Book Review: Maverick In Mauve The Diary Of a Romantic Age
Lifelong New Yorker, Florence Adele Sloane kept a diary from 1893 – 1896. That in itself is not unusual. What is out of the ordinary is that the diary covers Florence’s life from the age of 19 through 23 and her observations on life and her surroundings are written with astute wisdom beyond her years. Continue reading →
I remember when I was first was told about eBay 23 years ago. Ebay was a great platform to bid and possibly win at auction interesting, older items. Many times rare purchases could be won for a bargain. Books, ephemera and unusual items. At least that’s how it started for me.
Over the years eBay evolved from a relatively small community user-based auction site to a worldwide commercial behemoth store. And it’s not a very good one. Along the way they lost their original customer base.
This undated, uncredited photo shows a young Julie Newmar with blonde hair. Newmar did have a film career before and after her turn as one of the sexiest TV villains ever. This is what she looked like years before appearing on Batman.
Julie Newmar was indisputably the best Catwoman on the Batman TV series. Eartha Kitt also played Catwoman, while Lee Meriwether played the part in the 1966 Batman movie.
The leggy Newmar had wickedly delicious lines she would trade with Adam West (Batman). Catwoman’s best piece of dialogue I believe was this exchange with Batman while he is trying to convince Catwoman to surrender:
Batman: I’ll do everything I can to rehabilitate you.
Catwoman: [overcome by happiness] Marry me.
Batman: Everything except that. A wife, no matter how beauteous, or affectionate would severely impair my crime-fighting.
Catwoman: But I could help you in your work. As a former criminal, I’d be invaluable. I can reform, honestly I can.
New York’s Idiot Asylum Was A School / Prison For Children Who Were Often Not “Idiots”
Without discussing the question how far down in the scale of idiocy the work of education can practicably go, this much may be said: that some idiots are teachable to an extent which will fully compensate for the amount of labor involved in their instruction. These certainly should be cared for by the State.
It will be seen by the report of the Superintendent, that according to the last census, there were in the State, 303 idiots under 15 years of age. No one can examine these returns without being convinced that the actual number is at least double the number so returned. Were only a third of these fit subjects for management and training in a public institution, even then it is obvious that the present provision made by the State falls short of their needs.
– from the 1867 Sixteenth Annual report of the New York Asylum for Idiots: transmitted to the Legislature, January 17, 1867
Today it would be politically incorrect to label anyone with mental disabilities or deficiencies as an idiot. The word mentally retarded has also fallen out of common usage.
In the early 20th century these words took on new psychiatric meaning, which has since been expunged from the nomenclature of psychiatry. In the 19th century those words were pretty much interchangeable for anyone considered mentally deficient or inherently stupid.
What Do We Do With “Idiots”?
The study and understanding of psychology and medical conditions related to learning and developmental disorders was virtually nonexistent before the 20th century. In a large state like New York, a facility was developed at public expense to deal with so-called idiots. Hence came the “Idiot Asylum.”
Often parents couldn’t understand why a child wasn’t speaking. paying attention, responding to social cues, or learning like other children. Continue reading →
Old New York Hotels Of The Upper West Side from 70th – 86th Streets
For the past 150 years New York has had a thriving hotel industry. With real estate prices continually rising in Manhattan, more new hotels are opening now in Queens and Brooklyn.
The Plaza, The Waldorf Astoria and the St. Regis have over a century of history. Those hostelry’s are the exception to longevity. Many of New York’s hotels are constantly in flux with ownership and name changes. Often smaller hotels have gone out of business because the real estate they sat upon was too valuable. Developers acquire the hotel and surrounding parcels and the hotel passes into history. Other times the buildings are spiffied up after years of neglect and converted from hotels to apartments.
Here are some views of the upper west side’s hotels of the past.
The Hotel Emerson at 166 West 75th Street off Broadway was a 300 room 16 story hotel opened in 1922, designed by Robert Lyons. In 1959 it became the Hotel Lincoln Square. The building has been remodeled and turned into rental apartments and is now named the Amstrdm. (That’s right, they cut out some vowels.) Continue reading →
Judy Garland Died 50 Years Ago Today – How Hollywood Reacted
Mickey Rooney, director George Seitz and Judy Garland discuss a camera angle on the set of Andy Hardy Meets Debutante May 18, 1940 photo: MGM
Judy Garland’s third husband, Sid Luft claimed that Judy tried to kill herself at least 20 times in their 13 years of marriage.
The public knew of Judy’s ups and downs and her problems with pills and alcohol. What they didn’t realize was just how unhappy the star had been for most of her life and her multiple attempts at suicide. And few people, some close friends and her doctor, realized how ill Judy had been during the last few years of her life.
Judy’s self-destructive path culminated when she was found dead in her London apartment June 22, 1969 of a drug overdose. She was only 47-years-old.
In 1961, Judy’s London physician, Dr. Philip Lebon had diagnosed her with cirrhosis of the liver and insisted she stop drinking. Dr. Lebon warned Judy that she only had five years to live at most.
After her death, eight years after making that prognosis, Dr. Lebon said, “Death could have come at any time. How she lived this long I don’t know.” Continue reading →
Actor Bruce Cabot with 17-year-old Gloria Vanderbilt at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood for the premiere of “They Can’t Get You Down” October 27, 1941 photo: Acme
Being a rich child with a large trust fund did not define Gloria Vanderbilt. Neither did a sensational tug of war child custody battle between her mother Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt and her aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. When Gloria Vanderbilt died of stomach cancer in New York on June 17, 2019 at the age of 95, she had achieved prominence in many facets of life. Continue reading →