Old New York In Photos #61

Broadway At Night – 1911

Broadway Times Square at night 1911

Photograph 1 Times Square at night

The glow of streetlights wash out some portions of this interesting view of Broadway looking south from 43rd Street in Times Square. But for the most part, many details can be seen in this unusual nighttime view taken by The Detroit Photo Company. There was no date associated with the picture at the Library of Congress which archives the Detroit Photo Company’s holdings; it is listed as circa 1900-1915. So how can narrow down an approximate date?

The main clue is in the marquee of George M. Cohan’s Theatre on Broadway and 43rd Street which heralds the musical The Little Millionaire which ran from September 25, 1911 through March 9, 1912.

The other clues are the billboards posted on the building to the right of the Cohan theatre advertising Broadway productions; one proclaiming “It’s a Hitchcock Conquest”; another for Mrs. Fiske, and another for a drama called Bought and Paid For. Raymond Hitchcock’s play The Red Widow ran from November 6, 1911 to February 24, 1912. Bought and Paid For had a long run from September 26, 1911 until October 1912. But the advertisement that narrows the date down is for a musical titled Peggy which only ran from December 7, 1911 to January 6, 1912. Of course the advertisement could have remained up after the show had closed, but with ad space being valuable in Times Square, it is unlikely.

Checking the Library of Congress’ holdings we find a second similar photo almost certainly taken the same night of Times Square from 46th Street looking south,

Times Square at night 1911

Photograph 2 Times Square at night

A few more interesting things to notice while zooming in on the details of the second photograph: Continue reading

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The Most Unbelievable Ad You Ever Saw

This Unbelievable Ad Appeared in 1920

Get Rich Quick fake Ad American magazine 1920GLORIOUS OPPORTUNITY TO GET RICH QUICK
Invest in
THE CALIFORNIA RANCHING COMPANY
Now being organized to start a cat ranch in California.

We are starting a cat ranch in California with 100,000 cats. Each cat will average twelve kittens a year. The cat skins will sell for 30 cents each. One hundred men can skin 5,000 cats a day. We figure a daily net profit of over $10,000.

NOW WHAT SHALL WE FEED THE CATS?
We will start a rat ranch next door with 1,000,000 rats.  The rats will breed twelve times faster than the cats. So, we’ll have four rats to feed each day to each cat. Now what shall we feed the rats? We will feed the rats the carcasses of the cats after they have been skinned.

NOW GET THIS
We feed the rats to the cats, and the cats to the rats, and get the cat
skins for nothing. Shares are selling at 5 cents each, but the price will go up soon.

INVEST WHILE OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS AT YOUR DOOR
CALIFORNIA RANCHING COMPANY

So what’s the story here? This can’t be a real enterprise can it? The following story appeared in The American Magazine in 1920 explaining the ad.

The Savings & Trust Co. of Cleveland wanted to warn people about bad investments. Continue reading

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Old Time Baseball Stars With Their Wives

Baseball Wives Of Yesterday

Feb 14, 1956 --- New York Giants star outfielder Willie Mays, 25, is shown with his bride of a few hours, Marguerite, (Wendelle), 27, at her home in Elmhurst, New York, after their wedding in Elkton, Maryland, early on February 14th. It is Willie's first and her third marriage. En route to Elkton, Mays was arrested for driving 70 miles an hour on the New Jersey turnpike and paid a $15 fine. photo - Associated Press

Feb 14, 1956 — New York Giants star outfielder Willie Mays, 25, is shown with his bride of a few hours, Marguerite, (Wendelle), 27, at her home in Elmhurst, New York, after their wedding in Elkton, Maryland, early on February 14th. It is Willie’s first and her third marriage. En route to Elkton, Mays was arrested for driving 70 miles an hour on the New Jersey turnpike and paid a $15 fine. photo – Associated Press

Baseball players traditionally have never had any trouble attracting women, see Jim Bouton’s book Ball Four for more details on the subject.

Today, the public has an unquenchable and somewhat bizarre fascination for baseball stars and their private lives which extends to what their spouses look like. Just search “baseball wives” to get an idea.

There was a reality TV program in 2011 called Baseball Wives that aired eight episodes on VH1 before being canceled. Comprised mostly of ex-wives of ballplayers, the show apparently did not intrigue enough viewers even if the women were “hot”. Tawny Kitean 1980 photo Neil Zlozower

Generally the wives of baseball players keep a low profile with some exceptions like video star Tawny Kitean who was once arrested for spousal abuse of her then husband, pitcher Chuck Finley.

