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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST

TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 1

Episode 1 “The Island at the Center of the World”: with Russell Shorto, Author, Historian, and Journalist. Before there was a Hart Island, even before there was a New York City, there was, “The Island at the Center of the World”. Join us as we explore the epic story of Dutch Manhattan and the forgotten […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 2

Episode 2 “The Treasure of Hart Island”: A Novel, by Mike Monahan. Hart Island is haunted by the spirits of the dead. It is used as a potter’s field for indigenous peoples. Each grave is dug by the convicts on nearby Rikers Island. Underneath its sandy shores lie bones and death….. It also holds a […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 3

Episode 3 “Superstorm”: with Dr. David A. Robinson, Professor at Rutgers University and the New Jersey Climatologist. What would become the largest Atlantic storm on record swirled violently from the Caribbean creating a devastating oceanic force that, at its zenith reached 900 miles across and 1000 miles long. It was called Super-storm Sandy. Sandy would […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 4

Episode 4 “Bobby Driscoll”: with Dave Bossert, Director/producer Disney Animation Studios. The clean cut child star with an impish, upturned nose, and beguiling expression was handpicked for an acting career by Walt Disney, himself—Of all the roles he played, Peter Pan seemed most like his alter-ego. He grew up—and worked—in Hollywood, but it might have […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 5

Episode 5 “Five Points”: with Professor Tyler Anbinder. By the late 1820’s the Five Points had already been considered a slum where poor immigrant and African American’s came to live and toil amid filthy tenements and converted industrial dwellings. Author Charles Dickens visited Five Points in 1842 and noted, “So far, nearly every house is […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 6

Episode 6 “Forgotten Ellis island”: with Lorie Conway. The lost story of the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital saved tens of thousands of lives, as immigrants flooded onto Ellis Island over a century ago. It was here that the germs of the world converged. The hospital was both welcoming and foreboding to those too sick to […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 7

Episode 7 “Hart Island A Musical”: by Michelle Elliot and Danny Larsen. “Hart Island”, is the story of two people on the fringe of society. Their lives intersect on Hart Island, New York City’s public burial ground. Although marginalized by the rest of society, they come to appreciate each other’s humanity-a powerful action in a […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 8

Episode 8 “Inside Rikers: Stories From the World’s Largest Penal Colony”: with Jennifer Wynn, Professor, City University of New York. Wynn teaches a writing class to male inmates at Rikers Prison, as part of a rehabilitation program known as Fresh Start, and is the editor of Rikers Review, an illustrated magazine featuring short stories, profiles, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 9

Episode 9 “A Pickpockets Tale”: with Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Professor, Loyola University. In George Appo’s world, child pickpockets swarmed the crowded streets, addicts drifted in furtive opium dens, and expert swindlers worked the lucrative green-goods game. On a good night, Appo made as much as a skilled laborer made in a year. Bad nights left […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 10

Episode 10 “Damnation Island”: with Stacy Horn, Author. Purchased by the city in 1828, the island soon harbored an almshouse, an insane asylum, a hospital, a prison and a workhouse along its narrow two-mile strip. Heating and ventilation were nonexistent, disease ran rampant. Over the next 100 years, mayhem ensued, with wrongly admitted patients, death […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 11

Episode 11 “Dawn Powell”: with Tim Page, Professor, Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic, writer, and editor. Does the name Dawn Powell mean anything to you? I thought so. But you’re not alone. Just as millions of people knew nothing about Hart Island, millions of people never heard of Dawn Powell, perhaps the greatest writer no-one has […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 12

Episode 12 “Bellevue”: with Dr. Danielle Ofri Essayist, editor, and practicing internist in New York City. How exactly did bodies end up on Hart Island? Their first stop use to be the Bellevue Hospital Morgue. During the 19th century, the Bellevue Morgue had become the first official repository of deceased New Yorkers. If a body […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 13

Episode 13 “Leola Dickerson”: with Peter Strauss, Senior Partner at Pierro, Connor, and Strauss. She lay on the floor for three days. A slip and fall had rendered her helpless, at the mercy of fate as neighbors came and went just feet from her door. Ii was the mailman who became concerned, she had not […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 14

