Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rockefeller Center's greatest art scandals!

Above: Diego Rivera's contentious creation

Despite JD Rockefeller Jr's aversion to the 'impropriety' of modern art, Rockefeller Center has always been bursting with it, from the large outdoor installations sprouting up in the plaza to the gorgeous art deco blazing from its walls.

As with modern art for public display however, the Rock has sometimes riled the community with challenging and occasionally offensive art pieces.

The most famous of course is Diego Rivera's Man at the Crossroads (pictured above), his epic mural created in 1933 with the supposed theme of 'new frontiers'. Rivera was a favorite of Rockefeller's wife Abby, having feted the artist in a show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1931. Rivera, however, was no tool of the rich. Amongst the many May Day figures depicted in Rivera's expressive narrative mural is one Vladimir Lenin, communist leader and Marxist icon.

He was asked to repaint the Lenin figure but Rivera staunchly refused. The press had a field day, finding the depiction insulting and pressuring the Rockefellers to completely cover the mural, then a few months later, destroying it entirely. One photograph of the mural remains -- and of course, a near exact copy that Rivera later painted in Mexico.

Yet another depiction of another controversial leader was allowed to stay.

Just a few years later in 1936, art deco master Lee Lawrie created his mighty two-ton Atlas, probably one of the most recognizable pieces of artwork in the city of New York.

He currently stands directly in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, so you can imagine the surprise of many when it was rumored the face of Atlas was modelled after Italian dictator and all around bad guy Benito Mussolini. Although protestors picketed the statue, good Atlas was allowed to stay.

Flash forward a few decades to 2002 and a more modest piece that sat briefly in the Rockefeller Center concourse, not far from the skating rink -- Erik Fischl's Tumbling Woman. A bronze figure in the style of Rodin, this image of a falling woman installed as a Sept. 11 memorial on its first anniverary greatly disturbed passers-by.

After the New York Post threw the controversy on its front page, the figure was removed. Interestingly, the artist never intended the sculpture to be displayed publicly at all.

Then there were Louise Bourgeois' gigantic spiders, which stood commanding the plaza for the entire summer in 2001.

As illustrated with all the previous art pieces discussed, timing (or rather, bad timing) is everything. These pieces might have been too disturbing for people had they been standing just a few months later, in the wake of Sept. 11. As they were only around for the summer, however, the only real controversy were several mild cases of nausea and probably a few panicked children.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A brief history of New York Giants

I've had a couple emails asking us to do a New York Giants podcast this week. Oh, had I known! We would have planned one. However, by the end of next month, we will unveil another major sports-themed podcast.

In the meantime, here's a few New York Giants' non-statistical, history-related factoids to chew on and toss out to your friends at Sunday night's Superbowl party:

-- The National Football League was all of five years old when the Giants, and four other teams, joined up in 1925. New York was an unusual place to host a professional football team back then; teams normally propped up the spirits of small to mid-size towns (Canton, Muncie, Rock Island, Portsmith, Akron, Buffalo) and many were particularly centered in Ohio. That's why the Football Hall of Fame is in Canton.

-- Promoter and bookie Tim Mara bought the New York Giants for all of $500 back in 1925, and for his troubles almost went bankrupt. The team thanks him by immediately losing their first three games, before charging through an amazing winning streak and ending the season 8-4.

-- In 1931, Mara passes ownership of his team to his two sons Jack Mara (age 22) and Wellington Mara (age 14). By far, Wellington is the youngest owner ever of a major league football team. Believe it or not, he would co-own the team all the way until his death in 2005! (That's him in the pic below, with the team in 1941).

-- The Giants played at Polo Grounds, at West 155th Street and Eighth Avenue, as did almost every other New York sports team at one time or another, including the New York Jets (even when they were known as the Titans). Sports enthusiasts referred to it as Polo Grounds IV, as three prior incarnations (including one in the same spot) have hosted New York sporting events since the 19th Century.

-- In a 1934 game with the Chicago Bears, the temperature dipped to 9 degrees, and the grounds were so icy that the coach made the Giants switch to basketball sneakers in the Fourth Quarter, effectively winning them the game 30-13 against the slippery Bears. The game is infamously known as 'The Sneaker Game'.

