Author Archives: B.P.

The Big Department Store In New York In 1898 – Siegel-Cooper

Some Facts About Siegel Cooper – The Big Store 1898

Siegel Cooper Dpartment store postcard 18th Street 6th Avenue New York CitySiegel-Cooper Department Store has been gone for over 100 years. But in 1898, Henry Siegel and Frank H. Cooper’s emporium was the Amazon of its day.

In the 1890s Siegel and Cooper successfully operated a department store in Chicago before setting their sights on an expansion in New York.

What Siegel, the driving force of the concern, conceived in New York was not just a department store, it was the “Big Store.” The Siegel-Cooper Department Store was built on Sixth Avenue between 18th and 19th streets. It was a great location, then being New York’s primary shopping district known as the “Ladies Mile.” Within a half mile stretch of Sixth Avenue between 14th and 23rd Streets could be found the giants of retailing including Macy’s; Altman’s; Hugh O’Neill’s; Adam’s Dry Goods;, Ehrich Brothers; and Simpson, Crawford & Simpson.

The Siegel-Cooper Big Store building opened on September 12, 1896 and was an instant smash with the public.

Siegel-Cooper provided the nineteenth century shopper with a incredible array of goods, from abdominal bands to zephyrs and everything in between. Perhaps the most unusual article available for sale was “Baby”, a live, baby female elephant. Baby was sold within two weeks of the store’s opening for $2,000.

Among the store’s innovations was a nursery with trained nurses Continue reading

The Woolworth Estate Is For Sale For Only A Few Million Dollars

Two Woolworth Properties Are For Sale

Neither Of These Residences Are Five & Dimes

But Why Buy The Woolworth Building Penthouse When You Can Buy The Entire Estate At A Fraction Of the Price?

The “Cathedral of Commerce,” still stands out on lower Broadway as an extraordinary building.

Frank Winfield Woolworth engaged architect Cass Gilbert to build him a grand office tower in 1910. Woolworth paid 13.5 million, all cash, for the land and construction of the building.

When completed in 1913 the 792 foot tower was the tallest building in the world and remained so until 1930. The top of the Woolworth Building had an observation deck where people could plunk down fifty cents to get a seventy mile panoramic view.

In 2015 the upper half of the fabulous Woolworth Building was converted to ritzy apartments. The apex of Frank Woolworth’s monument to nickels and dimes, the observation deck and its four adjoining floors is now a penthouse trophy apartment. Years after the Woolworth Building’s conversion the five story penthouse is still for sale with no takers,. The asking price has been reduced from $110 million to (a more reasonable?) $79 million.

For those looking for a relative bargain, there is the 16 acre former Woolworth estate “Winfield Hall” in Glen Cove, Long Island. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #105 – Barbara Stanwyck Receives An Oscar

Barbara Stanwyck Thanks “Golden Boy” For Her Honorary Oscar 1982

In a six decade career Barbara Stanwyck (1907-1990) received four Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a leading role.  The films were Stella Dallas (1937); Ball of Fire (1941); Double Indemnity (1944) and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948). She did not win for any of these great performances in fine pictures.

Stanwyck and William Holden starred together in the 1939 film Golden Boy. It was Holden’s first starring role. And he was almost fired. But Barbara Stanwyck insisted Holden stay on the film. The two became lifelong friends.

At the April 3, 1978 Academy Awards presentation, William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck were reunited as co-presenters for the award for best sound.

This was the era before everyone handing out awards had every word scripted for them and was littered with politically correct, back-slapping fake accolades and bad jokes. What happened next was completely genuine, unrehearsed and quite touching as you will see by Stanwyck’s reaction.

Finally four years later on March 29, 1982, the Academy recognized Stanwyck with an honorary Oscar for “superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting.” Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #121 – Columbus Circle 1947

Columbus Circle September 1947

Columbus Circle 1947 Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside

Columbus Circle 1947 photo: Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography

Our scene shows Columbus Circle looking south from Broadway and 60th Street towards 8th Avenue.

