Why Are There Annoying Flies At Jones Beach Field 6?

Is There Anything You Can Do To Keep The Flies Off Of You?

Jones Beach – photo: Newsday

In the summer if you ever go to Jones Beach in Long Island, especially the often filled popular field 6, you will notice one of two things, there are hundreds of flies swarming around and biting you or there are none at all. I have spent an inordinate amount of time swatting and killing flies as they relentlessly bite away.

So why is this?

The answer lies not in the temperature, the food you bring with you, your choice of sunscreen or fly repellant.

The swimming flags hold the key. If the flags are blowing towards the water you will be inundated by flies. If the flags are blowing towards the boardwalk away from the water, you will generally have a pleasant stay, unless annoying people settle near you.

The flies come with the direction of the wind.

Most of the time at Jones Beach the wind blows in from the Atlantic Ocean and there will be no flies.

But occasionally on some days in the mornings, the wind will come from the north and blow the flies from inland towards the beach where they will seek shade and attack your umbrella, chairs, blankets, bags and your exposed human flesh.

By the afternoon the wind will usually shift and be blowing towards the boardwalk, in from the ocean and will blow all the flies away.

So is there anything you can do to avoid the flies?

Not really, except don’t go to Jones Beach in the morning. But then you probably won’t get into field 6 if you show up past 10 A.M.

Share Button
Posted in New York, Strange Phenomena | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Miss America, Not Once, But Twice

There She Is, Mary Campbell, The Only Two Time Miss America

Miss America 1922 1923 winner Mary Campbell

Growing up I have slight memories of the Miss America Beauty Pageant: mostly of the perennial emcee Bert Parks singing the “There She Is, Miss America” song, while some young woman was given flowers and started crying.

The Miss America Beauty Pageant and all beauty pageants are generally a bore. They are really thinly disguised T & A shows.

But back in the 1920’s when the Miss America Beauty Pageant began, things were set up a little differently.

In 1922 Mary Campbell was named the winner of the second Miss America Beauty Pageant. Nothing extraordinary in that. As you can see in the above portrait and below that Mary Campbell was not breathtakingly beautiful, but still an attractive girl.

But what caught my attention was that this 17-year-old was not just the winner of the Miss America Beauty Pageant in 1922, but also the winner of the pageant in 1923!

Miss America 1922 winner Mary Campbell on beachHow Mary Campbell became the only two time Miss America winner is an amusing story.

Mary Campbell did not even consider herself the least bit good-looking. In 1922 when Campbell was watching the preliminaries for an Ohio beauty contest, a judge suggested she enter the contest. She did and surprisingly won the contest becoming “Miss Columbus.”

Later she was told she won because of her figure, which was 35-26-36. Being self admittedly  very naive, Campbell did not even know what a “figure” was. She asked her mother who replied, “It’s none of your business.” Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in History, Photography | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Red Auerbach Shows Rookie Bill Russell A Thing Or Two -1957

Auerbach And Russell And The Beginnings Of A Dynasty

Red Auerbach Bill Russell Jan 12 1957

For people of a certain generation Bill Russell was and is the greatest basketball player ever.

In this photograph Arnold “Red” Auerbach coach of the Boston Celtics is showing 22-year-old rookie Bill Russell how to spin a basketball (like Russell doesn’t know how to do that!)

Heralded as the most exciting player to enter the NBA since George Mikan, the six foot ten Russell made his NBA debut December 22, 1956 and played flawless basketball for the next 13 seasons. During their time together, Auerbach, Russell and the Celtics won an incredible 11 championships.

One completely silly observation: Red Auerbach looks an awful lot like Mel Brooks in this photo.

Share Button
Posted in Photography | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Classic Hollywood #33

James Stewart & Orson Welles Visit James Cagney On The Set Of His New Movie – 1957

James Stewart James Cagney Orson Welles August 20 1957


Jimmy Stewart, left, and Orson Welles, right, paid a surprise visit to the famed Phantom Stage at Universal-International Studio to extend best wishes to Jimmy Cagney at the start of production on “Man Of A Thousand Faces,” the life story of Lon Chaney, Hollywood’s famed man of mystery. Stewart was filming “Night Passage” on an adjoining stage at the studio and Welles was on the lot starring with Jeff Chandler and Colleen Miller in “Pay The Devil.” “Man Of A Thousand Faces,” also starring Dorothy Malone, “Oscar” winner for her portrayal in “Written On The Wind,” and Jane Greer. Joseph Pevney directed for Producer Robert Arthur. (credit: Universal-International Photos August 20, 1957)

Lon Chaney and his makeup kitMan Of A Thousand Faces was not one of Jimmy Cagney’s better films. As good as Cagney was, he was miscast as Lon Chaney who he did not even remotely resemble. Here is a rare photograph of Lon Chaney with his famed make-up kit.