-- A game against crosstown rivals the Brooklyn Dodgers (yes, they were a football team too) on Dec 7, 1941, was interrupted by the announcement of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the call for military personnel over the loudspeakers. Giants player Al Blozis would enlist in the Army and die in Vosges Mountains during the Battle of the Bulge; his number 32 would be permanently retired.

(Above: overhead shot of the Giants' early home, the Polo Grounds)

-- The Giants move to Yankee Stadium in 1956. That same year popular Giants player Frank Gifford (Kathee Lee's husband) won the National Football League's MVP honor.

-- 1958 The Giants play the Baltimore Colts in the first-ever televised championship game, largely considered in football mythology as 'The Greatest Game Ever Played'.

-- 1966: the Giants worst season, going 1-12-1

Fran Tarkenton, a Giant quarterback from 1967-72, became so popular that he became host of the 70s show That's Incredible with co-hosts John Davidson and Cathy Lee Crosby.

-- The Yankees kick out the Giants, and they prep for a new stadium to be built in East Rutherford, NJ. So from 1973 to 74, the Giants temporarily move their games to New Haven, Connecticut and the Yale campus. However, after terrible losses there, they double back to the city to share Shea Stadium with the Jets for a single season (1975)

-- Yay! The Giants move into their new stadium in 1976. They rejoice by promptly losing almost every game they play there, ending with a 3-11 record.

-- The Giants have won the Super Bowl exactly TWICE (1986 and 1990), however before the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, they did manage to be the NFL champs four times.

-- Eli Manning starts with the Giants in 2004. His first decisive performance came in January 2, 2005, in a 28-24 win against the Dallas Cowboys.

-- Wellington Mara, a constant presence with the Giants since his teens, dies at age 89.

Check out the Giants official history. And thanks to Sports Encylopedia for the info...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Park Avenue's stylish slaughterhouse

The Lever House at 390 Park Avenue, along with the United Nations building, ushered in New York's obsession with the International Style of architecture in the 40s and 50s -- clean and blocky thin glass icons in the sky. It's no surprise to find the building was built in 1952 for a soap manufacturer, the Lever Brothers. The soap has since gone from the interiors of this sleek and cool structure, but they've been replaced with something more bizarre -- human and animal gore.

Or rather, the aesthetic purveyor of such gore, the inimitable Damien Hirst. The Satan spawn of the British art scene, whose sometimes seemingly simple work bursts with shock value (and later, high price tags), has been a favorite of patron and German real estate mogul Aby Rosen, who just happens to own the Lever House.

Rosen is an art collector and enthusiast, hiring Whitney Museum curator Richard Marshall in 2004 to spice up the once frigid plaza and the redesigned William T. Georgis Lever lobby with some truly eye catching pieces.

The Lever has already seen such vivid works by artists like Jorge Pardo, Peter Wegner, A.V. Day (a dramatic, fabric-rent 'Bride Fight'), and Jeff Koons (literally many blow-up Incredible Hulk dolls). Corridors within the Lever house works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.

But Hirst is the Lever's golden boy, giving the outdoor plaza a striking 34 foot tall naked pregnant 'Virgin Mother' (at left), in the Hirst fashion with most of her skin falling off. According to Interior Design, The lady "looks directly into the Lever Brothers corporate cafeteria." As of last year, she has a twin across the pond in London at Royal Academy of Arts.

Until mid-February, you can catch more Hirst wrecking havoc in the Lever lobby as well. Laboring under the title "School: The Archaeology of Lost Desires, Comprehending Infinity, and the Search for Knowledge," the entire lobby if filled with animal carcasses behind glass, often paired with furniture.

A couple images from the exhibit are below. Why not stop by on your lunch break today?

Photos from Slamxhype by Paul Mittleman

Monday, January 28, 2008

Jenny Lind sings again

It's been over 150 years since 'Swedish Nightingale' Jenny Lind's now-legendary concert performance at Castle Garden in September 11, 1850. (Listen to last week's podcast for the full scoop.) But visitors to Battery Park on their way to the Statue of Liberty and elsewhere can catch a glimpse of a curious tribute to the songstress.

