Tag Archives: Grand Central Terminal

Classic Hollywood #35

A New York City Cop Takes Exception To Claudia Cardinale’s Dress – 1971

Claudia Cardinale 1971 Streets of NYC 2Disturbing the Peace

New York, NY – A New York policeman is not deterred in his duty as Italian actress Claudia Cardinale turns on her charm in front of Grand Central Station. After telling Cardinale to “move along,” the policeman rubs shoulders with her as he goes his way and she goes hers. Front view of the departing actress shows why he asked her to move. The dress she wore to plug a new movie caused a mid-town traffic jam. (UPI) 8-3-71

Here is how Claudia was causing the traffic jam —

Claudia Cardinale 1971 Streets of NYCI love the men’s faces in the background, while the cop scowls and bumps into Cardinale. For 1971 this mode of dress on the city streets was considered very risque. Today it would barely attract attention, let alone have the police intervening.

A member of the Turner Classic Movie Fan Forum, FrankT65, posted a behind the scenes account of what occurred here.

Frank was responsible for running a publicity junket for Paramount’s The Red Tent starring Claudia Cardinale, Sean Connery and Peter Finch. Here is how Frank describes the event:

We had lots out of town press coming in for a junket and if anything we would have plenty of publicity coverage for the film.

Our VP in charge of marketing was Charles Glenn….a man who believed in the publicity stunt, which had been considered by many to be outdated. I myself loved publicity stunts…it got you out of the office and in with the public where a public relations person belonged. Problem was there were too few stunts you could connect with THE RED TENT. Finally someone came up Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #41

Park Avenue And 51st Street 1889

Park Avenue 51st St looking north 1889

In 1886 what had been unglamorous Fourth Avenue above 42nd Street was renamed Park Avenue. This mix of 19th century modernity and bleak landscape is Park Avenue looking north from 51st Street in 1889. You would be hard pressed to find a time today when this busy intersection of New York would be so deserted. There is little activity besides a lone horse and cart on the right side of the incline by the tunnel and a ghostly man in a derby by a boulder in the lower portion of the photograph.

Commodore Vanderbilt reluctantly covered the tracks used by his New York Central & Hudson and New York & Harlem Railroads along Park Avenue from 58th through 99th Streets between 1872-1875. This improvement opened up building possibilities in what had been an undesirable stretch of land with noisy and polluted streets. But from 56th Street to Grand Central Depot at 42nd Street, the tracks had an open cut as seen here. The railroad tracks remained that way until they were finally covered in 1914.

The main building on the right in this photograph is Steinway & Sons Piano Forte  finishing factory, which occupied the entire block on Park Avenue from 52nd to 53rd Streets. According to King’s Handbook of New York City (1892) “There, 500 workmen plain, saw, join, drill, turn, string, fit, varnish and tune the piano works and cases received from the 600 workmen of Steinway, Astoria.”

The Steinway Factory Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #36

Grand Central Station – 1909

Grand Central Terminal 1909 Acme

We are looking north on Park Avenue from 41st Street towards Grand Central Station. Grand Central became a “terminal” (end of the line) in 1913 with the completion of the current facility. When passengers disembarked they could hop on the elevated line shuttle which connected Grand Central at 42nd Street with the Third Avenue elevated or go on any one of the many trolley lines as seen in the photograph.

The caption for this 1960 AP News Features photograph showing Grand Central in 1909 says:

Once She Was A Lady

Grand Central Station in 1909 plainly was a bustling rail center – but nothing like what it is today. A $100 million skyscraper is going up on the venerable Park Avenue matron’s back, and the problem of building it reach deep under the terminal’s 48 acres. The new building will be finished in 1962.  Credit-  AP Newsfeatures 11-17-1960

The building the caption is referring to is the Pan Am Building (now known as the MetLife Building) at 200 Park Avenue designed by architects Emery Roth & Sons, Walter Gropius and Pietro Belluschi. Completed in 1962 and opened in 1963, the 59 story building remains an ugly boxy behemoth marring the New York City skyline.

Objects Lost and Found At Grand Central Over The Past 100 Years

Fascinating Museum Of Memories Collection Displayed At Grand Central Terminal’s Transit Museum Annex

Grand Central exhibit case This year marks the 100th anniversary of the current Grand Central Terminal.  Jane Greengold is one of a dozen contemporary artists taking part in an exhibition, On Time /Grand Central at 100. Her work is an installation of objects that have been lost and then found over the past 100 years by one family of conductors who worked on various train lines at Grand Central.

Greengold describes how the project came together:

“When I started working on a piece for the Centennial of Grand Central Terminal, I walked around the Terminal for days, looking for inspiration. I was lucky to meet a conductor, Joe Wenham, willing to chat. He told me his father, grandmother, and great-grandfather had all been conductors, Grand Central exhibit explanationstarting before 1913. I said his family itself could illustrate the history of the Terminal and he told me that his great-grandfather had begun a family tradition of retrieving items he had brought to the Lost and Found and that had not been reclaimed, even buying items valuable enough to be sold. He began on a whim, but then decided to create a personal museum of memories of his passengers. The family has kept this up for 100 years.

