Jim Leeke – Howell’s Storm: New York City’s Official Rainmaker and the 1950 Drought
New York / April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019 – We welcome a familiar face back into our time machine, and travel back to a parched New York City, suffering from a drought that began in a sweltering 1949, and stretched into 1950 with no end in sight. Desperate for rain, Mayor William O’Dwyer hired Dr. Wallace E. Howell, a handsome, 35-year-old meteorologist out of Harvard who approached weather modification as a cool-headed scientist, not a Music Man-style huckster. We meet this headline-making man with his head literally in the clouds in Howell’s Storm: New York City’s Official Rainmaker and the 1950 Drought, by author Jim Leeke. Jim is a contributor to the Society for American Baseball Research Baseball Biography Project, as well as the writer or editor of several books on U.S. and military history. We chatted previously with Jim about his books, Nine Innings for the King: The Day Wartime London Stopped for Baseball, July 4, 1918, and, From the Dugouts to the Trenches: Baseball During the Great War, as well as his Civil War novel for young adults, Matty Boy. A string of appearances, which makes Jim our first four-peat guest. Find Jim on Twitter @JimLeeke.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 53:21 —…

Stacy Horn – Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York
New York / December 31, 2018

December 31, 2018 – Our time machine travels back to a two-mile sliver of land in New York City’s East River. Since 1971, it has been known as Roosevelt Island. But the Victorians knew it as Blackwell’s Island, a dreaded name synonymous with illness, insanity, poverty, prisons and purgatory. You could suffer there for a variety of crimes, or for things as simple as being a woman walking alone late at night, an immigrant who didn’t speak English, or someone too poor to make bail. Charles Dickens described the place as “a lounging, listless madhouse.” Joining us to tell the true story of those who preceded us in the great story of Gotham is Stacy Horn. She brings us, Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York. Stacy’s book is the first contemporary investigative account of Blackwell’s, which she delivers by digging into the records of reformers, reporters and journalists like the intrepid Nellie Bly. Stacy Horn is the author of five nonfiction books, including Imperfect Harmony. She’s the founder of the social network Echo and also works at the ASPCA, listing among her credentials “cat butler.” Find her at StacyHorn.com or @StacyHorn on Twitter.   Podcast:…

Nicholas Hirshon – We Want Fish Sticks
New York , Sports / December 10, 2018

December 3, 2018 – In this episode, our time machine turns Zamboni and hits the ice for the greatest fanned shot in sports marketing history, when the New York Islanders — a decade removed from their four-in-a-row Stanley Cup dynasty of the early ’80s — chose a new mascot that resembled nothing so much as frozen food pitchman The Gorton’s Fisherman. Joining us to do color commentary is our friend Nicholas Hirshon who brings us We Want Fish Sticks: The Bizarre and Infamous Rebranding of the New York Islanders. We last heard from Nick when he invited me to conduct a live interview at the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Our guest that day was Ephemeral New York’s Esther Crain who chatted with us about her book, The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910. Nick Hirshon is assistant professor of communication at William Paterson University and a former reporter for the New York Daily News. You’ve seen his work in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Hockey News. His previous books are Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum — the arena where the Islanders built that dynasty — and Forest Hills,…

Christopher Bonanos – Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous
Art , New York / November 19, 2018

November 19, 2018 – Our time machine hauls out the big, bulky Speed Graphic camera and watches the ultimate watcher of watchers in 1930s, ’40s and ’50s New York City: Arthur Fellig. Helping haul the tripod around to various crime scenes and disasters is Christopher Bonanos who brings us Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous. Even if you don’t know the name, you’ve seen his gritty images from the 1930s through ’50s. It’s an incredible body of work produced by a photographer who hammed up claims of an uncanny ability to show up at a crime scene just as the cops did — a human Ouija board. Christopher Bonanos is city editor at New York magazine where he covers arts and culture and urban affairs. His previous book is Instant: The Story of Polaroid. Follow him on Twitter @HeyBonanos and @PolaroidLand on Instagram.         Podcast: Download (Duration: 54:36 — 125.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Fiona Davis – The Masterpiece: A Novel
Food , New York / August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018 – We welcome Fiona Davis back into our time machine, where she’ll be painting a fresh story of art, mystery, intrigue, lies and love. The book is . If you enjoyed Fiona Davis’s previous works — The Dollhouse, about the famed Barbizon Hotel for Women, and The Address, which stars the legendary Dakota apartment complex — you’ll want to hop a train for The Masterpiece: A Novel. It’s set in the Grand Central Depot of its 1920’s heyday and the 1970s, In those dark days, wrecking balls threatened obliteration, a fate avoided through the efforts of Jackie Kennedy and a group of dedicated New Yorkers. You can enjoy my chat with Fiona about that sophomore novel, The Address, in our archives at HistoryAuthor.com or wherever you’re listening. Visit Fiona online at FionaDavis.net, Facebook.com/FionaDavisAuthor or @FionaJDavis on Twitter.         Podcast: Download (Duration: 48:31 — 111.1MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Esther Crain – The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910
Gilded Age , New York / March 26, 2018

