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Rank #58 in History category

Society & Culture
History
Places & Travel

The Bowery Boys: New York City History

Updated about 1 month ago

Rank #58 in History category

Society & Culture
History
Places & Travel
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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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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?

iTunes Ratings

2303 Ratings
Average Ratings
1890
282
62
39
30

Awesome.

By Pepper Rothesay - Mar 08 2020
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I enjoy EVERY show. So happy history is being shared.

It’s a wonderful town

By See Jane Illinois - Mar 07 2020
Read more
So interesting and entertaining. Love the BBs

iTunes Ratings

2303 Ratings
Average Ratings
1890
282
62
39
30

Awesome.

By Pepper Rothesay - Mar 08 2020
Read more
I enjoy EVERY show. So happy history is being shared.

It’s a wonderful town

By See Jane Illinois - Mar 07 2020
Read more
So interesting and entertaining. Love the BBs
Cover image of The Bowery Boys: New York City History

The Bowery Boys: New York City History

Latest release on Jul 10, 2020

Read more

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?

Rank #1: #100 Robert Moses

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EPISODE 100 We obviously had to spend our anniversary show with the Power Broker himself, everybody's favorite Parks Commissioner -- Robert Moses. A healthy debate about Moses will divide your friends, and we provide the resources to make your case for both sides. Robert Moses was one of the most powerful men in New York from the late 1920s until the late 1960s, using multiple appointed positions in state and local government to make his vast dream of a modern New York comes to fruition. That dream included glorious parkways and gravity-defying bridges. It also included parking lots and the wholesale destruction of thousands of homes. World's fairs and innovative housing complexes. Elevated highways plowed through residential neighborhoods -- straight through Harlem, midtown Manhattan, and SoHo.We get into the trenches of some of Moses's most renown and controversial projects -- the splendor of Jones Beach; the revolutionary parks and pools; the tragedy of the Cross Bronx Expressway, and his signature project, the Triborough Bridge. What side will you come down on -- did Robert Moses give New York City the resources it needs to excel in the 20th century, or did he hasten its demise with short-sighted, malignant vision?

www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Mar 19 2010

1hr 7mins

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Rank #2: #59 Five Points: Wicked Slum

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You've heard the legend of New York's most notorious neighborhood. Now come with us as we hit the streets of Five Points and dig up some of the nitty, gritty details of its birth, its first residents and its
most scandalous pastimes.
www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Sep 19 2008

31mins

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Rank #3: #72 Rockefeller Center

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JD Rockefeller Sr. may have earned his money is some rather unscrupulous ways, but his son Junior made good by giving midtown a towering city-within-a-city, a complex of Art Deco buildings that serves as New York's beating heart. We take a compact look at the complicated lineage of Rockefeller Center, from its controversial artwork to its famous Christmas tree.

www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Dec 19 2008

38mins

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Rank #4: #109 New York City Subway, Part 1: Birth of the IRT

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In the fourth part of our transportation series BOWERY BOYS ON THE GO, we finally take a look at the birth of the New York City subway. After decades of outright avoiding underground transit as a legitimate option, the city got back on track with the help of August Belmont and the newly formed Interborough Rapid Transit. 
We'll tell you about the construction of the first line, traveling miles underground through Manhattan and into the Bronx. How did the city cope with this massive project? And what unfortunate accident nearly ripped apart a city block mere feet from Grand Central Station?
www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Aug 06 2010

48mins

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Rank #5: #134 St. Patrick's Cathedral

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One of America's most famous churches and a graceful icon upon the landscape of midtown Manhattan, St. Patrick's Cathedral was also one of New York's most arduous building projects, taking decades to build. An overflow of worshippers at downtown's old St Patrick's demanded a vast new place of worship, even as most Catholic New Yorkers were having an uneasy time due to religious prejudice by angry 'nativists'.

Enter 'Dagger' John Hughes, the relentless first Archbishop of New York, who hammered the city for equal treatment for Catholics and managed to construct several New York institutions still in existence. Many scoffed at his idea of building a gigantic cathedral so far north of town.

We explore the early years of this once-quiet piece of mid-Manhattan property and some of the notable events that have taken place at St. Patrick's since its opening.

ALSO: The tale of the revered Haitian hairdresser in the crypt!

CORRECTION: Near the end of the podcast, I say that 'Godfather III' was filmed at St. Patricks. It was, but it's the OLD downtown St Pat's, not the Midtown. Sorry for the error!

Check out our blog www.boweryboypodcast.com
Twitter:  boweryboys

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Feb 10 2012

46mins

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Rank #6: Gangs of New York (Bowery Boys Movie Club)

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EPISODE 302: With Martin Scorsese's new film The Irishman being released this month, we thought we'd share with you an episode of the Bowery Boys Movie Club that explores the director's film Gangs of New York and its rich historical details. The Bowery Boys Movie Club is an exclusive podcast for those who support us on Patreon.

Gangs of New York is a one-of-a-kind film, Scorsese's 2002 epic based on a 1927 history anthology by Herbert Asbury that celebrates the grit and grime of Old New York.

