Streams

In the New York City Municipal Archives WNYC Sound Collection, we hear the voices of presidents, dignitaries, world leaders, artistic revolutionaries, musical geniuses, luminaries of the literati, and cultural icons. The sounds of a city and a nation are captured through nearly a century of transformations, tribulations, and triumphs. WNYC microphones were present when Admiral Byrd returned from his historic flight over the North Pole in 1926 and when Colonel Charles Lindbergh returned from his solo flight to Paris the following year. Perhaps best known are New York City Mayor F. H. La Guardia's weekly Talk to the People broadcasts over WNYC throughout World War II.

This web resource has been made possible in part by the
National Endowment for the Humanities:
Exploring the Human Endeavor

Any views, findings, conclusions, recommendations expressed in this web resource do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Recently in Municipal Archives

Glamour Girls, Murder, and the Mayor

Monday, November 24, 2014

WNYC
What lurked behind William O'Dwyer's charmed life?
Read More

Comment

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, "The Most Princely"

Monday, November 17, 2014

WNYC
Three NYC officials profess their love for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Read More

Comment

How to Deflect a Wrecking Ball with a Violin

Thursday, November 06, 2014

WNYC
50 years ago, a mayor (and frustrated violinist) was persuaded to buy the world's most famous concert hall.
Read More

Comment

Ring Around the Rosey: A Tony Schwartz Investigation

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ring around the rosey, a pocket full of posies.
Read More

Comment

Are Comics Bad for Children?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

WNYC
In the 1940s and '50s comics were considered pernicious by many. This Brooklyn mom spoke her moderate mind on WNYC.
Read More

Comment

Shirley Zak Hayes: WNYC's First Woman Staff Announcer

Thursday, October 09, 2014

She broke into the Boy's Club here in 1966, but she'd already distinguished herself as a community activist—thanks to her, there's no four-lane highway through Washington Square Park.
Read More

Comments [2]

Edwin Fancher: Change and Continuity in Greenwich Village

Friday, September 05, 2014

WNYC
Homosexuality. Mixed-race couples. Narcotics on MacDougal Street. This archived conversation from a WNYC broadcast gives an incredible sense of what's changed--and what hasn't.
Read More

Comment

The Man Who Fought For and Founded WNYC

Thursday, May 29, 2014

WNYC
WNYC's founding: A story from the dawn of the Radio Age.
Read More

Comment

Leader of American Anthropology Launches WNYC Series

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

American scientists and intellectuals in the fight against fascism before World War II.

Read More

Comment

Styli over substance

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WNYC

The recently published National Recording Preservation Plan from the Library of Congress includes a recommendation to "encourage scientific and technical research leading to the development of new technologies to recover, reformat, and preserve audio recording media". Although at first sight this passage seems to refer to high-tech projects such as IRENE, there may be other, more modest ways to advance audio preservation technology. Here is an example.

Read More

Comment

Martin Scorsese and the American Underground

Friday, September 06, 2013

WNYC

Listen to a 27-year old Martin Scorsese talk about curating New York City's inaugural Movies in the Park film series, as well as his thoughts on the direction of the New American Cinema.

Read More

Leona Baumgartner, Elvis, and the Fight Against Polio

Sunday, August 18, 2013

WNYC

If it's good enough for Elvis, it's good enough for you and your child - On the birthday of the city's first female Health Commissioner, we honor Dr. Leona Baumgartner and the New York City publicity campaign for the polio vaccine.

Read More

Comment

The Evil in Eavesdropping

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WNYC

Long before FISA and PRISM, New York State politicians struggled with maintaining the delicate balance between personal privacy and public safety.  

Read More

Comment

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Sunday, April 07, 2013

It is April 19th, 1944. Thousands of mourners silently march from a service at the Warsaw synagogue on Rivington Street to City Hall.  A few carry signs: "Save Those Jews in Poland Who Can Yet Be Saved!" and, "Three Million Polish Jews Have Been Murdered By the Nazis!"  When they arrive at the steps of City Hall, Cantor Moishe Oysher sings El Mole Rachamim, a funeral prayer for the the 40,000 Jews who died a year earlier in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Read More

Comment

'The Artistic and the Beautiful': Frank Lloyd Wright's Wide-Ranging Views

Monday, February 25, 2013

WNYC

In 1957, two years before his death, Frank Lloyd Wright sat down with WNYC to discuss his design philosophy, exhibiting his trademark eloquence and blistering opinions. The year of this interview marks an explosion of commissions for Wright, who by then had been practicing architecture for 70 years.

+ More from WNYC's Archives

Read More

Comments [7]

A 'Lively' Rant on Popular Film, McCarthyism, and Genre Fiction

Friday, February 22, 2013

WNYC

The writer, critic, editor, filmmaker, television pioneer, and broadcaster Gilbert Seldes comments on censorship, a favorite topic, in this 1953 broadcast of The Lively Arts

Read More

Comment

The Activist Tom Mooney, on Death Row, Is Pardoned

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WNYC

This dramatic live broadcast from 1939 is a seminal moment in American jurisprudence and political history: the pardon of Tom Mooney, a tireless labor activist wrongly condemned to death in 1917 for a fatal bombing, after he served 22 years in prison.

Read More

Comments [1]

Amiri Baraka Reads "The Revolutionary Theater"

Monday, February 18, 2013

WNYC

Amiri Baraka died January 9th after weeks of failing health. He was 79. A playwright, poet, critic and activist, Baraka was one of the most prominent and controversial African American voices in the world of American letters.  Speaking at the Overseas Press Club ( and airing on WNYC) in 1965 following the release of his Obie award-winning play The Dutchman, Baraka presented himself as a no-nonsense artist who was not about to compromise his message for anyone. The talk catches Baraka (still known as Leroi Jones) at the height of his radical voice in the 1960s and is critical because it was delivered just four days before the assassination of Malcolm X.

 

The writer and activist LeRoi Jones (who would later be known as Amiri Baraka) speaks here on February 17, 1965, four days before the assassination of Malcolm X, an event that catapulted him from a charismatic Greenwich Village maverick into a radicalized black nationalist in Harlem.

Read More

Comments [2]

Art in Public: Stuart Davis on Abstract Art and the WPA, 1939

Friday, February 15, 2013

WNYC
Stuart Davis doesn't waste time with small talk or being nice to Republicans.
Read More

Comment

Diplomatic Impunity: Dean Acheson Counsels Audiences on Disarmament

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WNYC

In 1958, former Secretary of State Dean Acheson was out of power but not out of opinions. At this Book and Authors Luncheon the influential statesman weighs in on the pressing foreign policy question of the day: our relations with the Soviet Union.

Read More

Comment