this working class district veers into many tales of New York's criminal underworld and violent riots which have shaken the streets fo...Show More

#185 Adventures on Governors Island

1:00:06 | Jun 26th, 2015

What can you find on Governors Island?  Almost 400 years of action-packed history!  This island in New York Harbor has been at the heart of the city's defense since the days of the Revolutionary War, and its story takes us back to the very beginnings...Show More

#184 The Flatiron Building: A Story from Three Sides

53:05 | Jun 11th, 2015

For our 8th anniversary episode, we're revisiting one of New York City's great treasures and a true architectural oddity -- the Flatiron Building. When they built this structure at the corner of Madison Square Park (and completed in 1902), did they ...Show More

#183 Orchard Street: Life in the Lower East Side

1:00:28 | May 29th, 2015

The Lower East Side is one of the most important neighborhoods in America, with a rich history as dense as its former living quarters.  Thousands of immigrants experienced American life on these many crowded streets. In this podcast, we look at this ...Show More

#182 Mae West, "Sex" on Broadway

54:19 | May 15th, 2015

Mae West (star of I'm No Angel and She Done Him Wrong) would come to revolutionize the idea of American sexuality, challenging and lampooning ideas of femininity while wielding a suggestive and vicious wit. But before she was America's diamond girl, ...Show More

#181 Park Slope and the Story of Brownstone Brooklyn

1:00:00 | May 1st, 2015

Park Slope – or simply the park slope, as they used to say – is best known for its spectacular Victorian-era mansions and brownstones, one of the most romantic neighborhoods in all of Brooklyn.  It’s also a leading example of the gentrifying forces t...Show More

#180 The Chelsea Piers and the Age of the Ocean Liner

52:25 | Apr 17th, 2015

The Chelsea Piers were once New York City’s portal to the world, a series of long docks along the west side of Manhattan that accommodated some of the most luxurious ocean liners of the early 20th century.  Passenger ocean travel became feasible in t...Show More

#179 The Fight for Bryant Park

51:12 | Apr 3rd, 2015

In our last show, we left the space that would become Bryant Park as a disaster area; its former inhabitant, the old Crystal Palace, had tragically burned to the ground in 1858.  The area was called Reservoir Square for its proximity to the Murray Hi...Show More

#178: The Crystal Palace: America's First World's Fair

48:17 | Mar 20th, 2015

New York's Crystal Palace seems like something out of a dream, a shimmering and spectacular glass-and-steel structure -- a gigantic greenhouse -- which sat in the area of today's Bryant Park. In 1853 this was the home to the Exhibition of the Industr...Show More

#177 The Big History of Little Italy

53:51 | Feb 20th, 2015

Little Italy is the pocket-neighborhood reminder of the great wave of Italian immigration which came through New York City starting in the late 1870s.  This was the home of a densely packed, lively neighborhood of pushcarts, cheese shops, barber shop...Show More

#176 Billie Holiday's New York

38:09 | Jan 23rd, 2015

Grab your fedora and take a trip with the Bowery Boys into the heart of New York City's jazz scene -- late nights, smoky bars, neon signs -- through the eyes of one of the greatest American vocalists who ever lived here -- Billie Holiday. This a tou...Show More

#175 Bowery Boys 2014 Year In Review

52:45 | Dec 25th, 2014

When historians look back at the year 2014, what events or cultural changes within New York City will historians consider significant?  In this special episode, the Bowery Boys look back at some of the biggest historical headlines of the year -- the ...Show More

#174 American Kicks: A History of the Rockettes

51:26 | Dec 12th, 2014

The Radio City Rockettes are perhaps America's best known dance troupe -- and a staple of the holiday season -- but you may not know the origin of this most iconic of New York City symbols. For one, they're not even from the Big Apple!   Formerly t...Show More

#173 Ruins of the World's Fair: New York State Pavilion

58:59 | Nov 14th, 2014

The ruins of the New York State Pavilion, highlight of the 1964-65 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, have become a kind of unofficial Statue of Liberty of Queens, greeting people as they head to and from LaGuardia and JFK airports.  Its a...Show More

#172 Ghost Stories of Brooklyn

50:29 | Oct 16th, 2014

Brooklyn is the setting for this quartet of classic ghost stories, all set before the independent city was an official borough of New York City.  This is a Brooklyn of old stately mansions and farms, with railroad tracks laid through forests and larg...Show More

#171 The Keys to Gramercy Park

54:29 | Sep 19th, 2014

Gramercy Park is Manhattan's only private park, a prohibited place for most New Yorkers. However we have your keys to the history of this significant and rather unusual place, full of the city's greatest inventors, civic leaders and entertainers!   ...Show More

#170 The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino

49:40 | Aug 22nd, 2014

Rudolph Valentino was an star from the early years of Hollywood, but his elegant, randy years in New York City should not be forgotten.  They helped make him a premier dancer and a glamorous actor. And on August 23, 1926, this is where the silent fil...Show More

