Fri, 29 April 2011
Donald Trump - financial wizard, reality star, or political distraction? The secret in figuring him out may be contained in the roots of his wealth -- a saga that stretches back to the 1880s and begins with a 16-year-old boy named Drumpf who made his living in a barber shop. From there, the story unfolds during the early days of Queens, a borough once sparsely populated and ready for development.
Donald's father Fred built thousands of middle-class homes throughout Queens and Brooklyn and embroiled himself in some controversy regarding the remains of TWO Coney Island theme parks. The Donald built upon the reputation of his father to become a successful Manhattan developer and a flamboyant celebrity with seemingly bottomless levels of lucre. But of course everyone has their limit.
Featuring trivia about Trump Tower, Riverside South and other Trump-labeled properties, this is the brief history of the family behind the New York's glitziest name brand.
CORRECTION TO THE PODCAST: I say the GM Building when I meant the Gulf Western Building
Fri, 15 April 2011
How did Manhattan get its orderly rows of numbered streets and avenues? In the early 18th century, New York was growing rapidly, but the new development was confined on an island, giving city planners a rare opportunity to mold a modern city that was orderly, sophisticated and even (they thought at the time) healthy. With the Commissioners Plan of 1811, uniform blocks were created without regards to hills and streams or even to the owners of the property!
Join us as we recount this monumental event in New York's history -- how land above Houston Street was radically transformed and also how the city revolted in many places. What about those avenues A, B, C and D? Why doesn't the West Village snap to the grid? And why on earth did the early planners not arrange for any major parks?!
ALSO: A podcast within a podcast as we focus on the biography of one of those commissioners. Give it up for Gouverneur Morris, the casanova with Constitutional connections, a Bronx estate and a wooden pegleg.