Friday, September 25, 2009

The Fly Market

This would be where Maiden Lane met the East River. About the fly market, from new amsterdam public
In 1699, the so-called Fly Market (a corruption of the Dutch vly or valley) opened at the foot of Maiden Lane. Decade by decade, as the town grew north, its markets moved along the river towards Peck Slip again, where it had all begun.

Lower Manhattan Ward Map; Knickerbocker Village 1703

From The Historical Atlas of New York City by Eric Homberger.
Knickerbocker would be just beyond the lower right of this map. Crown Street would later be Liberty. This brooklyn genealogy site is a great reference for old street names

Knickerbocker Village 1695

This map is oriented with the south being on the right. The East River is on the top and Knickerbocker would be eventually further left of the top left of this map.

Knickerbocker Village 1664

From The Historical Atlas of New York City by Eric Homberger.
Knickerbocker would be just beyond the upper right of this map

Knickerbocker Village 1777

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lower East Side Remembered

From last night's celebration at the Angel Orensanz Center of the book launch of the second edition of Joyce Mendelsohn's, The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited: A History and Guide to a Legendary New York Neighborhood (Updated and Revised). From the Columbia University Press
The Lower East Side has been home to some of the city's most iconic restaurants, shopping venues, and architecture. The neighborhood has also welcomed generations of immigrants, from newly arrived Italians and Jews to today's Latino and Asian newcomers. This history has become somewhat obscured, however, as the Lower East Side can appear more hip than historic, with wealth and gentrification changing the character of the neighborhood. 

Chronicling these developments, along with the hidden gems that still speak of a vibrant immigrant identity, Joyce Mendelsohn provides a complete guide to the Lower East Side of then and now. After an extensive history that stretches back to Manhattan's first settlers, Mendelsohn offers 5 self-guided walking tours, including a new passage through the Bowery, that take the reader to more than 150 sites and highlight the dynamics of a community of contrasts: aged tenements nestled among luxury apartment towers abut historic churches and synagogues. With updated and revised maps, historical data, and an entirely new community to explore, Mendelsohn writes a brand-new chapter in an old New York story.

Speakers viewed in slide show above:
Joel Kaplan, President, Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy; Al Orensanz director of the Angel Orensanz Foundation; Holy Kaye and members of the Golombek family receiving a plaque commemorating Gene Golombek; Laurie Tobias Cohen, Executive Director of the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy; and Joyce Mendelsohn

LES African Free School Sites 1827

1785–1835_ ny_African Free School

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

African Burial Ground Tour: September 22, 2009

And added plus of the tour is that I met Judy Hinson who grew up in the Smith projects and went to PS 177. Ranger Cyrus rocks!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Tappan Brothers And 122 Pearl Street

Tappan Brothers They were 19th Century New York Abolitionists. In 1834 their Silk Importing business was located at 122 Pearl Street

Pearl Street 1930-Part 2

This is listed on the digital nypl site as 122 Pearl Street, but it must be another back or side entrance/exit on Hanover Street. See the previous post.

Pearl Street 1930

An automat once stood here

Monday, September 21, 2009

Better Late Than Never 2: Punchball 2008

Video from the Zanes

When Harlem Was Jewish

Above a portion of the 1930 census of 516 W. 134th Street. It shows the "famous" Solerwitz family that would later move to Knickerbocker Village. The family had several furniture stores near KV. The Solerwitzs lived in the same building with people of Greek, Irish, and German ancestry. Below on the left is the bakery on 283 W. 118th Street where transplanted Harlem KVer Son of Seth gets his rugelach. The picture comes from a recent nytimes feature on Harlem. The original Seth also lived in Harlem before moving to Knickerbocker Village. Union Settlement in the right portion of the photo was in East Harlem. It is now located on 104th Street
About When Harlem was Jewish from Harlem Be Spoke
A little known history of Harlem is that it was one of the the Jewish capitals of the world by 1920. Greater Harlem was 90 percent white at the time, and a one third of this population consisted of Jews who started moving into the area in the late 1880's after the construction of the trains going uptown. The Harlem Jewish population was the third largest in the world, with Krakow in Poland in the lead and downtown New York's lower east side in second place. The estimate census was around 178,000 total Jews in greater Harlem, which is slightly more than the number of African Americans living in Harlem today.
Harlem was divided into sections in the turn of the century, and this held especially true for the Jewish population. The lower photo of East Harlem exemplifies the class difference in Jewish society. Working class Jews lived meagerly east of 5th avenue while more wealthy Jews inhabited the new brownstones and French flats of West Harlem. In the 20's a small portion of African Americans began to move into Central Harlem but were also a separate community. By 1930, the white flight of the cities began and only 5,000 Jews remained. Today, Jewish communities can be found further north of Harlem in Hudson Heights and also south, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Dutch New York: School Projects 2

From a 2005 post from pseudo-intellectualism
Here's a great New Amsterdam project done in HyperStudio and then converted to Quicktime and combined with a colonial midi file. It's done by Noelle's class at the Children's Workshop School from 2001-2 and it's great. Noelle O'Reilly is a gem and it's worth the price of admission to hear her Bono impersonation.

Dutch New York: School Projects 1

From a 2005 post from pseudo-intellectualism
This wonderful book is out of print. Here's my narrated version from the early slide show era. It's 6MB, a longer than usual download.

