Wed, 23 November 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, well-connected women.
One project would entirely change his life -- the completion of the classic In Cold Blood, a 'non-fiction novel' about a brutal mass murder in Kansas. Retreating from his many years of research, Truman decided to throw a party.
But this wasn't ANY party. This soiree -- a masquerade ball at the Plaza Hotel -- would have the greatest assemblage of famous folks ever gathered for something so entirely frivolous. An invite to the ball was the true golden ticket, coveted by every celebrity and social climber in America.
Come with us as we give you a tour of the planning of the Black and White Ball and a few glamorous details from that strange, glorious evening.
FEATURING: Harper Lee, Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Robert Frost, Lillian Hellman, Halston, Katherine Graham and a cast of thousands (well, or just 540)
Thu, 10 November 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 legacy of his cherished Players Club, the fabulous Stanford White-designed Gramercy Park social club for actors, artists and their admirers.
The Booths were a precursor to the Barrymores, an acting family who were as famous for their personal lives as they were for their dramatic roles. Younger brother John Wilkes Booth would horrify the nation in 1865, and Edwin would briefly retire from the stage. But an outpouring of love would bring him back to the spotlight and the greasepaint.
Thu, 27 October 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 to ensure that his glorious mechanical ride would forever change the world.
That it did, but unfortunately, its inventor paid a horrible price.
FEATURING a visit to one of the most famous wheels in the world and a trip to one of Chicago’s newest marvels.
This is a special preview for the new Bowery Boys spin-off podcast series The First: Stories of Inventions and their Consequences, brought to you by Bowery Boys host Greg Young.
Direct download: 01_The_Wheel__Ferris_Big_Idea_The_First_Special_Preview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05pm EST
Thu, 13 October 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 boroughs in this one (sorry Brooklyn!):
-- In the Bronx we highlight a bizarre house that once stood in the area of Hunts Point, a mansion of malevolent and disturbing mysteries
-- Then we turn to Manhattan to a rambunctious poltergeist on fashionable East 27th Street
-- Over in Queens, a lonely farmhouse in the area of today's Calvary Cemetery is witness to not one, but two unsettling and confounding deaths
-- Finally, in Staten Island, we take a visit to the glorious Vanderbilt Mausoleum, a historic landmark and a location with a few strange secrets of its own
PLUS: Stay tuned until the end to hear the trailer for the new Bowery Boys podcast series -- The First: Stories of Inventions and their Consequences
Thu, 29 September 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 this show is the South Bronx, once the tranquil farmlands of the Morris family and the location of the first commuter towns, situated along the new railroad. By the 1950s, however, a great number of socio-economic forces and physical changes were conspiring to make life in this area very, very challenging.
Construction projects like the Cross Bronx Expressway and shifts in living arrangements (from new public housing to the promise of Co-Op City) had isolated those who still lived in the old tenements of the South Bronx. Poverty and high crime rendered the neighborhood so undesirable that buildings were abandoned and even burned.
Mainstream attention (from notable television broadcasts to visits by the President of the United States) did not seem to immediately change things here. It would be up to local neighborhood activists and wide-ranging city and state programs -- not to mention the purveyors of an energetic new musical force -- to begin to improve the fortunes of this seemingly doomed borough.
FEATURING an interview with Inside Out Tours founder and chief tour guide Stacey Toussaint about the new Bronx renaissance.
ALSO: Appearances by Howard Cosell, Sonia Sotomayor, Robert Moses, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Jimmy Carter!
Direct download: 214_Bronx_Trilogy_Part_Three_The_Bronx_Was_Burning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:03pm EST
Thu, 15 September 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 Westchester County.
Thu, 1 September 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 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.
Our book Adventures In Old New York is now in bookstores and online, wherever books are sold!
Thu, 18 August 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?
Thu, 4 August 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 sides of the relation.
First -- the relationship between the city and the arcade itself, once filled with shooting galleries, skee ball and pinball machines which, in the 1930s. became public enemy number one for one of New York’s most powerful mayors.
The era of Space Invaders, Pac Man and Donkey Kong descends in New York during its grittiest period – the late 70s/early 80s – and arrives, like an alien presence, into many neighborhood arcades including one of the most famous in Chinatown – an arcade that is still open and the subject of a new documentary 'The Lost Arcade'.
While the video game industry is not something New York City is particularly associated with, the city does in fact set the stage for this revolution of blips and joysticks at the start of the 20th century.
Then it's on to Queens when you can find one of America's great tributes to the video game, in the arcade collection at the Museum of the Moving Image.
At the end Greg goes into the games themselves to explore New York as a digital landscape that continues to be of fascination to game developers and players alike.
So are you ready Player One? Grab your quarters and log in to this New York adventure through the world of video games.
Our book The Bowery Boys' Adventures In Old New York is now out in bookstores and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Direct download: 210_Digital_City__New_York_and_the_World_of_Video_Games.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46pm EST
Thu, 21 July 2016
You might think you know this tale, but do we have surprises for you.