Episode 14 “The Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire”: with Hasia Diner, Professor New York University. As historian Robert Hughes notes, “The Tenth Ward of Lower Manhattan—the Lower East Side—had by the 1890’s, the highest concentration of people in the world: 344,000 people packed into one square mile, or nine square yards each, including street and […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 15

Episode 15 “The Manly Arts”: with Elliott J. Gorn, Professor, Purdue University. Well before Hart island became New York City’s potters field, Hart Island, or Hart’s Island as it was then called, became a prime tourist destination for every rogue and scoundrel in town, when City officials banned boxing. Overnight, the ban turned the island […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 16

Episode 16 “Shelia Terry”: with Larry Powell, Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham. American film actress Shelia Terry was a true Hollywood starlet of the 1930’s, starring in among other films, three with John Wayne before she ended her life, with an overdose of sleeping pills in 1947. Described as one of films first glamour […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 17

Episode 17 “The Great Arrival”: with Diane Vecchio, Professor, Furman University. Most of this generation of Italian immigrants took their first steps on U.S. soil in a place that has now become a legend—Ellis Island. In the 1880s, they numbered 300,000; in the 1890s, 600,000; in the decade after that, more than two million. By […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 18

Episode 18 “Leonard Melfi”: with Edward Berkeley, Professor, The Julliard School. Leonard Melfi was revered by his peers as one of the most respected and creative playwrights of his generation. He is most associated with the offbeat La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, on East 4th Street in New York’s East Village, which produced twenty-two of […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 19

Episode 19 “Ship Ablaze”: with Edward T. O’Donnell, Professor Holy Cross University. There were few experienced swimmers, among the over 1,300 Lower East Side residents, who boarded the General Slocum on June 15, 1904. It shouldn’t have mattered since the steamship was chartered, only for a languid excursion, from Manhattan to Long Island Sound. But […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 20

Episode 20 “Ruth Proskauer Smith”: with Ian Dowbiggin, Professor at University of Prince Edward Island. Ruth Proskauer Smith, or Ruth P. Smith as she became more commonly known as, was a historic pro-choice reproductive rights, and pro-right to die advocate. Even after she was over one hundred years old, she spent much of her time […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 21

Episode 21 “The Bowery”; Dr. Robert Aronowitz, Physician and medical historian, University of Pennsylvania. “The Bowery is one of the oldest stretches of land in Manhattan, and was once a footpath used by members of the Lenape tribe to transverse Manhattan Island.  Once the home of the most affluent members of New York social circles, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 22

Episode 22 “The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Greatest Plague in History”: by John Barry, Author and historian. The influenza pandemic is believed to have killed somewhere between 50-100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four weeks than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 23

Episode 23 “Leo Birinski”: with Barbara Kosta, Professor, University of Arizona. For a man with a little known history, no legitimate records to prove his place of birth, or even his date of birth, and who would eventually be buried in a mass grave on Hart Island, Leo Birinski became a known  playwright, , screenwriter, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 24

Episode 24 “Still Born”: with MJ Adams. Fifteen years after a Manhattan hospital sent her stillborn baby to New York City’s potter’s field for burial, MJ Adams heard the name Hart Island for the first time. Adams, then living in New York City, learned the full-term baby boy she was carrying had died in utero. […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 25

Episode 25 “The Tenement Museum”: with Kevin Jennings, Director. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, located at 97 and 103 Orchard Street, in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, is a National Historic Site. The Museum’s two historical tenement buildings were home to an estimated 15,000 people, from over 20 nations, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 26

Episode 26 “Ghosts of St Vincents”: with Tom Eubanks. Founded in 1849 to care for indigent immigrants in Greenwich Village, St. Vincent’s Hospital was sold in 2010 to create multi-million-dollar homes. In its 161 years of existence, the legendary institution treated survivors of the Titanic, tended to victims of both World Trade Center attacks, and […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 27

