Category Archives: New York

Never Before Seen Photos Of 9/11 & The World Trade Center Devastation

Never Before Seen Photographs Around The World Trade Center After The 9/11 Attacks

It was one week after the September 11 attacks. America and New York City was still in a state of disbelief. There was fear and grief. There was apprehension, And there were heroes. People who ventured into ground zero endangering their own lives for search and rescue. Continue reading

New York City’s Famous Drake’s Restaurant 1900-1937

Drake’s Restaurant Was Open 24 Hours A Day For 37 Years Until Labor Troubles Set In

In our previous story we briefly told the story of Jack’s a famous New York restaurant that never closed. There was another “never closed” restaurant which was a New York institution for 37 years.

Drake’s was located at 111 West 42nd Street near Broadway. The restaurant was founded in 1900 as Rigg’s as part of the Rigg’s chain. Continue reading

Old New York In Postcards #24 – Pre-Prohibition Manhattan Restaurants 1900 -1920

Manhattan Meals – Some Pre-Prohibition Turn-Of-The-Century Restaurants

Maxim’s Restaurant 108-110 West 38th Street. Maxim’s was the first restaurant raided a few hours before prohibition went into effect January 15, 1920

With few exceptions owning a restaurant is among the most precarious businesses to enter. Long hours, high upfront costs for rent, food and labor and changing public tastes almost insure that few restaurants can make a long and successful run.

100 years ago many of New York’s older restaurants shut down because of an unexpected decline in business- the victims of prohibition.

Once cafes and restaurants lost the right to sell beer, wine and liquor many closed soon after the Volstead Act went into effect in 1920. Some restaurants known for fine cuisine were able to ride out 13 years with no alcohol sales. Other restaurants would turn to selling spirits illegally. Others like cafeteria and luncheon type restaurants survived, having always been patronized for their food.

All of the following restaurants shown below closed long ago.

Restaurant and Cafe Leo

Cafe Leo 14th Street New York CIty Restaurant and Cafe Leo stood on the southwest corner of 14th Street and Fourth Avenue. Note the Star of David over the entrances, not always the sign of a Jewish establishment, but a decorative element. In this case however, proprietor Leo Greenbaum was letting potential diners know this was a Jewish owned business. By 1923 Cafe Leo vanished from the city directory. Continue reading

1858 NYC Real Estate Sales Literature – For Sale 5th Avenue & 42nd Street

Selling 5th Avenue & 42nd Street In 1858 For “Moderate Terms”

From Its Windows One Could See The Hudson and East Rivers, Staten Island, Long Island, The Palisades and Westchester!

Fifth Avenue dwellings for sale 1858

This Gothic style structure stood on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The view is from an 1858 real estate advertising broadside print. On the southwest corner you can see a portion of the retaining wall of the massive Croton Distributing Reservoir which supplied New York’s drinking water. The main branch of the New York Public Library now occupies the site of the reservoir.

5th Ave and 42nd St. 1855 before construction of The House of Mansions. Croton Distributing Reservoir is on the right.

Though the structure appears to be one large building, it is actually 11 separate buildings. It was nicknamed The House of Mansions.

The buildings were designed by famed architect Alexander Jackson Davis and built by merchant George Higgins in 1856 as a speculative real estate investment. The buildings boasted  amazing views of distant vistas including Long Island, the Palisades and Westchester. Continue reading

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