Lon Chaney was considered one of the greatest actors of the 1920’s making hit film after hit film such as The Phantom of the Opera and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Chaney died of bronchial cancer in 1930 at the age of 47. Chaney is mostly forgotten by modern film audiences because he made only one sound film, The Unholy Three.

Had Chaney lived, that might not have been the case. He was director Tod Browning’s first choice for the lead in Dracula (1931). Instead, the starring role led to eternal fame for Bela Lugosi who had earlier played Count Dracula in the 1927-28 Broadway production.

Share Button
Posted in Classic Hollywood, Movies, Photography | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

1949 Yankees All-Stars – DiMaggio, Berra, Henrich, Reynolds & Raschi

New York Yankees All-Stars Of Yesteryear

Vic Raschi Tommy Henrich Joe DiMaggio Allie Reynolds Yogi Berra Yanks All Stars July 6 1949 photo © Acme

In 2014, the struggling New York Yankees have three players that were named to the All-Star team: Derek Jeter, Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka, who will not play because of an elbow injury.

In 1949 the Yankees had five players play on the All-Star team. Seen in this photo from left to right are Vic Raschi, Tommy Henrich, Joe DiMaggio, Allie Reynolds and Yogi Berra.

There were 32,577 fans in attendance in what turned out to be a slugfest at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, as the American League topped the National League 11-7. Joe DiMaggio drove in three runs and Vic Raschi pitched three scoreless innings to get the save.

Share Button
Posted in Baseball, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Crazy Baseball All-Star Game Ticket Prices

$2.40 For An All-Star Game Box Seat?

Fenway Park ticket booth before the 1946 All Star Game

$2.40 for a box seat is not the crazy price we are talking about. Those days are long gone.

The scene above is Fenway Park where the 1946 All-Star Game was played. As fans lined up for tickets the night before the game at the box office (what a novel idea), they had the choice of purchasing box seats for $2.40 or reserved seats for $1.80.

Please direct your attention to the kids, wearing suits no less, neatly lined up waiting for tickets. Yes, even kids could save up $1.80 by delivering newspapers, mowing lawns or doing chores in 1946.

The crazy prices we are talking about are for the current baseball All-Star game.

According to a May 9 Forbes Magazine story, the 2014 baseball All Star Game in Minneapolis is the second most expensive ticket in All-Star game history. The article points out that according to a ticket broker who owns hundreds of MLB All-Star tickets the average ticket price for the 2014 All-Star Game is significantly higher than the previous four All-Star games, with a current average ticket price of $1,096. Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Baseball, Commentary, History, Photography | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente Before The 1961 All-Star Games

Before The Mid-Summer Classics Of 1961

NL All Stars 1961 Mays Cepeda Murtaugh Burgess Clemente

Pittsburgh (July 1) – All Stars – Danny Murtaugh, manager of the world champion Pittsburgh Pirates (center), looks over some mighty potent bats in the hands of four National League stars named for the All-Star baseball games July 11 at San Francisco and July 31 at Boston. They are (l to r) Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda of San Francisco and Smoky Burgess and Roberto Clemente of Pittsburgh (AP wire photo) 1961

For 1959 – 1962 two baseball All-Star games were played during the summer.

The National League won the first game on July 11, 1961 by a score of 5-4. Both Mays and Clemente played the whole game. Mays went 2 for 5 scoring twice and driving in a run when Mays doubled home Hank Aaron and scored on a single by Clemente in the tenth inning. Clemente went 2 for 4, scored one run and drove in two including the game winner.

This was also the legendary game where pitcher Stu Miller was allegedly blown off the mound in San Francisco’s windy Candlestick Park. To this day Miller denies it even though he was quoted after the game saying, “The wind blew me off the mound.”

In the second All-Star game at Boston’s Fenway Park July 31, 1961, the game was called after the ninth inning, a 1-1 tie. Again Mays and Clemente played the entire game with Mays going 1 for 3 and Clemente going 1 for 2.

The Pirates starting catcher Smoky Burgess always looked old in every photo I’ve ever seen of him. In 1961 he was only 34. If you met Smoky on the street you would probably think he was anything but a ballplayer – possibly a postal clerk or a truck driver. But Burgess, was indeed a six time all-star with a .295 career batting average, even if he didn’t look the part.

