Santa Claus Man: A Bowery Boys Favorite
Posted on December 22, 2015
I've been an avid listener and fan of The Bowery Boys for years. If you like New York City history — from understanding the hidden stories behind familiar landmarks to some of the forgotten or quirky chapters of Gotham's history — this show is tough to beat (the ghost-story Halloween episodes remain among my favorites). So it was especially thrilling to see The Santa Claus Man featured on The Bowery Boys' list of "Ten Favorite New York City History Books for 2015," along with some other terrific books, such as Erik Larson's Dead Wake and Louis J. and John Parascandola's Coney Island Reader. Happy to be in such good company. Here's what the Bowery Boys had to say:
In 1913 John D. Gluck seemed to conjure up a genius solution for handling those piles of Santa Claus letters written by needy children. Following the Gilded Age, New York City was filled with wealthy residents interested in charitable concerns. Why not bring the two together via his very own Santa Claus Association?
But Mr. Gluck would have topped Santa’s naughty list, concocting one of the most shocking scams of the early 20th century. Palmer, the great grandnephew of Mr. Gluck, turns this surprising tale into a fast and clever romp through New York, racing from the newly built Woolworth Building to the most famous department store of its day – Macy’s. The Santa Claus Man is a rich, sensational story of holiday spirit corrupted by audacity and greed, fueled by the media at the dawning of the Jazz Age.
Read the rest of the Top 10 at the Bowery Boys.