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Lady Day on Swing Street

2015 is the centennial of two of the most important figures in American music and the history of New York. We took care of Frank Sinatra already on Alcohol Professor, so now it’s time to bow down to the woman he said was the most influential artist in his life and in modern American music history. Lady Day on Swing Street looks at the life and career of Billie Holiday, the Harlem Renaissance, and the rise and fall of Swing Street and Greenwich Village jazz clubs.

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The Pan Am Worldport

In Live and Let Die, the first of Roger Moore’s many James Bond films, 007 arrives in New York via the Pan Am Worldport, one of the great feats of airport architecture.

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Inside the Explorers Club

Gifts from the Dalai Lama. A voodoo drum that it is said will curse those who play it without possessing a proper witch doctor’s credentials. A penis harvested from a dead whale, and the horn of from a narwhal. Tusks from a wooly mammoth.

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The Chairman, The Poet, and The Dancer

To commemorate Frank Sinatra’s centennial, we’re looking at the history of Jilly’s Saloon, the joint Frank used as his home base whenever he was in New York City. When owner Jilly Rizzo retired and sold the restaurant, it passed into the hands of a trio of Russians — including a Nobel Prize winning poet and the most famous ballet dancer in the world — who turned it into a hotspot for Russian ex-pats, intellectuals, and artists. Oh, and Johnny Carson was almost assassinated there by an angry Mob boss

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Sixteen Spots

Another stroll through some of (but by no means all of) my favorite places in New York City, this time spread out across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and The Bronx (we’ll get to you, Queens; as for Staten Island, I’ll see what I can do). Another of the many things I like about this city — and…