On the east side of the park grows an American Linden tree (Tilia Americana), planted in 1995 by the New York park commissioner at the time and a member of the Swedish Consul. Three years ago, the tenth anniversary of the fast-growing tree was attended by Swedish ambassador Kjell Anneling.

Various tributes and re-enactments of the Lind concert have taken place here at Castle Clinton over the years, featuring conductors like Morton Gould and Francis Heilbut and a host of singers doing their best impressions of Lind and other singers.

I would highly recommend a roadtrip to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to visit the PT Barnum museum at any time of the year. (The third story miniature replica of a five-ring circus is alone with the trip.) But for a Jenny Lind fix, the museum hosts a Barnum Festival topped with an 'American Jenny Lind' competition, where one lucky soprano is crowned in honor of the singer Barnum made famous.

The picture by the way is of a ship figurehead, from the Newport News Mariner's Museum, carved in the image of Jenny Lind. Lind was so popular with sailors, because of her charity work with sailors hospitals (not to mention her sex appeal), that almost 35 American shipping vessels were named in her honor. The name of this particular ship? The Nightingale.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

History in the making - 1/26

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as it looked in 1903, before its additions. (And the picture below is from another angle and another year -- 1905) Source: Library of Congress via pingnews.

Maybe walk your dog elsewhere
Skeletons found in Washington Square Park [The City Room]

Renwick Ruins no closer to being un-ruined
Beaureacracy theatens Roosevelt Island's spookiest landmark [Roosevelt Island 360]

Why does Williamsburg smell like gas? [Gowanus Lounge]

Is it Halloween again?
Ghost windows in Carroll Gardens.[Lost City]

Takin' a hike
A short history of changing Eighth Street in the Villaage, once the home of Patricia Field and THE street to buy affordable funky shoes. [Flaming Pablum]

Friday, January 25, 2008

PODCAST: Battery Park and Castle Clinton

Take a stroll through southern Manhattan's Battery Park and Castle Clinton.

Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE

A famous depiction in its own right, this is of Jenny Lind inside the Castle Garden auditorium:

Castle Clinton as Emigrant Depot

Castle Clinton as the New York City Aquarium in 1906

In our podcast, we mention many of the great monuments and statues of Battery Park. What we failed to mention is one of Battery Park's most treasured features ... Zelda the turkey!

Yes, that's right, a turkey named Zelda lives in Battery Park and freely roams the lawn. She's still there as far as I know (I last saw Zelda about four months ago). Hopefully she's keeping warm for the winter.

(Above photo courtesy of Curbed)

A fixture of future Battery Park -- if the Battery Conservancy gets its way -- will be a swanky new aquatic themed carousel, paying tribute to the former aquarium there.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

More Robert Moses shenanigans!

We really shouldn't demonize Robert Moses as we do -- he did give the city so many marvelous things -- but you hear about one of his schemes that almost came to fruition and you just want to cry.

This time around, I'm referring to the Brooklyn-Battery Bridge, a potential catastrophic project Moses cooked up in the late 30s. As seen in the photograph above, of Moses standing over a model of the future bridge like that creature from Cloverfield, the bridge would have cut right along the heart of the financial district, obliterating Battery Park and much of Governor's Island, and hoisting a crossing that would have stretched across New York Harbor to Red Hook.

How close were we to having this monstrosity? Moses wielded quite a bit of influence at this time. Having constructed the Triborough Bridge with money to spare ($30 million, in fact), Moses had the political power and wherewithal to get what he wanted even over the objections of both the mayor Fiorello Laguardia and the governor Herbert Lehman.

Laguardia has only envisioned a tunnel that would pass to Red Hook, under the harbor. But because the city was in desperate financial straits, plans for the tunnel were turned over to Moses, and voila, the underground, out-of-sight tunnel was turned into a dynamic, downtown-demolishing bridge.

Moses liked gigantic monuments, American statements as he would have referred to them. A six-lane bridge would have made money for the city via tolls and would have courted more traffic potential than a mere tunnel.

The Brooklyn-Battery would be designed by bridge master Othmar Ammann, designer of nearly half the bridges of New York City, with an anchorage plopped in the middle of Governor's Island. The picture below, from the NY Roads website, displays a miniature of Ammann's visionary bridge.

However, a thorn in his side Moses would grow quite accustomed to -- community activism -- prevented the bridge from happening.

