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 →
The View From The Roof Of The Flatiron Building c. 1910
New York photographers around the turn-of-the-century were always looking for unique vantage points to shoot from.
Here the Keystone Co. photographer went up to the roof of the Flatiron Building and took this shot around 1910. The gentleman in the foreground could be the photographer’s assistant. As the intrepid hatless man dangles his legs over the edge of the roof, we see the northeast cityscape.
A Good View Of The Buildings Along Lower Madison Avenue
In the foreground the trees of Madison Square Park can be seen. To the extreme right on Madison Avenue is the Metropolitan Life Building, the tallest building in the world from 1909-1913.
Next in our photo the building with the dome is the new Madison Square Presbyterian Church.
Metropolitan Life acquired the original Madison Square Presbyterian Church on the southeast corner of 24th Street in 1903 intending to build their new skyscraper Continue reading →
We continue our look at New York of 150 years ago from Reverend J.F. Richmond’s New York and Its Institutions 1609-1871 (E.B. Treat; 1871).
The names may be familiar, but possibly not the building or site.
While Central Park has remained a constant presence in New York City for over 160 years, it has constantly changed.
There were always developers looking to infringe upon the park with buildings and schemes. A fair portion of Central Park has managed to keep its original spirit, but many of its early additions have changed or no longer exist.
The Children’s Playground in Central Park. There was no “Great Lawn” when Central Park was built. The Great Lawn opened in 1937, the result of filling in one of the two receiving reservoirs located within the park. The Central Park Playground seen above is an open field where children can play within its great expanse. This section was located in the southern end of the park, now site of the Heckscher playground and ballfields. Continue reading →
The Fabulous New York City Paintings Of Paul Cornoyer
The Flatiron Building as seen from behind the General Worth monument – Paul Cornoyer
We’ve covered Paul Cornoyer (1864-1923) previously and want to showcase some more of his splendid work. He is not a name well known outside of the fine art world, but his New York City paintings are extraordinary and deserve wider appreciation.
Washington Square and the arch after snow – Paul Cornoyer
Paul Cornoyer was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri where he studied at the School of Fine Art in 1881 working in a Barbizon style of painting. In 1889, Cornoyer went to Paris for further training, and returned to St. Louis in 1894. He came to New York City in 1899 where he established a studio. He remained in New York until 1917 painting various scenes about Manhattan.
Central Park The Boat Pond – Paul Cornoyer
Paul Cornoyer’s impressionistic and tonal paintings of New York City at the turn-of-the-century have a genuine charm to them. Cornoyer’s paintings capture a feeling which is difficult to describe. Cornoyer’s work is very different from any of the other Impressionist or Ashcan artists painting New York City at the same time, such as Childe Hassam or John Sloan. Cornoyer’s work is a little bit softer as are his subjects. There is melancholy present in many of his paintings. But Cornoyer also conveys the palpable exuberance of a new century. A city growing, expansively and vertically yet still clinging to its 19th century humanity.
Two Views of New York’s Historic Madison Square Taken From the Flatiron Building 1903 & 1958
The New York Daily News used to do a feature, where they showed an old photograph of New York and had a modern photograph of the same scene.
From the newly completed Flatiron Building, here is Madison Square from about 1903.
Madison Square Garden and its tower are in the center of the photo. Brownstones and mostly low-rise buildings surround the Madison Square neighborhood. There are so few tall buildings that you can see the East River off in the distance. The building with the columns at the bottom of the photo is the Appellate Division courthouse. A small corner of Madison Square Park can be seen in the lower left,
Fast forward about 55 years and the changes are dramatic.
Daily News photographer David McLane had access from a similar vantage point in the Flatiron Building to take this photograph circa 1958. Continue reading →
December 17, 1900 The Great Sarah Bernhardt Was Appearing At The Madison Square Garden Theatre
Madison Square Garden was the center of entertainment for wealthy New Yorkers in the late 19th and early 20th century. Occupying the entire block between Park and Madison Avenues from 26th to 27th Streets, the Garden Theatre was the work of architects McKim, Mead and White.
Program for week of December 17, 1900 at Madiison Square Garden
The Garden Theatre featured the most famous stars of the day and 100 years ago today, you could have seen the fabulous French star Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) during her “farewell” week. Bernahardt made over nine “farewell” tours of America between 1906 – 1918. In 1900 Bernhardt was just doing farewell weeks.
Bernhardt was appearing in a prose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The crazy part was Ms. Bernhardt was playing….Hamlet! This was considered very controversial in 1900.
The other ads on the page show what major acts were appearing at theatres around the city.
The famous Maude Adams (1872-1953), was concluding her run at the Knickerbocker Theatre in L’Ainglon. There were only 12 more performances scheduled.
The Garden Theatre was managed by Charles Frohman, the most influential and important theatre impresario of the day. Frohman also managed the Criterion, Empire and Garrick Theatre. In addition to managing theatres, Frohman was the personal manager of Maude Adams.
If you have ever seen the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, you may know that writer Richard Matheson based a good deal of Seymour’s character (Elise McKenna) on Ms. Adams. Continue reading →
Looking Straight Down On Madison Square During The Construction Of The Metropolitan Life Tower -1909
The Metropolitan Life Building added a tower to its existing building in 1908-1909 enhancing the skyline of New York. An enterprising photographer from the Keystone View Company made his way to the top of the building to take this incredible stereoview photograph of Madison Square Park and the surrounding area.
Click to enlarge the photograph to bring out some great details.
Dividing the photo into four quadrants starting with the lower right, you can see two workers adjusting rope, one sitting, the other standing on steel beams 700 feet above the street.
In the upper right corner just past the beams we can see horse drawn vehicles along Madison Avenue and across 26th Street. The nearest building in the foreground is the roof of the Beaux-Arts style Appellate Division Courthouse on Madison Avenue and 25th Street. The courthouse is a New York City landmark.
On the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and 26th Street stands Madison Square Garden with its theater sign clearly visible. Directly across 26th Street on the northwest corner is a four story limestone building, home to The Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Next to the SPCA building along 26th Street facing the park, are eight brownstones, with all their stoops intact. Continue reading →