The Bowery Boys: New York City History
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?
#96 The Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park The Cloisters, home of the Metropolitan Museum's repository for medieval treasures, was a labor of love for many lovers of great European art. In this podcast, I highlight three of the most important men in its history -- a passionate sculptor, a generous multimillionaire and a jet-setting curator. Equally as fascinating is the upper Manhattan park that houses the museum, a site of a Revolutionary War fort of the same name and the exploits of the war's most heroic women. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 96_The_Cloisters_and_Fort_Tryon_Park.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:07pm EST

#95 Tin Pan Alley The modern music industry begins.... on 28th Street? A seemingly nondescript street in midtown Manhattan contains some of the most important buildings where early American pop music was created. Tin Pan Alley was a bustling and frenzied area, the most creative area of the city, with songwriters -- and song pluggers -- churning out iconic music. Sing along as we talk about the greatest songwriters and the process they went through to create the most influential tunes of the century. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 95_Tin_Pan_Alley.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:21am EST

#94 Corlear's Hook and the Pirates of the East River

Avast ye mateys, there were indeed pirates in New York! Not only did they operate throughout the New York region in the 19th century, most of their grave misdeeds were focused around the East River waterfront, and in particular, Corlear's Hook.

Once a sandy beach, Corlear's Hook, at the bend in the river in lower Manhattan, has a history that include mass slaughter, innovations of the shipping trade, the heart of New York prostitution and the birth of the tenement. And in the last half of the 19th century harbored pirate gangs with names like the Daybreak Boys, the Hook Gang and the Tub of Blood Bunch.

 

www.boweryboyspodcast.com

Direct download: Corlears_Hook_and_the_Pirates_of_the_East_River.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:36pm EST

#93 City Hall and City Hall Park New York City Hall sits majestically inside a nostalgic, well-manicured park, topped with a beautiful old fountain straight out of gaslight-era New York. But its serenity belies the frantic pace of government inside City Hall walls, and disguises a tumultuous, vibrant history. There have actually been two other city halls -- one an actual tavern, the other a temporary seat of national government -- and the one we're familiar with today is a little less than 200 years old. Join us as we explore the unusual history of this building, through ill-executed fireworks, disgruntled architects, and its near-destruction -- to be saved only by a man named Grosvenor Atterbury. PLUS: We look at the park area itself, a common land that once catered to livestock, British soldiers, almshouses and a big, garish post office. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: city_hall.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:37am EST

#92 Steinway: the Piano Man Henry Steinway, a German immigrant who came to New York in 1850, made his name in various showrooms and factories in downtown Manhattan, enticing the wealthy with his award-winning quality pianos. At their grand Steinway Hall on 14th Street, the family turned a popular concert venue into a clever marketing opportunity. But their ultimate fate would lie outside of Manhattan; the Steinways would graduate from an innovative factory on Park Avenue to their very own company village in Queens, the basis of a neighborhood which still bears their name today. You may not know much about pianos, but you've cross path with this family's influence in the city. Tune in for this short history of Henry Steinway and his sons. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 92_Steinway_and_Sons.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:07pm EST

#91 Haunted Tales of New York It's time for our third annual 'ghost stories' episode, our mix of historical facts and spooky legends from the annals of New York's past. For this round of scary tales, we visit a famous 19th century townhouse haunted by a lonely spinster, a West Village speakeasy with some guests who still haven't gone home, and the site of a former restaurant that might be possessed with the spirit of a famous folk singer. ALSO: we go back all the way to New Amsterdam for an old legend involving Peter Stuyvesant, a turbulent river, and the Devil himself! www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 91_Haunted_Tales_of_New_York.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:02pm EST

#90 Columbia University We're going back to school with one of New York's oldest continually operating institutions -- Columbia University. Or should we say, King's College, the pre-Revolution New York school that spawned religious controversy and a few Founding Fathers to boot. Listen in as we chart its locations throughout the city -- from the vicinity of Trinity Church to midtown Manhattan. And finally to its permanent home on the 'Academic Acropolis' in Morningside Heights. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 90_Columbia_University.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:22pm EST

