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?

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.

Direct download: 01_232_Story_of_Soho.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:13pm EDT

While Greg and Tom are away this week on life-changing adventures, please enjoy this very New York City-centric episode of the Bowery Boys spinoff podcast The First: Stories of Inventions and their Consequences --

The Black Crook is considered the first-ever Broadway musical, a dizzying, epic-length extravaganza of ballerinas, mechanical sets, lavish costumes and a storyline about the Devil straight out of a twisted hallucination.

The show took New York by storm when it debuted on September 12, 1866. This is the story of how this completely weird, virtually unstageable production came to pass. Modern musicals like Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and Hamilton wouldn’t quite be what they are today without this curious little relic.

Featuring music by Adam Roberts and Libby Dees, courtesy the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

And the voice of Ben Rimalower reading the original reviews of the Black Crook.

And our special thanks to Secret Summer NYC for sponsoring this episode. Please visit www.secretsummernyc.com for more information and to get tickets.

boweryboyshistory.com 

 

Direct download: The_Bowery_Boys_Present__The_First_Broadway_Musical.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:49pm EDT