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
    • 4.7, 2.4K 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?

    Tearing Down King George: The Monumental Summer of 1776

    Tearing Down King George: The Monumental Summer of 1776

    EPISODE 333 In New York City, during the tumultuous summer of 1776, the King of England lost his head.

    Two hundred and fifty years ago, Colonial New York received a monumental statue of King George III on horseback, an ostentatious and rather awkward display which once sat in Bowling Green park at the tip of Manhattan.

    On July 9, 1776, angry New Yorkers violently tore down that statue of King George and, as the story goes, rendered his body into bullets used in the battles of the Revolutionary War. 

    Flash forward to 2020 — cities across the United States today are reevaluating the meaning of their own public monuments. Critics say that removing memorials to the Confederacy, for instance, work to ‘erase history’.

    But a monument itself is not history lesson, but a time capsule of the motivations of the culture who created them.

    And that’s why this story from 1776 resonates so strongly today. Public statues do have meaning. And for New Yorkers — in the run up to American independence — one statue represented oppression, servitude and annihilation.

    In this episode, take a trip back to the city right before the war, when New York was split into those sympathetic to the Tories and those to the Sons of Liberty, an early organization dedicated to the liberty of the American colonies.

    PLUS: The story lives on! Find out where you can locate artifacts from this story throughout the city today.

    FEATURING A young Alexander Hamilton, that rascal Cadwallader Colden and an unsung hero named William Pitt

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    • 37 min
    Welcome to Yorkville: German Life on the Upper East Side

    Welcome to Yorkville: German Life on the Upper East Side

    EPISODE 332 The Manhattan neighborhood of Yorkville has a rich immigrant history that often gets overlooked because of its location on the Upper East Side, a destination usually associated with wealth and high society.

    But Yorkville, for over 170 years, has been defined by waves of immigrant communities which have settled here, particular those cultures from Central and Eastern Europe -- Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Czechs and Slovaks. 

    The neighborhood developed thanks to its location to various streetcar and train lines, but that proximity insured that Yorkville would evolve in quite a different way from the more luxurious Fifth Avenue just a few blocks away.

    Yorkville's German cultural identity was centered around East 86th Street -- aka "Sauerkraut Boulevard" -- where cafes and dance halls catered to the amusements of German Americans. The Yorkville Casino was a 'German Madison Square Garden', featuring cabaret, film, ballroom dancing and even political rallies.

    Does the spirit of old Yorkville still exist today? While events in the early 20th century brought dramatic change to this ethnic enclave, those events didn't entirely erase the German spirit from the city streets.

    In this show, we tell you where can still find the most interesting cultural artifacts of this often overlooked historical gem.

    This episode is brought to you by the Historic Districts Council. Funding for this episode is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

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    • 1 hr 11 min
    Seneca Village: Stories of New York's Forgotten Black Communities

    Seneca Village: Stories of New York's Forgotten Black Communities

    The history of black and African-American settlements and neighborhoods which once existed in New York City in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

    Today we sometimes define New York City's African-American identity by the places where thriving black culture developed -- Harlem, of course, and also Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, neighborhoods that developed for groups of black residents in the 20th century.

    But by no means were these the first in New York City. Other centers of black and African-American life existed long before then. In many cases, they were obliterated by the growth of the city, sometimes built over without a single marker, without recognition.

    This is the story of a few of those places.  From the 'land of the blacks' -- the home to New Amsterdam and British New York's early black population -- to Seneca Village, a haven for freed people of color in the early 19th century that was wiped away by the need for a city park.

    From Little Africa -- the Greenwich Village sector for the black working class in the mid 19th century -- to Sandy Ground, a rural escape in Staten Island with deep roots in the neighborhood today.

    And then there's Weeksville, Brooklyn, the visionary village built to bond a community and to develop a political foothold.

    In this collection of short historical stories, Greg welcomes Kamau Ware (of the Black Gotham Experience) and Tia Powell Harris (formerly of the Weeksville Heritage Center) to the show.

    The episode is a rebroadcast of a show which first aired on June 9, 2017. Stay tuned to the end of this show for some newly written material and an update on the Black Gotham Experience and the Weeksville Heritage Center.

    Visit our website for more images and information.

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    • 58 min
    The East Side Elevateds: Life Under the Tracks

    The East Side Elevateds: Life Under the Tracks

    EPISODE 331 During the Gilded Age, New York City had one form of rapid transit -- the elevated railroad.

