The Singer Building: Tallest In New York, Tallest In The World

The Announcement of The Construction of The World’s Tallest Building 1906

The Singer Building: An Architectural Marvel When It Was Originally Constructed

Singer Building 1906 Sept 8 scientific americanWhen you think of tall buildings you probably don’t think a building 612 feet tall is all that important. In 1906 it was considered a staggering height, as a building that size had never been built before.

What is interesting when reading the account of the announced construction of the Singer Building in the Scientific American, is the sense of wonderment in describing how much taller than any other building The Singer Building would be.

Singer Tower Under Construction

Singer Tower Under Construction

The article speaks in flowery language of the proud achievement of being able to construct a building so “lofty.”  Overcoming the posed difficulties in constructing tall buildings was merely a matter of “let’s sit down and figure out how to do this.” Coming through in the writing is the confidence that we are witnessing technical advancements coming in leaps and bounds. The reader palpably feels that not just in construction, but in all areas America itself has unlimited potential.

The birth of the modern skyscraper was at hand.

Excerpts from Scientific American September 8, 1906. Continue reading

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The 19th Century Sexual Adviser: How Often Should You Have Sex?

1867 Advice On How Often and When You Should Have Sex According to a Prominent New York Doctor

In Woody Allen’s masterpiece Annie Hall (1977), there is a split screen scene in which Diane Keaton (Annie Hall) and Woody Allen (Alvy Singer) are each separately talking to their respective therapists. The questions and answers overlap one another setting up the following exchange.

Alvy’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together?

Annie’s Therapist: Do you have sex often?

Alvy Singer: Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.

Annie Hall: Constantly. I’d say three times a week.

Too much or too little sex is really in the mind of the beholder.

Dr RT TrallSo what did one leading 19th century doctor feel was the right amount of sex? Apparently very little according to a book entitled Sexual Physiology A Scientific and Popular Exposition of the Fundamental Problems in Sociology by Russell Thacher Trall M.D,  published by Miller, Wood and Co. 1867, .

Doctor Trall (1812-1877), the author of the book, was a man well ahead of his time in many aspects, not so much in others; in 1853 he wrote a 118 page diatribe on the dangers of the “disease of masturbation,” which is a hoot to read. Trall who was religious but not a fanatic, maintained that drugs harmed the body; was a proponent of vegetarianism; vehement in his opposition to tobacco and alcohol; and in 1852 founded New York Hygieo-Therapeutic College, the first medical school to admit women on equal terms with men. In his Sexual Physiology book, Dr. Trall is quite frank about many topics; explaining the facts of life; divulging how the sexual organs work; and  he even includes a very forward thinking chapter regarding women’s sexual rights.

What caught my attention was the chapter on sexual intercourse. Dr. Trall writes with an almost shocked tone that he knows of people who have “indulged in sexual intercourse as often as once in twenty-four hours, and some who have indulged still oftener. ”

Frequency of Sexual Intercourse

For those who live riotously ; who are constantly goading their sexual passions into abnormal intensity by means of gross food, stimulating viands, and obscene associations, no better rule can be given than the less indulgence the better.

sexual physiology trallThe majority of young persons unite in matrimony with no education whatever on this subject; and habits, right or wrong, are soon formed which are apt to be continued through life. I have had patients who had for years indulged in sexual intercourse as often as once in twenty-four hours, and some who have indulged still oftener. Of course the result was premature decay, and often permanent invalidism. It was not because these persons were inordinately sensual, or unusually developed in the cerebellum, that they damaged themselves in this way. It was simply because they knew no better. Many a man who would have been a good husband if he had only known how, and who would not for his life, much less for the momentary pleasure it afforded, have endangered the health, or hazarded the happiness of a well beloved wife, has destroyed her health, happiness and life (some men several wives successively) by excessive sexual indulgence.

So with that introduction you should not be surprised by Dr. Trall’s opinion regarding the proper amount of sex for a married couple, which he finally gets to: Continue reading

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1956 Brooklyn Dodgers Fall One Game Short

1956 World Series Game 7 – October 10, 1956

Mickey Mantle at bat as Yogi Berra waits on deck World Series Game 7 October 10, 1956 - photo: Ed Stein

Mickey Mantle at bat as Yogi Berra waits on deck World Series Game 7 October 10, 1956 – photo: Ed Stein

The Yankee Hit Parade

Ebbets Field, N.Y.  – This unusual photo of Mickey Mantle at bat and Yogi Berra (8), Yankee catcher on deck waiting for his turn with the lumber, typifies both hopes and fears of this series. Taken in the eighth inning of today’s final game, it shows Dodger catcher Roy Campanella ready to receive and plate umpire Dusty Boggess ready to call. In the background is the crowd as poised as Mickey himself. Mickey hit three homers in the series, though he only got out one hit out of four at bats in today’s game. Berra was one of today’s heroes for the bombers. He hit a pair of two-run homers and got a grand-slam homer in a previous game in the series. Yanks shut out the Dodgers 9-0, for the game and the series. 10-10-56 photo by Ed Stein

The year 1955 witnessed the end of the Brooklyn rallying cry of “wait until next year” when they finally defeated the New York Yankees in an exciting seven game World Series, highlighted by Johnny Podres’ stellar pitching for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers hoped to repeat as champions and even forced a seventh game at their home ballpark at Ebbets Field.

