Yankees Rookie Bill “Moose” Skowron Can Hold A Lot Of Bats

Bill Dickey With Rookie Moose Skowron In Spring Training – 1953

Lake Wales, FL Feb. 21 – BIG GUNS – New York Yankees coach Bill Dickey (left) looks over the big bats carried by Bill Skowron, rookie outfielder at the Yankees baseball school here today. Skowron, from Austin, Minn., hit .341 for Kansas City last season and won the American Association’s most valuable player title while blasting 31 home runs. (AP Wirephoto 1953)

Evidentlly Bill “Moose” Skowron could swing seven bats at once. You would think with the kind of season that Bill Skowron put up in the minors in 1952 he would at least get on the roster with the big team in 1953.

Nothing doing. The 22-year-old Skowron spent the entire 1953 season in the minor leagues with Kansas City. Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #77 – Margaret Sullavan, Ernst Lubitsch & James Stewart – 1939

Margaret Sullavan, Ernst Lubitsch & James Stewart On The Set of The Shop Around The Corner – 1939

James Stewart Margaret Sullavan Ernst Lubitsch on set Shop Around The Corner 1939

The Shop Around The Corner wasn’t a very big hit for James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan when it was released in 1940. The “Lubitsch Touch,” director Ernst Lubitsch’s flare for sophisticated comedy, did not translate to a box office smash, domestically grossing $2.4 million ($76.9 million adjusted) according to Continue reading

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Old New York In Postcards #19 – Chinese Restaurants, A Brief History

Postcard Views 1910 – 1949 & A Short History Of Chinese Restaurants In New York City

The Chinese Tuxedo Restaurant in New York’s Chinatown 1910

Along with Chinese immigration to the United States in the 1850s, came Chinese food. It wasn’t long before Americans took a liking to the transoceanic cuisine. The Chinese population in New York City was only 747 in 1880. By 1900 it had grown to 6,321.

Tai Sy Chinese restaurant

There “are eight thriving Chinese restaurants that can prepare a Chinese dinner in New York, almost with the same skill as at the famous Dan Quay Cha Yuen (Delmonico’s) of Shanghai or Canton,” according to Wong Chin Foo in the October 1888 Current Literature Magazine.  With only one day off, Chinese patrons, usually working as laundrymen, would crowd the Chinese restaurants on Sunday’s.

Port Arthur Restaurant

Port Arthur Restaurant 7 & 9 Mott Street, considered among the finest Chinese restaurants in New York City est. 1899

Continue reading

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The Beatles Leave London To Invade The U.S.A. – February 7, 1964

It Was 55 Years Ago Today – The Beatles Came to The USA

beatles feb 7 1964

Feb 7, 1964 – The Beatles Leave London For New York – The Beatles singing group is shown at London airport this morning prior to departing for appearances in New York. From left are Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon. AP wirephoto via cable from London

Our headline (thank you, Sgt. Pepper) points out that remarkably it has been 55 years, not 20 years ago today that the Beatles left London for New York City. The British Invasion was underway. The world would never be the same, not just musically, but in fashion and pop culture.

If you want to get a sense of what Beatlemania was like when the Fab Four first arrived in New York, there is a forgotten little film Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #76 – Silent Movie Stars Reunite

A 1936 Gathering Of Silent Movie Stars

Silent films were virtually eradicated in 1929 with all the major film studios converting from silents to talkies. So it is kind of funny to see this 1936 news photo labeled “Old Time Film Notables.”

Most of the silent stars pictured above are not well known today, but they were “big” in their day. Continue reading

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Kings Bridge (1693) and The Farmers Bridge (1759) – Two Of New York City’s Oldest Bridges Still Exist

The Story of Two Forgotten And Buried New York City Bridges

This is Kings Bridge connecting upper Manhattan to the Bronx and Westchester. The Kings Bridge was originally constructed in 1693 under a grant from the Crown and maintained by the Philipse family as a toll bridge until the revolution.

The toll was collected on every person, animal and vehicle crossing to the mainland excepting the King’s soldiers. At night the rates doubled. The bridge was reconstructed in 1713 and altered slightly a few times in the intervening 200 years. Continue reading

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The Shape Of Your Head Indicates Everything! 19th Century Quackery- Phrenology

Fowler & Wells, Phrenologists – The Art of Reading The Shape Of Your Head.

phrenologyWhat sort of foolishness did people believe in the 19th century? Phrenology, which might sound silly today, was studied and taken seriously by many people.

Phrenology is the “science” of reading character traits by the shape of your head. And of course there were plenty of experts – phrenologists – who could perform such accurate assessments.

Of course it is a pseudo-science, that is absurd, and yet there are still people today who believe in Phrenology. Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #98 – Outside The Casino Theatre Broadway & 39th Street 1907

A  Busy New York City Street Scene At The Casino Theatre – 1907

Outside the Casino Theatre on a Saturday Matinee 1907 LOC Detroit Publishing Co.

We’re looking at the Casino Theatre on 39th Street and Broadway in a Detroit Publishing Co. photograph that the Library of Congress has labeled “Saturday Matinee circa 1900 – 1910.”

