The "Big Apple" has a colorful, influential, and, at times, tragic history that spans nearly four hundred years. This is the first episode in the epic PBS documentary series about the most populous city in the United States. Originally christened "New Amsterdam" by its Dutch founders, the city is shown in this program to have been a center of commerce from its inception. When the British took over, they gave it the name by which the world knows the city to this day. The first installment of American Experience: New York takes the story as far as the early years of the bustling 19th century, by which time New York belonged to the fledgling United States. Highlights include archival paintings and engravings, as well as commentary by numerous guests including historian Thomas Bender, novelist Caleb Carr (The Alienist), New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and award-winning novelist E.L. Doctorow. Other features include dramatic readings by some of the guests. Directed by Ric Burns and narrated by David Ogden Stiers.
by Steve Blackburn synopsis