    The city's population had massively grown by the 1870s thanks to large waves of immigration from Ireland and Germany. Yet its transportation options -- mostly horse-drawn streetcars -- were slow and cumbersome.

    As a result, people rarely lived far from where they worked. And in the case of most working class New Yorkers, that meant staying in overcrowded neighborhoods like the Lower East Side.

    In the 1870s, New York hoped to alleviate the population pressure by constructing four elevated railroad lines -- along 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 9th Avenues -- in the hopes that people would begin inhabiting Upper Manhattan and the newly acquired portion of Westchester County known as the Annexed District (today's South Bronx).

    In this show, we focus on the two eastern-most lines and their effects on the city's growth. Take a ride with us -- through Lower Manhattan, the Lower East Side, Midtown Manhattan, Yorkville, East Harlem and Mott Haven!

    FEATURING an interview with elevated expert and tour guide Michael Morgenthal.

    This episode is brought to you by the Historic Districts Council. Funding for this episode is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Benjamin Kallos.

     

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    • 1 hr 13 min
    The Silent Parade of 1917: Black Unity in a Time of Crisis

    The Silent Parade of 1917: Black Unity in a Time of Crisis

    "To the beat of muffled drums 8,000 negro men, women and children marched down Fifth Avenue yesterday in a parade of 'silent protest against acts of discrimination and oppression' inflicted upon them in this country." -- New York Times, July 29, 1917

    EPISODE 330 The Silent Parade of July 28, 1917, was unlike anything ever seen in New York City -- thousands of black men, women and children marching down Fifth Avenue. Today it is considered New York's (and most likely America's) first African-American civil rights march.

    The march was organized by the NAACP in direct response to a horrible plague of violence against black Americans in the 1910s, culminating in the East St. Louis Riots, a massacre involving white mobs storming black neighborhoods in sheer racial animus.

    There were no chants or rallying cries. The women were dressed all in white, the men in black. Thousands of onlookers had lined the parade route that day out of curiosity, amusement, pride, anger and joy.

    How did this unusual protest come to be? How did New Yorkers really react? And why has the Silent Parade gone mostly forgotten for most Americans?

    FEATURING: W.E.B. Du Bois, Madam C.J. Walker, James Weldon Johnson, Lillian Wald and more

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    • 39 min
    The First Ambulance: The Humans (and Horses) That Saved New York

    The First Ambulance: The Humans (and Horses) That Saved New York

     

    EPISODE 329 Did you know that the first modern ambulance -- as in a 'mobile hospital' -- was invented in New York City?

    On June 4, 1869, America’s first ambulance service went into operation from Bellevue Hospital with a driver, a surgeon, two horses and equipment including a stretcher, a stomach pump, bandages and sponges, handcuffs, a straight-jacket, and a quart of brandy.

    Within just a couple years, the ambulance became an invaluable feature of New York health, saving the lives of those who might otherwise die on the streets of the city. They proved especially helpful in a riot -- of which there were many in the 19th century!

    In this show, you'll be introduced to a new way of thinking about urgent injuries and emergency care. True emergency medicine was not a serious factor in major hospitals until the 1960s. Yet on-the-job injuries and terrible trauma from violent crime was a perpetual problem in New York.

    What was life like in the city before the advent of the ambulance? How did ambulances work in the era before the telephone?

    PLUS: A tribute to the ambulance workers -- the EMTs, paramedics and drivers -- who have risked their lives to save those of other New Yorkers.

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    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
2.4K Ratings

2.4K Ratings

Ljknits ,

Outstanding podcast

I am always enriched by the Bowery Boys. Their podcasts are always informative and entertaining. Well researched, they always able to open my eyes to new places and stories that I, as a native New Yorker, have never known or knew about before listening.
Thank you!

Dzintra ,

A podcast rich in New York City history

I have learned so much about the city’s history on this podcast. The two presenters are fun to listen to as they add to each other’s narrative. Anyone who loves NYC would love this podcast.

does anyone have this nickname ,

I can relax with this podcast

The quality of this podcast surpasses others. It inspires curiosity and intrigue and I often finish the podcast feeling positively inspired. Other comparable podcasts drain my energy and I walk away feeling more anxious and conflicted. I can relax into The Bowery Boys, which is a rare effect amongst the burgeoning generation of new podcasts. Thank you to the moderators for being so different!

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