Tag Archives: Police

The Circus Fat Family Leaves Brooklyn For The Country

The “Fat Family” Moves To The Country – 1914

The following article is from Chicago’s The Saturday Blade newspaper July 18, 1914:

New York, July 16 – Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Tanner and their four giant children, known to circus folk as the “Fat Family” have been sent to the country by kindly disposed women who became interested in their case. Tanner is going to rest for a week or so and then he will try to get a job.

“I guess by the time we’re all rested up some show will come along that’s a real one,” said Mrs. Tanner the thin mother of the fat children.

The last show the Tanners were in was not a real one. It went broke and Mr. and Mrs. Tanner were compelled to appeal to give their babies shelter and food lest they starve to death.

“Buster” Tanner, 5 years old is the heaviest, his weight being 187 pounds. Little Doris, alias “Snookums,” is six months old and weighs 63 pounds. The others, Barnard and Alvin, 2 and 3 years old, would take prizes for weight at any baby show, though they look thin beside the youngest and oldest of the four. The home of the Tanners is Nicholson, GA.

Today the media and public would either exploit this family or call to prosecute them for child abuse. Remember the Honey Boo Boo craze? In 1914 there was nothing wrong with the word fat or being fat. Today calling someone fat is considered “body shaming” by this generation’s snowflake word censors.

We Need Food

Figuring Coney Island would be a good place to get employment the Fat Family came looking for a sideshow.

The Fat Family’s father Marshall explained to a Brooklyn police lieutenant that they had come from Chicopee, MA where the circus had gone bust owing them $100. “We had just enough money to get to New York and we came. Here we are now. We have no engagement, no money, no food and no place to sleep. Not having food is a serious matter.” And in what may be the biggest understatement, Mr. Tanner added, ” The children are fond of eating.”

The news story had no substantial follow up, and the Fat Family Continue reading

When New York City Schools Taught Kids How To Be Good Citizens

NYC Schools Used To Teach Kids The Responsibilities Of Citizenship

Something We Apparently Fail To Do Now

Teaching Civics, Respect & Unity, Not Divisiveness

Boys Club of PS 62 Hester and Norfolk St with policeman c 1907

Originally this piece was going to be about how dysfunctional the New York City school system is.

Then I realized that a critique of all the political correctness and hypocrisy that dominates decision making at the Department of Education and what kids are actually learning would require a book rather than an article.

Instead it would be better to examine what children used to learn in grammar school. The main focus was of course on reading, writing and arithmetic. A primary education as it should be.

The established standards applied to all children, regardless of religion, ethnicity, race or income level. But something else was taught that has been lost today: how to become useful and good citizens.

Simply put, Civics.

To understand this better let’s turn to a book that was in use in New York City schools during the early part of the twentieth century.

The book is called Good Citizenship by Julia Richman, Continue reading

117 Years Ago Today Over 1,000 New Yorkers Die In The General Slocum Disaster

June 15 1904 Over 1,000 People Die In The General Slocum Excursion Steamboat Fire

Hundreds Of Women And Children Burn And Drown In The Second Greatest Catastrophe In New York’s History

Illustration: Puck Magazine

Every year after 1904 there was a ceremony on June 15 to commemorate the victims of the General Slocum disaster. Today a few people will gather near an otherwise ignored memorial fountain in Tompkins Square Park to remember the 1,000 plus people who perished on the General Slocum.

If you do not know about the disaster you are not alone. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #112 – Marilyn Monroe Arrives At A Premiere

Marilyn Attends The New York Premiere of The Rose Tattoo

By The Way: June 1 Is The 95th Anniversary Of Marilyn Monroe’s Birth

MArilyn Monroe Rose Tattoo photo TribuneNew York – Marilyn Monroe arrived at the Astor Theatre for the film premiere of “The Rose Tattoo” wearing white fur over a dark gown. The premiere was for the benefit of Actors’ Studio, a non-profit for actors, directors and playwrights. photo: Tribune, December 2, 1955

Look at the different expressions on everyone as Marilyn arrives. Continue reading

Dignity For A Little Girl Killed By A Truck – 1904

Three-Year-Old Nettie Delaney Dies In A Horrific Accident & A Homeless Man Performs A Selfless Gesture – 1904

A kind act can transcend time. When researching our previous story about Times Square this tragic, but touching story was found.

Combining accounts from The New York Tribune, The New York Herald and The New York Times, this is what happened on August 31, 1904:

POOR, BUT A GENTLEMAN
With His Only Coat He Taught the Morbid a Lesson.

Nettie Delaney, three and a half years old, of 14 West One Hundred and Thirty-Third Street, was run over and killed almost in front of her own home yesterday afternoon by a horse drawn heavy truck carrying stone. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #124 – Central Park & The Dakota 1889

Central Park On A Sunny Day In 1889

It is 1889 and we are looking west across Central Park on 72nd Street towards the Dakota flats apartment building. Unlike today, there are no bicycle lanes, rollerbladers or joggers on the roadway. And the park seems to be bereft of crowds. But the photograph, taken by the Albertype Co., does record a view in which all the elements seen are still present over 130 years later.

In 2021 there are still mounted police patrolling Central Park. Behind this mounted policeman a horse drawn carriage ambles crosstown.

