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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

#269 Harry Houdini and the Golden Age of Magic in New York

8/9/2018
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Harry Houdini became one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, a showman whose escape artistry added a new dimension to the tried-and-true craft of stage magic. In this show, we present not only a mini-biography on the daredevil wizard, but a survey of the environment which made him -- a city of magic, mediums and mystery. New York during the late 19th century was a place of real, practical magic -- electric lights, elevated trains, telephones and other wonders that would have...

Duration:01:05:21

#268 The Astonishing Saga of Cyrus Field and the Atlantic Cable

7/26/2018
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New Yorkers threw a wild, exuberant celebration in the summer of 1858 in honor of 'the eighth wonder of the world', a technological achievement that linked North America and Europe by way of an underwater cable which sat on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The transatlantic cable was set to link the telegraph systems of the United Kingdom with those in the United States and Canada, and New Yorkers were understandably excited. Peter Cooper, one of the city's wealthiest men, was attached to...

Duration:00:55:10

#267 Broadway: The Story of a Street

7/12/2018
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Today we're joined by Fran Leadon, the author of a new history of Broadway, called “Broadway: A History of New York in 13 Miles”. We've discussed Broadway, the street, in just about every show we’ve done -- as so many of the city’s key events have taken place along Broadway or near it. And that’s also the point of Fran’s book -- by telling the story of a street, you’re actually telling the story of the entire city. On today’s show, we’ll be discussing how Broadway moved north --...

Duration:01:00:06

#266 New York City during the Revolutionary War (1776-1783)

6/28/2018
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What was life like in New York City from the summer of 1776 to the fall of 1783 -- the years of British occupation during the Revolutionary War? New York plays a very intriguing role in the story of American independence. The city and the surrounding area were successfully taken by the British by the end of 1776 -- George Washington and the Continental Army forced to escape for the good of the cause -- and the port city became the central base for British operations during the...

Duration:00:59:17

#265 Absolutely Flawless: A History of Drag in New York City

6/14/2018
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Television audiences are currently obsessed with shows like RuPaul's Drag Race and FX's Pose, presenting different angles on the profession and art of drag. New York City has been crucial to its current moment in pop culture and people have been performing and enjoy drag performers in this city for over 120 years. In the beginning there were two styles of drag -- vaudeville and ballroom. As female impersonators filled Broadway theaters -- one theater is even named for a famed gender...

Duration:01:04:50

#264 The Landmarks of Coney Island

5/31/2018
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The Coney Island Boardwalk -- officially the Riegelmann Boardwalk -- just became an official New York City scenic landmark, and to celebrate, the Bowery Boys are headed to Brooklyn's amusement capital to toast its most famous and long-lasting icons. Recorded live on location, this week's show features the backstories of these Coney Island classics: -- The Wonder Wheel, the graceful, eccentric Ferris wheel preparing to celebrate for its 100th year of operation; -- The Spook-o-Rama, a...

Duration:00:57:27

#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