But it was not to be.

After having a perfect game pitched against them by Don Larsen at Yankee Stadium in game five, the Dodgers went back to Ebbets Field down three games to two to the Yankees. Continue reading

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Rare Photograph Of Game 7 Of The 1926 World Series At Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium On Edge As Waite Hoyt Pitches To Cardinals Slugger Rogers Hornsby

And The Story of The Strangest End To A World Series

1926 World Series Waite Hoyt pitching to Rogers Hornsby gm 7It is October 10, 1926 and it seems everyone is wearing a hat at game seven of the 1926 World Series at Yankee Stadium. Although the stadium looks packed, rainy, gray and chilly weather kept the attendance for the deciding game down to 38,093.

In this rare photo, Yankee star pitcher Waite Hoyt is unleashing a pitch to the Cardinals Rogers Hornsby. The Yankees would lose this game 3-2 and the game would include one of the most dramatic moments in World Series history and one of, if not the strangest play to end a World Series.

The drama occurred when Cardinals starter Jess Haines had loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and was lifted for the veteran pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander.  Old Alex had pitched a complete game victory the day before and was tired, but relaxed as he came into the game to face Yankees slugger Tony Lazzeri. The crowd fell silent as Alexander demonstrated his mastery and struck out Tony Lazzeri ending the threat. Continue reading

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10 Witty Quotations

I Wish I Had Said That

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson – photo Library of Congress

Over the years I’ve collected what I think are sound words of wisdom and pithy lines. These fall into the latter category. While you may not find many of these in Bartlett’s Quotations, I’m sure there will be a couple of quotes here that should go down in posterity as memorable and be included in that most famous of quotation books.

Thoughts to ponder:

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men” – Joseph Conrad

“A dose of poison can do its work only once, but a bad book can go on poisoning people’s minds for any length of time” –  John Murray

“Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away.” –  Ralph Waldo  Emerson

Continue reading

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Where Did New Yorker’s Go For Rest & Relaxation in the 1840s and 50s? To The Cemetery, Of Course.

Before There Was Central Park, There Was Green-Wood Cemetery

Greenwood Cemetery Bayside Ave.Fern Hill Mausoleums print published 1855

Greenwood Cemetery Bayside Ave. Fern Hill Mausoleums – print published 1855

While few New Yorker’s today take Central Park for granted, there was a time in the city’s history that open spaces where nature could be enjoyed unimpeded by noise and pollution were scarce.

Greenwood Cemetery The Angels Await stereoview circa 1870

Greenwood Cemetery The Angels Await stereoview circa 1870

The great public parks which we enjoy today did not come into existence until the late 1850’s with the creation of Central Park followed by Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in 1867. From the 1840s until the 1860s, the rural cemetery was the place to go if a New Yorker or visitor wanted to experience rolling hills, plains, lakes, fabulous artworks and stroll peacefully while contemplating life.

The oldest of these rural cemeteries in New York City is Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery which was founded in 1838.

Green-Wood itself put out its own tour book soon after its creation to give visitors what they called “the tour.”

Green-Wood Cemetery admission ticket 1886

Green-Wood Cemetery admission ticket 1886

What could you expect when you got there besides mausoleums and tombstones?

Nature in abundance.

To give you an idea of how popular it was to visit Green-Wood, this section of Appleton’s New York City and Vicinity Guide by W. Williams, published by D. Appleton and Co. (1849) extols some of Green-wood’s virtues: Continue reading

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Classic Hollywood #46

Ruta Lee – Starring in Hootenanny Hoot 1963

Ruta Lee 1963Ruta Lee may not be a household name to the younger generation, but the actress, seen above in a forgettable starring role in 1963’s Hootenanny Hoot, has credits in over 155 movies and television shows over a  60 year career. Her official biography states that she has made over 2,000 television appearances.

She was born Ruta Mary Kilmonis in Montreal, Quebec on May 30, 1935 and moved to Hollywood when she was 13.

