Categories
Amusements and Thrills

Don the Talking Dog, German vaudeville sensation, saves a drowning man in Brighton Beach

There once was a talking dog named Don. One hundred years ago today, he saved a man from drowning in Brighton Beach.  Don shouted or barked the word ‘Help!’ then ran to the waters to save him. But perhaps I should explain. In December 1910, the New York Times ran a startling announcement that a dog […]

Categories
Neighborhoods Preservation

The neon bible: A chat with ‘New York Neon’ author Thomas E. Rinaldi about the city’s most stylish signs

Bond Clothing Store sign was a mainstay of Times Square in the 1940s and 50s. For more on Bond’s unusual transition after that, read my article from 2007 on Bond International Casino. Picture courtesy Life Magazine, Lisa Larsen photographerNew York Neon is the Bowery Boys Book of the Month for July, a superb review of the […]

Categories
Pop Culture

The Broadway Melody: New York’s first Oscar victory and an ironic success for the Astor Theatre in Times Square

The second film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture was hardly a movie at all. ‘The Broadway Melody’, a frothy Hollywood revue about the mounting of an frothy Broadway revue, was a total celebration of every strength and weakness of the early Broadway stage, and a hopeful sign that the New York […]

New trailer for The Great Gatsby: What’s behind the collar?

When the original trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ came out in May, I respectfully nitpicked its depiction of 1920s Times Square. That same article applies to the new trailer Read it here: Times Squared: Lovingly nitpicking ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer The Arrow collar sign makes a more prominent appearance […]

New trailer for The Great Gatsby: What’s behind the collar?

When the original trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ came out in May, I respectfully nitpicked its depiction of 1920s Times Square. That same article applies to the new trailer Read it here: Times Squared: Lovingly nitpicking ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer The Arrow collar sign makes a more prominent appearance […]

Goblin faces, nutted moguls, loftypops, Gotham chocolates: Vintage Halloween Loft Candy ads from the 1920s

Halloween celebrations may pretty much be cancelled tonight, but you can still enjoy the candy, right?  The Loft Candy Company operated several locations throughout Manhattan in the 1910s-30s, many of them proper restaurants, including one at 251–255 West 42nd Street — where Chevy’s and Regal Cinema are today. Their candy factory was over in Long Island […]

History In The Making (8/10) The Other Kiss Edition

You’ve seen the V-J Day celebration photos of Times Square from August 14, 1945, the streets filled with relief, joy and revelry. And kissing, lots and lots of kissing, possibly the greatest kiss ever photographed. But photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt was hopping all over midtown that day, documenting kisses. In fact, Eisenstaedt himself got into the act […]

Times Squared: Lovingly nitpicking ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer

The recent trailer to Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, aka ‘Moulin Rouge in Manhattan’, seems to have left everyone in a state of awe (and horror) in its vivid, hyper-electro-glossy depiction of Prohibition-era New York. And it left many feeling slight panic, even apoplexy, especially considering the entire spectacle will be rendered in 3D when […]

Categories
Planes Trains and Automobiles

Motor hotels: Manhattan’s most luxurious parking garage “Your car never touched by human hands!”

If you don’t already check in to the marvelous Modern Mechanix blog from time to time, then you’re missing out on some retro-futuristic genius. The blog usually highlights visionary drawings from the Modern Mechanics archives. But in the case of one illustration from May 1929, one particular wacky, wondrous dream was actually carried out — […]

Categories
Skyscrapers

The Big Wind of 1912: New York skyscrapers in peril, as monster gales hurl “men and women down city streets”

Trauma in Times Square: An electrical sign destroyed by the massive windstorm of February 22, 1912. One Times Square sits to the left, and the Hotel Astor is in the distance. [LOC] Shorpy has an another angle of this damaged storefront. “The great gale that blew in with Washington’s birthday will not soon be forgotten. It […]

Dinner at Sardi’s: New York celebrity history, wall to wall

PODCAST The famous faces on the walls of Sardi’s Restaurant represent the entertainment elite of the 20th Century, and all of them made this place on West 44th Street their unofficial home. Known for its kooky caricatures and its Broadway opening-night traditions, Sardi’s fed the stars of the golden age and became a hotspot for producers, […]

Was Lauren Bacall the world’s most glamorous newsie?

The answer to the question in the headline is absolutely, without a doubt, yes. This story begins with a Minnesotan named Leo Shull, who moved to New York in the 1930s to become a playwright. He never wrote anything of note for the stage, but he wrote plenty about the stage, various guides to playwriting, […]

Stories from Midtown: The journey of an old church, surviving Civil War riots to become a garage

Drive-in salvation: the former All Souls church welcomed automobiles into the fold in 1908. (Courtesy Shorpy) Another story of a long-gone, forgotten building and one that would have celebrated its dedication 150 years ago this week. This time the story has a strangely sacreligious twist! It’s safe to say that most Americans were extremely anxious […]

You’ve come a long way, baby! But now it’s over. Extinguishing 102 years of women’s public smoking rights

Write that man a ticket! This rebel might have had a different cause had he been at yesterday’s New York city council meeting. The big news in the city yesterday was the massive smoking ban passed by the City Council that prohibits smoking in public places like Times Square and Central Park, a total of […]

Times Square: History in stages, chronicled in lights

The canyon, as seen from the Empire State Building. (Photography by the Wurts Brothers, courtesy NYPL) PODCAST: Times Square is the centerpiece of New York for most visitors and a place that sharply divides city residents. Nothing about it sits still. Even its oldest buildings are severely transformed and slathered with electronic imagery. In 1900, […]