Its fictional story line uses a mix of real-life and imagined characters, summoned from a grab bag of historical anecdotes from the gutters of the 19th century and poured out into a setting known as New York City’s most notorious neighborhood — Five Points.

Listen in as Greg and Tom discuss the film’s unique blend of fact and fiction, taking Asbury’s already distorted view of life in the mid 19th century and reviving it with extraordinary set design and art direction. The film itself was released a year after September 11, 2001, and the final cut should be looked at in that context.

Meanwhile some elements of the film are more relevant in 2019 than ever.

Should you watch the movie before you listen to this episode? This podcast can be enjoyed both by those who have seen the film and those who’ve never even heard of it. 

We think our take on Gangs of New York might inspire you to look for the film’s many fascinating (but easy to overlook) historical details, so if you don’t mind being spoiled on the plot, give it a listen first, then watch the movie! Otherwise, come back to the show after you’ve watched it. 

If you’d like to watch the movie first, it’s currently streaming on iTunes and Amazon. Or rent it from your local library.

boweryboyshistory.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Nov 01 2019

1hr 20mins

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Rank #7: #135 The High Line

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The High Line, which snakes up New York's west side, is an ambitious park project refitting abandoned elevated train lines into a breathtaking contemporary park. This is the remnant of a raised freight-delivery track system that supported New York's thriving meat, produce and refrigeration industries that have defined the city's western edges.
You can trace the footprints of this area back almost 200 years, to the introduction of the Hudson River Railroad and Cornelius Vanderbilt, who transformed the streets along the Hudson River into 'the lifeline of New York', filled with warehouses, marketplaces and abattoirs. And, of course, lots of traffic, turning 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue into 'death avenues', requiring New York's first 'urban cowboys'.
The West Side Elevated Freight Railroad was meant to relieve some of trauma on the street. That's not exactly how it worked out. We'll tell you about its downfall, its transformation during the 70s as a haven for counter-culture, and its reinterpretation as an innovative urban playground. 

www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Twitter: boweryboys

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Mar 09 2012

45mins

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Rank #8: #29 Brooklyn Bridge

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The Bowery Boys explore the story and the family behind the Brooklyn Bridge, one of New York's most treasured landmarks -- caissons, anchorages and all.
www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Nov 18 2008

36mins

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Rank #9: #63 New York Stock Exchange

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We tackle the New York Stock Exchange in this episode, beginning with Alexander Hamilton, some pushy auctioneers, a coffee house and a sycamore tree. And find how this seminal financial institution ended up in its latest home -- that beautiful, classically designed George Post building, with a marble goddess on top who was almost too heavy for her own good.
www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Sep 26 2008

37mins

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Rank #10: Moving Day! Madness and Mayhem in Old New York

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EPISODE 324 At last! The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast looks at one of the strangest traditions in this city's long history -- that curious custom known as Moving Day.

Every May 1st, for well over two centuries, from the colonial era to World War II, rental leases would expire simultaneously, and thousands of New Yorkers would pack their possessions into carts or wagons and move to new homes or apartments.  (Later on, October 1st would become the second ‘moving day’.)

Of course, for the rest of the world May 1 would mean all different things – a celebration of spring or moment of political protest. And it would mean those things here in New York – but on a backdrop of just unbelievable mayhem in the streets.

There are a few theories about the origin of Moving Day but most of them trace back the Dutch colony of New Netherlands. So why did New Yorkers continue the custom for centuries?

FEATURING Davy Crockett, The Jeffersons, Mickey Mouse and an amazing New Yorker named Amy Armstrong with a really stubborn husband.

boweryboyshistory.com

Make sure you're subscribed to the Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast so you don't miss an episode.

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

May 01 2020

31mins

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Rank #11: The Rise of the Fifth Avenue Mansions

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EPISODE 244: 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.

They would all make their homes – and in the case of the Vanderbilts, their great many homes – on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

The image of Fifth Avenue as a luxury retail destination today grew from the street’s aristocratic reputation in the 1800s. The rich were inextricably drawn to the avenue as early as the 1830s when rich merchants, anxious to be near the exquisite row houses of Washington Square Park, began turning it into an artery of expensive abodes.

In this podcast -- the first of two parts -- Tom and Greg present a world that’s somewhat hard to imagine – free-standing mansions in an exclusive corridor running right through the center of Manhattan. Why was Fifth Avenue fated to become the domain of the so-called ‘Upper Ten’? What were the rituals of daily life along such an unusual avenue? And what did these Beaux Arts palaces say about their ritzy occupants?