The policeman observes the small group on the sidewalk who have stopped to gaze at the cameraman taking the picture. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #114 – Grand Street c. 1908

A Trolley Accident Draws A Crowd On Grand Street

Grand Street c 1910 photo via Columbia University Community Service Society CollectionOur vantage point is just past Eldridge street looking west on Grand Street towards Forsyth Street (the shoe store on the corner). The Third Avenue El is in the background. 

While this scene appears to be a just a typical crowded street scene on the lower east side, it is not. Schoolboys crowd the sidewalk and a big police officer keeps the peace.

In the center of the street it is clear that a trolley has had an accident and has come off its rails. Continue reading

New York Illustrated – As It Was 150 Years Ago – Part I

Illustrations Of New York As Seen By Artists Around 1870

Part I – Demolished & Mostly Forgotten

Intersection Fifth Ave and Broadway at 23rd St looking north 1870

Intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue looking north towards the Worth Monument with The Fifth Avenue Hotel on the left (c. 1870)

Demolition of anything old  goes on every day without regard for New York’s history. I believe a day will come when all the pre-20th century buildings not given landmark protection will be gone. Demolished in the name of progress. Real estate values rule, not history values. That’s always been the way of New York.

When a historic structure like The St. Denis Hotel is obliterated instead of renovated it is a shame.

I see more and more ordinary tenement and commercial buildings falling at an astonishing rate. So I look around trying to see vestiges of things my great-grandparents might have known and been familiar with.

What did they see?

Recently I took out my copy of Reverend J.F. Richmond’s New York and Its Institutions 1609-1871 (E.B. Treat; 1871) and started to re-read it. I had forgotten how many excellent illustrations were in the book. Belying the name, New York and Its Institutions is not solely focused only upon hospitals, asylum, charity and worship facilities. The book thoroughly covers other important sites and buildings with their respective histories. Though it was not written as a guide book, it essentially is one.

What my ancestors saw were these historic buildings which are now not even memories to most New Yorkers, most having been taken down over a hundred years ago,

Let’s take a look at what New York City looked like around 1871 and take in what the visitor and native New Yorker would have seen.

Part I – Buildings No Longer In Existence

Very few lamented the loss of the old Post Office at the corner of Nassau and Liberty Street – — until they saw what replaced it in 1875.

The modest Police Department headquarters at 300 Mulberry Street was replaced in 1909 by a grand structure on Broome and Centre Streets.

Wilson's industrial school for girls 1870 new york Wilson’s Mission House or Industrial School For Girls at 27-29 Avenue A corner of St. Mark’s Place across from Tompkins Square Park.

Broadway Grand Central Hotel 1870The Grand Central Hotel stood on the west side of Broadway opposite Bond Street between Amity and Bleecker Street. Illegal alterations caused a major collapse of the Broadway facade  on August 3, 1973. Incredibly only four people were killed. The remaining section of the hotel was soon demolished. Continue reading

Madison Square In 1887

A Winter Scene Of Madison Square 1887

etching Madison Square 1887 artist Frank M Gregory

This charming etching by Frank M. Gregory (1848-1927) comes from a limited edition book Representative Etchings By Artists of To-day In America by Ripley Hitchcock, 1887, Fredrick A Stokes. The book included ten original etchings from noted artists of the day including Frederick S. Church, Robert F. Blum and Stephen Parrish.

We are looking north up Fifth Avenue. The busy street scene with horse drawn carriages, delivery wagons and pedestrians features a Broadway Squad policeman escorting a young girl across the street.

On the left is the Fifth Avenue Hotel and beyond that is Broadway. The obelisk in the center is the General William Worth Monument. Directly behind the monument on 25th Street, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway diverge is the building that housed The New York Club, an exclusive men’s club, in 1887. The building was originally built in 1865 as a hotel named Worth House.  In 1888 a fire displaced the New York Club. The structure that now occupies that site, was built in 1918 and is the New York flagship store of Porcelanosa.

Madison Square Park is barely visible on the right.

Further up Fifth Avenue on the corner of 26th Street is the Brunswick Hotel. Diagonally opposite the Brunswick is the famous Delmonico’s restaurant.

The steeple in the distance on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street is the Marble Collegiate Church.

New York City Used To Kill Its Stray Dogs By Drowning Them

How A Merciless City Dealt With Its Unwanted Dogs

In 19th Century New York, You Had 24 Hours To Retrieve Your Lost Dog

Unclaimed Dogs Were Drowned In The East River

The dog catcher in New York City & the dogs fate- drowned in cages in the East River – illustration Harper’s Weekly

The Dog Dilemma

What happens today when animal shelters are filled to capacity? Sometimes cats and dogs are humanely euthanized, if there is such a thing as being humanely euthanized.

Canine population control in 19th century New York was much harsher. Beginning in 1855 a new and brutal method of putting down dogs was instituted – drowning.

Some editors and citizens actually attached the word “humane” to this new way of disposal.

Before that time, wandering dogs were considered pests and usually killed on the spot, in the street. The fear of rabies and mad dogs was used as a justification for the wanton killing.

The New York Times wrote, “One thing, however, is certain: dogs are useless animals in cities, and are a nuisance, independent of their habit of occasionally running mad; and the best dog law would be one that imposed so high a tax on the owners of curs that few people would care to keep them, and those who did would see to it that the animals did not run at large, muzzled or unmuzzled.” Continue reading