By repositioning the purpose of an entire neighborhood -- Wall Street would be feet from an off-ramp -- the project was met with ire by downtown property owners. And by endangering Battery Park and its most treasured landmark, Castle Clinton, community leaders, in particular New Yorkers like Eleanor Roosevelt, got into the act.

Her participation is crucial, because it was her husband who essentially killed the project. On July 17, 1939, Roosevelt's secretary of war Harry Woodring claimed the bridge would be susceptible to attack in event of a coming war (and war was definitely coming) and its expanse would hinder to and fro access to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

So Moses had to settle for a 'mere' tunnel, and construction was started on October 1940, and then almost immediately halted do to war shortages. Ninety million dollars later, on May 25, 1950, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, still the longest underwater vehicular tunnel in the world, was opened.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Much delayed makeover for Pier A

Say it isn't so! According to Gothamist, the city has finally decided to do something about Pier A in Battery Park, that beautiful, jutting bit of nostalgia sitting negligent just feet from the water taxis to the Statue of Liberty.

Its not difficult to picture the pier as it once was, and as it could potentially be today; you can almost envision children with cotton candy skipping along the side of it.

The pier will naturally be used by the National Park Service as the liftoff point for visitors to Ellis Island and Lady Liberty. Of course, these plans have scuttled before. Hopefully they can adhere to their current completion date of 2011.

The pier was built in 1886, using many materials from the Brooklyn Bridge. Its striking clock tower, erected in 1919, has the distinction of becoming the first World War I memorial, adjoining a park now filled with war memorials.

The pic below is from 1936.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Time's up for Astor Place's famous clock

Before we leave Cooper Union, I thought I was draw your attention a rather controversial decision they've made in the past few years that has marred an institution of Astor Place -- the Carl Fischer note clock.

Carl Fischer, still a leader in printed sheet music, began as a tiny musical instrument store on East 4th Street in 1872, successfully incorporating printed music by the end of the century. Carl's son Walter carried on the business into the next century, moving the enterprise into a new beige 12-story building at 62 Cooper Square, right off Astor Place in 1923.

Throughout the years, it was the place in downtown New York to grab the sheet music for any occasion and even into the 1990s held on to its old-school charm, with uniformed attendants in the elevators and little evidence of modern technical organization. In 1999, the company moved out of the building, which now houses 26 loft apartments. Their new location is at 65 Bleeker Street.

Even if you never bought sheet music, the store was a fixture of Astor Place due to the charming clock, blooming from a gigantic eighth note, that stretched down the side of the building, hovering over a small parking lot below. There has always been a clock alongside the building as long as Fischer was in the building, though it the past it was incorporated into murals featuring a boy scout with a drum, an art-deco sun pattern, and a marching band.

The parking lot has always been owned by Cooper Union, and it's no surprise given the condo frenzy that has possessed New York that in 1999, the same year that Carl Fischer vacated the premises, they decided to lease to Gwathmey Siegel & Associates for a new condominium.

That parking lot has a bit of a storied history of its own, a frequent spot for people to sell a mix of unusual wares along the street. Author Michael Galinsky wrote about this curious intersection several years ago and kindly forwarded me a link to Flickr that featured some pictures from the book which I highly recommend you check out, especially if you're a fan of 80s New York street scenes.

However, that parking lot is gone, replaced with the Astor Place Tower, a sleek 21 story glass tower. I leave it to you to form your own opinions about this building. What is has done, however, is completely dwarf the famous old clock, completely obscuring it at many times of the day with a glare and creating an awkward canyon between the Tower and the Fischer building that can't be creating a very attractive view from certain windows.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

PODCAST: Peter Cooper and Cooper Union

Cooper Union is one of New York City's more storied institutions, not only fostering the best and brightest of art and architecture, but playing host to presidents and activists. Also, find out a little about its amazingly resourceful founder Peter Cooper

Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE

Know Your Mayors: Abram S. Hewitt

Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.

Abram Hewitt could easily be considered a very pivotal mayor in New York City, given the significant development and personal connections he had to the heart of the city. However a shipwreck very nearly did him in before he could even get started.