In the old days baseball wives pretty much wanted to stay out of the limelight and usually did.

With that said you may never have seen these old time baseball stars together with their wives. So we present a short gallery.

Bill Dickey and wife Violet Arnold
Bill Dickey and Wife Oct 4 1932Yankee Catcher and Bride To Be
Bill Dickey, first string catcher on the world champion New York Yankees, and his bride-to-be, Violet Arnold of Jackson Heights, N.Y. They are shown as they attended the wedding of Sammy Byrd to Miss Rachel Smith of Birmingham, ALA., at St. Malachy’s Church, N.Y., October 4, when Dickey served as best man. They will be married in the next few days. – Associated Press Photo 10/4/32

Dizzy Dean and wife Patricia NashDizzy Dean and wife 1934Cardinals Invade Detroit
Jerome “Dizzy” Dean, the biggest half of baseball’s greatest brother team, and Mrs. Dean read telegrams wishing success, shortly after their arrival in Detroit, MI., Oct. 2nd, for the World Series with the Tigers. – Credit Line Acme 10/2/34

Eddie Matthews and wife Virjean LaubyEddie Mathews and wife Dec 4 1954 Continue reading

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One of The Most Timeless Political Cartoons Ever

An Appropriate Political Cartoon From 2016?

National Bird of Prey Cartoon 1905 Puck MagazineThe more things change the more they remain the same.

puck bannerThis great political cartoon ran in 1905 on the cover of the satirical Puck Magazine. The cartoon showing The National Bird of Prey “Corporate Vulture” feeding her young “dough” is as appropriate in 2016 as it was in 1905 . The hatchlings being fed in a nest lined with money are labeled “Our” Senators; “Our” Legislatures and “Our” Judges. Is the “Our” in quotes referring to the citizens who have been robbed of representative power or a sarcastic wink to the fact that “Our” government belongs to the corporations? With either interpretation it is a potent statement that still rings true today.

The only thing missing is Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #60

Broadway on the Upper West Side Close-up Circa 1908

Details Of Life and Architecture From One Photograph

Broadway 70th closeup of people(Click to enlarge any of the photographs.)

From the Detroit Publishing Company comes a great photograph showing the busy thoroughfare of Broadway on the upper west side of Manhattan. The photo above is just one detailed portion of the main photograph (see below).

By zooming in we can clearly observe details otherwise unnoticed. We see three children taking in the sights of the city while riding in the back of an open horse drawn wagon. Pedestrians walk across the street without being too concerned about the light vehicular traffic. Notice the woman in the center of the photo holding up her dress slightly so it did not scrape the street. But it wasn’t just women who were careful: all New Yorkers had to be rather adept at avoiding horse urine and manure that littered the streets. On the right, horse waste can clearly be seen near the man stepping off the curb.

But where exactly are we on Broadway?

Here is the answer…

Broadway north from 70th streetWe are looking north on Broadway from 70th Street to about 79th Street. There are two main buildings that stand out in the photograph. On the right between 71st and 72nd Streets is The Dorilton, an exceptionally ornate apartment building by architects Janes & Leo, completed in 1902. On the left on the northwest corner of 73nd Street, just beyond the subway station, is the Ansonia Apartment Hotel completed in 1904.

Broadway 70th closeup subway station trolleyZooming in again on the details in the center portion of the photo, trolley number 3061 makes its way down Broadway, passing the  subway station of the IRT at 72nd Street. It appears workers are repairing or painting the doors leading to the station.

Now let’s look at some other details. Continue reading

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Early 20th Century Solution For The Disabled and Unfit – Kill Them.

In The First Two Decades Of The 20th Century, Some People Believed The Best Way To Deal  With The Lame, Degenerate, and the Developmentally Disabled Was To Kill Them – Preferably Soon After They Were Born

Eugenic Beliefs of a College President; a Doctor; Politicians and a Supreme Court Justice

atos disabled posterEugenics can mean many things, but in its most simple form the main purpose is control, selection and “improvement” of human population.

Its not the sort of idea that curries favor today, especially after Nazi Germany put the concept into practice eliminating undesirables; Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the retarded, the infirm, lame and many other “unfit” groups in their quest for racial purity.

