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New York City has an admirable history of investing in public art.  Ordinances require a certain amount of money to be spent on art in all city-owned buildings. Parks Department also strives to bring art to everyone, not just fans of museums and galleries.  The upshot is a ton of fascinating sculptures and murals to see throughout all five boroughs.  And of course everyone-- every citizen, every artist, and every patron of the arts-- loves every piece that has been created.

Ha!  This wouldn't be ABC Gotham without controversy!  Listen to Kate and Kathleen describe works by Diego Rivera, Richard Serra, Keith Haring, and Jeanne-Claude and Christo. And we'll tell you all about the graffiti mecca 5 Pointz in Long Island City.  We STRONGLY recommend checking out the pictures on the Facebook page-- verbal descriptions can only do so much!

In case you can't get enough 5 Pointz images, take a look at this great series of pics, here for some amazing before- and - after pics, and a great slideshow of the day after the building was whitewashed. Last, in case you're curious, here's the reason why you can't go to 5 Pointz today.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have created amazing large- scale works all over the world.



CSI tells us only part of the story.  After an unexplained death, what happens back at the morgue?  Who is in charge of making sure clues are recorded so crimes can be prosecuted?  New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) is currently one of the best in the world, but that hasn't always been the case.  It was not so long ago that New York City was saddled with a corrupt and ineffective system, with coroners accepting bribes to change death certificates or ignore inconvenient homicides.  Listen as Kate and Kathleen tell you all about some truly reprehensible coroners from the past, and the struggle to implement our current medical examiner system.

Kate was horrified to discover, in the course of her research, that Murderpedia is a thing.

Blood On The Table by Colin Evans is really interesting. It's the whole reason Kathleen made Kate do this topic.

A coroner would get paid $27.75 per body in 1868, so they were very motivated to grab all the bodies they could find.  That's approximately $477.00 in today's money, according to MeasuringWorth.  And that scant $11,000 annual salary?  That's $189,000 today. Um, yes, please.

OCME had a close relationship with Bellevue Hospital early in its existence.  Learn more about this beautiful and storied institution thanks to Untapped Cities!

Learn more about the Jake Walk that afflicted drinkers of Jamaican rum extract during Prohibition.  Because it was poisoned. On purpose. No joke.

PBS American Experience bring you an interactive comic book.  Follow forensic chemist Alexander Gettler and chief medical examiner Dr. Charles Norris through 1920s New York City as they help solve crimes with groundbreaking forensic science.

Former CME Micheal Baden loves the spotlight.  He investigated the deaths of the lost Tsar Nicholas, John Belushi, the president of Poland, Nicole Brown Simpson, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner.

A bit more detail about the Murder at The Met.

And don't forget to check our Facebook page for lots of great images, including gorgeous photos of Bellevue!  (Nothing gory, we promise.  Some bones, that's all.)



The exciting conclusion is here!  Listen to Kate and Kathleen explain how the unfortunate members of Operation Pastorius journey across the Atlantic and try to succeed in their mission. Learn about their grim passage, their brushes with the law, their muddled miscalculations, and best of all, their splendid spending sprees in New York City. An excellent This American Life describes the experience of one of the Florida men, Herbie Haupt. It's HIGHLY recommended.   Don't forget to check our Facebook page for more photos! 


Nazi spying operations in New York City didn't end with the Duquesne. Germans were reeling from the obliteration of their vast spy ring, and ample resources were dedicated to rebuilding German espionage in the USA.  This effort started with Operation Pastorius: a well- researched but poorly- executed effort to send saboteurs to bomb aluminum and magnesium plants, major bridges, and major railroad junctions.  This was a time when the German American Bund was going strong. However, it did not go as planned. One of the many errors in this plan was recruiting men of questionable loyalty to Germany.  Kate and Kathleen tell you all about the countless ways these plans went off the rails.

Check out the Facebook page for lots of great pictures, including a some terrifying ones of the American Bund Rally in Madison Square Garden in 1939.


Remember how we left World War II out of Episode E: Espionage?  Here's why!  There's so much cool information that we needed to separate it from the rest.  You're getting not one, not two, but THREE episodes to tell you about Nazis in New York City.  Yes, Nazi spies walked the streets of New York and worked to undermine the Allied effort during World War II.  

