Fifth Avenue & 42nd Street c. 1903 – Crowded Street On A Cold Sunny Day
This bustling scene was captured by a Detroit Publishing Company photographer around 1903. The view is from the southeast corner of 42nd Street looking north up Fifth Avenue.
It is obviously a cold and sunny day with most people wearing warm coats. Enlarging our photograph the first thing you may notice is that everyone is uniformly dressed. All the women have the same dress length, just past the ankle. Every man wears a suit or overcoat. Take a look around. There is not a single person hatless.
Let’s zoom in on some of the details.
On the northeast corner of 42nd Street an elderly man stops to take a look at the work going on inside an open manhole.
As usual, at all very busy intersections, a policeman is on duty to help direct the flow of traffic both vehicular and pedestrian.
This gentleman on the left with the gold watch fob and chain looks to be a prosperous fellow, possibly on his way back to his office after lunch.
Of course other people look spiffy without being wealthy. This sharp looking mustachioed hansom cab driver holding a whip is dressed immaculately. Continue reading →
Babe Ruth Wanted His 700th Home Run Baseball Returned To Him, So He Bought It
What He Paid Might Surprise You
73 years ago on July 13, 1934, Babe Ruth walloped his 700th career home run.
The caption reads:
Babe Ruth Hits 700th Home Run
Babe Ruth hit his 700th home run of his Major League career on July 13 clouting one of Tommy Bridges offerings out of Navin Field, Detroit. The mighty Bambino is shown above with Leonard Beals, who received $20 from the Babe for retrieving the ball. 7-14-34 credit: Acme Photo
The ball went over the right field bleachers and out of the ballpark, landing on Plum Street among some automobiles parked across the street. It was estimated the ball traveled 500 feet,
When he connected, in the third inning, Babe immediately screamed out loud to Yankee third base coach Art Fletcher, “I want that ball! I want that ball! Bring whoever caught it around to the clubhouse and I’ll give him twenty dollars.” The Yankees went on to win the game 4-2.
The Yankees sent out word to find the person who had retrieved the baseball. That turned out to be 17-year-old Lenny Beals (whose real name was Bielski). Bielski was taken into the ballpark to watch the rest of the game.
Interviewed in 1973 by the Detroit Free Press, Bielski told his version of that memorable day: Continue reading →
You’ll Never See Fans Go For A Baseball Like This Again
God forbid someone was to try and climb the backstop screen at a baseball game today. If this situation seen here happened now, a potential climbee would be pulled down, arrested and barred from the stadium for life.
If no one from the ballpark interfered with you, you could fall, break some bones and then hire a lawyer and sue the team for not protecting you from yourself.
Seventy years ago this was obviously not the case.
The place is Shibe Park in Philadelphia, The date is September 7, 1947. The Philadelphia Athletics would sweep a Sunday doubleheader from the Boston Red Sox by scores of 7-4 and 4-3. Times of the games: 2:19 and 1:50.
But for part of one inning this mad dash for a foul ball was the entertainment for the 32,464 fans in attendance.
Amateur Aerialists Steal Baseball Show
Philadelphia, PA… When a high foul ball lodged in wire mesh screen behind the home plate in the 8th inning of the Boston-Philadelphia game at Shibe Park, these two boys stole the show from the diamond in their efforts to race for the ball as a souvenir. Neck-craning spectators may be seen in the lower foreground. A television camera is peeping through the screen on the center. The upper boy got to the ball and got back to terra firma safely, much to the relief of the crowd. 9-8-47 photo: Mike Freeman, International News
Immigrants Inspected – Keeping America “Safe” 1921
Immigrants Examined By New York City Health Officials For Typhus Symptoms
To ward off a possible spread of the dread typhus in New York, Dr. Royal S. Copeland, Health Commissioner, has assigned a squad of inspectors to examine all immigrants released from Ellis Island on their arrival in New York City. The immigrants must pass two inspections before being permitted to land. The Federal health authorities examine them at Ellis Isalnd and Dr. Copeland’s squad assisted by New York police round them up at the Battery and take them to a nearby ferry house where another examination is made. Several carriers of the typhus lice according to reports have been discovered by the Copeland squad after the Ellis Island officials had permitted them to pass through.
The photo shows Dr. Copeland’s squad examining newly landed immigrants. photo: International News 2-14-21
Today there is much more than typhus to worry about when deciding who shall be admitted to the United States. “Extreme vetting” to thwart terrorists is one of the big debates. And of course there is that contentious issue of the estimated 11 million people that are in the United States illegally.
In all the arguments that have been brought up about amnesty for illegals, I have not seen anyone saying they are against legal immigrants and immigration. Continue reading →
75 Cattle Get Off A Boat In Manhattan, 3 Decide To Take A Tour Of The City Instead of Going To The Slaughterhouse
After A Chase Through Midtown Manhattan – Cops Catch An Elusive Steer In Times Square
It’s not a rodeo, but a policeman uses a lasso to catch a runaway steer in Times Square. photo: Acme 9/3/1935
It was little before 6 a.m. on Tuesday, September 3, 1935. Labor Day weekend had just ended. The city was stirring back to life to begin a normal work week. At an East River dock on 45th Street, a boat was unloading its cargo, 75 head of cattle, all headed to the nearby slaughterhouse.