#169 The Tallest Building In New York: A Short History

33:00 | Aug 7th, 2014

One World Trade Center was declared last year the tallest building in America, but it's a very different structure from the other skyscrapers who have once held that title. In New York, owning the tallest building has often been like possessing a val...Show More

#168 DUEL! Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton

29:16 | Jul 11th, 2014

Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met at a clearing in Weehawken, NJ, in the early morning on July 11, 1804, to mount the most famous duel in American history. But why?   This is the story of two New York lawyers -- and two Founding Fathers -- that...Show More

#167 Cleopatra's Needle and the Freemasons Secret

49:23 | Jun 27th, 2014

Cleopatra's Needle is the name given to the ancient Egyptian obelisk that sits in Central Park, right behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This is the bizarre tale of how it arrived in New York and the unusual forces that went behind its transport...Show More

#166 General Slocum Disaster 1904

27:33 | Jun 13th, 2014

On June 15, 1904, hundreds of residents of the Lower East Side's thriving German community boarded the General Slocum excursion steamer to enjoy a day trip outside the city.  Most of them would never return home. The General Slocum disaster is, simp...Show More

#165 Ladies' Mile

49:42 | May 30th, 2014

Ladies' Mile -- the most famous New York shopping district in the 19th century and the "heart of the Gilded Age," a district of spectacular commercial palaces of cast-iron.  They are some of the city's greatest buildings, designed by premier architec...Show More

#164 The Astor Place Riot

50:20 | May 1st, 2014

England's great thespian William Macready mounted the stage of the Astor Place Opera House on May 10, 1849, to perform Shakespeare's Macbeth, just as he had done hundreds of times before.  But this performance would become infamous in later years as ...Show More

#163 South Street Seaport

49:54 | Apr 4th, 2014

The glory of early New York City came from its role as one of the world's great ports.  Today the South Street Seaport is a lasting tribute to that seafaring heritage, a historical district beneath the Brooklyn Bridge that contains some of the city's...Show More

#162 George Washington Bridge

48:26 | Mar 7th, 2014

The George Washington Bridge is surprisingly graceful, but politically scandalous.  And we're not talking about the current crisis being faced by current New Jersey governor Chris Christie.   Figuring out a way to cross over the Hudson River (not u...Show More

#161 Fire Department of New York (FDNY)

45:56 | Feb 7th, 2014

The New York Fire Department protects the five boroughs from a host of disasters and mishaps -- five-alarm blazes, a kitchen fire run amok, and even those dastardly midtown elevators, always getting stuck!  But today's tightly organized team is a far...Show More

#160 Tompkins Square Park

48:05 | Jan 10th, 2014

Central Park has frequently been called 'the people's park," but we think Tompkins Square Park may have a better claim to that title.  From its inception, this East Village recreational spot -- named for Vice President Daniel D Tompkins -- has catere...Show More

#159 The Broadway Musical: Setting the Stage

58:22 | Dec 13th, 2013

The Broadway Musical is one of New York City's greatest inventions, 150 years in the making! It's one of the truly American art forms, fueling one of the city's most vibrant entertainment businesses and defining its most popular tourist attraction --...Show More

#158 Hotel Theresa: The Waldorf of Harlem

23:31 | Nov 15th, 2013

The Hotel Theresa is considered a genuine (if under-appreciated) Harlem treasure, both for its unique architecture and its special place in history as the hub for African-American life in the 1940s and 50s. The luxurious apartment hotel was built by ...Show More

#157 Early Ghost Stories of Old New York

57:22 | Oct 18th, 2013

This is the Bowery Boys 7th annual Halloween podcast, with four new scary stories to chill your bones and keep you up at night, generally doused with strange and fascinating facts about New York City. For this episode, we've decided to go truly old-s...Show More

#156 The Boy Mayor of New York

44:54 | Sep 20th, 2013

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, th...Show More

#155 Sesame Street to Seinfeld: NYC TV 1969-2013

22:20 | Aug 23rd, 2013

In the third part of the Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, I give you a grand tour of the New York City television production world from the 1970s to today, from the debut of Sesame Street in the Upper West Side to the flourishing 1990s, where the c...Show More

#154 New York in the Golden Age of Television

53:31 | Aug 2nd, 2013

It's the second part of the Bowery Boys TV Mini-Series, covering the years of New York City television production from the late 1940s to the 1960s. This podcast is arranged a little bit like a leisurely Midtown walking tour, taking you past four of t...Show More

#153 NYC and the Birth of Television

51:47 | Jun 28th, 2013

It's the beginning of The Bowery Boys Summer TV Mini-Series, three podcasts devoted to New York City's illustrious history with broadcast television -- from Sarnoff to Seinfeld!   In our first show, we go back to the start of the invention of the tel...Show More

