Cover image of The Bowery Boys: New York City History
(2005)

Rank #22 in History category

Society & Culture
History
Places & Travel

The Bowery Boys: New York City History

Updated 2 days ago

Rank #22 in History category

Society & Culture
History
Places & Travel
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?

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?

iTunes Ratings

2005 Ratings
Average Ratings
1626
268
55
35
21

Excellent!

By 4thlakemum - Nov 07 2019
Read more
They have excellent content as well as amazing delivery!

I enjoy it

By bigdadaism - Nov 07 2019
Read more
The house Jenny robs features a cameo by Scorsese . Come on guys

iTunes Ratings

2005 Ratings
Average Ratings
1626
268
55
35
21

Excellent!

By 4thlakemum - Nov 07 2019
Read more
They have excellent content as well as amazing delivery!

I enjoy it

By bigdadaism - Nov 07 2019
Read more
The house Jenny robs features a cameo by Scorsese . Come on guys
Cover image of The Bowery Boys: New York City History

The Bowery Boys: New York City History

Updated 2 days ago

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

Mar 19 2010

1hr 7mins

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Rank #2: #54 The Creation of Central Park

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Come with us to the beginnings of New York's most popular and most ambitious park -- from the inkling of an idea to the arduous construction. Learn who got uprooted and find out who the park was REALLY intended for.
www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Sep 19 2008

30mins

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Rank #3: #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

Aug 06 2010

48mins

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Rank #4: #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

Feb 10 2012

46mins

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Rank #5: #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

Mar 09 2012

45mins

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Rank #6: #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

Dec 19 2008

38mins

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Rank #7: #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

Mar 18 2011

49mins

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Rank #8: #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

Sep 19 2008

31mins

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Rank #9: #244 The Rise of the Fifth Avenue Mansions

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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

Nov 24 2017

49mins

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Rank #10: #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

Nov 18 2008

36mins

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Rank #11: #65 Spooky Stories of New York

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By popular demand, we return to the creepier tales of New York City
history, ghost tales and stories of murder and mayhem, all of them at
some point involving great American icons -- Alexander Hamilton, P.T.
Barnum, Dorothy Parker and Mark Twain.

Our older shows will be available on iTunes next week! Just look for
the show called Bowery Boys Archives for our first year of shows,
remastered and re-edited.

www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Oct 10 2008

34mins

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Rank #12: #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

Jul 02 2009

38mins

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Rank #13: #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

Feb 20 2015

51mins

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Rank #14: #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!

Sep 01 2016

54mins

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Rank #15: #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!

Feb 08 2013

48mins

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Rank #16: #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

Apr 05 2013

55mins

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Rank #17: #168 DUEL! Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton

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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 so detested each other that their vitriolic words (well, mostly Hamilton's) led to these two grown men shooting each other out of honor and dignity, while robbing America of their brilliance, leadership and talent.
 
You may know the story of this duel from history class, but this podcast focuses on its proximity to New York City, to their homes Richmond Hill and Hamilton Grange and to the places they conducted their legal practices and political machinations.
 
Which side are you on?
 
ALSO: Find out the fates of sites that are associated with the duel, including the place Hamilton died and the rather disrespectful journey of the dueling grounds in Weehawken.
 
CORRECTION: Alexander Hamilton had his fateful dinner as the house of Judge James Kent, not John Kent, as I state here.

Jul 11 2014

29mins

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Rank #18: #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

Mar 16 2017

54mins

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Rank #19: #186 Hell's Kitchen: New York's Wild West

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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 for over 150 years.This sprawling tenement area was home to some of the most notorious slums in the city, and sinister streets like Battle Row were frequent sites of vice and unrest. The streets were ruled by such gangs as the Gophers and the Westies, leaving their bloody fingerprints in subtle ways today in gentrified building which at one time contained the most infamous speakeasies and taverns.We break down this breathtaking history and try to get to the real reason for its unusual name. And we have a devil of a good time uncovering it! www.boweryboyshistory.comWe are now a member of Patreon, a patronage platform where you can support your favorite content creators for as little as a $1 a month.Please visit our page on Patreon and watch a short video of us recording the show and talking about our expansion plans.  If you’d like to help out, there are five different pledge levels (and with clever names too — Mannahatta, New Amsterdam, Five Points, Gilded Age, Jazz Age and Empire State). Check them out and consider being a sponsor.
We greatly appreciate our listeners and readers and thank you for joining us on this journey so far. And the best is yet to come!

Jul 09 2015

50mins

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Rank #20: #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.

Jul 20 2017

59mins

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