Uncovering A Small Town On Governor's Island

Governor's Island
I missed many of the events associated with the NY 400 anniversary, but I hope to check out this rediscovered history of Governor's Island
Several ny times stories about the 400th anniversary
A new exhibits at the South Street Seaport Museum and the Museum of the City of New York posted on September 10th

Events at Bowling Green from September 14th

An arts event at Governor's Island

The Milkmaid at the Metropolitan Museum
About the images from the pdf document above
an excerpt from the associated story
Uncovering a Small Town (and Some Tall Tales)
Touring an archaeological dig site, you generally expect a glimpse of antiquities a little more antediluvian than a television antenna, a seven-inch single, a tailfin and a rotary-dial telephone. But an odd excavation site that recently opened to the public on Governors Island purports to offer just that: artifacts not of the Mesoamerican but of the midcentury variety, about 1954.
That is the year, at least according to Geert Hautekiet, the man in charge of exhibiting the site, that the United States Army, which then controlled the island, ordered a small, obscure civilian community there to be evacuated during the approach of a dangerous electrical storm. All of the buildings and houses in the town, Mr. Hautekiet said, were then inexplicably buried under sand by the military, which later appeared to deny that the village had ever existed.
The town, known as Goverthing — which strangely has never appeared on any New York City historical maps or been noted by a single historian — is said to have been stumbled upon during recent demolition work on the island, which New York City and New York State have jointly controlled since 2003, seeking to develop it as a recreational, historic and artistic destination.
It was then, the story goes, that a team of Belgian archaeologists was summoned to uncover pieces of the unlikely — indeed, almost unbelievable — community that, before it was evacuated, numbered only 29 residents, many of Belgian and French descent, whose livelihood centered on a small factory in town that capitalized on a once-thriving international market for snow globes.

Recreating Hudson's North River Journey Of 1609

video associated with an article by COREY KILGANNON in the nytimes
an excerpt
I NEVER thought much about the Hudson River. It was merely that watery western terminus of Manhattan streets; a place where bodies sometimes floated up and jetliners crashed safely; that thing you had to cross to get to New Jersey.
But one recent Saturday, something happened to make me rethink the river: I tasted it.
A rogue ferry wake slapped off the side of my kayak, sending salty splash in my face. There was no gagging nor immediate sign of hepatitis, so I kept paddling, marveling at the swimmers and Jet Skiers frolicking on the clean, choppy water.
The incoming tide rushed me north. That and my briny mouthful reminded me that I was not on some afterthought of a river, but a majestic arm of the Atlantic Ocean, an epic salt-water estuary whose discovery by Henry Hudson in 1609 opened up the entire region — what we now call the metropolitan area — to settlement and commerce.
To mark this year’s 400th anniversary of Hudson’s historic exploration, the fall calendar is filled with a flotilla of festivals and food fairs, exhibitions and expositions, panel discussions and plays, tours, readings and concerts. I probably won’t make it to any of them.
Instead, I decided to retrace his route, starting in a borrowed kayak and then hitching rides along the way, endeavoring a modern-day exploration of the characters who live, work and play along the river where Hudson encountered only wind, fog, rain and the occasional Indian trader bearing tobacco. He sailed 340 miles round trip aboard the 100-foot Half Moon over 24 days in September and October; mine was a serendipitous 60-hour journey — from Times Square to the Federal Dam in Troy — in a taxi, the kayak, a 50-foot yacht named the Jackpot, a fishing boat, a jet boat, a rescue craft, a Half Moon replica and a 19-year-old Lincoln Town Car.

Dutch New York At The Hudson River Museum

Dutch NY Exhibition
from the museum site

The Hudson River Museum: Dutch History Of New York

currently they have a great exhibition on Dutch NY History from hudson river museums
The Hudson River Museum offers a continuous and changing schedule of lectures, seminars, workshops and exhibits. The Museum Cafe offers reasonably priced meals and a spectacular view of the Hudson River and the Palisades, while the Museum Shop and Craft Gallery offer beautiful and unusual objects and designs for all ages and pocketbooks. Trevor Mansion, a 19th century estate built in 1876 sits adjacent to the museum. A prime example of Victorian style, the mansion boasts restored interiors that showcase an important collection of American and European fine and decorative art. Andrus Planetarium, located inside the museum, is the only public planetarium in Westchester County. Come and explore the vast reaches of outer space as you've never seen them before. 511 Warburton Ave. in Yonkers, N.Y. (914) 963-4550. Their web site

dutch era music source

Who' Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Vikki LaMotta

born Beverly Thailer to a Jewish family in The Bronx, New York in 1930, Vikki spent some time in Knickerbocker Village. In her heyday she was considered as beautiful and sexy as Marilyn Monroe and she still looked pretty good in her 50's. Also a very nice person.
an excerpt from a 2006 article about Vikki's autobiography
A Fitting Tribute to Vikki LaMotta, By Aaron Tallent. At first thought, Knockout by the late Vikki LaMotta and Thomas Hauser conjures up images of a nude, motorcycle-bound Anika Rodman on the cover of Worse Than He Says He Is: White Girls Don’t Bounce.
I know, I know. Don’t judge a book by its cover. But athlete spouse’s autobiographies historically have given us little reason not to. In Anika’s case, her book was a direct response to Dennis Rodman’s Bad As I Wanna Be, which also featured its author sitting naked on his own motorcycle. Often, these authors only have a book deal because a publisher wants dirt on the ex, and the narrative is often a ghostwritten hatchet job. Most are also written out of desperation, as the spouse usually has a reputation to defend and bills to pay.
LaMotta, the ex-wife of former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta, did not fall into these categories for several reasons. A stunning beauty, she married Jake when she was 16 years old with a baby on the way and had two more children with him. As his wife, she saw him win the middleweight title and saw him through his subsequent self-destruction. He did not make it easy for her and beat her frequently even after she left him.
Her first date after divorcing Jake in 1957 was with Johnny Carson. Her first boyfriend was mob boss Sam Giancana. She married again in 1962 to a singer named Tony Foster and had one child with him, but the marriage would not last.
In the late 1970s, she worked closely with Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro in the making of Raging Bull. Not only was she trying to help them achieve accuracy, she was simply trying to keep Jake from sullying her name. After the movie was released, she posed for Playboy at the age of 51. The success from that allowed her to launch Vikki LaMotta Cosmetics, which enabled her to remain financially stable until her death in January of 2005.
While the book was released earlier this year, it was finished almost two decades ago. In the book’s introduction, Hauser explains that he and LaMotta worked on her life story in 1986 and 1987, and that she “was painfully honest about some of the horrifying experiences that she endured.” When the finished book received a publishing offer, LaMotta balked, uncomfortable with how the revelations would settle with her family and friends. “Maybe after I’m gone,” she told Hauser.
After LaMotta’s death, her son, Harrison Foster, called Hauser seeking a copy of the manuscript. After reading it and absorbing many untold stories about his mother, he contacted Hauser and asked him to reconsider publishing the book as a tribute to her.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Peter Paul And Mary

My Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra and conservative talk host loving father also loved Pete Paul and Mary. Go figure? This was his favorite.
RIP Mary

Prominent Black Citizens In The 1830's

Many of them lived in the Fourth Ward. Jack Devoo was one of the "eel" dancers at the Catherine Market
Prominent Black 1830 Images from the ny divided exhibit

Thomas Jennings: 35 Chatham Street

map portion comes from a 1834 riot map from the ny divided exhibit
below from wikipedia
Thomas L. Jennings (1791–1856) was a leading abolitionist. He was a free black tradesman who operated a dry-cleaning business in New York City, New York and was the first African American to be granted a patent.
Jennings' skills were so accepted that people near and far-off came to him to alter or custom-tailor objects of clothing for them. When he was thirty years old, in 1821, he was granted a patent for a dry cleaning process called "dry scouring." This enabled him to build up his business.
The first money Jennings earned was spent on the legal fees to purchase his family out of slavery, and then to support the abolitionist cause.
In 1831, Jennings became assistant secretary to the First Annual Convention of the People of Color in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 1857, Oscar Stuart, a slave owner, patented a "double cotton scraper." He did not, in fact, invent the double cotton scraper; historical records show that the only name given for the actual inventor was Ned, his slave. In his defense, Stuart claimed that "the master is the owner of the fruits of the labor of the slave, both manual and intellectual."
In 1793 and 1836, it was legal for both slaves and free Negroes to receive patents for their inventions. In a challenge to the patent, of Stuart vs. Ned, the Patent Office decided in Stuart's favor. They changed the law in 1858 to exclude the granting of patents to slaves, as they were not considered citizens.

Kit Burns' Rat Pit At 273 Water Street

Cherry Hill Kit Burns

An Historical Survey Of The Rose House

273 Water

Captain Joseph Rose's House At 273 Water Street: The Third Oldest House In Manhattan

an excerpt from the nytimes of 10/27/1998
A Scruffy Old Tavern Is Now Luxury Apartments, By DAVID W. DUNLAP
Manhattan's oldest building is a venerable Georgian chapel, its second oldest, a graceful country estate. Its third oldest building was one of the foulest grog shops within staggering distance of the East River wharves.
And that was in the 19th century, before it got a really bad reputation.
Since 1976, the abandoned, four-story, city-owned structure at 273 Water Street, just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, had resisted every effort to rehabilitate it, defying one housing commissioner after another, crumbling all the while into an ever less salvageable eyesore.
But tomorrow, the little building -- looking better than it has since the Washington Administration -- will be officially reopened as a four-unit luxury apartment house. The key to the turnaround was a $1 sale price, a 14-year tax exemption and a private developer, Frank J. Sciame Jr., who was willing to spend $1.1 million on the property.
That is a big investment for a small yield. Four apartments, after all, don't go too far to solve the city's housing shortage.
But the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which sold the structure to Mr. Sciame last year for $1, believes the effort was worthwhile.
''It's well beyond the four units and the million dollars,'' said Hector Batista, the chief of staff and deputy commissioner in the housing agency. ''It's stabilizing the community. I think this building, as small as it is, has that significance.''
''One building can have a tremendous impact from a negative standpoint,'' Mr. Batista said, ''but also from a positive standpoint.''
Five years ago, Mr. Sciame, the principal of Sciame Development Inc., restored 247 Water Street, another wreck of a structure in the South Street Seaport Historic District. So he was game for the challenge of rebuilding 273 Water Street.
''How often do you get the opportunity to restore and attempt to recreate the third oldest building in Manhattan?'' he asked.
Actually, historical purists take issue with that characterization, since 273 Water Street, between Dover Street and Peck Slip, was substantially altered over time and had been reduced in recent decades to a pile of rubble with a brick facade.
It appears, however, that the original house was standing by 1781, making it younger only than St. Paul's Chapel on lower Broadway and the Morris-Jumel Mansion in upper Manhattan.
The first occupant was Capt. Joseph Rose, a mahogany trader who kept his brig moored out the back door. It was Christopher (Kit) Burns who put No. 273 on the map in the 1860's by offering dog and rat fights as entertainment to the patrons of his tavern.