Share Button
Posted in Baseball, Photography | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Banning Cars On City Streets In Manhattan – Not A New Idea

Fifth Avenue – Sans Cars 1970

The Story Of Mayor John Lindsay’s Pedestrian Malls

Top photo shows 5th Ave. on a typical day. Bottom photo shows 5th Ave. on July 11, 1970

Top photo shows 5th Ave. on a typical day. Bottom shows 5th Ave. on July 11, 1970 as traffic was cleared

While many environmental and safety groups bandy about various schemes for making streets safer for pedestrians by removing or limiting cars from city streets, the idea is older than you might think.

During his tenure as mayor of New York City from 1966-1973, John Lindsay always favored pedestrians.

Lindsay’s initial ban of cars took place in May of 1969. Lindsay and the city closed a small area of Nassau Street in downtown Manhattan as part of a temporary 90 day experiment during lunch hour from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M..

After 90 days Lindsay declared the “experimental” closure permanent.

The next year on April 22, 1970 the city closed some streets for the first Earth Day.

It’s one thing to shut down a narrow street in the financial district or some larger streets for a special occasion like Earth Day, it’s quite another to ban cars in the heart of New York’s shopping district.

Lindsay’s bigger plans came to fruition, also as an experiment, 44 years ago on Saturday, July 11, 1970. Lindsay closed vehicular traffic from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., on a fifteen block stretch on Fifth Avenue from 42nd through 57th Streets.

The day before the experiment Mayor Lindsay said, “New Yorker’s should enjoy the most beautiful and exciting street when it becomes a pedestrian mall.”

This would also be different because the merchants along Fifth Avenue were not enamored with the idea. It was the first concerted effort by city officials to see the impact of a traffic closure on a major New York City street and observe the effects on noise, air quality and more importantly, quality of life. Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in History, New York, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Is What Riding The Third Avenue Elevated Was Like In 1950

A Train Ride New Yorker’s Will Never Experience Again

This is a portrait of a vanished New York unlike any other ever captured on film.

This ten minute impressionistic documentary film Third Avenue El (1950) is occasionally shown on Turner Classic Movies. If you love old New York City and have never seen the film, I strongly recommend you watch it (below).

On all levels this is a magnificent film and I’m so grateful that writer/director Carson Davidson preserved so many aspects of mid-century New York, all in glorious color.

Service on the Third Ave. El ended in 1955 and the tracks were soon torn down, forever altering  the streets of New York.

Share Button
Posted in Movies, New York | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

1942 Brooklyn Suicide Attempt

Edna Egbert About To Get Pushed Off A Ledge By The Police

Edna Egbert suicide attempt Brooklyn 497 Dean Street March 19 1942

The caption for this International News Photo reads:

Three Cops and A Woman In Life and Death Drama

New York – Four of the five principal characters in today’s (March 19) life or death drama staged in a Brooklyn residential district. Mrs. Edna Egbert, 50, is shown on the 2nd story ledge of her apartment while three policemen flank her trying to talk her out of her threat to jump in a suicide attempt. Failing to dissuade the woman, the policemen pushed her from the ledge– into a large emergency net that had been rigged below. The fifth hero in this drama is the first policeman on the scene, who kept Mrs. Egbert on her ledge for 25 minutes while the net was being rigged. (credit: International News Photo 3-19-42)

What the slug does not mention is what caused Mrs. Edna M. Egbert such distress.

In the past year Mrs. Egbert’s son Fred had gotten married, joined the army and had not written to her once in that time, so she presumed he was dead.

Mrs Egbert climbed onto a window ledge at her home at 497 Dean St., Brooklyn and screamed: “I’m going to jump.”

If you’re wondering, as I was, how you could kill yourself from only the second floor, to either side of Ms. Egbert was a spiky iron fence that could have easily impaled her.

While a crowd gathered on the street, one patrolman talked to Mrs. Egbert from the street while others rigged a net. As officers Ed Murphy and George Munday tried to persuade her to come back in to the building, she brandished a mirror and started swinging it at them.

Edna Egbert suicide attempt Brooklyn 497 Dean Street March 19 1942 NY Post

The police grabbed her arms and she proceeded to sit on the ledge. That is when they quickly pushed her into the net. The estimated 600 onlookers quickly dispersed and Mrs. Egbert was taken to Bellevue for observation.

According to census records, Mrs. Egbert was either 42 or 44-years-old, not 50 as noted in every article about this story. Her husband John Egbert was 64 and their wayward son Fred was 20.

Edna Egbert suicide attempt Brooklyn 497 Dean Street March 19 1942 now and then Photo Marc Hermann NY Daily News

Original b&w photo: Charles Payne NY Daily News

The Daily News featured another photograph from this event in a great photo essay entitled Then and Now, which mixes original crime scene photographs with modern images taken by Marc Hermann.

Whatever became of Mrs. Egbert and her non-writing son Fred is unknown.

Share Button
Posted in New York, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment