Tag Archives: 1910s

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

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

Old New York In Photos #125 – Singer Building At Night

A Sight You’ll Never See – The Singer Building At Night – 1913

Here is the Singer Building Tower in 1913 with its office lights ablaze in a photograph taken by Underwood and Underwood. The adjacent smaller towers to the right belong to the City-Investing Building.

For less than a year between 1908 -1909, the Singer Building, designed by Ernest Flagg, was the tallest in the world. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Building completed in 1909 took the tallest title away.

This magnificent New York City skyscraper vanished less than 60 years after its completion. Continue reading

The Woolworth Estate Is For Sale For Only A Few Million Dollars

Two Woolworth Properties Are For Sale

Neither Of These Residences Are Five & Dimes

But Why Buy The Woolworth Building Penthouse When You Can Buy The Entire Estate At A Fraction Of the Price?

The “Cathedral of Commerce,” still stands out on lower Broadway as an extraordinary building.

Frank Winfield Woolworth engaged architect Cass Gilbert to build him a grand office tower in 1910. Woolworth paid 13.5 million, all cash, for the land and construction of the building.

When completed in 1913 the 792 foot tower was the tallest building in the world and remained so until 1930. The top of the Woolworth Building had an observation deck where people could plunk down fifty cents to get a seventy mile panoramic view.

In 2015 the upper half of the fabulous Woolworth Building was converted to ritzy apartments. The apex of Frank Woolworth’s monument to nickels and dimes, the observation deck and its four adjoining floors is now a penthouse trophy apartment. Years after the Woolworth Building’s conversion the five story penthouse is still for sale with no takers,. The asking price has been reduced from $110 million to (a more reasonable?) $79 million.

For those looking for a relative bargain, there is the 16 acre former Woolworth estate “Winfield Hall” in Glen Cove, Long Island. Continue reading

The 1910 Vanishing Of Dorothy Arnold – Part 2

After Dorothy Arnold Vanished In New York City

The Mysteries of The Paramour, The Manuscripts & Her Family’s Strange Behavior

The Theories On Her Disappearance

Today we conclude the story of one of New York City’s greatest unsolved missing person cases. At the end of part one of the story, on December 12, 1910, Dorothy Arnold said goodbye to Gladys King, an acquaintance she had bumped into on Fifth Avenue. Gladys was the last person to see Dorothy Arnold alive.

From They Never Came Back by Allen Churchill (Crime Club, 1960) is part two of The Girl Who Never Came Back.

Dorothy Arnold St Louis Post Dispatch Jan 29 1911Return now to the Arnold home. Never had the well-brought-up Dorothy skipped a meal without warning the family ahead of time. Now when she failed to return for dinner an increasingly worried group ate without her, then began making discreet phone calls to Dorothy’s close friends asking if the girl had dropped in on them. Told she had not, the Arnolds begged that no mention ever be made of the phone call. Later they asked the same girls not to discuss the case with reporters, and it is indicative of the vast difference between society girls then and now that none of the girls ever did. Continue reading

The Vanishing Of Dorothy Arnold. One Of New York’s All-Time Great Mysteries – Part 1

110 Years Ago Today, Wealthy Dorothy Arnold Went For A Walk In Midtown New York & Vanished Forever

Murder? Suicide? Kidnapping? Or Run Away & Start A New Life?

The Strange Disappearance of A Young Woman Who Seemingly Had Everything….Including A Secret Life

Part One

In the annals of missing person cases few are as baffling as Dorothy Arnold.

Time has erased the Dorothy Arnold case from the public’s memory. But for decades, Dorothy Arnold’s disappearance ranked among the most speculated of mysteries in New York’s history.

Dorothy Arnold disappeared on December 12, 1910 after leaving her house to go for a walk and do some shopping in midtown Manhattan. To make finding her whereabouts more complicated a report that she was missing was not filed with police until weeks after her disappearance. Continue reading

Old New York In Postcards #23 – The Bronx

The Bronx In Postcards 1905-1920

McKinley Square looking East – Bronx, NY

A short visit to the vanished Bronx of of a century ago.

It truly was the “Beautiful Bronx.”

Woodmansten Inn-Williamsbridge Road & Pelham-Parkway, Bronx, NY

A place to dine in style was the Woodmansten Inn. The Woodmansten Inn specialized in French cuisine and could seat 125 patrons. It was a busy place conveniently located across from the Morris Park Race Track (yes, the Bronx once had a horse racing track). Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #120 – Queensboro Bridge 1917

Upper Level Of The Queensboro Bridge – 1917

This view was taken by an official city photographer June 26, 1917 documenting New York’s infrastructure. The Queensboro was the first cantilever bridge over the East River. The photo is unusual because Continue reading

The Post Office Considered This Magazine Cover Too Racy

Magazine Censored By The Post Office – 1914

What was considered obscene 100 years ago? The publishers of a monthly magazine, The International, devoted to fiction, music, drama and politics, were told the January 1914 issue could not be mailed.

Why? The magazine’s cover.

Here is the cover in question. Continue reading