In the foreground are two examples of the iron and glass subway kiosks providing graceful entrances and exits to the original subway. By the late-1960s all the ornamental kiosks were removed by the city. Continue reading

Eddie Robinson The Oldest Living Baseball Player Is 100-Years-Old Today

Eddie Robinson, Four Time All-Star & The Oldest Living Major League Baseball Player Is 100 Today

Minnie Minoso and Eddie Robinson examine Ted Williams bat

Eddie Robinson, a big six foot two lefty first baseman who played for seven teams in a 13 year major league career, turns 100 December 15, 2020.

Born in Paris, TX, Eddie Robinson is among the few players still alive who played alongside and saw firsthand many of the great players of the twentieth century.

Robinson was in the big leagues from 1942 – 1957, missing three prime seasons to serve in the military during World War II. His career numbers are 172 home runs, 723 RBI’s and a .268 batting average.

The Indians

Playing in the World Series could bring a player a financial bonanza, sometimes nearly as much as a regular season salary, When Robinson was traded after the season from the 1948 World Champion Cleveland Indians to the perennially terrible Washington Senators, he was surprisingly relieved and happy. Continue reading

The 1910 Vanishing Of Dorothy Arnold – Part 2

After Dorothy Arnold Vanished In New York City

The Mysteries of The Paramour, The Manuscripts & Her Family’s Strange Behavior

The Theories On Her Disappearance

Today we conclude the story of one of New York City’s greatest unsolved missing person cases. At the end of part one of the story, on December 12, 1910, Dorothy Arnold said goodbye to Gladys King, an acquaintance she had bumped into on Fifth Avenue. Gladys was the last person to see Dorothy Arnold alive.

From They Never Came Back by Allen Churchill (Crime Club, 1960) is part two of The Girl Who Never Came Back.

Dorothy Arnold St Louis Post Dispatch Jan 29 1911Return now to the Arnold home. Never had the well-brought-up Dorothy skipped a meal without warning the family ahead of time. Now when she failed to return for dinner an increasingly worried group ate without her, then began making discreet phone calls to Dorothy’s close friends asking if the girl had dropped in on them. Told she had not, the Arnolds begged that no mention ever be made of the phone call. Later they asked the same girls not to discuss the case with reporters, and it is indicative of the vast difference between society girls then and now that none of the girls ever did. Continue reading

The Vanishing Of Dorothy Arnold. One Of New York’s All-Time Great Mysteries – Part 1

110 Years Ago Today, Wealthy Dorothy Arnold Went For A Walk In Midtown New York & Vanished Forever

Murder? Suicide? Kidnapping? Or Run Away & Start A New Life?

The Strange Disappearance of A Young Woman Who Seemingly Had Everything….Including A Secret Life

Part One

In the annals of missing person cases few are as baffling as Dorothy Arnold.

Time has erased the Dorothy Arnold case from the public’s memory. But for decades, Dorothy Arnold’s disappearance ranked among the most speculated of mysteries in New York’s history.

Dorothy Arnold disappeared on December 12, 1910 after leaving her house to go for a walk and do some shopping in midtown Manhattan. To make finding her whereabouts more complicated a report that she was missing was not filed with police until weeks after her disappearance. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #104 – Alfred Hitchcock & His Films

Alfred Hitchcock Shows Off His Films – 1976Hotchcock with all his films including new movie Family Plot 1976 photo Philippe Halsman

Canned Hitchcock – Alfred Hitchcock found out how his motion pictures would look if laid end to end when Universal Studios lines up prints of all his films, starting with “The Pleasure Garden” circa 1925, and ending with his 53rd motion picture, “Family Plot,” now being edited by the master of suspense.Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot starring Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris and William Devane, has been selected to open the 1976 Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Filmex) on March 21 at Plitt’s Century Plaza Theatre as a black tie pre-release world premiere, followed by a special Filmex Society “Salute To Alfred Hitchcock” at the Century Plaza Hotel. Film drama about the search for a lost heir will open nationally three weeks later on April 9. – photo: Philippe Halsman, January 1976

IMDB lists 54 feature film credits for Alfred Hitchcock as director, not 53. Somewhere along the line someone forgot to count one of Hitchcock’s films. Continue reading