Fulton and South Street 1941

From the Cushman Archive at the University of IndianaNow part of the South Street Seaport area

Pearl Street 1942

From the Cushman Archive at the University of Indiana

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sara Delano Roosevelt Park: View From Manhattan Bridge 1936

On the right on Forsyth Street is JHS 65.
The picture comes from the nyc parks collection

Sara Delano Roosevelt Park: Now And Then

I tried my best to match up the scene from the last post. Soccer and basketball now reign in the park, not softball.

Playing Softball In Sara Delano Roosevelt Park 1935

The view is looking NE towards Forsyth Street. PS 91 is seen in the distance on the corner of Stanton Street. The picture comes from the nyc parks collection

Bocci On Houston Street 1934

The empty lot was created by the demolition of houses due to the construction of the sixth avenue independent line.

The Sixth Ward Is Still Alive

Except it's in the Eleventh Ward on Orchard Street, between Stanton and Houston

Odd Fellows Hall: Then And Now

I was on the LES last Sunday and was able to match up an 80 year old photo of the Odd Fellows Hall on 98 Forsyth Street. It's now the location of the historic Harris Levy store which was formerly on Grand Street. 98 Forsyth was the scene of a big gambling raid
in 1930

More KV Dad Memorabilia

I guess I now know how his son got to be on Happy Felton's show

PS 177 Parent Appreciation Award

for his spirited defense of public education

Thursday, September 17, 2009

LES Historic Women: Movers & Shakers

As part of the Lower East Side BID Summer Sundays a free tour was given by the Lower East Side History Projecton Sunday, Sept 13, 2009. The theme was Historic Women: Movers & Shakers and it was lead by Andrea Coyle. In this sample version of the full tour the following famous women and institutions were noted: Lillian Wald and the Henry Street Settlement, Russ an Daughters (Niki Russ Federman is pictured), Sara Delano Roosevelt and the park named in her honor, Liz Christy and the Liz Christy Garden, Sally Amato of the Amato Opera Company and Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor

Happy New Year: Hebrew Crunk

"To My Friends Of The Jewish Persuasion": Happy New Year

The quote is from Myron Cohen, a comedian I personally didn't think was so funny. Here's a link to an HBO special he did in 1976. A source for old Jewish New Year's cards is the flickr site of the Eldridge Street Synagogue

1782 Map Showing Old Streets In The Fourth Ward

A section of a map that I discovered at the brooklyn genealogy site In 1782 Pearl Street used to be Queen Street, Rose Street was Princess, William Street was King George. A great site for learning about those old street names is Gilbert Tauber's

The Sugar House As A Prison During The Revolutionary War

Below, prisoners on one of the infamous British prison ships
Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War, by Edwin Burrows tells the harrowing account of the fate of those prisoners
Between 1775 and 1783, some 200,000 Americans took up arms against the British Crown. Just over 6,800 of those men died in battle. About 25,000 became prisoners of war, most of them confined in New York City under conditions so atrocious that they perished by the thousands. Evidence suggests that at least 17,500 Americans may have died in these prisons—more than twice the number to die on the battlefield. It was in New York, not Boston or Philadelphia, where most Americans gave their lives for the cause of independence.
New York City became the jailhouse of the American Revolution because it was the principal base of the Crown’s military operations. Beginning with the bumper crop of American captives taken during the 1776 invasion of New York, captured Americans were stuffed into a hastily assembled collection of public buildings, sugar houses, and prison ships. The prisoners were shockingly overcrowded and chronically underfed—those who escaped alive told of comrades so hungry they ate their own clothes and shoes.
Despite the extraordinary number of lives lost, Forgotten Patriots is the first-ever account of what took place in these hell-holes. The result is a unique perspective on the Revolutionary War as well as a sobering commentary on how Americans have remembered our struggle for independence—and how much we have forgotten.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Forgotten NY Tour Of The Fourth Ward

Forgotten Rose.james 2
from forgotten-ny

Sugar House Prison Window

From Prof. Forman's Queen's College site
Hidden away behind the Municipal Building is an inconspicuous monument to an atrocity, the Rhinelander Sugar House massacre. During the Revolutionary War, while the city was under the occupation of English troops, the Sons of Liberty conducted a campaign to intimidate Tory residents and harass the occupying army. Some of this was almost playful, such as the erection of "Liberty Poles," stolen pinewood masts furtively set up in public places. Once such place was in northeastern City Hall Park, then simply called the Common, where the statue of Nathan Hale presently stands. This would have been less than five hundred feet from where the Redcoats were bivouacked.
Often, though, the actions of the Sons of Liberty more closely resembled what we might nowadays call terrorism. Homes and businesses belonging to British sympathizers were destroyed by fire in the middle of the night, and in 1776 an enormous fire spread north from Pearl as far as Vesey Street engulfing the first Trinity Church on Wall Street and threatening St. Paul's Chapel.
New York was, however, a city that generally supported England and its Royalist citizens demanded that the occupying army take strong measures against the Sons of Liberty. Makeshift prisons appeared in various places of the city, among them the commandeered Rhinelander Sugar House, a warehouse for the storage of Caribbean sugar that stood at Duane and Rose Streets until 1896. The prisoners in the sugar house were allowed to starve. Indeed, during the English occupation of New York City from 1776 to 1783, it is estimated that 11,000 revolutionists died in such prisons.
When the sugar house was demolished, a loft called the Rhinelander Building replaced it. Several of the sugar house prison windows were incorporated into the loft building, which itself was demolished in 1968 at the construction of One Police Plaza, the central New York City police headquarters . One section of the sugar house wall was transported to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and re-erected near the Van Cortlandt mansion. A single window and its surrounding brickwork was incorporated into a small monument just behind the subway arcade of the Municipal Building.
In its time the Rhinelander Sugar House became a symbol of atrocity. It would not be an exaggeration to consider it the Abu Ghraib of its era. Passersby continually reported seeing ghostly shadows in the windows of the old sugar house. One thinks of things like this in times like these.

