Category Archives: Commentary

Old New York In Postcards #27 – The 10 Tallest Buildings In 1939

Skyscraper Race – The 10 Tallest Buildings In New York City In 1939

When the Park Row Building was completed in 1899, the 31 story office building was the highest in New York and the world at 382 feet. Less than seven years later it was no longer the tallest, with the Singer Building soaring 211 feet higher than the Park Row.

Today the Park Row Building, converted to residences, is not even among the 100 tallest buildings in New York. And the Singer Building was demolished over 55 years ago.

The constant desire by developers to top one another has continued and accelerated in the past dozen years.

The skyline is being overtaken by mostly nondescript glass boxes dwarfing other buildings and eclipsing many of the classic New York skyscrapers.

As of 2022 the ten tallest buildings in New York are:

Rank   Name                                 Height Stories Year Completed Address
1         One World Trade Center 1,776    94        2014                     285 Fulton Street
2         Central Park Tower          1,550     99        2021                     225 West 57th Street
3         111 West 57th Street       1,428     85        2022                     111 West 57th Street
4         One Vanderbilt                 1,401      73       2020                      1 Vanderbilt Avenue
5         432 Park Avenue              1,397      85       2015                      432 Park Avenue
6         30 Hudson Yards              1,270     103     2019                      500 West 33rd Street
7         Empire State Building      1,250     102     1931                      350 Fifth Avenue
8         Bank of America Tower   1,200       55      2009                     1101 Sixth Avenue
9         3 World Trade Center      1,079       69      2018                      175 Greenwich Street
10       The Brooklyn Tower         1,073       73      2022                      9 DeKalb Avenue (Brooklyn)

Recently looking at the 1939 World Almanac there was a list of the tallest buildings in New York.

Here are the top ten from that list-

All heights listed are the Almanac’s figures which may differ from modern estimates.

1. The Empire State Building is located on the site of the original Continue reading

Do American’s Obey Laws Because Of Religion?

Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen On Americans, Democracy, Laws & Religion

The late Clayton Christensen (1952-2020) of Harvard Business School made this one and a half minute video in 2014. Considering the breakdowns in civility and law we are witnessing today it is well worth watching.

My personal views not withstanding, a friend once said religion “is the opium of the people.” Oh, sorry that wasn’t my friend, that was Karl Marx in his critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of the Right.

My real friend said that religion prevents Continue reading

What Are Baseball Players Celebrating? Certainly Not Winning The World Series.

New York Giants Celebrate Winning The National League Pennant September 30. 1937

Or, How To Put Celebrating In Perspective

The way baseball players celebrate or more accurately carry on when they win a regular ball game makes me scratch me head. It also makes me a little nauseous.

C.J. Abrams gets a Gatorade shower after delivering a tenth inning game winning single over the Atlanta Braves for the last place Washington Nationals. photo: San Diego Union Tribune

On September 28, 2022 the Washington Nationals Continue reading

The Amazing Pat Benatar Can Still Belt Out The Songs At Age 69

Pat Benatar Performs Promises In The Dark Live In Albany July 2022

Pat Benatar performs live July 2022 Albany NYRocker Pat Benatar has been performing with her husband, guitarist and songwriter Neil Geraldo for over 43 years.

Musicians don’t fret that their skills will deteriorate the way singers do.

A powerful rock singer usually has no more than ten to fifteen years of prime vocal strength and then its a slow steady decline as their range and power diminish. The decline can be devastating to the singer and painfully sad for fans of a band. Ask Steve Perry of Journey or Lou Gramm of Foreigner.

Not so with Pat Benatar.

At age 69 Pat Benatar has been singing her heart out for over 40 years. This performance last month in Albany, NY shows that Pat can still hit her notes.

Husband Neil Geraldo is one of the most underrated guitarists in rock. His fluid style of playing does not get noticed by the casual rock fan. He is an amazing talent.

In this clip Pat tells the audience that the musical couple are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

No hair dye.

No auto-tune Continue reading

When We Used To Manufacture Things In The United States

U.S. Manufacturing And Industry In Cities In The 1930s

When The U.S.A. Did Not Rely Upon Imports

See What 16 Cities Of The United States Used To Produce

Worker at furniture factory, Arthurdale, West Virginia 1937 photo: Ben Shahn via Library of Congress

As the Covid-19 debacle made clear to Americans we are now dependent upon foreign countries for many of the things necessary to conduct our daily lives.”Supply-chain” issues have been one of the main reasons given to explain the shortages of thousands of products. Continue reading

A Good Cemetery Epitaph Versus A Great Epitaph

Epitaph One Upmanship – The Final Words Of A Married Couple

Since 1822 five generations of William Simpson’s ran one of New York’s oldest and most respected pawn shops. The final namesake to run Simpsons Pawnbrokers at 91 Park Row, William Rooe Simpson sold out to his partners in 1937, ending the continuous line of William Simpson’s to own and operate the hockshop. William Rooe Simpson died in 1957 and his son William David Simpson never went into the family pawn business. He became a doctor settling in Shelby, North Carolina.

When William David Simpson died at the age of 64 in 1988 he had this witty epitaph placed on his marker at Sunset cemetery in Shelby.

His wife Barbara “Bobbi” Taylor Simpson however Continue reading

The 60th Anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s Death- And 6 Rare Photos Of Marilyn During Her Life

60 Years Ago Today Marilyn Monroe Died

With few exceptions there not many people that are as popular decades after their death as Marilyn Monroe.

The public which normally cannot remember yesterday’s headlines has not forgotten Marilyn. Over 200 books about Marilyn will attest to that. Her films are still enticing to old film buffs and new generations of movie fans. And her face is everywhere. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #131 – John Wayne & Wife Pilar Pallete

John Wayne & Pilar Pallete Attend A Fundraiser – 1961

While recently visiting my 14-year-old nephew who lives in Orange County, CA, I asked him when he travels what airport does he fly out of?

He replied,” John Wayne Airport.”

It then occurred to me, “do you know who John Wayne is?” I queried him.

The answer should not have surprised me. The answer of course was no. “A politician,” he guessed.

I mean fame is fleeting but for goodness sake, John Wayne? Continue reading

An Incredibly Frightening And Ugly Painting

The Picture Of Dorian Clown

There are many children who are afraid of clowns. Not me. I just don’t like clowns. My bodyguard Klaatu, has even had to punch out a few when they have come too close to me.

But there are few adults that suffer a severe fear of clowns. The name for this rare condition is Coulrophobia, the excessive fear of clowns.

Paintings of clowns may not bring about fear so much as repulsion. How anyone could appreciate unfunny comedian Red Skelton or his art, often involving self portraits of him dressed as a clown has always been a mystery to me.

What is worse than a painting of one clown?

A bad painting of four clowns.

While recently in Maine, I stumbled across this monstrosity. If you wish to possibly induce a case of Coulrophobia in someone here is a prime candidate.

Bad Painting of Four Clowns

The artist’s name Continue reading

It’s Not “Plan 9 From Outer Space” But This May Be The Worst Movie Ever Made

Orgy Of The Dead Features Incredibly Bad Acting, & Writing

An Ed Wood Masterpiece From The Writer & Director Of “Plan 9 From Outer Space”

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1957) is acknowledged by classic movie buffs as among the worst films ever made. Edward D. Wood Jr. the director-writer of Plan 9 has a body of work to make a moviegoer either cringe or provoke hysterical laughter. Continue reading