300 episodes

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?

The Bowery Boys: New York City History Bowery Boys Media

    • History
    • 4.9 • 64 Ratings

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?

    Literary Horrors of New York City

    Literary Horrors of New York City

    EPISODE 343 In the 14th annual Bowery Boys Halloween podcast, we celebrate some classic strange and supernatural terrors written by the most famous horror writers in New York City history.

    Since 2020 is already a year full of absurd twists and frights, we thought we'd celebrate the season in a slightly different way. Don't worry! Tom and Greg are delivering a new batch of frightening stories. But this time the selected stories have been made famous by great writers who have lived and worked in New York City.

    Included in this year's terrors:

    -- A celebration of the 200th anniversary of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," featuring the Headless Horseman and the backstory of this classic story's creation;

    -- The unsettling days of H.P. Lovecraft in Brooklyn where his xenophobia, racism and anxiety manifest into a pair of dark, claustrophobic tales, plucked from the waterfront and the West Village;

    -- A bizarre and allegedly true story (or is it an urban legend?) of an unconventional jewel thief, made famous by that 20th century purveyor of all things unbelievable -- Robert Ripley;

    -- And a look at the life of Patricia Highsmith -- celebrating the 100th anniversary of her birth a bit early -- whose nasty little tales of mad murderers have inspired Hollywood and unsettled a new generation of suspense lovers.

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    • 1 hr 23 min
    Ghost Stories of Old New York (ALIVE at Joe's Pub)

    Ghost Stories of Old New York (ALIVE at Joe's Pub)

    EPISODE 342 Prepare to hear a few spirited stories in a whole new way.

    For the past couple years hosts Tom Meyers and Greg Young have also done a LIVE cabaret version of their annual ghost story show at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. For reasons related to the fact that it’s the hellish year of 2020, we cannot bring you a live performance this year.

    But we miss the wonderful Joe’s Pub so much – and we miss being with our listeners in a cabaret setting with cocktails – that we’re presenting to you a live recording of our last show at the storied venue, recorded on Halloween night 2019, featuring pianist and composer Andrew Austin and vocalist Bessie D Smith.

    Prepare to hear new versions of your favorite ghost stories including:

    -- A Brooklyn house haunting that may be related to the spectres from a colonial-era prison ship;

    -- A famous murder trial from the year 1800 and a mysterious well that still stands in the neighborhood of SoHo;

    -- The ghosts (or other supernatural entities) which guard the treasure of the famous Captain Kidd; and

    -- The mournful secrets of a famed Broadway theater and the inner demons of a Hollywood icon.

    With an all new ghostly tale -- WHO HAUNTS THE FORMER ASTOR LIBRARY?

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    • 1 hr 21 min
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    EPISODE 341 Celebrating the history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 150th year since its founding -- and certainly one of the strangest years in its extraordinary existence. 

    The Met is really the king of New York attractions, with visitors heading up to Central Park and streaming through the doors by the millions to gasp at the latest blockbuster exhibitions and priceless works of art and history. 

    And who doesn’t love getting lost at the Met for a rainy afternoon — wandering from the Greek and Roman galleries to the imposing artifacts within the Arms and Armor collection and the treasures of the Asian Art rooms?

    But this museum has some surprising secrets in its history -- and more than a few skeletons (or are those mummies?) in its closet.

    WITH Ancient temples, fabulous fashions, classical relics, Dutch masters, controversial exhibitions and the decorative trappings of the Gilded Age.

    AND Find out how the museum building has evolved over the years, employing some of the greatest architects in American history. 

    PLUS An interview with the Met's Andrea Bayer, Deputy Director for Collections and Administration, on the museum's celebratory exhibition Making the Met 1870-2020. How do you launch an anniversary celebration during a pandemic and lockdown?

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    • 1 hr 23 min
    The Mystery of the Central Park Obelisk

    The Mystery of the Central Park Obelisk

    Cleopatra’s Needle is the name given to the ancient Egyptian obelisk that sits in Central Park, right behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This is the bizarre tale of how it arrived in New York and the unusual forces that went behind its transportation from Alexandra to a hill called Greywacke Knoll.

    FEATURING The secrets of the Freemasons, a mysterious and controversial fraternity who have been involved in several critical moments in American history (including the inauguration of fellow Mason George Washington.)