CO-STARRING: Mark Twain, Madame Restell, George Opdyke and “the Marrying Wilsons”

boweryboyshistory.com

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Nov 24 2017

49mins

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Rank #12: #212 Bronx Trilogy (Part One) The Bronx Is Born

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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 expanse of heights, rivers and forests occasionally interrupted by farm-estates and modest villages.  Settlers during the Dutch era faced grave turmoil. Those that came afterwards managed to tame the land with varying results.  Speculators were everyone; City Island was born from the promise of a relationship with the city down south. During the Revolutionary War, prominent families were faced with a dire choice -- stay with the English or side with George Washington's Continental Army? One prominent family would help shape the fate of the young nation and leave their name forever attached to one of the Bronx's oldest neighborhoods. Sadly that family's legacy is under-appreciated today. By the 1840s, Westchester County was at last connected to New York via a new railroad line. It was a prosperous decade with the development of the area's first college, a row of elegant homes and some of its very first 'depot towns'.  Two decades later, the future borough would even cater to the dead -- both the forgotten (at Hart Island) and the wealthy (Woodlawn Cemetery). The year 1874 would mark a new chapter for a few quiet towns and begin the process of turning this area into the borough known as the Bronx. FEATURING: Many places in the Bronx that you can visit today and experience this early history up close, including Wave Hill, Pelham Bay Park, Woodlawn Cemetery, City Island and more.   NOTE: Thanks to Angel Hernandez from the Bronx Historical Society, not (as per our slip of the tongue in an older version of this show) the Brooklyn Historical Society.   www.boweryboyshistory.com Our book Adventures In Old New York is now in bookstores and online, wherever books are sold!

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Sep 01 2016

54mins

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Rank #13: #121 Fraunces Tavern

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Fraunces Tavern is one of America's most important historical sites of the Revolutionary War and a reminder of the great importance of tavern culture on the New York way of life during the Colonial era. This revered building at the corner of Pearl and Broad streets was the location of George Washington's emotional farewell speech to his Continental Army officers and some of the very first government offices of the young United States of America.
As with places this famous -- where fact and legend intermingle -- many mysteries still remain, and we attempt to find some answers. Was the tavern owner Samuel Fraunces one of America's first great black patriots? Did Sam use his position here to spy upon the British during the years of occupation between 1776 and 1783? Was his daughter on hand to prevent an assassination attempt on the life of Washington? And is it possible that the basement of Fraunces Tavern once housed a dungeon?
ALSO: Learn about the two deadly attacks on Fraunces Tavern -- one by a British war vessel in the 1770s, and another, more violent act of terror that occurred in its doorway over 200 years later!

www.boweryboyspodcast.com

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Mar 18 2011

49mins

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Rank #14: #36 Life In British New York 1776-1783

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What was life like in New York during the British occupation during the Revolutionary War? Overcrowding, prison ships, food shortages, spies ... and theater?
www.boweryboyspodcast.com

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Nov 29 2008

31mins

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Rank #15: #150 Consolidation! Five Boroughs, One Big City

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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 the five boroughs into one metropolis, a consolidation of massive civic interests which became official on January 1, 1898.

But this is not a story of interested parties, united in a common goal. In fact, Manhattan (comprising, with some areas north of the Harlem River, the city of New York) was in a bit of a battle with anti-consolidation forces, mostly in Brooklyn, who saw the merging of two biggest cities in America as the end of the noble autonomy for that former Dutch city on the western shore of Long Island. 

You'll be stunned to hear how easily it could have all fallen apart! In this podcast is the story of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island (or Richmond, if you will) and their journey to become one. And how, rather recently in fact, one of those boroughs would grow uncomfortable with the arrangement. www.boweryboyshistory.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Apr 05 2013

55mins

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Rank #16: #86 Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall

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You cannot understand New York without understanding its most corrupt politician -- William 'Boss' Tweed, a larger than life personality with lofty ambitions to steal millions of dollars from the city. With the help of his 'Tweed Ring', the former chair-maker had complete control over the city -- what was being built, how much it would cost and who was being paid.
How do you bring down a corrupt government when it seems almost everybody's in on it? We reveal the downfall of the Tweed ring and the end to one of the biggest political scandal in New York history. It begins with a sleigh ride.
ALSO: Find out how Tammany Hall, the dominant political machine of the 19th century, got its start -- as a rather innocent social club that required men to dress up and pretend they're Indians.
www.boweryboyspodcast.com

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Jul 02 2009

38mins

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Rank #17: #224 The Arrival of the Irish: An Immigrant Story

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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 indentured servants. In the early 19th century, these Irish arrivals, both Protestants and Catholics, were already consolidating -- via organizations like the Ancient Order of the Hibernians and in places like St. Patrick's Cathedral. But starting in the 1830s, with a terrible blight wiping out Ireland's potato crops, a mass wave of Irish immigration would dwarf all that came before, hundreds of thousands of weary, sometimes desperate newcomers who entered New York to live in its most squalid neighborhoods. The Irish were among the laborers who built the Croton Aqueduct, the New York grid plan and Central Park. Irish women comprised most of the hired domestic help by the mid 19th century. The arrival of the Irish and their assimilation into American life is a story repeated in many cities. Here in New York City, it is essential in our understanding of the importance of modern immigrant communities to the life of the Big Apple. PLUS: The origins of New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade! www.boweryboyshistory.com

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Mar 16 2017

54mins

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Rank #18: #177 The Big History of Little Italy

