My aunt Nancy is going to freak.

20 06 2013

So I’ve made it into the New York Times. For added value, here’s my tweet in response to the quote after mine:


I can live without the New York Times.

17 03 2011

I used to think that I couldn’t live without watching the CBS Evening News every night. I haven’t watched the CBS Evening News since 1996.

I used to think that I couldn’t live without meat. I’ve been a vegetarian since 2007.

I used to think that I couldn’t live without paying $60/month for Internet through a cable modem from the worst company in the world. I’ve been getting great coverage from the mobile hotspot on my wife’s phone since January.

I used to think I couldn’t visit (let alone live) in any country where the primary language wasn’t English. Worst mistake of my life. Didn’t fix it until my late Thirties.

I used to think I couldn’t live without the New York Times. I actually paid for it the last time they put up a paywall. I’m not going to make that mistake again. This paywall is weak enough so that I won’t even have to go cold turkey. Perhaps I’ll go back to reading their paper regularly again when this paywall inevitably fails, or perhaps by then I’ll no longer care.

Coney Island before the fall.

26 07 2010

Via Harper’s:

Early films of New York City on YouTube.

28 06 2010

I hate to argue with the fine folks at Open Culture (via Gawker), but at least some of these films have been available on the Library of Congress web site pretty much forever as I have been using them in class for years. I think what’s new is that they weren’t on YouTube or iTunes U where they are much more accessible.

The one above, however, is new to me, and when you think about how old it is you should be thoroughly amazed.

My favorite New York City history books.

12 06 2010

Cross-posted from the Big Apple Trip Blog. The two I assigned the students were Up in the Old Hotel, by Joseph Mitchell and The Great Bridge, by David McCullough.

I assigned you two of them already, but if you didn’t get enough New York City history while you were still there, here are some more (by category):

Really big books (over a thousand pages a piece):

1. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, by Edwin G. Borroughs and Mike Wallace. Matt calls it “his Bible,” which might tell you more about Matt than it does about the book. The sequel is coming out very soon and I’ll probably pre-order it.

2. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, by Robert A. Caro. Over thirty years old and still as fresh as today’s headlines. I borrowed my copy from my mother when I went to grad school and never gave it back.

Sleazy stuff:

1. Five Points, by Tyler Anbinder. The history of New York’s most notorious slum is every bit as fun as you’d expect it to be.

2. Low Life, by Luc Sante. Kind of like Gangs of New York, but none of it is made up.


1. The Alienist, by Caleb Carr. E.Y.’s right, this one is very, very good.

2. The Waterworks, by E.L. Doctorow. Actually, I prefer Ragtime, but that book doesn’t really fit on this list.

People we know:

1. Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum, by Ed O’Donnell. I bought this book long before I met Ed after I saw a print of the disaster in the men’s room of a Cleveland bar. It’s better than you’d ever imagine, but then again so is Ed.

Added bonus T.R. Books (in honor of our visit earlier today):

1. Mornings on Horseback, by David McCullough. I almost assigned this instead of the Brooklyn Bridge book. Most biographies drag at the beginning until the people become famous, but it is a credit to both McCullough and Roosevelt that this one is absolutely riveting and its ends when he’s like 24 or something. As an added bonus, it’s set almost entirely in Manhattan.

2. River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, by Candice Millard. The definitive account of the trip to Brazil that almost killed him.

“Manhattan” (1979).

8 06 2010

“Jonathan, you are a genius!”

7 06 2010

While this blog post is full of some serious sucking up (all of which was instigated by me), it is also a rather interesting story about where I went to dinner last night.

John Lindsay.

4 06 2010

Cross-posted from the Big Apple Trip blog. The photo is of the famous hardhats attack anti-war protesters riot of 1970.

The reason I liked that John Lindsay exhibit so much is that it was just as much about John Lindsay’s time (the Sixties) as it was about him. Remember the photo above? How would you use it in class?

Other interesting Lindsay things are available at the online version of that exhibit. I particularly like his commercials (scroll to bottom).

Blogging New York.

1 06 2010

It’s not exactly a hiatus, but starting soon most of my blogging activity is going to migrate to this space. That is the central class blog for History 591, our Teaching American History grant-funded trip to New York City (and a little bit of upstate near the end).

Here’s the explanation: Four years ago now, Pueblo District 70 received a Teaching American History grant to send area teachers to historic sites around the country. They partnered with my colleague Matt Harris and I (being the two good Easterners that we are) to run the trips. We started in Boston. Then came Philadelphia. Last year it was Chicago. We saved the best for last.

If you know anything about the TAH program, you know that these kinds of grants are quite popular. As a result, there’s a lot of criticism that trips like this are really just sending a bunch of secondary school teachers on vacation. Blogging is our answer to that criticism. Each student does a post a night, and hopefully so do I. I direct other students to the best posts using Delicious, which you can see at the top right of that blog, and hopefully conversations ensue.

You can see our itinerary here. It’s part of the course syllabus. With the days packed with action, our thinking was that asking for a blog post a night, reflecting on how what you saw is going to change the way you teach in the classroom is more than fair. We also expect a longer reflective piece on the whole trip after they get back to Colorado.

Since I don’t teach secondary school, most of my posts will be of the general New York history variety. I’ll cross-post anything of general interest here. However, if you you really want to see blogging as a teaching tool in action, go to the blogroll at the bottom right here and click on the names of any of our students. In recent years, we’ve gotten some lovely posts, many of which are absolutely bursting with pictures. I also leave lots of comments.

I hope you’ll consider leaving them comments too. That’s a good way to illustrate that anything on the Internet is really an experiment in crowd-sourcing.

Darkness and Daylight: Lights and Shadows of New York Life, by Helen Campbell (1892).

16 05 2010

Via American Abyss by Daniel Bender and Google Books:

I particularly like the homage to Jacob Riis in the circular inset at the bottom, or is it the other way around?

%d bloggers like this: