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The Bowery Boys: New York City History

#420 Garbo Walks: Old Hollywood in New York

Greta Garbo in New York! A story of freedom, glamour, and melancholy, set at the intersection of classic Hollywood and mid-century New York City. The biography of a legendary star who became the city's most famous 'celebrity sighting' for many decades while out on her regular, meandering walks.

Garbo had once been Hollywood's biggest star, a screen goddess who survived the transition from silent pictures to sound in such movies as Grand Hotel, Queen Christina, and Camille. But her career was over by the 1940s, her exotic and distant screen presence no longer appealing in the years of World War II.

And so the actress -- famous for her line "I WANT TO BE ALONE" -- moved to New York City and stayed here for the rest of her life, living in a fabulous apartment near Beekman Place on the east side of Manhattan.

Her favorite activity was walking, two long trips a day in her dark glasses and trench coat, committed to freedom of urban exploration and enjoying a livelihood in the city that we all take for granted.

In attempting to live her life freely, however, she opened herself to the intrusive behavior of others — some obsessed with her as an iconic movie star, others simply gravitating to her elusive reputation. By the 1970s and surging by the 80s, Garbo sightings became a popular urban scavenger hunt. You had Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and Greta Garbo!

Visit the website for more information and images

Interested in more Bowery Boys podcasts about New York and the movies? Here's some suggestions:

Marilyn Monroe: Her Year of Reinvention
The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino
At Home With Lauren Bacall
Mae West: 'Sex' on Broadway

Her New York story reveals some bigger themes about living in a big city -- finding privacy and even solitude in a place with eight million people.

The Bowery Boys: New York City History
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