Image via Wikimedia Commons, Library of Congress

Fake new isn’t a new thing, and neither are celebrities who are famous simply for being famous. In fact, both of these trends run deep in New York City’s history. In two upcoming lectures presented by Landmark West, an award winning non-profit that has been working to achieve landmark status for individual buildings and historic districts on the Upper West Side since 1985, you can explore fake news in 19th century New York City and the lavish lifestyle of Jazz Age celebrity Peggy Hopkins Joyce with two experts on the topics. If you are an Untapped Cities Insider, you can attend both lectures for free! Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special New York City events all year long! Check out the details of both events below.

PANIC!! Crises, Hoaxes and Fake News that Rocked 19th c. New York 

Join social historian Tom Miller (aka the “Daytonian in Manhattan” blogger) for an evening of hoaxes, tall tales, ultra-fake news–and the masses who fell for it all. In 19th century New York City, just about anything could happen, even things that…couldn’t. At this lecture presented by Landmark West, Miller will reach into his mesmerizing bag o’ history and to pull out tales of giant man-bats, sapphire temples and city streets overrun with wild animals.

Speaker Tom Miller is a historian and preservationist, and the voice of Daytonian in Manhattan, a hugely popular blog started seven years ago, in which he has covered more than 2,700 Manhattan buildings, statues, fountains and “other points of interest that make Manhattan fascinating.” He is the author of Seeking New York: The Stories Behind the Historic Architecture of Manhattan–One Building at a Time (Pimpernel Press, 2015). His companion book, Seeking Chicago, will be available in March.


DATE: Wednesday, February 6th, 2019 at 6:30PM- 7:45PM

PRICE: FREE for Untapped Cities Insiders! ($15 for the general public)

CAPACITY: 15 guests. Spots allocated on a first come, first served basis.


Gold Digger: The Outrageous Life and Times of Peggy Hopkins Joyce

Image from New York Public Library

Take a trip back to the vibrant Jazz Age, complete with fascinating details of 1920’s social life and the birth of the cult of media celebrity in America. As part of the LW!’s annual “Dark Love” Valentine’s Day series, author Constance Rosenblum will introduce guests to one of America’s most talked-about personalities, Peggy Hopkins Joyce. Although little remembered today, Peggy was the quintessential gold digger: think Anna Nicole Smith meets Kim Kardashian in the 1920’s. A Ziegfeld Girl and occasional stage and film actress, Peggy had no discernible talent besides glamorous looks and a flair for self-promotion. She did manage to find “love” with several millionaires (at least she claimed they were millionaires) and even a count, but it was her scandalous divorce from husband No. 3 (of six) that made her an international tabloid sensation. Thanks to the attention, she became the original modern celebrity — famous for being famous.

An early Upper West Side denizen, Peggy first landed at Emery Roth’s Hotel Belleclaire, one of the flashiest buildings of turn-of-the-century Manhattan; she soon moved up to the Ansonia and then the Century as her fame skyrocketed. Believe it or not, in the 1920’s Peggy Hopkins Joyce was a household name, a witty adventuress with a sense of humor and drop-dead looks, whom Cole Porter and Lorenz Hart memorialized in song lyrics and who counted Charlie Chaplin among her lovers. In 1922, she was so notorious that the Motion Picture Theater Owners of America banned her films.

Speaker Constance Rosenblum, former editor of the Arts and Leisure section of The New York Times and a former editor of the City section of The Times, brings us her lively and entertaining biography of this very special gold digger—including snippets from historic interviews, press clippings, photographs and Peggy’s own (highly unreliable) memoirs.

DATE: Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 at 6:30PM- 7:45PM

PRICE: FREE for Untapped Cities Insiders! ($15 for the general public)

CAPACITY: 15 guests. Spots allocated on a first come, first served basis.


See our full list of Untapped Cities Insiders Tours and our upcoming Public Tours.

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