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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
 
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 ye…
 
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 bloc…
 
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 mys…
 
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 showma…
 
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 an…
 
EPISODE #339: Interview with author Eric K. Washington, author of “Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal”. The Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal were a workforce of hundreds of African-American men who were an essential part of the long-distance railroad experience. Passengers relied on Red cap…
 
Ancient space rocks, dinosaur fossils, anthropological artifacts and biological specimens are housed in New York's world famous natural history complex on the Upper West Side -- the American Museum of Natural History! Throughout the 19th century, New Yorkers tried to establish a legitimate natural history venue in the city, including an aborted pla…
 
PART 2 of our two-part podcast series, "A NEW DEAL FOR NEW YORK" EPISODE 338 In this episode, we look at how one aspect of FDR's New Deal -- the WPA's Federal Project Number One -- was used to put the country's creative community back to work and lift the spirits of downtrodden Americans. Federal Project Number One -- the "artistic wing" of the Wor…
 
EPISODE 337 -- PART ONE of a two-part podcast series A NEW DEAL FOR NEW YORK. For Part One, we look at the impact FDR and New Deal funding had in shaping New York City's bridges and parks -- thanks to an especially tenacious parks commissioner! New York City during the 1930s was defined by massive unemployment, long lines at the soup kitchens, Hoov…
 
The Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla was among the Gilded Age's brightest minds, a visionary thinker and inventor who gave the world innovations in electricity, radio and wireless communication. So why has Tesla garnered the mantle of cult status among many? Part of that has to do with his life in New York City, his shifting fortunes as he made his w…
 
EPISODE 336 The newspapers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst -- the New York World and the New York Journal -- were locked in a fierce competition for readers in the mid 1890s. New Yorkers loved it. The paper's sensational style was so shocking that it became known as "yellow journalism". So what happens when those flamboyant publicati…
 
EPISODE 335 In the 1890s, powerful New York publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst engaged in an all-out battle for readers of their respective newspapers, developing a flamboyant, sensational style of coverage today referred to as "yellow journalism". This battle between the New York World and the New York Journal would determine t…
 
The story of the Lenape, the native people of New York Harbor region and their experiences with the first European arrivals — the explorers, the fur traders, the residents of New Amsterdam. Before New York, before New Amsterdam — there was Lenapehoking, the land of the Lenape, the original inhabitants of the places we call Manhattan, Westchester, n…
 
EPISODE 334: It's summer in the city, so we're re-issuing our Bowery Boys Movie Club podcast devoted to Midnight Cowboy, the 1969 buddy film starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. There are few time capsules of New York’s darker days quite as pleasurable as Midnight Cowboy. It’s hardly as provocative as when it was released in May 1969, but its ra…
 
A history of the comic book industry in New York City, how the energy and diversity of the city influenced the burgeoning medium in the 1930s and 40s and how New York’s history reflects out from the origins of its most popular characters. In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzee helped bring about the bir…
 
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 Yo…
 
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 cul…
 
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