Artwork for An Eyesore and a Plague

An Eyesore and a Plague

Paulina Salmas and Jonathan Borducci

At the turn of the 20th century, New York City's millionaires started moving to the suburbs in Long Island and Westchester County. They had enormous homes and just about everything money could buy. There was just one problem: they weren't alone. Around the same time, ordinary, middle-class New Yorkers started exploring the suburbs themselves. The millionaires were horrified to see commuters and tourists enjoying their suburban paradise. But the beaches and the roads were public: how could the millionaires possibly stop people from using them?It was actually pretty easy. All they had to do was pass one tiny amendment to an obscure part of New York State law...This is the story of how New York's turn-of-the-century millionaires incorporated their private homes as legal municipalities, and how they used this power to exclude outsiders, dodge local taxes, and attempt to recreate feudal Europe in the New York suburbs.


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Latest Episodes

Welcome to Briarcliff Manor! Like our regular episodes, this is the story of the incorporation of one of New York Citys suburbs. It is a bonus ep because its shorter and has less music than a regular episode (which you may recognize from previous epi... more

2 years ago

Bronxville wasn't exactly an estate village, since it wasn't incorporated under Section 33. (What is Section 33? That's the law that allowed rich people to incorporate their tiny neighborhoods as villages, which we talk about in the first three episo... more

2 years ago

This bonus episode is about Episode 3: The Beaches! Here Jon and Paulina talk about: more

2 years ago


5 out of 5 stars from 10 ratings
  • Great!

    The style reminds me of “You Must Remember This” in the best way! If you’re at all interested in urban development during the Gilded Age, then this is definitely worth a listen.

    Apple Podcasts
    United States2 years ago
  • Interesting, great music

    This is professionally done and really fun to listen to, with its surprising historic information, incredible music - which would be enjoyable even on its own, and humor. I especially enjoy the banter in the bonus episodes.

    Apple Podcasts
    United States2 years ago
  • Fascinating

    Why are there so many villages in NY? It wasn’t the Dutch or English settlers! Storytelling and audio production are top notch. Hope there’s a podcast in the future about my village!

    Apple Podcasts
    United States2 years ago

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