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New York City history is America's history. It's the hometown of the world, and most people knows its familiar landmarks, buildings and streets. Why not look a little closer and have fun while doing it? The Bowery Boys, Greg Young and Tom Meyers, have lived in New York for the last fifteen years and have been curious about the city since the day they arrived. Join them for a fun take on history, a "romp down the back alleys of New York City." Every other week, they look into another fascinating aspect of the Big Apple -- the people, the places, its beginnings and effects on American culture.

New York City history is America's history. It's the hometown of the world, and most people knows its familiar landmarks, buildings and streets. Why not look a little closer and have fun while doing it? The Bowery Boys, Greg Young and Tom Meyers, have lived in New York for the last fifteen years and have been curious about the city since the day they arrived. Join them for a fun take on history, a "romp down the back alleys of New York City." Every other week, they look into another fascinating aspect of the Big Apple -- the people, the places, its beginnings and effects on American culture.
More Information

Location:

New York, NY

Description:

New York City history is America's history. It's the hometown of the world, and most people knows its familiar landmarks, buildings and streets. Why not look a little closer and have fun while doing it? The Bowery Boys, Greg Young and Tom Meyers, have lived in New York for the last fifteen years and have been curious about the city since the day they arrived. Join them for a fun take on history, a "romp down the back alleys of New York City." Every other week, they look into another fascinating aspect of the Big Apple -- the people, the places, its beginnings and effects on American culture.

Language:

English


Episodes

#262 Secrets of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

5/4/2018
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The Bowery Boys have finally made to one of the most enigmatic and miraculous houses of worship in America – the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This Episcopal cathedral has a story like no other and a collection of eccentric artifacts and allegorical sculpture – both ancient and contemporary – that continues to marvel and confound. Located in Morningside Heights in Upper Manhattan, St. John the Divine – named for the Apostle and author of the Book of Revelations -- is no ordinary...

Duration:01:11:10

#261 The Huddled Masses: Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty

4/19/2018
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The words of the The New Colossus, written 135 years ago by Jewish writer Emma Lazarus in tribute to the Statue of Liberty, have never been more relevant -- or as hotly debated -- as they are today. What do these words mean to you? "Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." In this episode, Tom and Greg look at the backstory of these verses -- considered sacred by many -- and the woman who created them. Emma...

Duration:01:10:25

#260 Journey to Grey Gardens: A Tale of Two Edies

4/5/2018
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In this episode of the Bowery Boys, Greg digs into the back story of one of the most famous documentaries ever made – Grey Gardens. The film, made by brother directing team Albert and David Maysles, looks at the lives of two former society women leading a life of seclusion in a rundown old mansion in the Hamptons. Those of you who have seen the film – or the Broadway musical or the HBO film inspired by the documentary – know that it possesses a strange, timeless quality. Mrs Edith Bouvier...

Duration:00:57:39

#259 Crossing to Brooklyn: How the Williamsburg Bridge Changed New York

3/22/2018
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Sure, the Brooklyn Bridge gets all the praise, but New York City's second bridge over the East River has an exceptional story of its own. In this episode, we'll answer some interesting questions, including: -- Why is the bridge named for a 19th century industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn and why is it not, for instance, called the Manhattan Bridge (a name not in use yet in 1903) or the East River Bridge (which was its original name)? -- Why did everybody think the bridge looked so...

Duration:00:55:08

#258 Tales from Tribeca

3/15/2018
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TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal) is a breathtaking neighborhood of astounding architectural richness. But how much do you know about this trendy destination and its patchwork of different histories? You'll be surprised to learn about what the many facets of this unusual place, including: -- Lispenard's Meadow, tracing back to the property's first Dutch settlers; -- St. John's Park, New York's first ritzy residential district; -- Washington Market, the open-air marvel that fed New Yorkers...

Duration:01:03:14

#257 Frozen In Time: The Great Blizzard of 1888

3/7/2018
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This year marks the 130th anniversary of one of the worst storms to ever wreak havoc upon New York City, the now-legendary mix of wind and snow called the Great Blizzard of 1888. The battering snow-hurricane of 1888, with its freezing temperatures and crazy drifts three stories high, was made worse by the condition of New York’s transportation and communication systems, all completely unprepared for 36 hours of continual snow. The storm struck on Monday, March 11, 1888, but many...

Duration:00:51:38

#256 DUMBO: Life on Brooklyn's Waterfront

3/1/2018
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Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) is, we think, a rather drab name for a historically significant place in Brooklyn where some of the daily habits of everyday Americans were invented. This industrial area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges traces its story to the birth of Brooklyn itself, to the vital ferry service that linked the first residents to the marketplaces of New York. Two early (lesser) Founding Fathers even attempted to build a utopian society here called...

Duration:01:00:58

#255 The Rescue of Grand Central

2/22/2018
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The survival of New York City's greatest train station is no accident. The preservation of Grand Central Terminal helped create the protections for all of America's greatest landmarks. By the 1950s, this glorious piece of architecture -- opened in 1913 as a sensational example of Beaux-Arts architecture -- was severely unloved and truly run down. It was also in danger. Long distance railroad travel was no longer fashionable and its real estate seemed better suited for a trendier...