Hewitt, born upstate in Haverstraw, attended Columbia and taught mathmatics, where he became friendly with a student he was tutoring, Edward Cooper. The two of them later voyaged to Europe in 1844, but on the way back to America, their ship capsized off the coast of Cape May.

He, Edward and the crew were later rescued, but the experience affected Hewitt deeply (and rather vaingloriously): "It taught me...that my life which had been miraculously rescued belonged not to me, and from that hour I gave it to the work which from that time has been in my thoughts -- the welfare of my fellow-citizens."

It had a more lucrative effect as well; for Edward Cooper happened to be the only son of industrialist Peter Cooper. Hewitt's bravery bonded him with the Cooper family, becoming lifelong friends with Edward and marrying Edward's sister Sarah.

He helped found Trenton Iron Company with the Coopers and became the first to experiment with the inexpensive steel-producing Bessemer process in the United States.

But politics was soon in Abram's sights, especially with the crumbling of Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall after his fall in 1871. Hewitt reorganized that once-corrupt Democratic political machine with political rewards for himself, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1874.

He even tried his hand at national politics, managing Samuel Tilden's nearly-successful quest for the White House in 1876. Remember this from history class? Despite Tilden winning the popular vote, an electoral fiaso gave the election to Rutherford B Hayes.

As Hewitt held court in Washington -- becoming, in Henry Adams' words "the most useful public man in Washington" -- his close friend and brother-in-law Edward Cooper would be elected mayor of New York in 1879.

Hewitt's connections in Washington would assist in getting the neccessary attentions brought to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Although David McCullough dryly notes that Hewitt might have inadvertantly helped weaken the Bridge by helping deliever the wire bid to Brooklyn native (and total fraud) J. Lloyd Haugh. (More about him in last week's podcast.) Hewitt would give a most stirring speech during the Bridge opening ceremony in 1883.

Finally, Hewitt himself would become mayor of New York City in 1886 during a heated election in which a candidate by the name of Theodore Roosevelt would place third.

Hewitt strong distain for corruption in city politics ran him against his old organization Tammany Hall. He also had strong moral convictions, fighting to keep city saloons closed on Sunday. (This did not endear him to many people.) However, he strongly advocated the creation of new city parks and began work on a much-delayed underground train system -- which Tweed's machine had stalled for years. In fact, Hewitt is considered the "Father of the New York Subway."

He was defeated in 1888, partially due to angering the Irish community because he refused to attend the St Patricks Day Parade. (Hewitt tended to be of a more nativist stripe; among other demands, he required all immigrants take a literacy test.)

He spent his later years as a philanthropist, on the boards of the Carnegie Institution and the Museum of Natural History. When he died in 1903, Andrew Carnegie himself claimed the former mayor was "America's foremost private citizen".

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Glue and Gore!

Staten Island may have its Fresh Kills, but Brooklyn has its fair share of gore. Or gores, rather.

If I were to tell you that there was a large gore on Orient Avenue in east Williamsburg, and that it was the former location of a famous glue factory, oh I can just imagine the thoughts that run through your head.

Don't worry; no horses were harmed in the making of this blog entry. An antiquated meaning of the word 'gore', according to an old English usage, is "a triangular piece of material inserted in a garment, sail, etc., to give it greater width or a desired shape."

Small triangular patches at the convergence of two streets are also called gores.

Although Manhattan clearly has many triangular blocks, few today are called gores. Many have been built upon through clever architectural designs, like the Flatiron Building. An extraordinary illustrated 1913 New York Times article documents some abandoned 'useless' gores in lower Manhattan, including one on Madison Street and 'New Bowery'.

"It is so small that nothing could be built on it without encroaching on city property, and even if tin sheeting were used for walls a man could hardly stand with comfort within the plot. Yet this tiny and useless bit of real estate is regularly assessed for taxation, and it figures at a valuation of $50."

Brooklyn however still uses the gore distinction for many of its 'triangular tracts', including Underhill Gore, Memorial Gore and Grant Gore.

Cooper Gore at Orient and Metropolitan Avenues is also referred to more charmingly as Orient Grove. It was originally named Cooper Gore for Peter Cooper, cracking industrialist and later founder of Cooper Union. So yes, this means Cooper has his own gore, his own park, his own village and his own post office.