#152 Bellevue Hospital

45:24 | May 31st, 2013

Bellevue Hospital, you might have heard, once had a very notorious psychiatric ward.  But those horror stories have only distracted from the rather breathtaking -- and heart-breaking -- history of this historic institution, a lifeline not only for th...Show More

#151 The Limelight: Church, Nightclub and Mall

44:59 | May 3rd, 2013

If you had told 1840s religious leader William Muhlenberg that his innovative new Church of the Holy Communion, designed by renown architect Richard Upjohn, would become the glittering seat of drugs and debauchery 150 years later, he might have burne...Show More

#150 Consolidation! Five Boroughs, One Big City

55:58 | Apr 5th, 2013

Here's the story of how two very big cities and a whole bunch of small towns and villages -- completely different in nature, from farmland to skyscraper -- became the greatest city in the world. This is the tale of Greater New York, the forming of th...Show More

#149 John Peter Zenger and the Power of the Press

48:38 | Mar 8th, 2013

A long, long time ago in New York -- in the 1730s, back when the city was a holding of the British, with a little over 10,000 inhabitants -- a German printer named John Peter Zenger decided to print a four-page newspaper called the New York Weekly Jo...Show More

#148 The Great Blizzard of 1888

48:58 | Feb 8th, 2013

This year is the 125th anniversary of one of the worst storms to ever wreck 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 ...Show More

#147 Art Insanity: The Armory Show of 1913

25:20 | Jan 11th, 2013

The Armory Show of 1913 was the mainstream debut of modernist art -- both European and American -- to New York City audiences. Galleries had previously devoted themselves to the great European masters, antiquity and American landscapes as a way to in...Show More

#146 Herald Square

54:41 | Dec 14th, 2012

Welcome to the secret history of Herald Square, New York City's second favorite intersection -- after Times Square, of course, just a few blocks north. But we think you may find this intersection at 34th Street, Sixth Avenue and Broadway perhaps even...Show More

#145 Bicycle Mania! From Velocipede to Ten-Speed

20:41 | Nov 16th, 2012

The bicycle has always seemed like a slightly awkward form of transportation in big cities, but in fact, it's reliable, convenient, clean and -- believe it or not -- popular in New York City for almost 200 years. The original two-wheeled conveyance ...Show More

Hurricane Sandy Update

16:04 | Nov 2nd, 2012

A brief snapshot into what's happening in the city as of Friday afternoon, November 2, reviewing some of the events associated with Hurricane Sandy, the catastrophic storm which hit the Northeast this week. Featuring some of the historical context fo...Show More

#144 Mysteries and Magicians of New York

54:07 | Oct 19th, 2012

Our sixth annual ghost story podcast takes a little twist this time around. Oh sure, we have two of New York's most FAMOUS horror stories in our first part, beginning with a spirited sailor named Mickey who haunted a classic structure on the Lower We...Show More

#143 Water for New York: Croton Aqueduct

46:10 | Sep 21st, 2012

One of the great challenges faced by a growing, 19th-century New York City was the need for a viable, clean water supply. Before the 1830s, citizens relied on cisterns to collect rainwater, a series of city wells drilling down to underground springs,...Show More

#142 New York University (NYU)

45:44 | Aug 24th, 2012

They once called it the University of the City of New York, an innovative, nondenominational school located in a intellectual castle on the northeast corner of the Washington military parade ground. Today its better known as New York University, one ...Show More

#141 New York Beer History

49:40 | Jul 27th, 2012

New York City's thriving craft brewing industry today hearkens to a time over a century ago when the city was one of America's great beer-making capitols, the home to a robust industry of breweries and beer halls. In the 19th century, German immigran...Show More

#140 Rockaway Beach

49:28 | Jun 29th, 2012

The Rockaways are a world unto its own, a former resort destination with miles of beach facing into the Atlantic Ocean, a collection of diverse neighborhoods and a truly quirky history. Retaining a variant of its original Lenape name, the peninsula r...Show More

#139 Brooklyn Academy of Music

46:10 | Jun 1st, 2012

One of New York's oldest cultural institutions, the Brooklyn Academy of Music has an unusual history that spans over 150 years and two locations. We trace the story from the earliest roots of a Manhattan-Brooklyn rivalry and a discussion over high-cl...Show More

#138: St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery

53:27 | May 4th, 2012

St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery is one of Manhattan's most interesting and mysterious links to early New York history. This East Village church was built in 1799 atop the location of the original chapel of Peter Stuyvesant, New Amsterdam's peg-legged direct...Show More

#137 NYC and the World of Radio

55:15 | Apr 5th, 2012

The discovery of radio changed the world, and New York City was often front and center for its creation and development as America's prime entertainment source during the 1930s and 40s. In this show, we take you on a 50-year journey, from Marconi's n...Show More