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The tides of American history lead through the streets of New York City — from the huddled masses on Ellis Island to the sleazy theaters of 1970s Times Square. The elevated railroad to the Underground Railroad. Hamilton to Hammerstein! Greg and Tom explore more than 400 years of action-packed stories, featuring both classic and forgotten figures who have shaped the world.
 
From the automobile to the rocket ship, from chewing gum to the TV dinner, from the first face in a photograph to the first voice on the telephone, the world has been forever changed by impossible technologies and startling ideas. But these inventions do not always make the world a better place. These are the stories of The First, a podcast exploring the history of human innovation, focusing less on iconic inventors and more on the forgotten geniuses and everyday people that were responsible ...
 
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show series
 
The third and final part of the Bowery Boys Road Trip to Long Island -- the gay history of Fire Island! Fire Island is one of New York state’s most attractive summer getaways, a thin barrier island on the Atlantic Ocean lined with seaside villages and hamlets, linked by boardwalks, sandy beaches, natural dunes and water taxis. (And, for the most pa…
 
Our new mini-series Road Trip to Long Island featuring tales of historic sites outside of New York City. In the next leg of our journey, we visit Jones Beach State Park, the popular beach paradise created by Robert Moses on Long Island's South Shore. Well before he transformed New York City with expressways and bridges, Moses was an idealistic publ…
 
The first part of our new mini-series Road Trip to Long Island featuring tales of historic sites outside of New York City. In this episode, relive a little Jazz Age luxury by escaping into the colossal castles, manors and chateaus on Long Island's North Shore, the setting for one of America's most famous novels. The world is perhaps most familiar w…
 
Coney Island is back! After being closed for 2020 due to the pandemic, the unusual attractions, the thrilling rides and the stands selling delicious beer and hot dogs have finally reopened. So we are releasing this very special version of our 2018 show called Landmarks of Coney Island — special, because this is an extended version of that show feat…
 
Nature and history intertwine in all five boroughs -- from The Bronx River to the shores of Staten Island -- in this special episode about New York City's many botanical gardens. A botanical garden is more than just a pretty place; it's a collection of plant life for the purposes of preservation, education and study. But in an urban environment lik…
 
In celebration of 125 years of movie exhibition in New York City -- from vaudeville houses to movie palaces, from arthouses to multiplexes. In the spring of 1896 an invention called the Vitascope projected moving images onto a screen at a midtown vaudeville theater. The business of movies was born. By the late 1910s, the movies were big ... and the…
 
TOGETHER AGAIN! In 1984, Jim Henson brought his world-famous Muppets to New York for a wacky musical comedy that satirized the gritty, jaded environment of 1980s Manhattan while providing fascinating views of some of its most glamorous landmarks. On this springtime episode of the Bowery Boys Movie Club, listen in as Greg and Tom recap the story and…
 
New York's upper class families of the late 19th century lived lives of old-money pursuits and rigid, self-maintained social restrictions -- from the opera boxes to the carriages, from the well-appointed parlors to the table settings. It was leisure without relaxation. In this episode we examine the story of Edith Wharton -- the acclaimed American …
 
The story of a true Brooklyn 'start up' -- Charles Pfizer and Co, who went from developing intestinal worm medication in 1849 to being a leader of COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution in the 21st century. The origin of Pfizer is one of German immigration in the mid 19th century and of early medical practices and concoctions that might seem…
 
Welcome to your tour of New York City nightlife in the 1890s, to a fantasia of debauchery, to a "saturnalia of crime," your journey to a life of delicious, amoral delights! Courtesy a private detective, a blond-headed naif nicknamed Sunbeam and -- a prominent Presbyterian minister. In this episode, we're going to Sin City, the New York underworld o…
 
One of America's most important books was published 225 years ago this year. You won't find it on a shelf of great American literature. It was not written by a great man of letters, but somebody who described herself simply as 'an American orphan.' In 1796 a mysterious woman named Amelia Simmons published American Cookery, the first compilation of …
 
“If we were to offer a symbol of what Harlem has come to mean in a short span of twenty years, it would be another statue of liberty on the landward side of New York. Harlem represents the Negro’s latest thrust towards Democracy.” -- Alain Locke This is Part Two of our two-part look at the birth of Black Harlem, a look at the era BEFORE the 1920s, …
 
The Hotel Theresa is considered a genuine (if under-appreciated) Harlem gem, both for its unique architecture and its special place in history as the hub for African-American life in the 1940s and 50s. The luxurious apartment hotel was built by a German lace manufacturer to cater to a wealthy white clientele. But almost as soon as the final brick w…
 
How did Harlem become Harlem, the historic center of Black culture, politics and identity in American life? This is the story of revolutionary ideas -- and radical real estate. By the 1920s, Harlem had become the capital of Black America, where so many African-American thinkers, artists, writers, musicians and entrepreneurs would live and work that…
 
In the latest episode of the Bowery Boys Movie Club, Tom and Greg celebrate wild and fabulous Auntie Mame, the outrageous comedy masterpiece starring Rosalind Russell that’s mostly set on Beekman Place, the pocket enclave of New York wealth that transforms into a haven for oddballs and bohemian eccentrics. Auntie Mame cleverly uses historical event…
 
The World Trade Center opened its distinctive towers during one of New York City's most difficult decades, a beacon of modernity in a city beleaguered by debt and urban decay. Welcome to the 1970s. This year, believe it or not, marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Today there’s an entire generation tha…
 
PODCAST REWIND Stories of outrageous hoaxes perpetrated upon New Yorkers in the early 19th century. In the 1820s, the Erie Canal would completely change the fortunes of the young United States, turning the port city of New York into one of the most important in the world. But an even greater engineering challenge was necessary to prevent the entire…
 
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