Cherry And Roosevelt Street

An approximate location from a 1860 drawing. Not too far away from the birthplace Of Alfred E. Smith at 174 South Street

174 South Street: Birthplace Of Alfred E. Smith

He was born on December 30, 1873

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A View Of The Manhattan Bridge

The view is looking SE and below is the Murray Bergtraum HS Athletic Field on Market and South Streets. The photo was taken from the roof of Knickerbocker Village.

KV Yankee Dad Memorabilia

That Wonderful Year: 1959

Above Donald Singletary sent along his PS 177 photo from 1959
Below a new book about the year that the author considers a turning point
from amazon, an excerpt from reviews
Slate columnist Kaplan takes a contrarian view to the common wisdom that the '60s were the source of the cultural shift from pre-WWII traditions to the individualistic, question-authority world of today. In Kaplan's view, the watershed year in this transformation is 1959. He delves into that year's cultural and political scene, citing Miles Davis and his revolutionary album Kind of Blue; William Burroughs and his equally revolutionary novel, Naked Lunch; and the opening of Frank Lloyd Wright's radically designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City as examples of fundamental breaks with past conventions. Kaplan's case is cemented by three 1959 events that he convincingly argues were catalysts for paradigm changes in relationships between men and women (the pharmaceutical company Searle sought FDA approval for the birth control pill), in how citizens view their government (the first American soldiers were killed in Vietnam) and in communications and information transfer (the microchip was introduced to the world). Kaplan doesn't quite convince that 1959 was “the year when the shockwaves of the new ripped the seams of daily life,” but his writing is lively and filled with often funny anecdotes as he examines some key elements in the transition from the mid to late 20th century. 16 b&w photos. (July) (Publishers Weekly, May 4, 2009)

Monday, September 14, 2009

KV Yankee Chatter

There's been a lot of chatter amongst the KV loyal Yankee contingent, i.e. the Yankee top ten of all time, whether their pitching will hold up in a short series, who had the hottest wives, girl friends,etc. One story of interest is the unexpected (to me, at least) dislike of Joe DiMaggio in the 4th and 6th wards..."he was snooty, selfish, cheap, etc." However here's one nice story about him from Joe Bruno
One thing I forgot, but this shows Joe D could be nice when he wanted to. Which wasn't too often.
It was 1979 at an ALL Sports Dinner at the Downtown AC. I was a member there for 20 years. Rudy Riska, the head of the Heisman Committee was from Madison Street. He played in the minor leagues for the Yankees.
I brought my father to the dinner, He was 69 with late stage emphysema. He was walking with a cane I bought him that turned into a small stool. You see these canes at the race tracks.
The dinner was over and people were milling about. Joe D was sitting by himself at the table next to us, smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee.
My father staggered over to Joe D and said something to Joe D in Italian. My father was born in Italy and didn't know a baseball from a meatball, or a bocci ball. I knew better than to approach Joe D, but my father didn't care.
Next thing I knew, Joe D invites my father to sit next to him. They started talking in Italian for about 10 minutes. I'm sitting at the next table horrified.
Then Joe D offers my father a cigarette, which my father hadn't had for a few months because of his sickness. Joe D lights the cigarette for my father, then they continue talking in Italian.
People were leaving, so Joe D helps my father to his feet, hands him his cane and shakes my father's hand. Then he leaves.
I asked my father what they were talking about in Italian. My father said, "Just about Italy and Italian food."
My father said Joe D said he doesn't have many opportunities to speak to people in Italian. His own father never learned to speak English. My father's father was in the US for 67 years before he died, and he never spoke English either.
It was just Joe D being nice to a sick old man.
The reason I knew the exact year is because my father died in March 1980, and it was just a few months before he died that he spoke to Joe D.
So that's one good story about Joe D.

KV Salutes The Captains

adapted from nomaas

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sojourner Truth Comics 1

Sojourner 44
The cartoon images from the slide show come from Patrick Reynold's great collection
of New York City history called the Big Apple Almanac

Sojourner Truth On Canal Street

below, a current view of the site of Sojourner Truth's former home

from Columbia's Mapping African American History Site
In 1797, a baby girl named Isabella was born in upstate New York. Her parents were Elizabeth and James Baumfree, but she was the property of their Dutch master, who sold her off at the age of 9. By the time she was 12, she had been sold two more times. When slavery was outlawed in New York, Isabella was 30 years old, the mother of four surviving children, and finally free to leave. She reached New York City in 1829 and joined the Mother AME Zion Church. Known as a preacher and prophet, she spent 14 years in the city before suddenly declaring, “The Spirit calls me there and I must go.” That day in 1843 she left to travel the land and spread the Lord’s word as Sojourner Truth.
Sojourner Truth traveled throughout New England and as far west as Kansas. When she spoke, everyone listened—even the hecklers. She gave her most famous speech at a women’s rights convention in Ohio. As one there remembered it, the hecklers were hissing but, “At her first word there was a profound hush.” When one man called women “weak,” Truth looked him in the eye and in her low voice said, “I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it), and bear the lash as well -- and ain’t I a woman?” Another time she stopped the hissing with “…we’ll have our rights; see if we don't: and you can’t stop us from them; see if you can. You may hiss as much as you like, but it is comin’.” While living in New York City, Isabella Baumfree became Sojourner Truth and left her home at 74 Canal Street to spread the “Lord’s truth.” She became a legend in her own time. Sojourner Truth died in 1883 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Her funeral was said to be the largest ever seen there.