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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 shops and organ grinders, populated by thousands of new immigrants in dilapidated old tenements.
The area has some of New York's oldest still-operating shops, from Ferrara Bakery to Di Palo's.  But there's also a dark side to this neighborhood, memories of extortion plots by the Black Hand and a perpetual presence of organized crime.
The present-day Little Italy is completely charming but constantly shrinking. How long can the neighborhood survive in the face of a growing Chinatown and the threats of gentrification?
PLUS: Our love/hate relationship with Nolita -- REVEALED!
www.boweryboyshistory.com

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Feb 20 2015

51mins

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Rank #19: #232 The Story of SoHo

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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 a place of extraordinary architecture and history. On this podcast we present the story of how a portion of “Hell’s Hundred Acres” became one of the most famously trendy places in the world. In the mid 19th century this area, centered along Broadway, became the heart of retail and entertainment, department stores and hotels setting up shop in grand palaces. (It also became New York’s most notorious brothel district). The streets between Houston and Canal became known as the Cast Iron District, thanks to an exciting construction innovation that transformed the Gilded Age. Today SoHo contains the world’s greatest surviving collection of cast-iron architecture. But these gorgeous iron tributes to New York industry were nearly destroyed – first by rampant fires, then by Robert Moses. Community activists saved these buildings, and just in time for artists to move into their spacious loft spaces in the 1960s and 70s. The artists are still there of course but these once-desolate cobblestone streets have almost unrecognizably changed, perhaps a victim of its own success.

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Jul 20 2017

59mins

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Rank #20: #148 The Great Blizzard of 1888

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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 compare Hurricane Sandy with some devastating event in New York's past.

And indeed, the Blizzard and Sandy have several disturbing similarities.  But the battering snow-hurricane of 1888, with freezing temperatures and drifts three stories high, was made worse by the condition of New York's transportation and communication systems, all unprepared for 36 hours of continual snow and wind.

The storm struck in the early hours of Monday, and so thousands were attempting to make their way to work. It would be the worst commute in New York City history!  Fallen telephone and telegraph poles became a hidden threat under the quickly accumulating drifts. Elevated trains were frozen in place, their passengers unable to get out for hours.  Many died simply trying to make their way back home on foot, including Roscoe Conkling, a power broker of New York's Republican Party.

But there were moments of amusement too. Saloons thrived, and actors trudged through to the snow in time for their performances,  And for P.T. Barnum, the show must always go on!

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Feb 08 2013

48mins

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Super City: The Secret Origin of Comic Books

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A history of the comic book industry in New York City, how the energy and diversity of the city influenced the burgeoning medium in the 1930s and 40s and how New York’s history reflects out from the origins of its most popular characters.

In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzee 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 summer movies and television shows — and most of them still have an inseparable bond with New York City.

What’s Spider-Man without a tall building from which to swing? But not only are the comics often set here; the creators were often born here too.

Many of the greatest writers and artists actually came from Jewish communities in the Lower East Side, Brooklyn or the Bronx.

For many decades, nearly all of America’s comic books were produced here.  Unfortunately that meant they were in certain danger of being eliminated entirely during a 1950s witch hunt by a crusading psychiatrist from Bellevue Hospital named Frederic Wertham.

FEATURING a special chat with comics historian Peter Sandersonabout the unique New York City connections of Marvel Comics’ most famous characters. Sanderson is the author of The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City and The Marvel Encyclopedia.

WITH: The Yellow Kid, Little Orphan Annie, Batman, Doctor Strange and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

The episode is a rebroadcast of a show which first aired on July 24, 2015. 

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Jul 10 2020

51mins

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Tearing Down King George: The Monumental Summer of 1776

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EPISODE 333 In New York City, during the tumultuous summer of 1776, the King of England lost his head.

Two hundred and fifty years ago, Colonial New York received a monumental statue of King George III on horseback, an ostentatious and rather awkward display which once sat in Bowling Green park at the tip of Manhattan.

On July 9, 1776, angry New Yorkers violently tore down that statue of King George and, as the story goes, rendered his body into bullets used in the battles of the Revolutionary War. 

Flash forward to 2020 — cities across the United States today are reevaluating the meaning of their own public monuments. Critics say that removing memorials to the Confederacy, for instance, work to ‘erase history’.

But a monument itself is not history lesson, but a time capsule of the motivations of the culture who created them.

And that’s why this story from 1776 resonates so strongly today. Public statues do have meaning. And for New Yorkers — in the run up to American independence — one statue represented oppression, servitude and annihilation.

In this episode, take a trip back to the city right before the war, when New York was split into those sympathetic to the Tories and those to the Sons of Liberty, an early organization dedicated to the liberty of the American colonies.

PLUS: The story lives on! Find out where you can locate artifacts from this story throughout the city today.

FEATURING A young Alexander Hamilton, that rascal Cadwallader Colden and an unsung hero named William Pitt

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Jul 03 2020

37mins

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Welcome to Yorkville: German Life on the Upper East Side

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EPISODE 332 The Manhattan neighborhood of Yorkville has a rich immigrant history that often gets overlooked because of its location on the Upper East Side, a destination usually associated with wealth and high society.