#89 Chelsea Hotel Arguably New York's least conventional hotel, the Chelsea Hotel (or rather, the Hotel Chelsea) is the one of New York's counter-culture centers, a glamorous, art-filled Tower of Babel for both creativity and debauchery. From Mark Twain to Andy Warhol, it's been both inspiration and location for artistic wonder. We wind back the clock to the beginnings of Chelsea and to the hotel's early years as one of the city's cooperative apartment buildings. What made the Chelsea so different? And why are people still fighting over this storied structure today? www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: hotel_chelsea.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:18am EST

#88 Ellis Island For millions of Americans, Ellis Island is the symbol of introduction, the immigrant depot that processed their ancestors and offered an opening into a new American life. But for some, it would truly be an 'Island of Tears', a place where they would be excluded from that life. How did an island with such humble beginnings -- 'Little Oyster Island', barely a sliver of land in the New York harbor -- become so crucial? Who is the 'Ellis' of Ellis Island? And how did it survive decades of neglect to become one of New York's most famous tourist attractions? Dedicated to my niece Courtney, who specifically suggested this episode.
Direct download: 88_Ellis_Island.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:08pm EST

#87 The Kings of New York Pizza New Yorkers are serious about their pizza, and it all started with a tiny grocery store in today's Little Italy and a group of young men who became the masters of pizza making. In this podcast, you'll find out all about the city's oldest and most revered pizzerias -- Lombardi's, Totonno's, John's, Grimaldi's and Patsy's in all its variations. But if those are the greatest names in New York-style pizza, then who the heck is Ray -- Original, Famous or otherwise? www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 87_Lombardis_the_Origin_of_New_York_Pizza.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:34pm EST

#86 Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall 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
Direct download: 86_Boss_Tweed_and_Tammany_Hall.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:27am EST

#85 Shakespeare in the Park What started in a tiny East Village basement grew to become one of New York's most enduring summer traditions, Shakespeare in the Park, featuring world class actors performing the greatest dramas of the age. But another drama was brewing just as things were getting started. It's Robert Moses vs. Shakespeare! Joseph Papp vs. the city! ALSO: Learn how the Public Theater got off the ground and helped save an Astor landmark in the process. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 85_Shakespeare_In_The_Park.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:23pm EST

#84 Prospect Park Prospect Park, Brooklyn's biggest public space and home to the borough's only natural forest, was a sequel for Olmsted and Vaux after their revolutionary creation Central Park. But can these two landscape architects still work together or will their egos get in the way? And what happens to their dream when McKim, Meade and White and Robert Moses get to it? ALSO: what glamorous 1960s movie actor is buried here? www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 84_Prospect_Park_.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:00am EST

#83 Henry Hudson We turn the clock back to the very beginnings of New York history -- to the European discovery of Manahatta and the voyages of Henry Hudson. Originally looking for a passage to Asia, Hudson fell upon New York harbor and the Lenape inhabitants of lands that would later make up New York City. The river that was eventually named after Hudson may not have provided access to Asia, but it did offer something else that attracted the Dutch and eventually the very first settlement, New Amsterdam. I'll tell you what it is as I share the strange and slightly oddball history of this influential explorer. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 83_Henry_Hudson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:30pm EST

#82 Roosevelt Island Originally a quiet island of orchards and stone quarries, the place we call Roosevelt Island today was once New York's 'city of asylums', the place where it sent its infirm, its incarcerated, its insane. Today it has the peculiar air of a small town with one of the best views in the world. Find out about its numerous names (from Hog's Island to Welfare Island), its many former institutions, and the stories behind the island's several existing ruins, including the ghostly remains of a smallpox hospital. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 82_Roosevelt_Island.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:08am EST

#81 Puck Building A 6-foot plump gold impish figure stares down at you as you look up to observe the gorgeous red-brick design of the Puck Building, built for one of the 19th Century's most popular illustrated publications. But this architectural masterpiece was very nearly wiped away by a sudden decision by the city. How did it survive?