Episode 27 “Greta Garbo”: with Lois Banner, Professor (ret) USC. Leo Birinski was a playwright, screenwriter and director. He worked in Austria-Hungary, Germany and in the United States. Birinski was the screenwriter of many Hollywood productions including, “Song of Song”s staring Marlene Dietrich, “The Lady Has Plans”, staring Paulette Goddard, and perhaps his most famous, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 28

Episode 28 “Louisa Van Slyke”: with Author Gail Jarrow. The ship lurched in the heavy North Atlantic swell, its bow plunging deep in the troughs as it pitched sharply, its seasick passengers crammed into its small hold. The young lady, dressed simply, was just another anonymous face in the crowded ship. She kept to herself, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 29

Episode 29 “Hebrew Free Burial Society”: with Amy Koplow, Executive Director. While many of the young women and men who perished in the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory Fire could be identified, many could not. As unclaimed or identified deaths, according to New York City policy, bodies were traditionally shipped to the City Morgue at Bellevue […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 30

Episode 30 “Six to Celebrate” Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of Historic District Council. In 2017 the annual “Six to Celebrate” initiative from the Historic Districts Council, highlighted six neighborhoods in New York City, in need of preservation attention: Hart Island, the city’s potter’s field which contains the mass grave of over one million people, was […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 31

Episode 31 “Potters Field(s)”: with Andrew Berman, Executive Director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. By the early 1800’s New York City boasted a population of over 200,000, qualifying it as the largest city in the Western Hemisphere. As New York City’s population grew, so did its number of dead. The fact that the number […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 32

Episode 32 “Boroughs of the Dead”: with Marie Carter, Editor, writer, teacher, and tour guide. When detectives and forensic scientists were called to investigate the Hart Island human remains, found littering its beach, none of them could have known they had been probably treading on additional mass graves, hidden beneath New York City’s parks, buildings, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 33

Episode 33 “Angels of Mercy”: with William Seraile, Professor Emeritus, Lehman College, City University of New York. The Colored Orphan Asylum was founded, in New York City in 1836, as the nation’s first orphanage for African American children. The agency weathered three wars, two major financial panics, a devastating fire during the 1863 Draft Riots […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 34

Episode 34 “Grave Yard of Strangers”: with Norma Jean Gradsky. Leo Birinski was a playwright, screenwriter and director. He worked in Austria-Hungary, Germany and in the United States. Birinski was the screenwriter of many Hollywood productions including, “Song of Song”s starring Marlene Dietrich, “The Lady Has Plans”, starring Paulette Goddard, and perhaps his most famous, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 35

Episode 35 “AIDS”: with Michael Bronsky, Professor, Harvard University. On a hot midsummer night in June of 1969, a group of police officers stormed into Greenwich Village’s tiny Stonewall Inn, one of Manhattans early gay and lesbian bars. The patrons of Stonewall revolted. For many this confrontation would eventually become known as the Gay Liberation […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 36

Episode 36 “Burial Grounds in a Segregated City”: with Tom Angotti, Professor Emertis, Hunter College. During the period of Dutch and English settlement, New York City was one of the nation’s largest urban centers for the slave trade and served as a financial patron, of the plantation economy, in the South. In the Dutch colony, […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 37

Episode 37 “AIDS-The First Five Years”: with Jean Ashton, Director, New York Historical Society Resources & Programs. It is estimated that during the AIDS epidemic thousands of AIDS victims were buried on Hart Island. Many because they had become disowned by their family and died unclaimed, and many more because there was no one left […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 38

Episode 38 “Lloyd “The Whistler” Threlkeld”: with Douglass Fraser, Professor and Musicologist. Lloyd Buford Threlkeld, also known as “The Whistler” for his ability to make sweet melodious sounds emerge from his practiced nose flute, also played the guitar and sang. “Whistler and his Band” was one of the most famous jug bands of its time. […]

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TALKING HART ISLAND PODCAST EPISODE 39

Episode 39 “The Orphan Trains and Charles Loring Brace”: by Michael T. Keene In 1848 Ireland was gripped by famine. Nearly a million people would die of starvation and typhoid Fever. Desperate for survival, a million more Irish would abandon their homeland and come to America. Many settled in the Five Points section of lower […]

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