How Bossy Was He?

These are grim times for New York political bosses. Former Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial ends on Monday. Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ corruption trial has just begun. Former Kings County Democratic Chairman Vito Lopez is dead. Today is an for anniversary celebrating a rare win for New York reformers: on November 19, 1871, William…

New Yorkers at War – Bronx Parks Edition

My first internship was spent at the New York City Parks Department in the Historical Signs Division. It was the summer of 2001, and Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Parks Commissioner Henry Stern came up with the brilliant idea of erecting 2001 signs to commemorate New York’s (approximately) 2001 parks, each sign affixing their names to the bottom. This task required…

New York City Gets Epic for July 4th

I could have posted this yesterday, but I assumed, hopefully correctly, that people would have better things to do on a sunny holiday Saturday than read blogs. For my part, I designed and triumphed in a Game of Thrones-themed pong. (As Littlefinger, I allied with the Lannisters and we retained control of the Iron Throne.)…

I’ll Be Back!

In case you’ve been wondering about the slightly diminished output at Janos.nyc during the past few weeks, let me lay it on you: I’m getting married Saturday! Planning an awesome wedding is a lot of work, with seemingly infinite moving parts, but in 48 hours it’s finally going down. After the wedding we’ll be taking…

Today in NYC History: The Police Riots of 1857

Police riot, they want a riot, police riot, a riot of their own! Why should civilians have all the fun? On June 16, 1857, two rival police squads clashed at City Hall: the Municipals, under the command of the notorious Mayor Fernando Wood, and the Metropolitans, acting under the authority of the state. Fernando Wood…

Today in NYC History: The Clash Rock Bond’s Casino

The Clash have been my favorite band since high school. Their fourth album, Sandinista!, is not only my favorite album, it is also Mayor Bill de Blasio’s favorite. According to Bill, the Clash are blasting through the walls of Gracie Mansion these days, as young Dante de Blasio has discovered “the only band that matters” for…

Today in NYC History: The Failed Sewer Strike of 1971

Across the United States, the power of organized labor has been largely diminished, but in New York City, unions remain relevant, throwing their muscle behind campaigns and driving public policy. Even here, however, labor has receded from its high-water mark, a moment that labor historian Joshua Freeman believes took place on June 8, 1971. Political griping about the cost…