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 3: “Sunshine and Shadow (1865–1898)”
The Gilded Age following the Civil War saw the rise of the robber barons and the schism between wealth and poverty widen dramatically. The political life of the city, exemplified by William M. Tweed and Tammany Hall descended into total corruption. As the turn of the century dawned, New York City annexes Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.