The Rodeo Comes To Bellevue Hospital – 1937
The Rodeo Visits Kiddies at Bellevue Hospital
New York City – A fancy stepping cowboy band and cowboys and cowgirls in their bright-colored shirts parade before children patients of Bellevue Hospital as they visit the hospital to stage their rodeo which is now appearing in Madison Square Garden. 10/14/1937 credit Wide World Photos
Over 3,000 people, mostly children, watched this performance at Bellevue Hospital on October 14, 1937. If you are wondering exactly where this took place, it is the rear yard of Bellevue at 29th Street facing the river. The East River Drive (renamed FDR after 1945) portion of the highway behind Bellevue had not been constructed yet. The hospital grounds had quite a bit of room to hold a rodeo.
According to the New York Herald-Tribune, this was the 12th annual rodeo held for the patients at Bellevue. The stars of the show in the eyes of many of the audience were juvenile ropers Don McLaughlin, age eight, and his brother Gen,e age seven.
“Gee they were good,” said Richard Orendach, age 11, a patient of Bellevue for two years. Buck was awful good too, but I liked the McLaughlin’s the best. I don’t see how they can spin those ropes like they do.”
By Buck, Orendach was referring to Hardy Murphy and his trained horse Buck.
As can be seen in the photograph, every window and balcony was crowded with youngsters who watched with deep appreciation.
Besides the McLaughlin brothers, the children were entertained by baton twirlers, high-stepping horses with colored flags, clowns, singers and a thirty-six piece band.