an excerpt from from Ms. Magazine by Sandra Jackson-Opoku
When she arrived in 1827 Manhattan from Ulster County, N.Y., where she was born, Sojourner Truth still carried the name Isabella Van Wagenen. She would have encountered a black community in Manhattan that had been there for more than a century, some of its members native Dutch speakers like herself. During her 14 years in New York City she would work as a domestic in several households, worship at several churches, engage in informal religious studies and evangelize at a home for reformed prostitutes.
Much of Isabella’s time and energy at first was devoted to keeping her son, Peter, out of trouble, a trial with which I can identify. We’ve both mothered sons under adversity: I’m a single parent, and Isabella, whose child had been stolen away and illegally sold, fought to get him back and keep him out of harm’s way. Sojourner Truth had four daughters too, but in reading about her life we learn much more about her son.
While in Manhattan, Isabella was drawn into a religious cult led by charismatic misogynist Robert Matthias. She moved to Westchester County when the cult established a commune in the town of Sing Sing (now Ossining), where the famed prison had just been built. The Kingdom of Matthias would eventually disband under a cloud of scandal, but not before Isabella had been economically, physically and sexually exploited. But she fought back: In a series of sensational court cases, she sued former members for slander, took her meager award and returned to Manhattan.
Her teenaged son had been running amok during her absence: gambling, thieving, loitering—even impersonating an Episcopal minister. With her encouragement, Peter shipped out of Nantucket on a whaling vessel. It would be the last time she would see him.
Over the next nine years, her political consciousness grew. She tells of being given 50 cents to pay a worker to clean snow from the steps of the household in which she worked. Instead of paying him, she pocketed the money and cleaned the steps herself. She became wracked with guilt over her own greed, and over economic injustice in general.
In 1843, Isabella had a sudden revelation that she must go “into the east” because “the spirit calls me there.” Her name would be Sojourner, her mission to travel the land and speak the word of God. Giving the mistress of the household an hour’s notice, she set out from 74 Canal St. in lower Manhattan with a few belongings in a pillow case and two New York shillings to her name.
In the spirit of that sojourn, I decide to follow the route she took on the morning of June 1, 1843—the day that changed her name and defined her life.
I take the N train south from Chelsea, where I’m staying, get off at Canal Street and emerge into the heated hustling of Chinatown. The street is lined on both sides with independent vendors and crowded shops, hawking everything from designer knock-offs to plastic trinkets, cheap electronics to fresh lychees. I elbow my way past Mulberry, Mott, Elizabeth, Bowery, and Chrystie Streets, stopping to buy coconut water in the shell from a Chinese vendor.
As I trudge past the looming Gothic structure of the Manhattan Bridge down to Eldridge Street, the throngs of humanity diminish. I discover that 74 Canal St. is now Fong’s Trading, an Asian import shop with a wooden display of dusty curios out front. I purchase two embroidered Thai bags, clearance-priced. The sales clerk, who says he isn’t Mr. Fong, urges me to buy more.
“Only five dollars,” he wheedles. “Very good price.”
The sales clerk has never heard of Sojourner Truth, much less imagined she had lived on this very spot, though it is possible that the street boundaries and addresses have changed over the past 160 years.
From here, the newly named Sojourner had walked several miles south to a ferry landing. Being a weak and overheated 21st century woman, I walk to Allen Street and step into the M bus, which careens onto Madison Avenue, narrowly avoiding a collision with a Chinese delivery truck. On Pearl Street, past FDR Drive, Chinatown transitions into a tonier neighborhood of office buildings, boutiques and high-rise condos.

JHS 65: Archival Picture

85 Forsyth Street: Grand Lyceum Palace Hall

This might have been near where Al Levy's notorious gambling den was located. Here's a previous post that mentions a daring 1916 raid.

Frank Shih: Then And Now

I took the then picture from this previous story about his fifth grade class at PS 2

Who's Who In Alfred E. Smith Projects History

Back in August I got an email from Nancy Sing-Bock, a Smith Projects' alumnus, about an email thread concerning Woodstock
I had asked my mother permission to go to Woodstock. What a fool I was. I should have just went.

in the email she mentioned another ex "Smith-ite"
I have been in touch with Ethel Zai who grew up in 388 Pearl St, a Smith girl. She is 1/2 Chinese and 1/2 Mexican. Our fathers came from the same village in China. We are unofficial cousins. I have forwarded her the KV link. She was one of three girls and had 2 stepbrothers. She is also a principal in Hastings.

There must be something about the Smith Projects producing school principals?
Lily Din Woo, a JHS 22 and life-long friend of KVer Susanne Spitzer (Pelly), is also a well respected principal in Chinatown. I don't know if she hails from Smith as well.
Anyway I managed to get in touch with Ethel (Zai-Fiorello) through Nancy and she has been added to the growing KV family. By coincidence our paths must have crossed while I was working in CSD1 on the Lower East Side. We know many people in common.
From Ethel
Hi David, Yes, I'd love to join. I actually attended P.S. 177 for K,1,2 then transferred to P.S. 1, then to Transfiguration on Mott Street. My family grew up in the Smith projects since 1952. We lived in Orchard Street before then. I'm so happy to say that I made it out of the projects, had many wonderful experiences and some not so good. I'm now in Westchester and found out about your site through my "cousin" Nancy Sing, both our dads were from China. I'm a Principal in a Westchester School District. I started teaching on the Lower East Side, then went to Harlem, then Orange County NY and now here! Keep in touch.

Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Let's Have Another Cup O' Coffee

There's a new book out called Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville, by David Freeland, The author also has a new website called Gotham Lost and Found The KV crew has fond memories of the automat we went to after bowling at City Hall Lanes. I put this together with images I discovered of automats and automat related items.
"Let's Have Another Cup O' Coffee" (1932) Phil Spitalny's Music
Why worry when skies are gray
Why should we complain
Let's laugh at the cloudy day
Let's sing in the rain
Songwriters say the storm quickly passes
That's their philosophy
They see the world through rose-colored glasses
Why shouldn't we?
Just around the corner
There's a rainbow in the sky
So let's have another cup o' coffee
And let's have another piece o' pie!
Trouble's just a bubble
And the clouds will soon roll by
So let's have another cup o' coffee
And let's have another piece o' pie
Let a smile be your umbrella
For it's just an April show'r
Even John D. Rockefeller
Is looking for the silver lining
Mister Herbert Hoover
Says that now's the time to buy
So let's have another cup o' coffee
And let's have another piece o' pie!
[Alternate Lines:]
Things that really matter
Are the things that gold can't buy

from Joe Bruno:
In the Rosenberg book I just read, the Russian spy/handler Feklisov said he met Julius Rosenberg frequently at the Automat on 38th Street and Broadway. They'd walk in separate, sit at the same table facing each other, like strangers. Then Julius would leave an envelope on the table, and cover it with a newspaper, probably the Daily Worker, then get up and leave. No words were exchanged.
Feklisov would then stay awhile, then get up and leave, taking the newspaper and envelope with him.
The only automat I remember was on 42 St. around 2 or 3rd Avenue. What I remember about the automat was that the coffee really sucked.

Joe, I if they were good spies they wouldn't have hid it under the Daily Worker

Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Everybody Eats When They Come To My House

There's a new book out called Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville, by David Freeland, The author also has a new website called Gotham Lost and Found The KV crew has fond memories of the automat we went to after bowling at City Hall Lanes. I put this together with images I discovered of automats and automat related items
by Cab Calloway:
Have a banana, Hannah,
Try the salami, Tommy,
Give with the gravy, Davy,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!
Try a tomato, Plato,
Here's cacciatore, Dorie,
Taste the baloney, Tony,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!
I fix your favorite dishes,
Hopin' this good food fills ya!
Work my hands to the bone in the kitchen alone,
You better eat if it kills ya!
Pass me a pancake, Mandrake,
Have an hors-d'oeuvre-y, Irvy,
Look in the fendel (?), Mendel,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!
Hannah! Davy! Tommy! Dora! Mandrake!
Everybody eats when they come to my house!
Pastafazoola, Talullah!
Oh, do have a bagel, Fagel,
Now, don't be so bashful, Nashville,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!
Hey, this is a party, Marty,
Here, you get the cherry, Jerry,
Now, look, don't be so picky, Micky,
'Cause everybody eats when they come to my house!
All of my friends are welcome,
Don't make me coax you, moax you,
Eat the tables, the chairs, the napkins, who cares?
You gotta eat if it chokes you!
Oh, do have a knish, Nishia,
Pass me the latke, Macky,
Chile con carne for Barney,
Everybody eats when they come to my house!
Face! Buster! Chair! Chops! Fump!
Everybody eats when they come to my house!
Everybody eats when they come to my house!

KV In The NYTimes: Sept. 8, 2009

The above can be seen in its original form here However KVers quickly noted that the information was partially incorrect and confusing. See below:
The photo was taken from the Manhattan Bridge on Pike Street looking west, not south.
It's confusing that the photographer (or the times' editor) says the view is looking toward Market Street (which was directly in front)
Here is the google earth view that might make it clearer. Bobby and Marty are trying find Jim Jim's for comics on Oliver and Madison.

Meeting The KV Godfather At The Feast Of San Gennaro

I took the occasion to fill him in on recent KV cyber news since he is on guard of cyber attacks. Oy vey, now I have to go back and change those other pictures.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

KV Knothole Gang Member :)

Happy Felton's Knothole Gang

Even the old Dodgers are happy for Derek Jeter.The pictures are mostly from the 1955 or 1956 season. About Happy Felton, Date of Birth, 30 November 1907, Bellevue, Pennsylvania, USA, Date of Death, 21 October 1964 from baseball-fever
Another popular show on WOR Ch. 9 was "Happy Felton's Knothole Gang", a sports show that helped young baseball players improve their baseball playing skills. (This show was not "Joe DiMaggio's Dugout", which was seen Saturday afternoons on WNBT TV Ch. 4 and in national syndication during the early 1950's, where Mr. DiMaggio and the members of his dugout would try to improve the baseball playing techniques by watching top ball players on film.)
Happy Felton (a former vauldville, stage and radio comic actor and musical entertainer) & the members of NYC's most successful little league teams would see professional players ultilize their ball playing techniques live on the fields of the Brooklyn Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers and N.Y. Yankees Stadiums.
After seeing their heroes play on the fields, the kids were given the chance to play against themselves on the fields and earn the chance to win scholarships for their schools and toy prizes. Plus tickets to upcoming baseball games.
"Happy Felton's Knothole Gang" was seen weekday afternoons and on Saturday afternoons on WOR Ch. 9 from Friday, April 21, 1950 until station execs finally closed up Happy Felton's knothole in the ball parks for good on Saturday, August 24, 1957. was a pre game show before Brooklyn Dodger home telecasts and since the Dodgers televised every home gane on channel 9 it was telecast either during afternoons, evening, Sunday's whatever (only before the first game for a Sunday doubleheader.)...There were 3 contestants not 5 as somebody claimed. It was only held at Ebbets a matter of fact it was telecast from the Dodger bullpen which was in foul territory along the right field line (since it was only 297 to the right field fair pole (as Warner Wolf would say of course it's the fair pole, if the ball hits it, it's a fair ball) just in front of the right field wall. It was telecast up through the last telecast from Ebbets Field the night Danny McDevit shut out the Pirates, the last major league game that was ever to be played in Brooklyn by the true Dodgers...the winner of that last contest is still probably waiting to collect his prize (a visit with his favorite Dodger,some time in the Dodger dugout and then through the clubhouse)....normally the Dodger telecasts began each season with the Friday afternoon exhibition game against the Yankees the Friday before the season began (the Brooks and Yanks then played Saturday and Sunday at Yankee Stadium)....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Colonel's Celebratory Dance For The Captain