From 1979 until 2015 China’s government practiced a form of eugenics with their one child policy that was meant to control population. Today population control remains a touchy subject. Who gets to decide who should or shouldn’t reproduce?

For the first few decades of the 20th century eugenics or Spartansim was a popular and controversial science or as some have called it, a pseudoscience. If there are people today who would like to see the revival of a eugenics movement, few will say so publicly.

In this fascinating article published 102 years ago The Commonwealth a weekly socialist newspaper based in Everett, WA, an attack was published on the rise of Spartanism and used the words of its proponents to point out the dangers of the Spartan / eugenics movement. The article has been edited here for brevity while maintaining the overall tone of the story.

Highlights from The Commonwealth Thursday January 8, 1914 (Everett WA): Continue reading

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This Tombstone Stopped Me In My Tracks

The Heroic Edwin Gaddis Of New York

Edwin J Gaddis Greenwood CemeteryWhen wandering through historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn it’s easy to be distracted by the grand mausoleums and elaborate memorials and pass by the more common looking tombstones.

I was struck by this simple memorial to Edwin John Gaddis who died July 23, 1883. His grave marker in section 91 of the cemetery reads as follows:

Edwin J. Gaddis,
Born October 23, 1861
Died July 23, 1883.
Drowned in Peconic Bay
Jamesport L. I.
While trying to save life
Greater love hath no man than this
That he lay down his life for his friends. John XV.13

Edwin Gaddis top tombstone Greenwood Cemetery 150811On the top of the tombstone the following words are inscribed:

Your honor, your name,
And your praises shall ever remain.
Your fame shall be eternized.

Eternized, a word not used much today means, to make eternal; immortalize.

Who was Edwin Gaddis? What was his life like? What would make someone risk (and lose) their life?  Who exactly were the people he tried to save and were they actually saved?

Besides what is etched on Gaddis’ tombstone, there is virtually no information online about his life. There were however three news items online about his death. This most complete story that answers many of the questions I asked was reported by the New York Tribune on Wednesday, July 25, 1883: Continue reading

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Old New York In Postcards #14

Twelve Postcard Views Of The Vanished New York Elevated

Elevated South Ferry Terminals

South Ferry Terminals, where all four of New York’s elevated train lines commenced and ended their travels

The most dramatic change in transportation in 19th century New York came with the building of the elevated train, known simply to generations of New Yorkers as the “el” or “L”. Here with 12 postcard views is a brief history of the New York Elevated.

Battery Park Elevated

Battery Park Elevated with the Washington Building on the right, and the Whitehall Building on the left.

The first elevated train line was the Ninth Avenue El which began service in 1869 as a single track line which was operated by a cable. The train ran from the Battery to 31st Street. Continue reading

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The Original Entrance To The George Washington Bridge On The New York Side

The George Washington Bridge as seen from 179th Street – 1934

George Washington Bridge from Manhattan 1934

This is the way the George Washington Bridge looked in 1934, three years after opening in 1931 from the New York side. The changes that have occurred in the past 80 years are abundant. This view was photographed from between West 178th and 179th Streets.

Before finding this photograph I had always wondered what the George Washington Bridge looked like before several changes occurred to the original layout. The construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway / Alexander Hamilton Bridge connection; the addition of the lower level to the bridge; and the Port Authority bus depot; all in the early 1960s, changed the original roadway approach and exit configuration.

The light traffic is indicative of the era. A total of 6,148,876 vehicles crossed the bridge in 1934. Today over 114 million vehicles make the crossing.

What else has changed? Continue reading

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Carl Yastrzemski Heads Up The Red Sox Outfield – 1961

Spring Training 1961, Carl Yastrzemski Offers Hope To Red Sox Faithful

Carl Yastrzemski and Red Sox 1961 outfieldEarly indications in the Red Sox spring training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona are that this trio will be patrolling the outfield for the Red Sox in 1961. (l-r) Carl Yastrzemski, Gary Geiger and Jackie Jensen. (March 1961 – photo: Sporting News)

After 1960, the Boston Red Sox would be without their stalwart star Ted Williams who had retired at the end of the season. The reins to lead the team would be passed to Carl Yastrzsemski and he would not disappoint. Yastrzemski was born and raised in Long Island, NY and was signed by the Red Sox organization in 1958 and rapidly advanced through the minor league system.

Continue reading

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