Luna Park and the Amusement Park Boom
The fortunes of Coney Island have waxed and waned, but in the early twentieth century, its amusement parks became a major American export.
Urchins of New York and Elsewhere
Remembering the Sky Parlor for lost children and the public’s fascination with those who went astray.
The Living Newspaper Speaks
Scripted from front-page news, the Federal Theatre Project’s Living Newspaper plays were part entertainment, part protest, and entirely educational.
Were Early American Prisons Similar to Today’s?
A correctional officer’s history of 19th century prisons and modern-day parallels. From Sing Sing to suicide watch, torture treads a fine line.
In Epidemics, the Wealthy Have Always Fled
"The poor, having no choice, remained.”
Pompeii Mania in the Era of Romanticism
Nothing appealed more perfectly to the Romantic sensibility than the mix of horror and awe evoked by a volcano erupting.
A Grain of Solar-Made Sea Salt
Artisanal sea salt makers are reviving the ancient method of sustainably harvesting salt.
The Lonely Hearts of the Algonquin Round Table
The "Vicious Circle" of the Algonquin Round Table included sharp-tongued wits like Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott. But it wasn't always vicious.
Woodstock: Sex, Drugs, and Zoning
It's the 50th anniversary of the famous Woodstock festival, which was fraught with controversy before it even happened.
A Phrenologist’s Dream of an Octagon House
Orson S. Fowler thought houses without right angles would offer a better life, but his own architectural experiments did not end well.