Puck's utterance "What Fools These Mortals Be!" is the slogan for Puck Magazine and words written by Shakespeare.

www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 81_Puck_Building.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:10pm EST

#80 Penn Station The story of Pennsylvania Station involves more than just nostalgia for the long-gone temple of transportation as designed by the great McKim, Meade and White. It's a tale of incredible tunnels, political haggling and big visions. Find out why the original Penn Station was built to look so classical, why it was then torn down, and what strange behaviors the tunnels that connect it to New Jersey exhibit every night. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 80_Penn_Station.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:28am EST

#79 The Whyos: Gang of New York The Whyos (pronounced Why-Ohs) were New York's most notorious gang after the Civil War, organizing their criminal activities and terrorizing law abiding citizens of the Gilded Age. Find out when they lived, how they broke the law and who they were -- from Googie Corcoran to Dandy Johnny, as well as two particularly notable guys named Danny. ALSO: How much does it cost to have somebody's ear bitten off?
Direct download: 79_The_Whyos.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:38am EST

#78 The Great Fire of 1835 The Great Fire of 1835 devastated the city during one freezing December evening, destroying hundreds of buildings and changing the face of Manhattan forever. It underscored the city's need for a functioning water system and permanent fire department. So why were there so many people drinking champagne in the street? Listen in as we recount this breathtaking tale of the biggest fire in New York City history. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: fire_of_1835.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:04am EST

#77 Freedomland U.S.A. What is Freedomland U.S.A.? An unusual theme park in the Bronx, only in existence for less than five years, Freedomland has become the object of fascination for New York nostalgia lovers everywhere. Created by an outcast of Walt Disney's inner circle, Freedomland practically defines 60s kitsch, with dozens of rides and amusements related to saccharine views of American history. Along the way, we'll take a visit to the Blast-Off Bunker, Casa Loco, and, yes, Borden's Barn Boudoir! www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 77_Freedomland_U.S.A.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:39pm EST

#76 Woolworth Building F.W. Woolworth was the self-made king of retail's newfangled 'five and dime' store and his pockets were overflowing with cash. Meanwhile, in New York, the contest to build the tallest building was underway. The two combine to create one of Manhattan's most handsome buildings, cutting a Gothic profile designed by America's hottest architect of the early century. So what does it all have to do with sneakers and gym clothes? www.boweryboyspodcast.com (with an extra 'Bowery Boys blooper' after the show)
Direct download: 76_Woolworth_Building.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:13pm EST

#75 Williamsburg(h), Brooklyn Williamsburg used to have an H at the end of its name, not to mention dozens of major industries that once made it the tenth wealthiest place in the world. How did Williamsburgh become a haven for New York's most well-known factories and how did it then become the wildly diverse neighborhood it is today? Find out how its history connects with whalebones, baseball, beer, and medicine for intestinal worms. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 75_Williamsburgh_Brooklyn.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:46pm EST

#74 Ziegfeld! Cue the dancing girls, lower the props, raise the curtain -- it's the Bowery Boys and we're taking on Broadway's most famous producer, Florenz Ziegfeld! We give you a brief overview of the first days of Broadway, then sweep into Ziegfeld's life -- from his early successes (both professional and personal) to his famous Follies. And find out how the current Ziegfeld Theatre, a movie house, relates to the original Ziegfeld Theatre, home of Broadway's first 'real' musical, Show Boat. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 74_Ziegfeld.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:59pm EST

#73 Webster Hall Webster Hall, as beautifully worn and rough-hewn as it was during its heyday in the 1910s and 20s, disguises a very surprising past, a significant venue in the history of the labor movement, Greenwich Village bohemia, gay and lesbian life, and pop and rock music. Its ballroom has hosted the likes of Emma Goldman, Marcel Duchamp, Elvis Presley, Robert F Kennedy and Madonna. Listen in to find out how it got it's reputation as 'the devil's playhouse'. www.boweryboyspodcast.com
Direct download: 73_Webster_Hall.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:25pm EST