By looking at the few details available we can narrow down approximately when this photograph was taken. The weather appears to be on the cool side, as some of the men and women wear coats over their dress attire.

There are a couple of partially visible signs for the show playing at the Casino. Directly behind the man walking in a bowler hat and light colored suit, an advertising sign says that the star of the production is Jefferson De Angelis.

De Angelis appeared in two shows at The Casino between 1900-1910; The Gay White Way  which ran from October 7, 1907 – January 4, 1908 and The Mikado which ran from May 30 – July 1910.

An important piece to the puzzle is just below De Angelis’s name, Continue reading

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This “Conversation” Actually Happened On A Help Website

A One-Sided Stupid Conversation With A Help Website

computer typingWhether its an appliance, a car or a computer, that you have a question about, there are “expert” web sites that will answer your question – almost always for a fee it turns out.

These sites claim an expert is available to immediately have a conversation with you and will answer your question. A pop-up appears on your browser with a name and avatar and asks you to type in your question.

You may or may not realize that most of the time there is no one on the other end conversing with you.

It’s a “bot” with an automated algorithmic program, which will do nothing but in the end try and extract $ or £ out of your purse. No matter what you type and say to the “helper”, you will get a response. Any user of one of these sites will earnestly type in their questions and possibly discover they are wasting their time by having a one-sided exchange.

How mush stupider could I get? Well read below. Here’s a transcript of a “conversation” I had with a music instrument appraiser’s assistant. This is the response I received to my “questions”.

The Conversation

Virtual Assistant avatarP*** Ma****ki, Musical Instrument Appraiser’s Assistant

Welcome! How can I help with your appraisal question?

You

I have a nuclear trumpet which when played sets off fusion bombs. I have some hydrogen and extra uranium that I can load into it. My concern is that I cannot play it on Jupiter without a car. I’m 5-years-old and considered retarded by my parents, Bathory and Dagwood. I’ve told them its not PC anymore to call anyone retarded but they are 116 and 111-years-old respectively. We live in the rubbish bin and it is very dark in here. Will you adopt my trumpet or me?
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Old New York In Photos #97 – Long Acre Square 1908 & How Times Square Got Its Name

Long Acre Square 1908 aka Times Square And The Man Who Named It

Times Square Long Acre Square 1908 photo Library of Congress

Fashionable ladies, trolleys, horse drawn vehicles and turn-of-the-century buildings abound in this picture of Long Acre Square otherwise known as Times Square.

This photograph looking south down Broadway from 45th Street is identified by the Library of Congress as Long Acre Square circa 1911. The date is close, only off by three years. At the end of the story we have a cropped high resolution version of the same scene and every detail is crystal clear.

Taking a closer look at the left side of the photograph we can see an ad for Richard Carle (1871-1941) in the musical comedy Mary’s Lamb in front of The New York Theatre. The show played from May 25 – September 5, 1908. Richard Carle not only starred, produced and staged Mary’s Lamb but wrote the book, music and lyrics!  The amazing Carle would later appear in motion pictures acting in 45 films including Ninotchka, The Great McGinty and The Devil and Miss Jones

Next to the Mary’s Lamb advertising sign, is an advertisement for The Ziegfeld Follies, obviously of 1908, at the Jardin de Paris which ran from June 15 until September 4, 1908.

The Jardin De Paris, was part of the Olympia Theatre entertainment complex located at 1514-16 Broadway at 44th Street (opened November 25, 1895, demolished 1935).  The Jardin de Paris was located on the roof of The New York Theatre.

Roof garden’s were popular around New York City at the turn of the century. There was no air conditioning in theaters so roof gardens gave audiences a chance to enjoy a show during the hot summer months out in the open air. The roof garden of The New York Theatre underwent many name changes depending on who was the manager of the theater. It was showman Florenz Ziegfeld who in 1907 renamed the space Jardin de Paris when he gave the evening’s entertainment a French atmosphere.

There is a small poster only visible in the high resolution photo, advertising Hattie Williams at The Criterion Theatre, also part of the Olympia complex. The Williams musical, Fluffy Ruffles, ran from September 7 – October 17, 1908.

Therefore this photo was taken in the summer of 1908.

On the corner of Broadway and 43rd Street we can see the signage and two buildings of the world famous Rector’s restaurant. Adjacent to Rector’s is the Hotel Cadillac. Behind the Hotel Cadillac, the tallest building visible is the Knickerbocker Hotel on 42nd Street. Much further in the distance almost looking like it is blocking Broadway’s continuation is Macy’s.

At the extreme right of the photo we can see a sliver of the New York Times Tower Building which gave Times Square the name it’s known by today.

Long Acre Square?

Previous to being called Times Square this area was known as Long Acre or Longacre Square. In London, Long Acre was the name of the area where the horse and carriage businesses were located. In the 1870s New York’s carriage trade had settled in the 42nd – 47th street area and  New Yorkers began calling the area Long Acre Square after the London counterpart. The first mention of Long Acre Square found in print is an 1883 New York Sun advertisement for Barrett House a hotel, at 42nd Street and Broadway.

Besides the obvious: the New York Times moving to the area and building their headquarters there, how did Long Acre Square become Times Square?  Continue reading

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