Duration:00:55:42

#254 The Destruction of Penn Station

2/15/2018
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The original Penn Station, constructed in 1910 and designed by New York's greatest Gilded Age architectural firm, was more than just a building. Since its destruction in the 1960s, the station has become something mythic, a sacrificial lamb to the cause of historic preservation. Amplifying its loss is the condition of present Penn Station, a fairly unpleasant underground space that uses the original Pennsylvania Railroad's tracks and tunnels. As Vincent Scully once said, "Through...

Duration:01:03:20

#253 Opening Day of the New York City Subway

2/8/2018
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What was it like to experience that epic symbol of New York City – the world famous New York City subway system – for the first time? In this episode, we imagine what opening day was like for the first New York straphangers. We begin by recounting the subway system's construction and registering the excitement of New Yorkers in the days leading up to the opening on October 27, 1904. That fateful day was sheer pandemonium as thousands of people crammed into brand spanking new station to...

Duration:00:56:08

#252 The Underground Railroad: Escape through New York

2/1/2018
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For thousands of African-American enslaved people -- escaping the bonds of slavery in the South -- the journey to freedom wound its way through New York via the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a loose, clandestine network of homes, businesses and churches, operated by freed black people and white abolitionists who put it upon themselves -- often at great risk -- to hide fugitives on the run. New York and Brooklyn were vital hubs in this network but these cities were...

Duration:01:06:05

#251 McGurk's Suicide Hall: The Bowery's Most Notorious Dive

1/18/2018
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The old saloons and dance halls of the Bowery are familiar to anyone with a love of New York City history, their debauched and surly reputations appealing in a prurient way, a reminder of a time of great abandon. The Bowery bars and lounges of today often try to emulate the past in demeanor and decor. (Although nobody was drinking expensive bespoke cocktails back in the day.) But the dance hall at 295 Bowery, the loathsome establishment owned by John McGurk, was not a place to admire. It...

Duration:00:53:45

#250 The Empire State Building: Story of an Icon

1/11/2018
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Start spreading the news .... the Bowery Boys are finally going to the Empire State Building! New York City's defining architectural icon is greatly misunderstood by many New Yorkers who consider its appeal relegated to tourists and real estate titans. But this powerful and impressive symbol to American construction has a great many secrets among its 102 (or is that 103?) floors. The Empire State Building project was announced in 1929 by former New York governor Al Smith. The group of...

Duration:01:05:19

#249 Madam C.J. Walker: Harlem's Hair Care Millionaire

1/4/2018
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In 1867, Sarah Breedlove was born to parents who had once been enslaved on a Louisiana plantation. Less than fifty years later, Breedlove (as the hair care mogul Madam C.J. Walker) would be the richest African-American woman in the United States, a successful business owner and one of black America's great philanthropists. At her side was daughter Lelia (later A'lelia) Walker, guiding her mother's company to great success despite extraordinary obstacles. The Walkers moved to Harlem in the...

Duration:00:50:03

#248 Sitting Down with Roz Chast of the New Yorker

12/22/2017
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This week, we celebrate the end of the year by sitting down with Roz Chast, who has been contributing cartoons to the New Yorker Magazine since 1978. Chast is out with a new book, "Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York", which is a guidebook to living in -- and loving -- New York. We discuss her childhood in Brooklyn, life on the Upper West Side in the '70s and '80s, her favorite diner (which is still open!), working at the New Yorker, and much more.

Duration:01:00:17

#247 Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Golden Age of Broadway

12/14/2017
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Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are two of the greatest entertainers in New York City history. They have entertained millions of people with their unique and influential take on the Broadway musical -- serious, sincere, graceful and poignant. In this episode, we tell the story of this remarkable duo -- from their early years with other creators (Hammerstein with Jerome Kern, Rodgers with Lorenz Hart) to a run-down of all their shows. And almost all of it -- from the plains of...

Duration:00:59:36

#246 Tales from a Tenement: Three Families on the Lower East Side

12/7/2017
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In today’s show, we’ll continue to explore housing in New York, but move far from the mansions of Fifth Avenue to the tenements of the Lower East Side in the 20th Century. Specifically, we’ll be visiting one building, 103 Orchard Street, which is today part of the Tenement Museum. When we step inside 103 Orchard, we’ll be meeting three families who lived there after World War II: the Epsteins, the Saez-Velez family, and the Wong family. We’ll be getting to know them by walking through...

Duration:00:59:16

#245 The Fall of the Fifth Avenue Mansions

11/30/2017
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In this episode, the symbols of the Gilded Age are dismantled. During the late 19th century, New York's most esteemed families built extravagant mansions along Fifth Avenue, turning it into one of the most desired residential streets in the United States. The 'well-connected' families, along with the nouveau riche, planted their homes here, even as the realities of the city encroached around them. By 1925 most of the mansions below 59th Street were gone, victims of changing tastes and...

Duration:00:50:45

#244 The Rise of the Fifth Avenue Mansions

11/23/2017
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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...

Duration:00:52:52

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