But Yorkville, for over 170 years, has been defined by waves of immigrant communities which have settled here, particular those cultures from Central and Eastern Europe -- Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Czechs and Slovaks. 

The neighborhood developed thanks to its location to various streetcar and train lines, but that proximity insured that Yorkville would evolve in quite a different way from the more luxurious Fifth Avenue just a few blocks away.

Yorkville's German cultural identity was centered around East 86th Street -- aka "Sauerkraut Boulevard" -- where cafes and dance halls catered to the amusements of German Americans. The Yorkville Casino was a 'German Madison Square Garden', featuring cabaret, film, ballroom dancing and even political rallies.

Does the spirit of old Yorkville still exist today? While events in the early 20th century brought dramatic change to this ethnic enclave, those events didn't entirely erase the German spirit from the city streets.

In this show, we tell you where can still find the most interesting cultural artifacts of this often overlooked historical gem.

This episode is brought to you by the Historic Districts Council. Funding for this episode is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

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Jun 26 2020

1hr 11mins

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Seneca Village: Stories of New York's Forgotten Black Communities

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The history of black and African-American settlements and neighborhoods which once existed in New York City in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Today we sometimes define New York City's African-American identity by the places where thriving black culture developed -- 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 the first in New York City. Other centers of black and African-American life existed long before then. In many cases, they were obliterated by the growth of the city, sometimes built over without a single marker, without recognition.

This is the story of a few of those places.  From the 'land of the blacks' -- the home to New Amsterdam and British New York's early black population -- to Seneca Village, a haven for freed people of color in the early 19th century that was wiped away by the need for a city park.

From Little Africa -- the Greenwich Village sector for the black working class in the mid 19th century -- to Sandy Ground, a rural escape in Staten Island with deep roots in the neighborhood today.

And then there's Weeksville, Brooklyn, the visionary village built to bond a community and to develop a political foothold.

In this collection of short historical stories, Greg welcomes Kamau Ware (of the Black Gotham Experience) and Tia Powell Harris (formerly of the Weeksville Heritage Center) to the show.

The episode is a rebroadcast of a show which first aired on June 9, 2017. Stay tuned to the end of this show for some newly written material and an update on the Black Gotham Experience and the Weeksville Heritage Center.

Visit our website for more images and information.

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Jun 19 2020

58mins

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The East Side Elevateds: Life Under the Tracks

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EPISODE 331 During the Gilded Age, New York City had one form of rapid transit -- the elevated railroad.

The city's population had massively grown by the 1870s thanks to large waves of immigration from Ireland and Germany. Yet its transportation options -- mostly horse-drawn streetcars -- were slow and cumbersome.

As a result, people rarely lived far from where they worked. And in the case of most working class New Yorkers, that meant staying in overcrowded neighborhoods like the Lower East Side.

In the 1870s, New York hoped to alleviate the population pressure by constructing four elevated railroad lines -- along 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 9th Avenues -- in the hopes that people would begin inhabiting Upper Manhattan and the newly acquired portion of Westchester County known as the Annexed District (today's South Bronx).

In this show, we focus on the two eastern-most lines and their effects on the city's growth. Take a ride with us -- through Lower Manhattan, the Lower East Side, Midtown Manhattan, Yorkville, East Harlem and Mott Haven!

FEATURING an interview with elevated expert and tour guide Michael Morgenthal.

This episode is brought to you by the Historic Districts Council. Funding for this episode is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

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Jun 12 2020

1hr 13mins

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The Silent Parade of 1917: Black Unity in a Time of Crisis

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"To the beat of muffled drums 8,000 negro men, women and children marched down Fifth Avenue yesterday in a parade of 'silent protest against acts of discrimination and oppression' inflicted upon them in this country." -- New York Times, July 29, 1917

EPISODE 330 The Silent Parade of July 28, 1917, was unlike anything ever seen in New York City -- thousands of black men, women and children marching down Fifth Avenue. Today it is considered New York's (and most likely America's) first African-American civil rights march.

The march was organized by the NAACP in direct response to a horrible plague of violence against black Americans in the 1910s, culminating in the East St. Louis Riots, a massacre involving white mobs storming black neighborhoods in sheer racial animus.

There were no chants or rallying cries. The women were dressed all in white, the men in black. Thousands of onlookers had lined the parade route that day out of curiosity, amusement, pride, anger and joy.

How did this unusual protest come to be? How did New Yorkers really react? And why has the Silent Parade gone mostly forgotten for most Americans?

FEATURING: W.E.B. Du Bois, Madam C.J. Walker, James Weldon Johnson, Lillian Wald and more

boweryboyshistory.com

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Jun 04 2020

39mins

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The First Ambulance: The Humans (and Horses) That Saved New York

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EPISODE 329 Did you know that the first modern ambulance -- as in a 'mobile hospital' -- was invented in New York City?

On June 4, 1869, America’s first ambulance service went into operation from Bellevue Hospital with a driver, a surgeon, two horses and equipment including a stretcher, a stomach pump, bandages and sponges, handcuffs, a straight-jacket, and a quart of brandy.

