The Bowery Boys Podcasts

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(Image from The Bowery Boys: New York City History website. I adore this photo of them! Hope they don’t mind that I linked it. O_O)

I love the idea of podcasts, but the reality is I never seem to find time to listen as I’d like to. But the one that has me tuning in is The Bowery Boys, a podcast all about old New York hosted by two cute guys, Greg Young and Tom Meyers. I’m a new (ish) fan, but The Bowery Boys have podcasts going back 9 years and counting!

I have a ton of catching up to do! They’re are active on Facebook – Adventures of Old New York. They’ve given online interviews, been featured in all sorts of media and make frequent appearances around New York to share their knowledge of its rich history. Once this massive heat wave is over, I’ll have to attend one.

Mr. Young and Mr. Meyers have thoughtfully created a Podcast archive for fans and history buffs. They offer various ways to listen and they are available on iTunes.

Be sure to bookmark this page!

Every Bowery Boys Podcast in Chronological order by subject

I’m happy to note they’ve released their first History Book in June 2016 available in Print and on Kindle –

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I find the Bowery Boys Podcasts factual, insightful, and fun. The guys are witty and funny without being raucous or annoying. You can tell they have a deep knowledge and love for the topics they discuss. I also admire that they keep their broadcasts fairly clean and profanity free, even when discussing the most shocking scandals from back in the Golden age.

Keep it classy guys!! You’re awesome!

I enjoy how they set the stage with subtle and meaningful background music and I’m drawn into the air of mystery they create when discussing the strange tales of the past. The imagination ignites. Those are my favorite kinds of stories – missing persons, crimes, cons, and all the intrigue that Old New York has to offer.

Two juicy ones that come to mind are “The curious case of Typhoid Mary” and “The disappearance of Dorothy Arnold”

Settle down, grab a snack, do some knitting, or just lay back and close your eyes and let the Bowery Boys transport you to the past.

Brooklyn: A State of mind – 125 original stories from America’s most colorful City.

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Brooklyn: A State of Mind is a terrific book. It features an eclectic smorgasbord of essays, articles, interviews, art and photographs about the most beloved and often misunderstood City in America. Maybe even the world? Unfortunately, most stories are not centered on 19th Century Brooklyn, but there are a smattering of facts, images, and points of interest in different chapters which point to that era.

The consensus of many baby boomers seems to be that Brooklyn had its “heyday” in the early to mid-Twentieth Century. For more on that, read this cool book: When Brooklyn was the world: 1920-1957. A book that cleverly argues that the ‘real’ Brooklyn kinda, sorta, ceased to exist once the suburbs of Jersey and Long Island started popping up.

Brooklyn, A state of mind…boasts stories from actors, novelists, journalists, politicians, photographers, and artists. Their witty, gritty, and fun memories can evoke homesickness and nostalgia in a non-native Brooklynite. Their stories touch on everything from food, big hair, Coney Island, music, gangsters, ethnic communities and culture, children’s games, summer days and nights, wise guys, tough guys, and everyone in between. Memories, whether they are fond or foul, are jammed into each story. I highly recommend it for any Brooklyn lover’s collection.

Brooklyn Visual Heritage

Brooklyn Visual Heritage partners with the Brooklyn Historical Society, The Brooklyn Public library, and the Brooklyn Museum to celebrate Brooklyn’s rich history through fantastic pictures from the 19th and 20th century. It’s in blog format and the photos are available with watermarks. Prints can be ordered and as much background information as possible is provided for each image.

Happy viewing!

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More cute creative old Business postcards courtesy of the Brooklyn Public Library.

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The Brooklyn Public Library has a wonderful digitized collection of late 19th century business cards from hundreds of shops and companies located in the teeming city of Brooklyn.

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They’re whimsical and imaginative—and some honor the cold weather while advertising their goods, like J.V. Dubernell, tailor.

His shop was at 331 and 333 Fulton Avenue, and his suits sound kind of expensive for the era.

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That’s some sled illustrated in this card, for this clothing store, which comes off like the L.L. Bean of the time. Check out these prices for trendy wool cloaks!

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This sweet scene advertises the business of a paint dealer. Sumpter Street is in today’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, quite a bit away from the other businesses, which are located closer to downtown Brooklyn in what was the fashionable shopping area of the time.

Perhaps a paint store was not welcome on refined Fulton Street?

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. I can do so much better and I will. There’s tons more ‘Old Brooklyn’ to discover. But thanks to everyone who read the blog so far!

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

NYC Department of Records and Photos

The NYC Department of records has an extensive photo gallery of images starting from the cusp of the wild roaring twenties down till the present day. Okay, it’s not ‘old’ Brooklyn, but it’s still classic imagery nearly a hundred years old. I was just thinking the other night how the twenties seemed so far behind us now.

The website displays the finer prints and you can purchase them. (Too bad it’s not original Brooklyn prices!) You can check them out here:

Images of Brooklyn

Also of note: You can research vital records from all the boroughs and purchase copies that date back to before 1910. Now we’re talking old!

NYC Archives and Records

If you really want to start digging, try the Municipal Archives Collection  With records dating back to the earliest days of European colonial settlement in the seventeenth century, up to the present mayoral administration, the Municipal Archives houses 150,000 cubic feet of historical government records, including manuscripts, official correspondence, vital records, ledgers, several thousand feet of moving images, over one million photographs, sound recordings, maps, and architectural plans.

My mother’s side of the family is pure Brooklyn and they date way back to the 1880’s. They were immigrants from England (Though interestingly the ‘English’ side of the family was born in Kildare, Ireland.) I found proof of this many years ago on a whim when I visited the awesome Brooklyn Historical Society. They had a ledger/family tree book filled with names, dates of birth, and dates of death filled in by my great-grandfather. The book stopped after my grandmother’s third child was born. The Brooklyn Historical Society has since been remodeled and I eventually have to secure an appointment to see those old records again. At the time I copied them by hand as best I could. I was still just a kid, a nerdy early nineties kid with a burgeoning fascination for Old Brooklyn. I need to dig in the bowels of the basement to find those files. I would like to go again, re-copy and then remake that family tree on the computer and add the additional names. See, my grandmother didn’t stop at a 3rd child, she had 16!

Pinning Brooklyn History

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I found this very awesome website which allows users to pin photos of their favorite places on Google maps. As you can see from above it sort of brings the past to life again and that’s always cool. I haven’t delved into all the features as yet, but History Pin includes a search function and time line. The results are narrowed down by section and their selection of pictures are fantastic. You just click on the pin and it brings up all the photos in each set. The majority of the photos were provided by the Brooklyn museum and the Museum of the City of New York.

Check out the sets labeled “Brooklyn” Here.