There were two major espionage efforts by the Third Reich, and in Part I of Episode N, Kate and Kathleen tell you all about the Duquesne Spy Ring.  This story is amazing on many levels.  You'll meet the first double agent in FBI history, William Sebold, who was an astonishingly brave and clever guy.  You'll meet their leader, ultra- spy extraordinaire Fredrick "Fritz" Joubert Duquesne, whose life story could have easily filled up three episodes. Last, you'll hear about some of the THIRTY- THREE spies who were brought to justice-- the most convictions for a single spy ring in American history.

And I strongly recommend going to the Facebook page for more images-- especially of foxy femme fatale Lily Stein.

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Up in Washington Heights, on Jumel Terrace between 160th and 162nd Streets, sits a beautiful Federal- style mansion that played a critical role in American history.  The oldest house in Manhattan (but not the oldest in New York City!), Morris-Jumel had residents and visitors including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Queen Elizabeth, and Robert Stack, host of "Unsolved Mysteries".  Listen and learn about some amazing, headstrong women who lived there, like Mary Phillipse Morris (one of only 3 women to be tried for treason after the Revolutionary War) and Eliza Jumel, who rose from humble beginnings and manged her investments with such skill that she became the wealthiest woman in the United States. And hear all about the Mansion today, where friendly and informed staffers answer your questions about the beautifully- restored Georgian interiors and the rumors of restless spirits that wander the halls to this day.

In case you wondered, the oldest house in the CITY is The Wycoff House Museum in Brooklyn.

Here are the details you need if you want to visit the mansion.

Big thanks to Jacquetta Szathmari, co-host of the great podcast Hey You Know It, for suggesting this topic!

The grounds are kept free of rats and mice by hardworking local cats.  

Of course I wouldn't mention the cats of Morris- Jumel without providing you with lots of pictures!

Don't forget to visit our Facebook page for more photos!


Local Laws

Some laws in New York City are different than the rest of the state or country, and Kate and Kathleen tell you all about the most interesting ones.  Some have recently been amended.  For others, amendments are being considered right now! From the tenement regulations and swill milk scandals of a century ago, to Giuliani's cabaret crackdown, to the recently- revised guidelines regarding ferrets as pets, to the current controversy regarding Airbnb in NYC, we fill in all the details you've been wanting to know about these very unique New York laws.

Giuliani goes crazy, talking with activist David Guthartz on his call-in radio show.  Rob Donnelly has drawn a brilliant animation to go with the audio. DO NOT miss this.

Think you might want to claim squatter's rights?  Here's how squatting works.

Killers in NYC


Murder is not uncommon in any big city and New York is not without this heinous crime and the monsters who commit it.  Kate and Kathleen tell you about four specific killers: a love-crazed chorus girl, a prolific hit man, the most famous NYC murderer of them all, and a jealous arsonist.  Listen to this grim but fascinating account, and don't forget to check out our Facebook page for more images.

Kate and Kathleen highly recommend Summer of Sam.

Richard Kuklinski is the subject of both a documentary and a recent Hollywood release.


Click here to listen!  Our Podbean sisters Katie and Jacquetta hosted us on their hilarious show, Hey You Know It.  And we highly recommend listening to all the episodes!

Jane Jacobs

Activist, journalist, and groundbreaking outsider who shook up the field of urban planning: Jane Jacobs is one woman you definitely want to know more about.  Sometimes credited with bringing down Robert Moses (learn about him in our only 2- part episode:  Moses Part 1 and Moses Part 2), she used grassroots organizing and the media to draw attention to serious flaws in his plans to raze much of Greenwich Village and run the Lower Manhattan Expressway ("LoMex") through some of the coolest parts of the city. Her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, is required reading for students of urban planning. A controversial figure on her own right, her work has been criticized for being short-sighted.  Read some of her books and make up your own mind!

Or at least start with a couple of her amazing paragraphs about the ballet of the sidewalk.

Take a listen to our seventh episode to brush up on the (perceived) squalor of Five Points.

Yes, it's true!  Brave, creative people are writing an opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.

Ric Burns' PBS documentary "New York" is amazing and everyone should watch it, from start to finish. The whole thing is on YouTube.  But here's a 27- minute clip about Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses.  

Hey You Know It is another amazing podcast on Podbean, starring our friends Jacquetta Szathmari and Katie Kazimir.  We're the special guest stars in the July 27, 2014 episode!

Have you listened to the promo for our ABC Gotham Pub Quiz event, which will be Sunday Aug 17 at 4 pm? 

For ABC Gothamites who are parents and want to attend the Pub Quiz:  Barclay's Center is 2 blocks from the Pub Quiz location.  Sunday Aug 17th at 3 pm, the Marvel Universe Live is happening there.  They kids will love it.


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