Category Archives: New York

Old New York In Photos #128 – Madison Avenue & 26th Street 1870s

Two Photographs At 26th Street & Madison Avenue c. 1870 & 1875

This first stereoview photograph was taken by the pioneering New York photography firm E. & H.T. Anthony around 1870.

We are looking west from the southwest corner of 26th Street and Madison Avenue. 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

Old New York In Photos #127 – Bridge Of Sighs To The Tombs Prison

Bridge Of Sighs Connects The Tombs and Criminal Courthouse- c. 1905

Bridge of sighs over Tombs Prison photo Detroit PublishingWe are looking west from Centre Street to Franklin Street. Spanning Franklin Street is the Bridge of Sighs connecting the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building to the City Prison also known as The Tombs.

The name Bridge of Sighs comes from a bridge built in 1600 in Venice, Italy connecting the Doge’s Palace and the New Prison. The dubious story is that prisoners being transported from interrogation at the Doge’s Palace to prison would sigh when crossing the bridge upon seeing beautiful Venice.

The origin of the name “The Tombs” is tainted in apocrypha. Old prison guards at the original tombs building claimed that when the building first opened so many inmates committed suicide while in confinement that the prison was nicknamed The Tombs.

Original Tombs prison in 1895, Criminal Courts Building in background

By The Book

The truth is much simpler. 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

New York City Tourist Attraction Ticket Booklet 1934

Hotel Victoria’s 1934 Three Day All Expense Tour Booklet Of New York City

Accommodations, Fancy Dining, Night Clubs, Museums, A Bus Tour, Ellis Island, Top Of The Rock & More – All For $11

In the midst of the Great Depression visitors still came to New York to see the sites. If you were staying at the Hotel Victoria  (7th Avenue and 51st Street) you could purchase this booklet with prepaid tickets for accommodations, entertainment and various attractions around the city.

When I acquired this booklet the most valuable tickets had been used by the previous owner. Though there is no date on the booklet. The directors of each attraction are listed, and based on that information I was able narrow the date of the booklet to 1934.

So for $11 this is what you got. Continue reading

New York City School Lunch Menu – 1914

New York City’s Morris High School In The Bronx Lunch Menu 1914

A Wide Variety Of Choices…As Long As You Like Bread and Butter Sandwiches

One  hundred years ago the Bronx’s first and most prestigious public high school was Morris High School.

Among the pages of the 1914 Morris Annual yearbook are advertisements. Morris was such a great school that William Molbeck, a Bronx caterer supplied food to the students and advertised that fact. For the era, the food was moderately priced. Beverages were three cents and food ranged from a nickel to a dime.

There was only one catch – you better like bread and butter.

Every item on the menu except two has bread and butter sandwiches as its anchor. 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 #126 – Times Square 1906

Times Square 1906  – The New Hotel Astor, Olympia Theatre & Surroundings

Times Square New Astor HotelThis stereoview image of Times Square was taken by the H.C. White Company in 1906. Before The New York Times moved their headquarters here it was called Long Acre Square.

The view is titled, “New Astor Hotel and 20 story Times Building.” We are looking south from 46th Street towards the New York Times Tower. The flatiron-style building opened in 1905. The building was mutilated in 1965 when purchased by Allied Chemical. Today it is unrecognizable after it was altered again in the twenty first century to become a giant garish billboard.

Hotel Astor

On the right is the 500 room Hotel Astor comprising 14 city lots from 44th to 45th Street where Broadway and Seventh Avenue intersect. The 10-story Hotel Astor cost owner William Waldorf Astor over $7 million to build and furnish. The land was purchased decades earlier as farmland  by his great-grandfather John Jacob Astor for $100 an acre. The Grand Ballroom was a baroque masterpiece.

Hotel Astor Grand Ballroom interior 1904

After some labor related delays Continue reading

May Day In New York – 1936

Socialists & Communists Combine Their May Day Parade – 1936

Not Your Typical Deluded Socialist / Communist Gathering

One of Marchers In New York’s May Day Parade
New York – This marcher in the combined Socialist-Communist May Day Parade in New York today, May 1st, adopted this costume to demonstrate his point. 5-1-1936 credit: International News Photo

The original 1936 news caption writer left out one detail about this marcher: Nazi.

Theoretically, communists and socialists are not the allies of fascists. But in the mid-1930s Continue reading

If The Strand Bookstore is Not Doomed, Then What’s Going On?

The Legendary Strand Bookstore Sure Looks Like It Will Soon Be Out Of Business

The Writing Is Not On The Wall, But On The Shelves

Outside Strand Bookstore April 2021

Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 was playing over the sound system at the Strand Bookstore on Broadway and 12th Street this week. It’s a classical composition heightened with drama and a dirge-like quality. And unfortunately it suits the current state of Strand.

The atmosphere of Strand now resembles a morgue. It’s a shell of what it has been to generations of New Yorkers.

A Store In Trouble

While the pandemic has put thousands of retail shops down for the count permanently, the 94-year-old Strand has tenaciously hung in there. Labor disputes at the store have been featured in the news and an appeal to buyers to support the Strand made International news headlines in the autumn.

But from what I’ve seen, it appears that saving the Strand will be difficult. Continue reading