The Empire State Building towers over the Manhattan skyline on Feb. 13, 2012 in New York City. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

The Empire State Building towers over the Manhattan skyline on Feb. 13, 2012 in New York City. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

Whether you’re listening on the subway or in the bathtub, podcasts offer a respite from both internal and external noise. When you decide to try out a new podcast, consider listening to something with some local New York City flair. Listening local has become fairly mainstream; these five, NYC-centric podcasts are great examples of why.

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The Bowery Boys: New York City History

The world’s most exciting city has a deliciously notorious past, which comes alive through the casual conversing of storytellers Greg Young and Tom Meyers. The Bowery Boys: New York City History weaves intricate tales of old New York, interlaced with modern facts, painting a uniquely detailed look at some of the city’s most interesting streets, landmarks, people and eras. Even the most avid New York City history buff is bound to eventually learn something new when listening to these highly personalized and original podcasts. Released about once a month, the podcasts run for less than 30 minutes each and focus on topics such as past mayors, religious history, unsolved mysteries and true crime.

The NYPL Podcast

The New York Public Library’s weekly podcast series presents an in-depth, multifaceted look at New York City’s most fascinating people, stories and spin, through a distinctly literary lens. The conversations, recorded in front of live audiences, center upon the musings, accomplishments and insights of award-winning authors, activists and other luminaries, like Lou Reed, Shaquille O’Neal, Patti Smith and Gloria Steinem. You can subscribe to the New York Public Library Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

The Close-Up

A free, weekly podcast produced by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Close-Up offers an analytical and distinctly New York-focused view into the world of movies’ most iconic and influential thought leaders, from actors to critics. In-depth and personal, conversations focus on films such as “Brooklyn” and other gems featured at the New York Film Festival.

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NYCEDC Economic Snapshot Podcast Series

Do you like to talk about money? The New York City Economic Development Corporation produces monthly podcasts featuring experts. These podcasts are billed as economic snapshots of financial opportunities and business trends, which impact every New Yorker’s bottom line. Topics are varied, including everything from the growth of farmers’ markets to immigrant employment, housing and residential construction. Sometimes they even focus on the gritty side of New York’s glittering world of fashion.

Podcasts from the City University of New York

You don’t have to be a college student to enjoy these fascinating, monthly podcasts, although many of them are specifically focused on life within the City University of New York system. Other unique podcasts offer in-depth (and tuition free) education on topics such as “The Irish and the Italians: A New York Story,” “Waiting for Equality” about income disparity in New York and the nation and “Jailbreaks,” about New York government corruption and the criminal justice system.

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Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at