And he calls on a favorite Soul Train format and Robin Meade for the occasion.
Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!
My KV childhood hero was the Mick. I never thought I could root for a player with that same youthful zeal and innocence again. Thank you Derek Jeter for making that possible. What a menschy guy! What a ballplayer!

Knock 3 Times

hey girl whatcha doin down there
dancing alone every nite while I live rite above you
i can hear your music playin
i can feel your body swayin
one floor below me you don't even know me
I love you
Oh my darlin
knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
twice on the pipe if the answer is no
oh my sweetness
means you'll meet me in the hallway
twice on the pipe means you ain't gonna show
if you look out your window tonite
pulling the string with the note thats attached to my heart
read how many times i saw you
how in my silence i adored you
and only in my dreams did that wall between us come apart
Oh my darlin
knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
twice on the pipe if the answer is no
oh my sweetness
means you'll meet me in the hallway
twice on the pipe means you ain't gonna show
oh i can hear the music playing
i can feel your body swayin
one floor below me you don't even know me
i love you
Oh my darlin
knock three times on the ceiling if you want me
twice on the pipe if the answer is no
oh my sweetness
means you'll meet me in the hallway
twice on the pipe means you ain't gonna show

Knock 3 Times: Drug Raid On Cherry Street, March 10, 1924

Cherry St Heroin

600 Arrested In Raid On Dance Hall: Feb. 16, 1921

Somehow I forgot to post the above article with below a close up version of the picture from a previous post Things must have been smoking at that "smoker." The picture is circa 1930 when buildings were being demolished for Sara Delano Roosevelt Park. The Odd Fellows Hall is the six story building in the middle with the awning.

Gambling Raid On Forsyth Street: 1916

Forsythe Gambling 1916

The Libby Hotel

Libby Hotel
Images from a fascinating article about the hotel's rise and fall in the 1920's and how its fate was tied to Judge Crater. It was located on Delancey and Chrystie StreetsFrom the Pakn Treger Archive

Plans For The Construction On Forsyth Street

Originally new construction was supposed to take place, but then the depression changed plans. As a result Sara Delano Park was built. The sale of the Libby Hotel played a part in the disappearance of Judge Crater. An excerpt from an article in the nypress from June 25, 2002

The Missingest Man in New York, By William Bryk
Every Aug. 6 for more than three decades, an attractive older woman entered a Greenwich Village bar, a place that had been a restaurant back in the Jazz Age. She sat alone in a booth and ordered two cocktails. She raised one, murmured, "Good luck, Joe, wherever you are." She drank it slowly, rose and walked out, leaving the other drink untouched.
Thus Stella Crater mourned her vanished husband, Justice Joseph Force Crater, who became famous on Aug. 6, 1930, when he, as the Daily News later said, "disappeared efficiently, completely, and forever."
Born to Irish immigrants in Easton, PA, in 1889, Joe Crater worked his way through Lafayette College and Columbia Law School. He opened his office at 120 Broadway (the Equitable Bldg., a huge white marble pile that was once the largest office building in the world) and joined the Cayuga Democratic Club, the power base of Tammany district leader Martin Healy, where Crater spent thousands of hours organizing election workers and representing the club in election law cases. He also married Stella Wheeler, whom he had represented in her 1912 divorce.
State Supreme Court Justice Robert F. Wagner Sr., who became a United States senator in 1926, appointed Crater his secretary in 1920. Joe was also an adjunct professor at Fordham and New York University law schools. But most of his income came through his law practice, which was enriched by his political connections. At first, he received the usual minor appointments from the courts: receiverships, refereeships, guardianships. Over time, Crater’s pieces of pie were cut large. In February 1929, he was appointed receiver in foreclosure of the Libby Hotel. Four months later, the hotel was auctioned for $75,000 to the American Mortgage Loan Co. Two months after that, the City of New York condemned the hotel, paying American Mortgage Loan $2,850,000–a profit of $2,775,000 on its two months’ investment of $75,000. Some cynics suggested American Mortgage Loan’s managers knew about the city’s plans before buying the building.
Crater could afford a new apartment: a two-bedroom cooperative at 40 5th Ave. He became president of the Cayuga Club and Martin Healy’s right-hand man. And on April 8, 1930, Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him to a vacancy on the state Supreme Court (among New York state courts, the Supreme Court is actually the lowest court, comparable to superior courts in other states). Politics had everything to do with it. So did ability: even the respectables at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York supported Joe’s appointment.
He was 41 years old–young for a Supreme Court justice in New York. Crater was a well-tailored 185-pound 6-footer, with fleshy features and slicked-down iron-gray hair that made him seem older than he was. He was a fine pianist, a good dancer and liked theater.