New York City History: The Bowery Boys

New York City History: The Bowery Boys


New York City History: The Bowery Boys

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Creator(s): The Bowery Boys
Where to Find: iTunes, Website
Premise: The Bowery Boys talk history of New York City

Review by David Snipes

Shows listened to (at time of review): #79 (The Whyos), #133 (Red Hook) , #156 (Boy Mayor of NY),

Things done right: Easy to listen to style, and the hosts have a very conversational tone. They keep the story moving and the hosts do a solid job of keeping the topics relevant to the present day. I’ll be honest with you, I know very little about the history of NYC. Yes I know OF the city, but to be honest, outside of the movie Gangs of New York, I know next to nothing of it, since they don’t really factor into many events I’ve read about, despite its size. One of the quality things the Bowery Boys do, is when they are done talking about a topic, they are done, they don’t add things to try and get to 20 minutes or some set limit, if the topic takes 18 minutes, fine if it takes 30 minutes fine. If you look at the show as a series on iTunes, they do a great job of picking out stories you may care about, and you won’t miss any of the narrative, you rarely- if ever, get told- well, we talked about this in episode 39, but here is where it fits in.

Things done Wrong: I have one major complaint here. Whenever they come to a stopping point, the one not reading, turns into an idiot. Then either makes a comment, or asks a question, then that person becomes the expert for the next paragraph. Its almost like after I tell you how underground springs work, you exclaim with stunned surprise, “Water is wet? I had no idea!” Then go off on an explanation on how water vapor forms clouds. I will say that they definitely work better as a pair than as a solo act. I have a self-imposed minimum of 3 full episodes to listen to, but I did pull some snippets to see if certain trends continued, and without a doubt, when its just one, the other is missed.

Inaccuracies: Non, again, I don’t know the history.

Summary: I’m always reading on the Facebook group sites: “I’m wanting to start a podcast about X, do you think I’ll find an audience?” The Bowery Boys is a classic example. I don’t care about NYC, never have, never will, yet these two guys are passionate about learning and teaching the history of their great city, and it shows. I may not know anything about Red Hook beyond the Wrestler Taz called it home, but 30 minutes later, I know quite a bit. The Bowery Boys are a perfect example of a podcast making you care about their subject matter. Will I be a regular listener? No, will I grab one when I’m waiting on my regular shows to update? Absolutely.

Snipes’ Score: 8/10

Review by Andrew Mence

Shows listened to (at time of review): #3 (Alexander Hamilton), #50 (Canal Street and Collect Pond) , #171 (The Keys to Grammercy Park)

Things done right: Slick, the word for this podcast is, most definitely, slick. Professionally delivered and engineered it is a pleasure to listen to. From moment one you could tell that the hosts had done their homework on just how to deliver a podcast. Their love of the subject shines through and they gel as a hosting duo. Pictures are painted with words and the narrative arc carries you seamlessly from beginning to end. The nooks and crannies of NY are explored in depth and the research seems to be top notch.

Things done Wrong: I do not know much about American History in general, and New York is a complete cypher to me. This podcast moves me no further forward. It is, sadly, more travelogue than history podcast and what history there is, is of a distinctly local flavour. As a completest, my natural tendency is to listen from episode 1 (in this case 3) and binge listen – the thought of so doing with The Bowery Boys fills me with ennui.

Inaccuracies: No idea.

Summary: If I were a native of New York, I imagine this podcast would be the very thing. I’m not so, for me, it isn’t.

Mence’s Score: 5/10