Cooper had a highly successful glue factory in Kips Bay that was later transferred to Masbeth Avenue, not far from the gore. Cooper retired from glue in 1865 and the company sold. By 1897, this little triangular tract of land was named for him and turned into a eensy-weensy park with a place to play tennis.

See, even the most 'useless' sliver of land in New York has its story.

Orient 'Grove'/Cooper Gore is just down the street from the slightly greener, obviously bigger Cooper Park.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bridge extensions

Before I forgot, I just wanted to throw on a few more Brooklyn Bridge resources, some of which we used for our podcast this week.

Foremost, we started with probably one of the top ten greatest books about New York City -- namely David McCullough's indispensable The Great Bridge. The author of 1776, Truman, and John Adams wrote this in 1972, and I can't imagine a better tale being written about the history of the Brooklyn Bridge. In fact, Ric Burns' documentary on the Bridge borrows heavily from it and even features prominent interviews with McCullough. I'm a huge fan of McCullough's work anyway; so reading this was akin to my favorite movie star handing me a big bag of candy.

The lovable, gullible phrase 'selling the Brooklyn Bridge' actually has its origins in a machinations of a few turn of the century con artists. Says Luc Sante in yet another seminal book on New York culture 'Low Life' "The oddity of the thing today is not that there might have been con artists ready to sell the bridge, but that there would have been suckers both gullible enough and sufficiently well-heeled to fall for it. The Times has a nice survey of the suckers here and the phenomenon's connection to 'i've got swampland in Florida to sell you.'

When people weren't trying to sell the bridge, they were attempting to jump off of it. Several years after the bridge was opened, bridge jumping became something of a suicidal past time in New York. Robert Odlum was the first person to try it, dramatically and unsuccessfully. Read our coverage of the most famous bridge jumper, Steve Brodie (at left), who may not have actually jumped off it at all. Sadly, they're still doing it.

And who's the latest moron who wants to try it. David Blaine!

And finally we forgot to mention one of the most surprising facts about the Bridge's Chief Engineer Washington Roebling (at right). Despite being horribly crippled and weakened by 'caisson disease', Roebling went on to actually outlive almost all the original participants of the bridge including his wife Emily. In fact, late in life, Washington married again. He died July 21, 1926, almost 44 years after the bridge was opened! (I need to resist the temptation to add "...Believe It, Or Not!" to the end of that.)

And what does Washington Roebling have to do with the Astors? Both had namesakes go down on the Titanic in 1912. In Washington's case, it was his namesake nephew, son of Washington's brother Charles.

What's in the future for the Brooklyn Bridge? How about a big waterfall?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Ruins even more ruined!

Ugh! The City Room reports a crisis on Roosevelt Island for its most dramatic landmark, the Renwick Ruins. The remains of Blackwell Island's smallpox hospital are to be the centerpiece to the Roosevelt's new Southpoint Park. However last week, part of the north wall completely crumbled to the ground.

Plans to stabilize the ruin, which was granted official city landmark status in 1976, have been dragging ever so slowly. Preservationists fear that the collapse has weakened other portions of the building, which is almost literally a shell of its former self. No floors, only walls, exist at the ruins.

Check out the City Room article for further details, as well as Roosevelt Island 360, who have an email from the Roosevelt Island Operating Company about the collapse. And of course, the Bowery Boys own history of the spooky but captivating place.

Renwick at its Gothic best:

And worst:

The picture below of the collapsed wall, was taken by Judy Berdy, the Roosevelt Island Historical Society's President, courtesy Roosevelt Island 360.

Friday, January 11, 2008

PODCAST: The Brooklyn Bridge

The Bowery Boys explore the story and the family behind the Brooklyn Bridge, one of New York's most treasured landmarks.

Listen to our podcast here, or download it on iTunes or other podcast directories.

Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE

The walkway in 1894....

....and today

John Roebling

Diagram of a sunken caisson:

A few months back here, we took at look at the bridge stampede. For Friday Night Fever we highlighted the Bridge Cafe, whos prior incarnation Hole-in-the-Wall stood witness to the bridge construction. George Washington once lived on the spot occupied by the New York anchorage. On Tuesday, we highlighted Brooklyn mayor Seth Low, who once tried to get Washington Roebling to step down as Chief Engineer.