New York: A Documentary Film 1999 | TV Show Watchlist

New York: A Documentary Film

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A seven-part history of the world's `undisputed cultural and economic capital' from 1609 to the end of the 20th century, told in dramatic readings and interviews with historians. An eighth chapter, titled `The Center of the World,' was added following the (more…)

Premiered: November 14, 1999

Rating: TV-PG

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Season 1, Episode 3 Sunshine and Shadow (1865-1898)

First Aired: November 16, 1999

“Sunshine and Shadow: 1865-1898” (Part 3 of seven). During the Gilded Age, New York “was home to the greatest concentration of wealth in human history,” says narrator David Ogden Stiers. And, he adds, “the greatest concentration of poverty.” This episode surveys that dichotomy, from Fifth Avenue mansions to slums documented by Jacob Riis in “How the Other Half Lives.” Also recalled: the fall of William H. “Boss” Tweed (“he took a fall for the system,” claims Pete Hamill); the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge (“the beginning of 'heroic New York',” says historian David McCullough); and the 1898 consolidation, which united Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx into “Greater New York.”