They did not usually keep the kinds of objects most often lost — umbrellas, gloves, hats, glasses – but kept things that happened to strike their fancy. Neither Joe nor his father has been as enthusiastic about collecting as the first two generations, but they didn’t stop. So instead of creating a work for the Centennial, I persuaded Joe to share some of the family collection, and together we chose the objects presented here.”

This is the sort of thing that will bring a smile to your face if you go see it in person. I love the fact that the Wenham family contemporarily tagged each item with where and when the object was found, along with their astute and sometimes witty observations. Below is a sample of objects from the collection.

The photograph caption recaps what is on the tag: the date and train the object was found on and a remark from the Wenham who found it. You can click on any picture to enlarge.

May 20, 1920 Twentieth Century Limited "I saw the man pace up and down again and again, looking at the box worrying it (sic). I could not believe he lost it. Why didn't he claim it? Was the marriage over?"

May 20, 1920 – Twentieth Century Limited
“I saw the man pace up and down again and again, looking at the box worrying it (sic). I could not believe he lost it. Why didn’t he claim it? Was the marriage over?”

June 25, 1924 Special "These were the happiest bettors I ever saw"

June 25, 1924 – Special
“These were the happiest bettors I ever saw”

February 13, 1931 - 20th Century Limited "I never saw anyone wearing this. I don't even know if it is a man or a woman."

February 13, 1931 – 20th Century Limited
“I never saw anyone wearing this. I don’t even know if it was a man or a woman.”







May 5, 1945 - Pacemaker "There are hundreds of these. But I never saw anyone smoke this much"

May 5, 1945 – Pacemaker
“There are hundreds of these. But I never saw anyone smoke this much”




February 27, 1946 -  "I'd be so sad if I lost my babies photos."

February 27, 1946 – Pacemaker
“I’d be so sad if I lost my babies photos.”

October 3, 1946 - Pacemaker "Girls! were playing with cars! Maybe they'll be race car drivers! It's a German car!"

October 3, 1946 – Pacemaker
“Girls! were playing with cars! Maybe they’ll be race car drivers! It’s a German car!”





March 3, 1947 - Empire State "The woman was as round as the bottle"

March 3, 1947 – Empire State
“The woman was as round as the bottle”

September 17, 1958 - 20th Century Limited "Boring travel diary of a spoiled 13 year old. Went to Europe on Queen Mary, lost diary on a fancy train. Must be a brat."

September 17, 1958 – 20th Century Limited
“Boring travel diary of a spoiled 13 year old. Went to Europe on Queen Mary, lost diary on a fancy train. Must be a brat.”




November 28, 1963 - Empire State "I talked to the

November 28, 1963 – Empire State
“I talked to the boy who had this. He’d planned to go to the game but then went home for comfort after the assassination. Wasn’t sure he’d go to the game now. I guess he didn’t.”
















On Time /Grand Central at 100 is on view at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store at Grand Central until July 7, 2013.

Classic Hollywood #18

James Cagney Grabs Lunch At Grand Central

In the days before air travel became popular, almost everyone took the train to get around the United States.  On February 6, 1945 before boarding the Twentieth Century Limited for Chicago, James Cagney stopped in at a restaurant at Grand Central Terminal for a bite to eat. It appears he was enjoying a cup of coffee and a danish. Then he glanced up to see a photographer snapping this picture.

The difference between the “old days” and today is that movie stars of the golden years were not hounded by what has come to be known as the paparazzi – ruthless parasites, who violate every modicum of human decency. Yes, the old newspapers and magazines would send their  photographers out to capture celebrities and news events. But there was a mutual quid pro quo back then, even if the celebrities dd not enjoy the attention, they knew the press generally helped their careers and would accommodate them. The press also kept somewhat of a respectful distance. Those days are long gone.

Old New York in Photos #5

42nd Street Looking West From Park Avenue c. 1909

Trolleys, horse drawn wagons and no cars, dominate this view of 42nd street.  The building on the right is Grand Central Terminal before being completely renovated by the architectural firm of Warren & Wetmore. The tall building on the right past the trolley is the Hotel Manhattan (demolished c. 1962 and replaced by Sperry Hutchinson Building in 1964). In the far background in the center is The New York Times Building which was completed in 1906.

Note the street sweeper in the white uniform with a broom, that is almost as tall as he is under the bishops crook lamp post. These men were stationed all over the city to constantly clean up the streets because of the large number of horses that were used in daily life.  They were called The White-Wing Brigade because of their distinctive white uniforms. They were the creation of Colonel George E. Waring, who was named Department of Street Cleaning Commissioner in 1895. Waring instituted many positive changes in sanitation including regular trash collection and banning ocean dumping.

Old New York in Photos #4

Park Avenue, 1935

For a brief period there was a park in the middle of Park Avenue. This is not it. When road lanes were widened in the 1920’s the pedestrian plaza with benches were removed and replaced with a park like median which is surrounded by fencing and has no public access.

Looking north from around 38th street, Grand Central Terminal is in the middle of this photograph and behind it is the New York Central Building (currently called the Helmsley Building.) Continue reading