72 cattle headed a half-block away to Wilson & Company. Three adventurous cattle decided to take a tour of the city rather than be turned into steaks and cutlets. Continue reading →
Why The New York Yankees Old Timer’s Day Has Become A Joke
1955 Old Timer’s Day (l-r) Frank Home Run Baker, Ray Schalk, Dazzy Vance, Ted Lyons, Gabby Hartnett and Joe DiMaggio (photo: Acme)
Sunday June 25, 2017 the New York Yankees will hold their 71st Old TImer’s Day.
There was a time when baseball’s immortals and Gods showed up at Old Timer’s Day games. Take a look at this video below and you can understand my disappointment at what passes today for Yankees Old Timer’s Day. If you have any sense of the history of baseball, this assemblage of players at Yankee Stadium taped on the field by Greg Peterson in 1982 will blow you away.
Maybe the disappointment stems from the fact that with a few exceptions there are almost no former Yankee players of the Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lefty Gomez, Waite Hoyt; Allie Reynolds; Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra caliber still living. The pomp and ceremony of recent Yankees Old Timer’s Day is now somewhat revolting to watch.
Old-Timers Day started with a gathering unlike any other. In 1939 former Yankee teammates of Lou Gehrig gathered to honor him after he had stopped playing due to contracting the illness, (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) that would eventually take his life and now bears his name. It was at this occasion that Gehrig made his “luckiest man on the face of the earth,” speech.
Starting in the 1940s, Yankees Old Timer’s Day became an annual event where former baseball stars from other teams squared off against former Yankee greats. The players who graced the field at Yankee Stadium to play in a spirited and fun exhibition game were among the best to ever play the game. Over the years other teams held their own Old Timer’s Day. Now the Yankees are the only team in baseball that still holds an Old Timer’s Day .
At previous Old Timer’s Day fans would see opponents such as; Ty Cobb; Lefty Grove; Dizzy Dean; Al Kaline; Stan Musial; Ted Williams; Warren Spahn; Hank Greenberg; Bob Feller; Bill Terry; Pee Wee Reese; Duke Snider; Willie Mays and dozens of other “real” stars.
A collection of Hall Of Fame participants at the 1968 Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium (l-r) Red Ruffing; Bill Terry; Luke Appling; Bill Dickey; Joe Medwick; Frankie Frisch; Pie Traynor; Joe DiMaggio; Bob Feller and Lefty Grove.
As the Hall-of Famer’s and greats started passing away the names showing up at Old Timer’s Day gradually became less glamorous, until they started delving into quasi-stars and then marginal players.
I am not certain when exactly it ended, but the Yankees stopped inviting players from other teams to participate in Old Timer’s Day.
Over the last 15 years, you may have noticed Old Timer’s Day has become a Yankee love-fest of a few former stars such as Paul O’Neil, Roy White, Willie Randolph, Joe Pepitone and a lot of what can best be described as one season wonders or ordinary ex-Yankee players.
There are still some great former Yankee players who show up to participate in the festivities most notably Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage and this year a rare visit by Sparky Lyle.
Many of players the Yankees invite to Old Timer’s Day are nondescript. Yankee management must feel that today’s fans prefer seeing some of these “greats” that have participated in Old Timer’s Day over the last few years:
Brian Boehringer; Scott Bradley; Homer Bush; Bubba Crosby; Chad Curtis; Brian Dorsett; Dave Eiland; John Flaherty; Bobby Meacham; Jerry Narron; Matt Nokes; Dan Pasqua; Gil Patterson; Andy Phillips; Aaron Small; Tanyon Sturtze; Marcus Thames and others of that ilk. Continue reading →
Gladys Cooper, The Beautiful Actress With Amazing Hair – circa 1910
If there was a Hall-of Fame for best hair, Gladys Cooper would be a member.
British theatre and screen star Gladys Cooper (1888 – 1971) made her stage debut in 1905. As you can see she photographed exquisitely and was constantly in demand as a model. From about 1905 through the 1920s postcard manufacturers churned out hundreds of different images of the popular actress.
Gladys Cooper, Robert Redford – Twilight Zone
Gladys had a 70 year career as an actress, though most people would not recognize her name or face today. If they did know her, it would probably be because of a memorable 1962 Twilight Zone television episode in which she plays an old woman who fears death, co-starring a very young Robert Redford.
Modern movie and television audiences would never have realized Gladys was once absolutely gorgeous .
In 1914, when asked by a newspaper columnist who was the most beautiful star on the London stage, fellow actress Ethel Levey replied, “It depends upon the type. As to the blond type I should say Gladys Cooper. She is as beautiful a woman I have ever seen.”