Within just a couple years, the ambulance became an invaluable feature of New York health, saving the lives of those who might otherwise die on the streets of the city. They proved especially helpful in a riot -- of which there were many in the 19th century!

In this show, you'll be introduced to a new way of thinking about urgent injuries and emergency care. True emergency medicine was not a serious factor in major hospitals until the 1960s. Yet on-the-job injuries and terrible trauma from violent crime was a perpetual problem in New York.

What was life like in the city before the advent of the ambulance? How did ambulances work in the era before the telephone?

PLUS: A tribute to the ambulance workers -- the EMTs, paramedics and drivers -- who have risked their lives to save those of other New Yorkers.

boweryboyshistory.com

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May 29 2020

41mins

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Chop Suey City: A History of Chinese Food in New York

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EPISODE 328 New Yorkers eat a LOT of Chinese food and have enjoyed Chinese cuisine – either in a restaurant or as takeout – for well over 130 years. Chinese food entered the regular diet of the city before the bagel, the hot dog and even the pizza slice.

In this episode, Greg explores the history of Chinese food in New York City -- from the first Mott Street kitchens in Manhattan's Chinatown to the sleek 20th century eateries of Midtown.

We have one particular dish to thank for the mainstreaming of Chinese food -- chop suey. By the 1920s, chop suey had taken New York by storm, a cuisine perfect for the Jazz Age.

Through the next several decades, Chinese food would be transformed into something truly American and the Chinese dining experience would incorporate neon signs, fabulous cocktails and even glamorous floor shows by the 1940s.

FEATURING: Such classics as the Port Arthur Restaurant, the Chinese Tuxedo, Ruby Foo's Den, Tao, Lucky Cheng's and the eateries of 'Szechuan Valley'.

PLUS: Bernstein-on-Essex and the love affair between Chinese food and Jewish New Yorkers.

boweryboyshistory.com

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May 22 2020

40mins

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Listener Stories: At Home In New York Part Two

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EPISODE 327 This is Part Two of a special Bowery Boys podcast event featuring the voices of our listeners.

What makes New York feel like home — whether you live here or not? Why do people feel comfortable in New York City -- even in troubling times? When do you officially become a New Yorker?

In this episode, we focus on a few tales from New York transplants, those who were born here and moved to the city in search of employment, adventure, love -- or purpose. And stories from those native New Yorkers who have moved away but keep a part of the city with them always (and in a couple cases, we mean this literally.)

ALSO: How the residents of New York City come together in crisis times.

Featuring the 'origin stories' of both Tom and Greg, both of whom moved to New York City in the early 1990s. It took both the simple pleasures of urban living and major traumatic events to turn them into New Yorkers.

boweryboyshistory.com

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May 18 2020

36mins

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Listener Stories: At Home in New York Part One

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EPISODE 326 A special episode featuring the listeners of the Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast.

What makes New York feel like home -- whether you live here or not?

What is that indefinable connection that people make with the city? Why do so many people feel a city as large as New York speaks to them personally?

We asked our listeners to tell us about feeling “at home in New York," about that feeling of familiarity and nostalgia that one can feel here. Thanks to the presence of New York City in so many films, books and television shows, it's an emotion that can be felt even by those who live elsewhere.

Well the listeners delivered -- in a wonderful abundance of voicemails and emails. In this episode we hear from three groups of New York City lovers: the native New Yorkers, the commuters and the frequent visitors. (In part two, we'll hear the tales of the transplants, those who, in the words of E.B. White, "came to New York in quest of something.")

boweryboyshistory.com

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May 15 2020

38mins

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The Staten Island Quarantine War

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EPISODE 325 In 1858, during two terrible nights of violence in September, the needs of the few outweighed the needs of the many when a community, endangered for decades and ignored by the state, finally reached its breaking point.

In Staten Island, near the spot of today’s St. George Ferry Terminal, where thousands board and disembark the Staten Island Ferry everyday, was once America’s largest quarantine station – 30 acres of hospitals, medical facilities, shanties and doctors' homes, surrounded by a six-foot-tall brick wall.

Since its construction in the year 1799, Staten Islanders had fought for the removal of the Quarantine Ground, considered a menacing danger to the health of residents and a blight upon any possible development.

Yet the need for such an extensive facility at the Narrows -- the gateway to the New York Upper Bay and the Hudson River -- was so important that the state of New York mostly turned a blind eye to their wishes.

And so the residents of Staten Island took matters into their own hands.

Was this a case of righteous revolution in the service of safety and well-being against a tyrannical state? Or a grave and malicious act of terror?

FEATURING: Cornelius Vanderbilt and two American vice presidents. And origins of New York neighborhoods, Tompkinsville, St. George and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn!

boweryboyshistory.com

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May 08 2020

42mins

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Moving Day! Madness and Mayhem in Old New York

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EPISODE 324 At last! The Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast looks at one of the strangest traditions in this city's long history -- that curious custom known as Moving Day.

Every May 1st, for well over two centuries, from the colonial era to World War II, rental leases would expire simultaneously, and thousands of New Yorkers would pack their possessions into carts or wagons and move to new homes or apartments.  (Later on, October 1st would become the second ‘moving day’.)

