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4 minutes | Jun 15, 2020
Burning Gotham Teaser 004: The Penny Press War
It’s the Spring of 1835. We’re at the offices of The New York Sun, published by Benjamin Day and edited by George Wisner. When the Sun launched in 1833, it became New York’s first successful one-cent newspaper. Prior to the Sun’s launch, the most widely-read city papers were the Courier and Enquirer, Evening Post, Evening Star, and Commercial Advertiser. The City’s eleven merchant papers had a combined circulation of only 26,500. All were produced within a few blocks of each other near Wall Street, William and Nassau. The papers covered foreign affairs, Washington dealings, and little of local culture. But, by 1833 as New York City’s population soared passed two-hundred thousand, you’d have heard English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and any number of other foreign languages on the streets of New York. These six-cent merchant papers were missing an opportunity, and Benjamin Day stepped in. The New York Sun was dramatically different. It was smaller in size, and just below the nameplate was the price: ONE PENNY. Many of the reports on tariffs and trade politics were replaced by stories littered with sex, romance, intrigue, violence, and death. The Sun’s daily circulation soon reached over ten thousand. Then an old rival, James Gordon Bennett, launched a new penny paper—The New York Morning Herald—and his readership was catching up.Benjamin Day needed help. He wanted an editor capable of captivating the entire city, and changing the literary landscape in New York forever. With a well-timed hire, and a well-timed fire, Benjamin Day will get his wish. ___________Coming soon to your favorite podcast app, Burning Gotham, the new scripted audio fiction set in 1835 New York City. Subscribe everywhere you get your podcasts by searching for Burning Gotham, or go to BurningGotham.com.
3 minutes | May 24, 2020
Burning Gotham Teaser 003: Moving Day
May 1st, 1835. It’s a cold and rainy Moving Day. Every renter in New York is out on the street looking for lodging. Most of the city’s quarter-million live below Houston Street in buildings four stories or smaller, but construction is booming. New people are pouring onto New York’s dangerously overcrowded streets by the thousands. Rich and poor, many come to earn an honest living. Others for more nefarious reasons. And it’s the perfect place to begin. ———————————Coming soon to your favorite podcast app, Burning Gotham—a new scripted audio fiction series about the fastest growing city in the world, and the opportunists who shaped it. To find out more, please subscribe to this audio feed or go to BurningGotham.com.
2 minutes | May 6, 2020
Burning Gotham Teaser 002: The Letter
March 1835: Paris, France. What does an inheritance, a proposition, and two lovely Russian countesses have in common? Don’t be fooled, danger is coming. ___________Premiering soon on your favorite podcast app, Burning Gotham, the new scripted audio fiction podcast, set in 1835 New York City. Subscribe to this audio feed to learn more, or go to BurningGotham.com.
3 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Burning Gotham Teaser 001: The New Audio Drama Set in 1835 New York City
COMING SOON New York, 1835: A city at its tipping point.It’s ten years since the completion of the Erie Canal. New York City’s population is now over 270,000. Most of these people live below Fourteenth Street in wooden or brick buildings no taller than five stories. The gap between rich and poor is rapidly expanding as each week thousands of new men and women pour onto New York’s dangerously overcrowded streets. Many come to earn an honest living.Others for more nefarious reasons.___________As New York grows, widening old streets and creating new ones is paramount. It raises property value, but property taxes can only increase if the land is improved upon. Buyers are purchasing land on credit and selling to someone new before needing to pay back the original balance. This artificial inflation is creating a very unstable economy. ___________The city has no reliable source of drinking water. Although New Yorkers vote in favor of the Croton Aqueduct in April, construction is yet to begin. The aqueduct needs to be paid for. That same month, officials place a twenty-four hour guard in the cupola of City Hall to ring a large bell and hang a light in the direction of any fire. The potential for a cholera epidemic or a crippling blaze is a constant source of fear.___________These fears are stirred by the City’s penny papers, chiefly The Sun and The New York Herald, whose publishers Benjamin Day and James Gordon Bennett are battling for readership. In August, this battle leads to the greatest literary hoax of the nineteenth century—fooling both layman and scholar—portending the existence of intelligent life on the Moon.___________Even as he calls the hoax remarkable, Phineas T. Barnum is orchestrating one of his own. With the help of William Niblo, Barnum is set to display a woman named Joice Heth: Ms. Heth claims to be the one-hundred-sixty-one year-old nursemaid of George Washington. Remarkable indeed. ___________New York is a powder keg. On the frigid, blustery night of December 16th, 1835, it finally explodes as the worst fire in city history sweeps through Manhattan. The East River is frozen solid. The undermanned and exhausted team of volunteer firefighters are no match. Everything south of Maiden Lane and east of Broad Street—the chief merchant district and the one with the highest property value—turns to ash.The fire causes the modern equivalent of $500 million in damages. The official investigation finds it to have been caused by a leaky gas valve near a lit coal stove. No public blame is assigned. But what if New York’s greatest fire was no accident?___________Coming soon to your favorite podcast app: Burning Gotham, the new audio drama about the fastest growing city in the world, and the opportunists who shaped it.
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