New York: A Documentary Film is an eight-part, 17½ hour, American documentary film on the history of New York City. It was directed by Ric Burns and originally aired in the U.S. on PBS. The film was a co-production of Thirteen New York and WGBH Boston.
The series was written by Burns and James Sanders and produced by Burns’s company, Steeplechase Films. Several noted New York City historians, including Mike Wallace, Kenneth T. Jackson, David Levering Lewis and Robert Caro participated in the making of the series as consultants, and appeared on camera. It was narrated by David Ogden Stiers.
Other notable figures who appeared in the series include Rudolph Giuliani (then the mayor of New York City), former mayor Ed Koch, former New York governor Mario Cuomo, former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, poet Allen Ginsberg, novelists Alfred Kazin and Brendan Gill, director Martin Scorsese, journalist Pete Hamill, former Congresswoman Bella Abzug, historian Niall Ferguson, philosopher Marshall Berman, writer Fran Lebowitz, engineer Leslie E. Robertson, architect Robert A.M. Stern, high wire artist Philippe Petit, real estate developer (and future President) Donald Trump, and author David McCullough.
EPISODE 2: “Order and Disorder (1825–1865)”
The city is the largest port in the country. Waves of Irish and German immigrants flood into the city between 1825 and 1865 only to find that New York is not so welcoming to immigrants. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux shape the city with their design for Central Park but social unrest still ran high for the working classes, coming to a climax with the draft riots of 1863.