Of course, for the rest of the world May 1 would mean all different things – a celebration of spring or moment of political protest. And it would mean those things here in New York – but on a backdrop of just unbelievable mayhem in the streets.

There are a few theories about the origin of Moving Day but most of them trace back the Dutch colony of New Netherlands. So why did New Yorkers continue the custom for centuries?

FEATURING Davy Crockett, The Jeffersons, Mickey Mouse and an amazing New Yorker named Amy Armstrong with a really stubborn husband.

boweryboyshistory.com

Make sure you're subscribed to the Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast so you don't miss an episode.

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May 01 2020

31mins

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The Bowery Wizards: A History of Tattooed New York

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EPISODE 323 Two tales from New York’s incredible history with tattooing.

The art of tattooing is as old as written language but it would require the contributions of a few 19th century New York tattoo artists — and a young inventor with no tattoos whatsoever — to take this ancient art to the next level.

The first documented tattoo parlor (or atelier) in the United States was a small second-floor place near the East River waterfront and close to the site of the Brooklyn Bridge.

But as more sailors and seamen — the principal customers for tattoo purveyors — came to New York, more would-be tattoo artists opened shops. By the 1880s, there were a great number of professional tattooists, scattered along the waterfront and up along the Bowery.

Meanwhile, over in Brooklyn, sailors in need of a fresh tattoo could head to small shops in Coney Island or near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

In this episode, Greg shares two tales from New York City tattoo history:

An unsuccessful Thomas Edison invention becomes a revolutionary device for tattoo artists. The electric tattoo machine was first perfected in a tiny tattoo parlor underneath a New York elevated train in Chatham Square.

Believe it or not, tattooing was outlawed in New York City in 1961! And would remain so for 36 years. How is that even possible in a city with a vibrant music scene and iconic venues like CBGB just steps from the heart of Manhattan’s old tattooing industry?

boweryboyshistory.com

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Apr 28 2020

32mins

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Nickelodeons and Movie Palaces: New York and the Film Industry 1893-1920

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EPISODE 322 The historic movie studio Kaufman Astoria Studios opened 100 years ago this year in Astoria, Queens. It remains a vital part of New York City's entertainment industry with both film and television shows still made there to this day. The Museum of the Moving Image resides next door in a former studio building.

To honor this anniversary, we are re-issuing a new version of one of our favorite shows from the back catalog -- New York City and the birth of the film industry.

New York City inspires cinema, but it has also consistently manufactured it. Long before anybody had heard of Hollywood, New York and the surrounding region was a capital for movies, the home to the earliest American film studios and the inventors who revolutionized the medium.

It began with Thomas Edison's invention of the Kinetoscope out in his New Jersey laboratory. Soon his former employees would spread out through New York, evolving the inventor's work into entertainments that could be projected in front of audiences.

By the mid 1900s, New Yorkers fell in love with nickelodeons and gasped as their first look at moving pictures. Along the way, films were made in locations all throughout the city -- from the rooftop of Madison Square Garden to a special super-studio in the Bronx.

This is a special 'director's cut' of a podcast we first released on February 18, 2011.

For more information, visit our website.

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Apr 24 2020

55mins

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Lauren Bacall ... At Home At The Dakota Apartments

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EPISODE 321 The Hollywood icon and Broadway star Lauren Bacall lived at the Dakota Apartments on the Upper West Side for 53 years. Her story is intertwined the Dakota, a revolutionary apartment complex built in 1884. In this episode, we tell both their stories.

Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske, the daughter of Jewish Eastern European immigrants, worked her way from theater usher to cover model at a young age, then became a movie star before she was 20 years old. Her film pairings with husband Humphrey Bogart define the classic Hollywood era.

After Bogart died, she returned to New York City to reinvent her career, her sights aimed at the Broadway stage. And she chose the Dakota as her home.

Built by Singer Sewing Machine president Edward Clark, the Dakota was a pioneer of both apartment-style living and of living, generally speaking, on the Upper West Side.

This is the story of second and third acts -- both for an woman of grit and independent spirit and for a landmark with a million stories to tell (and a million more to come).

boweryboyshistory.com

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Apr 21 2020

41mins

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Hart Island: The Loneliest Place in New York

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Few people are allowed to go onto Hart Island, the quiet, narrow island in the Long Island Sound, a lonely place in sight of the bustling community of City Island.

For more than 150 years, Hart Island has been New York's potter's field, the burial site for more than one million people -- unclaimed bodies, stillborn babies, those who died of AIDS in the 1980s and 90s, and, in 2020, the location of burials of those who have died of COVID-19 coronavirus.

Hart Island's appearance in the international press this past week has drawn attention to the severity of the pandemic in New York City, but it has also drawn attention to the island itself.

By the early 19th century, this peaceful place -- most likely named for deer which may have called it home -- had already developed a violent reputation as a renegade site for boxing matches. During the Civil War, black Union troops trained here and later Confederate soldiers were imprisoned in refitted prison barracks.