Ruta’s most notable films include Witness For The Prosecution, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and Funny Face. Her television career has been long and prosperous with appearances in The Adventures of Superman, The Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Hollywood Squares, Fantasy Island, Murder She Wrote and Roseanne.

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Yogi Berra Remembered In Photos

Yogi Berra Dies At 90 – A Remembrance In Rarely Seen Photos Of The Yankee Great

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series - photo Marvin E. Newman

Yogi Berra during the 1960 World Series – photo Marvin E. Newman

Lawrence Peter “Yog”i Berra died Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at the age of 90 in West Caldwell, New Jersey where he had been living in an assisted-living facility.

While countless obituaries will appear over the next few days recounting Berra’s storied baseball career, business acumen and quotable life, we thought it best not to dwell on Berra’s passing or try and tell all about his amazing life in just a few paragraphs. Yogi’s life story will be be well covered by his former teammates, friends, journalists and colleagues.

We will tell you that Yogi was not a great catcher when he first arrived in the majors. Yogi worked hard with former Yankee catcher Bill Dickey to make himself into a great defensive catcher. Also three American League MVP awards tell you that Yogi was extremely valuable to the Yankees. What those awards will not tell you was that Yogi was one of the best bad ball hitters ever – whether the ball was up by his eyes or literally in the dirt – Yogi could do massive damage on a pitch that most batters would not be able to do anything with.

We decided the best way to remember this Hall of Famer was with some old press photos that appeared long ago in magazines and newspapers and mostly have not been seen since.

Spec Shea Yogi Berra 1947 first start in World SeriesFrank “Spec” Shea and Yogi Berra before game 1 of the 1947 World Series at Yankee Stadium. 1947 marked the first of a record 10 world championships for Berra.

Berra Rizzuto 5 15 50 photo AcmeYogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto enjoy playing cards on a Yankees charter flight from New York to St. Louis, May 15, 1950 – photo Acme

clockwise - Yogi Berra (without cap), Mickey Mantle, Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds celebrate 3-2 World Series game 6 victory over Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field - October 6, 1952

Clockwise – Yogi Berra (without cap), Mickey Mantle, Vic Raschi and Allie Reynolds celebrate 3-2 World Series game 6 victory over Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field – October 6, 1952. Berra homered in the seventh inning, Mantle homered in the eighth, Raschi got the victory and Reynolds the save.

Yogi Berra Batting sequence 1955 9 6September 6, 1955 – Yogi’s Off And Running – Yogi Berra the New York Yankees formidable catcher, shows the wrist action that provides the power that makes him one of the club’s long ball hitters. Berra currently hitting .273 has pounded out 23 homers and driven in 94 runs. He has hit 18 doubles and two triples. – AP wirephoto  Continue reading

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Old New York In Photos #54

Fifth Avenue and 96th Street

96th 5th ave shanties 1894This may seem incredible, but this color photograph is from 1894 and shows Fifth Avenue and 96th Street.

The buildings shown are shanties put up by squatters. Until the early 20th century much of upper Manhattan was undeveloped, enabling the “have-nots” to build on what would soon become the priciest and most desirable real estate in the world .

In 1898 Andrew Carnegie purchased land nearby on 91st Street and Fifth Avenue that he would build his mansion on. 1903 saw Carnegie’s home completed and the tide had turned for the squatters as the land along Fifth Avenue had been bought up by the wealthy. By 1910 almost all of upper Fifth Avenue was developed with a long row of large pretentious mansions.

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Ebbets Field Draws A Small Crowd – 1951

A Virtually Empty Ebbets Field As The Brooklyn Dodgers Draw Just 2,612 Fans During The Heat Of The Pennant Race – September 15, 1951

Ebbets Field Small Crowd 1951 9 15The Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley constantly complained that Ebbets Field was not suitable for the Dodgers. Six years after this picture was taken, the Dodgers, enticed by a sweetheart deal, packed up and broke Brooklyn’s heart by moving to Los Angeles. The name O’Malley was forever muttered by Brooklynites with contempt from that day on.

If the Dodgers had attendance like this all the time, you couldn’t blame O’Malley for the move, but this sparse crowd was an anomaly. Here is the original caption to the photo:


There was plenty of excitement at this moment during first inning of the Dodgers- Cincinnati Reds game at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, NY, Sept. 15, (1951) but not many fans to voice their support or disapproval. A crowd of only 2,612, the smallest Ebbets Field attendance since 1934 saw the display of fireworks in final game this season between the two clubs. The Dodgers outslugged the Reds 11-5, to protect their three-game lead over the pursuing New York Giants. – Associated Press Photo

The Dodgers did not end up protecting their lead and ended up tied with the Giants at the end of the regular season. This necessitated a best of three play-off series which the Giants dramatically won with Bobby Thomson’s ninth inning home run on October 3.

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