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

Baby Ruth – She Wasn’t Fat Enough

At Over 800 Pounds Baby Ruth Pontico Wanted To Be The First Woman To Weigh Half A Ton

She Didn’t Make It

Baby Ruth Pontico Ringling Bros Circus Fat Lady 1941 photo AP

A Big Baby

Weighing 16 pounds at birth does not necessarily mean you will become the Fat Lady of the circus. But during a time in history when people enjoyed staring at human oddities, its better to be paid for having people gawk at you.

Ruth Smith was born on February 8, 1902 in Kempton, Indiana. At age one her weight was fifty pounds. By age ten she was 300 pounds. 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

Classic Hollywood #111 – Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson 1934

This promotional photograph of Gloria Swanson was taken by Fox photographer Otto Dyar. The descriptive text on the rear of the photo is somewhat vapid, describing Gloria’s outfit. Swanson only made one film for Fox in the 1930s, Music In The Air (1934) with co-star John Boles.

Here is the text from the photo:

Short and sophisticated is this two-tone cocktail costume worn by Gloria Swanson and designed and created by Rene Hubert, international stylist, head of Fox film wardrobe. The form fitting skirt is of black velvet. The blouse and muff are of black tafetta with white chenille and gold thread stripes. The hat, also designed by M. Hubert, is an adaptation from the Cambodian wand was created in black velvet and features a rhinestone ornament. Note the zipper in the muff- – when opened it reveals a purse and vanity. credit: Fox Film –  Otto Dyar

After appearing in Music In The Air, 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

Question – What Did $675 Buy You At Yankee Stadium In 1984?

Answer – A Field Box Seat Ticket To All 81 Yankee Home Games

In 2021, Two Field Level Tickets For Just One Game Costs More

Digging around my closet I came up with this memento. It’s the 1984 Yankees home schedule.

It should come as no surprise that the ticket prices 37 years ago were very fair especially compared to today.

Yankee ticket prices 1984At $675 per seat you could buy a field, main, mezzanine or upper box seat for the entire season.

Crazy Modern Prices

Checking the Yankee schedule of 2021, a single field level ticket to an upcoming Yankees – White Sox game costs $388.35 including Ticketmaster fees. Continue reading

1980s Rock Videos Not Featuring The Band, But A Hot Girl

Good Song! But Who Is That Girl?

Five 1980s Rock Videos Where The Band Is Not The Star

Whitesnake definitely owes a large portion of their late 1980s popularity to Tawny Kitaen, the actress model who suddenly passed away on May 7, 2021 at the age of 59.  Tawny Kitaen was the real star in the videos for Here I Go Again; Still of The Night and  Is This Love. Kitaen later married lead singer David Coverdale. The constant playing of these videos on MTV no doubt greatly contributed to helping the band eventually sell 15 million copies (8 million plus in the United States) of the 1987 eponymously titled Whitesnake album. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the previous seven Whitesnake albums sold a total of less than two million units combined before Tawny Kitaen’s addition to Whitesnake’s arsenal of sales tactics.

Not that Tawny Kitaen started a trend, but bands have always known that a good song can be made into a VERY popular song by featuring sexy women in their videos.

Here are five cases where the band is not the primary focus of the video, but a very attractive woman is.

Ric Ocasek -Something To Grab For (1982)

Ric Ocasek of The Cars released seven solo albums over his career which had modest sales. His first solo LP 1982’s Beatitude was the most successful, hitting number 28 on the Billboard charts. Starring in Something To Grab For is future 1983 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Marianne Gravatte (b. 1959). Gravatte, a stunningly beautiful woman, was also featured in Ratt’s Lay It Down.

April Wine – Rock Myself To Sleep (1985)

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