But in the late 1860s the city prepared the island for its eventual and longest lasting purpose. Today it is the world's largest potter's field. And thanks to groups like the Hart Island Project, New Yorkers may finally get a glimpse at this strange, forlorn place and the previously forgotten people buried here.

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Apr 17 2020

38mins

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The Tale of Charging Bull and Fearless Girl

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EPISODE 319 In simpler times, thousands of tourists would flock to the northern tip of Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan to take a picture with a rather unconventional New Yorker -- the bronze sculpture Charging Bull by Italian-American artist Arturo Di Modica.

Bull is a product of the 1980s New York art scene, delivered as a gift to the New York Stock Exchange (and to the American people, according to the artist) one late night in December 1989.

Nobody may have asked for this particular gift, but soon New Yorkers fell in love with the bull, and the sculpture was soon placed near Bowling Green, one of New York City's oldest public spaces.

By the early 1990s, Charging Bull had become one of the most photographed pieces of art in America, beloved as both work of sculpture and a genuine, photo-friendly curiosity.

But in 2017, the bull faced down an unusual new neighbor -- another bronze named Fearless Girl by Kristen Visbal. Girl soon became very popular with budding selfie-takers, but her proximity to Bull changed its fundamental meaning. An art scandal in lower Manhattan was brewing!

boweryboyshistory.com

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Apr 14 2020

35mins

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Moonstruck: That's Amore!

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EPISODE 318 Moonstruck, the 1987 comedy starring Cher and Nicolas Cage, not only celebrates that crazy little thing called love, but also pays tribute to the Italian working class residents of the old "South Brooklyn" neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens.

Listen in as Greg and Tom recap the story and explore the many real New York City settings of the film -- from the glamorous Lincoln Center to the still-gritty streets of 1980s Little Italy.

While the film's most recognizable location (the townhouse on Cranberry Street) is still with us, other places like the Cammareri Bros. Bakery are no longer with in business. 

This podcast can be enjoyed both by those who have seen the film and those who’ve never even heard of it.  

We think our take on Moonstruck might inspire you to look for the film’s many fascinating (but easy to overlook) historical details, so if you don’t mind being spoiled on the plot, give it a listen first, then watch the movie! Otherwise, come back to the show after you’ve watched it.

Also: Announcing the Bowery Boys "Safe At Home" Listener Challenge

Take part in a future Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast! We're looking for stories about feeling at home in New York City.

As we discuss at the beginning of the show, we're looking for stories about "home in New York" from native New Yorkers, those who have moved to New York, and those who only visit New York.

Just call our Bowery Boys hotline and record a message. Our number is (844) 4-BOWERY.

Messages can be up to one minute long. Be sure to leave your first name and the city you’re calling from. And we’ll include as many stories as we can in our upcoming show. Thank you!

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Apr 10 2020

1hr 18mins

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Vaccinated: New York and the Polio Outbreak

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EPISODE 317 In 1916 New York City became the epicenter of one of America's very first polio epidemics.

The scourge of infantile paralysis infected thousands of Americans that year, most under the age of five. But in New York City it was especially bad. The Department of Health took drastic measures, barring children from going out in public and even labeling home with polio sufferers, urging others to stay away.

That same year, up in the Bronx, a young couple named Daniel and Dora Salk -- the children of Eastern European immigrants -- were themselves raising their young son named Jonas. As an adult, Jonas Salk would spend his life combating the poliovirus in the laboratory, creating a vaccine that would change the world.

In 1921 a young lawyer and politician named Franklin Delano Roosevelt would contract what was believed at the time to be polio. He would use his connections and power -- first as governor of New York, then as president of the United States -- to guide the nation's response to the virus.

FEATURING: The story of Albert Sabin and the origin of the March of Dimes.

ALSO: The second half of the show is devoted to the question -- who came up the first vaccine anyway? Presenting the story of Edward Jenner -- and a cow named Blossom.

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Apr 07 2020

1hr

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Jenny Lind at Castle Garden

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EPISODE 316 What happens when P. T. Barnum, America's savviest supplier of both humbug and hoax, decides it's time to go legit? Only one of the greatest concert tours in American history.

If you've seen the film musical The Greatest Showman, you've been introduced to Jenny Lind, the opera superstar dubbed "The Swedish Nightingale". And you also know that Barnum, taken with the Swedish songstress, brings her to New York to begin a heavily promoted American debut.

But the film sidesteps many of the more fascinating details. Lind was greeted like a queen and rock star when she arrived at the Canal Street dock despite most New Yorkers having never heard her sing.

Her stage was Castle Garden, the former fort turned performance venue that sat in New York harbor, connected to the Battery by a small bridge.

The concert proved legendary. And Lind proved herself an enterprising businesswoman, bending even the will of a profiteer like Barnum. Her financial arrangement for the tour would influence 170 years of musical performances and cement her reputation as one of the greatest vocalists of the 19th century.

Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

Apr 03 2020

47mins

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Awesome.

By Pepper Rothesay - Mar 08 2020
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I enjoy EVERY show. So happy history is being shared.

It’s a wonderful town

By See Jane Illinois - Mar 07 2020
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So interesting and entertaining. Love the BBs