March 26, 2018 – It’s a special episode, recorded live on the campus of New York University at the Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference, co-sponsored by the American Journalism Historians Association and the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The spot at No. 20 Bowery is in sight of the Cooper Union where Abraham Lincoln gave the 1860 speech that launched him into the presidency, and steps from 114 Bowery, where Steve Brodie bragged about jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s also just a few blocks from Manhattan’s oldest bar, McSorley’s Old Ale House, familiar to those of you who enjoyed my chat with Rafe Batholomew on his memoir Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me. Joining me at NYU is of my all-time favorite time-travelers, Esther Crain, the great and powerful Oz behind the wildly popular blog, Ephemeral New York, which runs under the tagline: “Chronicling an ever-changing city through faded and forgotten artifacts.” Esther is also the author of 2014’s New York City in 3D In The Gilded Age, a box set that not only offered a book with Esther’s sharp writing and rare images compiled by the New-York Historical…

Rafe Bartholomew – Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me
New York / June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017 – This week, our time machine visits New York City’s oldest bar, McSorley’s Old Ale House. Our theme song, “New York Ain’t New York Anymore,” laments the loss of places where “the sawdust is gone from the floor.” Well in this East Village landmark, where the clock has literally stopped, and that means still spreading the sawdust every morning — and that they refused to admit women until a federal court forced them to in 1970 (or build them their own bathroom until 1986). Founded in 1854 by John McSorley and carried on by his son Bill, this saloon serves only two kinds of ale — light or dark — and always by the pair. Our guest this week, author Rafe Bartholomew, grew up in the bar like Old Bill before him. Rafe’s father is Geoffrey “Bart” Bartholomew, who has spent half a century behind the taps and had thousands of New York Moments, from serving the New York Rangers ale out of the Stanley Cup in 1994, to bringing U2’s Bono down to earth with a curt, “Boner who?” Rafe’s book is titled: Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me, and it’s as an heir…

Kevin C. Fitzpatrick – World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War
New York , WWI / May 27, 2017

May 29, 2017 – We’re uploading this episode for Memorial Day 2017, to pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to the United States. Leading us on this trip into the past, is Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, a licensed New York City Sightseeing Guide, United States Marine veteran, and author of World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War. World War I has deep roots in the Empire State, which sent more men to fight than the other stars on the flag. Next-door New Jersey played a big role, as well, including Dean’s hometown of Cresskill, which was home to the sprawling Camp Merritt. When those men shipped out, they rode the rail line to Hoboken, a prime embarkation point for the doughboys, leading to General Pershing’s slogan that they’d be in “Heaven, Hell or (back home in) Hoboken” by Christmas. The area remained an important hub for men, prisoners of war, and recruiting throughout the conflict. Following the Armistice in 1918, the city sought to remember those who lost their lives over there, and erected more memorials for this event than any other. To mark the…

Sam Roberts – A History of New York in 101 Objects
New York / November 21, 2016

November 21, 2016 – The Flushing Remonstrance of 1657, a precursor to our own First Amendment protections of religious liberty. The Spaldeen we discussed in Geoff Griffin’s Brooklyn Bat Boy: A Story of the 1947 Season that Changed Baseball Forever. This week, New York Times Urban Affairs Correspondent Sam Roberts puts some serious miles on our Time Machine, and fills its trunk with the everyday objects that defined Gotham since it’s earliest, pre-colonial days. Bagels. Subway tokens. His book is A History of New York in 101 Objects, now in paperback. And like the city itself, the book is an ongoing conversation. Sam Roberts encourages readers to email him at ObjectsOfNYC@gmail.com to argue for their favorite object, or against something he already included. Who knows? Maybe your object will be among the next 101 that define Greater New York. You can catch Sam’s columns in the paper, follow him @SamRob12 on Twitter, or check out one of his eight previous titles including, Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 46:16 — 42.4MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

Jack Kelly – Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal
New York / July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016 – This week, we strapping our time machine to a canal boat, and sail down the modern marvel of early American commerce: The Erie Canal. The 360-mile slash between Lake Erie to Albany, and down the Hudson River to New York Harbor isn’t just one of engineers and back-breaking, dangerous manual labor, but of fascinating human drama and America itself. The book is Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal. By the time the canal opened 1825, the nation had fallen in love with this man-made waterway. Now, you can fall in love with it, too, thanks to Jack Kelly — journalist, novelist, and New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. His previous books include Band of Giants, which earned the Daughters of the American Revolution’s History Award Medal. You can see him everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to the History Channel, or by clicking over to HeavensDitch.com.     Podcast: Download (Duration: 39:26 — 36.1MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More