355 episodes

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. 

The Bowery Boys: New York City History Bowery Boys Media

    • History
    • 4.7 • 2.5K Ratings

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. 

    The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary

    The Curious Case of Typhoid Mary

    An account of a mysterious typhoid fever outbreak from the early 20th century and the woman — Mary Mallon, the so-called Typhoid Mary — at the center of the strange epidemic.

    The tale of Typhoid Mary is a harrowing detective story and a chilling tale of disease and death.

    Why are whole healthy families suddenly getting sick with typhoid fever — from the languid mansions of Long Island’s Gold Coast to the gracious homes of Park Avenue?

    Can an intrepid researcher and investigator named George Soper locate a mysterious woman who may be unwittingly spreading this dire illness?

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    This show was originally broadcast on September 18, 2015

     

     

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    • 48 min
    LaGuardia's War on Pushcarts and the Creation of Essex St. Market

    LaGuardia's War on Pushcarts and the Creation of Essex St. Market

    EPISODE 345 Once upon a time, the streets of the Lower East Side were lined with pushcarts and salespeople haggling with customers over the price of fruits, fish and pickles. Whatever became of them?

    New York's earliest marketplaces were large and surprisingly well regulated hubs for commerce that kept the city fed. When the city was small, they served the hungry population well.

    But by the mid-19th century, massive waves of immigration and the necessary expansion of the city meant a lack of affordable food options for the city's poorest residents in overcrowded tenement districts.

    Then along came the peddler, pushcart vendors who brought bargains of all types -- edible and non-edible -- to neighborhood streets throughout the city. In particular, on the Lower East Side, the pushcarts created bustling makeshift marketplaces. 

    Many shoppers loved the set-up! But not a certain mayor -- Fiorello LaGuardia, who promised to sweep away these old-fashioned pushcarts that packed the streets -- and instead house some of those vendors in new municipal market buildings.

    For those immigrant peddlers, the Essex Street Market -- in sight of the Williamsburg Bridge -- would provide a diverse shopping experience representing a swirl of various cultures: Eastern European, Puerto Rican, Italian and more. 

    But could these markets survive competition from supermarkets? Or the many economic changes of life in New York City?

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    • 1 hr
    On The Radio: A History of the Airwaves

    On The Radio: A History of the Airwaves

    The discovery of radio changed the world, and New York City was often front and center for its creation and development as America’s prime entertainment source during the 1930s and 40s.

    In this show, we take you on a 50-year journey, from Marconi’s news making tests aboard a yacht in New York Harbor to remarkable experiments atop the Empire State Building.

    Two of the medium’s great innovators grew up on the streets of New York, one a fearless inventor born in the neighborhood of Chelsea, the other an immigrant’s son from the Lower East Side who grew up to run America’s first radio broadcasting company (RCA).

    Another pioneer with a more complicated history made the first broadcasts that featured the human voice, the ‘angelic’ tones of a Swedish soprano heard by a wireless operator at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

    What indispensable station got its start as a department-store radio channel? What borough was touted in the very first radio advertisement? What former Ziegfeld Follies star strapped on a bonnet to become Baby Snooks? 

    Featuring tales of the Titanic, the rogue adventures of amateur operators, and a truly scary invasion from outer space!

    MINOR CORRECTION: The radio show of yore was obviously called Everready Hour, not Everready House!

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    • 56 min
    Ghostbusters (Bowery Boys Movie Club)

    Ghostbusters (Bowery Boys Movie Club)

    To wrap up this month's series of spooky-themed shows, we're releasing this 2018 episode of our "Bowery Boys Movie Club", in which we conjure up New York City in the early 1980s in Ivan Reitman's box-office smash Ghostbusters.

    How does this zany horror comedy use the plight of New York City as a backdrop for its grab bag of goofy ghosts? How do the histories of the New York Public Library, Columbia University, Central Park and the Upper West Side become entangled in its strange and hilarious plot? And why is the Tribeca location of Ghostbusters headquarters -- in an abandoned firehouse -- so important to the story?

    Enjoy the show -- and be sure to join us on patreon.com/boweryboys to support the show and hear all episodes of the Movie Club!

     

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    • 58 min
    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

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
2.5K Ratings

2.5K Ratings

nonickmamesavailableforme ,

Fun and interesting way to learn history

I have been enjoying your podcast. Today, your episode brought back a memory of being with my grandmother in the Essex Street Market. I must have been about four—so this would be the mid-sixties—and the memory is of holding on to my grandmother’s rolling cart as she navigated us through the hustle and bustle of the crowded market. Although my mother grew up on the Lower East Side, our generation were “out-of-towners”, so this quintessential New York experience was a bit overwhelming, though not unpleasant—as long as I held on and didn’t get separated from my grandmother, I knew I’d be ok. My visual memory is of being led to and fro at hip height through the throngs of determined shoppers. At the time, I didn’t know the place was called the Essex Street Market, and I didn’t even know it had a name. It was unlike any other place I’d ever been. It was only years later when I went to college in New York and visited the Market that I realized that was where that memory was from. I had again forgotten about it until today when listening to your podcast. Well done!

Gsshsjdhdhsbsb ,

Hard work on research and details and humor!

Amazing work guys, great job!!!

Bill Torino ,

Keep it neutral.

Being a native New Yorker these guys really put a lot of work into each episode. Sadly, every blue moon The hosts will throw their own personal political overtones into some episodes. Keep it a neutral podcast then I would definitely give it a five.

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