    PLUS A newly recorded tale about another ancient landmark that has made its way to New York City -- a column from the ancient city of Jerash, brought here because of ... Robert Moses?

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    This is a re-presentation of a show originally released on June 26, 2014 with new 2020 bonus material recorded for this episode. 

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    • 54 min
    The Real Life Adventures of Tom Thumb

    The Real Life Adventures of Tom Thumb

    EPISODE 340 Charles Stratton, who would become world famous as “Tom Thumb” in the mid-19th century, was born in Bridgeport, CT on January 4, 1838 to parents of average height, and he grew normally during the first six months of his life -- to about 25 inches or so. And then, surprisingly, he just stopped growing. 

    When P.T. Barnum, the master showman, would meet Charles and his parents, Charlie was 4, and he’d be signed on the spot to play the part of “General Tom Thumb” at Barnum’s American Museum. He’d be given a fancy new wardrobe, a new nationality (British), and a new age -- 11 years old.

    Charles would perform for the rest of his life as “Tom Thumb”. He’d enchant European royalty and American presidents, and sell out crowds around the world. And in 1863, during the darkest days of the Civil War, he’d be married in New York’s Grace Church to Lavinia Warren, another Barnum employee and another performer of short stature. Their wedding would be a sensation, and would actually knock news from the battlefields off the front page of the New York Times for three days.

    We're joined in today’s show by four guests:

    Dr. Michael Mark Chemers is a Professor of Dramatic Literature and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He’s the author of Staging Stigma: A Critical Examination of the American Freak Show published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2008, in which he looks into the career and reception of Charles Stratton. 

    Eric Lehman is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Bridgeport and the author of 18 books, including Becoming Tom Thumb, published in 2013 by Wesleyan University Press.

    Kathy Maher is the Executive Director of the Barnum Museum and is celebrating her 22nd year with the Museum. Located an hour out of New York City, P.T. Barnum's last museum continues to stand on Main Street in the heart of downtown Bridgeport, CT, his adopted home.  Although the Barnum Museum is currently closed due to covid-19 regulations, the Museum remains active with social media, virtual programming and a major historic restoration and re-envisioning https://barnum-museum.org/

    Robert Wilson has been the editor of The American Scholar magazine since 2004. Before that, he edited Preservation magazine and was the book editor and columnist for USA Today. His previous books include The Explorer King (2006), about the 19th-century scientist, explorer, and writer Clarence King, and Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation (2013), about the Civil War photographer. His most recent book, Barnum: An American Life (from 2019), has just been published in paperback. 

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    • 1 hr 7 min
    The Revolutionary Tavern of Samuel Fraunces

    The Revolutionary Tavern of Samuel Fraunces

    Fraunces Tavern is one of America’s most important historical sites of the Revolutionary War and a reminder of the great importance of taverns on the New York way of life during the Colonial era.

    This revered building at the corner of Pearl and Broad street was the location of George Washington‘s farewell address to his Continental Army officers and one of the first government buildings of the young United States of America. John Jay and Alexander Hamilton both used Fraunces as an office.

    As with many places connected to the country’s birth — where fact and legend intermingle — many mysteries still remain.

    Was the tavern owner Samuel Fraunces one of America’s first great black patriots? Did Samuel use his position here to spy upon the British during the years of occupation between 1776 and 1783? Was his daughter on hand to prevent an assassination attempt on the life of George Washington? And is it possible that the basement of Fraunces Tavern could have once housed a dungeon?

    ALSO: Learn about the two deadly attacks on Fraunces Tavern — one by a British war vessel in the 1770s, and another, more violent act of terror that occurred in its doorway 200 years later!

    PLUS: Where to find the ruins of Lovelace's Tavern, dating back to the days of New Amsterdam.

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    This is a re-presentation of a show originally released on March 18, 2011 with new 2020 bonus material recorded for this episode. 

    Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboys

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
64 Ratings

64 Ratings

Aussiemavsfan ,

Best podcast going around

This really is one of the best podcasts going around. All NYC or history lovers should give this a listen.

AJB68 ,

Informative and lots of fun.

I've been a fan for years - one of the best podcasts out there.
Greg and Tom take you on an amazing tour of New York. Informative but also lots of fun.

MOKROK ,

Love from the Land down Under

As a massive fan of NYC, this podcast is just what you need to pass the time while saving your $$$ to return. History made entertaining! Keep up the work gents!

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