Sari Petrass, a famous Austrian actress appearing at the time in The Marriage Market agreed with Levey about Gladys’s looks and said, “She is the most beautiful woman I have ever met. And you have some very beautiful women in London.’
Fourth Avenue & 23rd Street 1908 – A Detailed Breakdown Of New Yorker’s Going About Their Business
A spectacular clear view of Fourth Avenue looking south towards 23rd Street from 1908 shows pedestrians going about their daily activities. Once again the source is the Detroit Publishing Co.
Above 14th Street up to 34th Street Fourth Avenue is now called Park Avenue South.
Before we examine our old picture, let’s take a modern look at approximately the same spot from Google maps.
Now forget our modern view and return to 1908.
When we zoom in on some of the details, there are some interesting things to take note of. You can click any photo to enlarge.
Unless you were a construction worker, city worker or a young boy, almost every man wore a hat, jacket and usually a tie. Here almost all the men are wearing straw hats.
The man in the center holding a newspaper is smoking a cigarette. I’ve seen men smoking in old photos but usually not on the street. The subway kiosk on the northeast corner of 23rd street is an “exit only.” There is a trash can right by the kiosk.
Looking at the southeast corner we can see another subway kiosk and lots of people crossing the street. The subway kiosks were removed many years ago and the subway entrances and exits relocated.
The shadows indicate that it is probably around noon. With the exception of a newspaper on the ground, there is hardly any litter on the streets or sidewalks. Civilized people disposed of their trash properly.
These two women with their ornate flowered hats are crossing the street, carefully. No matter how often the streets were cleaned there was horse manure and urine everywhere. By 1908 at least women’s skirts were no longer dragging on the ground. Over the years skirts had gradually risen to slightly above the ankles. The little boy in the background between the women looks like the poorest person in this prosperous district.
On the southeast corner a group of boys and young men have newspapers that they are getting ready to sell. The World; The Times; The Herald; The Evening Post; The Globe and Commercial Advertiser; The Tribune; The Morning Telegraph; The Sun; The Call; The Press; The American; The Evening Journal; in the highly competitive world of journalism there were over a dozen daily newspapers in English and many more in other languages. Continue reading →
Around The Flatiron Building 1906 – Looking At The Details
We’ve profiled the fabulous photographs of the Detroit Publishing Company held by the Library of Congress before, but with over 40,000 photographs in the collection there are always interesting views to examine.
This scene looking south from 27th Street and Fifth Avenue shows moderate traffic at a typically busy time. (Click any photo to enlarge)
If we look at the clock on the extreme right, near the Fifth Avenue Hotel (not visible), we can see the time is 8:53 in the morning on a sunny day.
Two smartly dressed women with great hats are walking west along the edge of Madison Square Park. A policeman walks with his white-gloved hands clasped behind his back and his distinctive helmet perched upon his head. The NYPD liked their officers to be tall and actively recruited men who were six feet or taller.
The man in the white helmet is a sanitation worker, dressed in a suit! As you can see, even in 1906 people knew bicycles were an effective way to navigate Manhattan. With the city powered by over 100,000 horses, you didn’t have to concern yourself too much with a car hitting your bicycle, as horses outnumbered cars about 10 to 1.
In 1906 there were only 130,000 motorized vehicles in the entire United States, and about 10,000 in New York City.
It only took another twelve years before cars outnumbered horses in New York City. Continue reading →
Four New York Locations Photographed At Night – 1904
You’ve probably noticed that most of the old photographs of turn-of-the-century New York City were taken during daylight hours.
At the time the difficulty with night photography was the long exposure times necessary for a camera to effectively capture an image.
There is an extremely rare book I own called The Lighting of New York City put out by General Electric in 1904. The purpose of this publication was to extol the virtues of General Electric lighting apparatus and to encourage homes and businesses in New York and elsewhere to use electric light.
Electric lighting had been around for a little over 20 years, but the book mentions a startling fact: “It is estimated that more than 35,000 arc lamps are in use on Manhattan Island.”
35,000, that’s means outdoors and indoors.
Gaslight was still the predominant means of lighting streets, factories, stores, homes and the waterfront.
The 74 page book contains a photograph on every page accompanied by a short description on the opposite page. Eight of the photographs are day and night views of the exact same location.
Words in Italics are from the book:
At the 59th Street entrance to Central Park, in what is known as Park Plaza, the Sherman Statue was recently unveiled. It is illuminated at night by eight low energy General Electric arc lamps installed on ornamental poles in such a manner that only the pear-shaped outer globe is visible. The installation has received very favorable comment.
Behind the statue on the right is Park and Tilford, grocers to New York’s smart set. To the left on the corner of 60th Street is the Metropolitan Club.
Night illumination of the Sherman Statue by eight three-ampere low energy General Electric lamps. The white building directly in the rear is the home of the Metropolitan Club, so well known to many New Yorkers as the “Millionaires'” Club.Continue reading →