Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Old Home Movies

Location:   New York City
Year:   Turn of the Last Century

The oldest moving-picture film footage of New York City, dating from 1896 forward.

Old New York

Friday, December 5, 2014


Location:   New York City
Year:   Present day

40% of all cigarettes sold in New York City are untaxed.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Queen City

Year:   1789
Location:   Buffalo

Mew York's Second City, Buffalo, was originally named Buffalo Creek. The name has nothing to do with bison; rather, it is derived from the French "beau fleuve" meaning "beautiful river." The city lies on the Niagara River.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Miracle on 34th Street

Location:   34th Street
Year:   1947

The perennial Thanksgiving/Christmas favorite, Miracle on 34th Street, was born on Christmas Eve 1944, when screenwriter Valentine Davies was caught in the last minute holiday shopping rush at Macy*s Herald Square, trying to buy a few last minute stocking stuffers for Mrs. Davies. 

Davies' friend George Seaton loved the story so much that Seaton covered the studio's expenses in live filming during the 1946 Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade. All the New York shooting was done in one take because of the frigid temperatures that November, and because the parade did not allow for re-shoots. Edmund Gwenn, who plays Santa Claus in the film was Macy*s Santa that year, and the people in the crowd are actual paradegoers. 

In a high-risk move, Macy*s and Gimbel's were given a "kill option" on the film to be exercised by either store at the time the final film was first privately screened. The use of either "kill option" would have required almost total re-scripting and re-shooting; fortunately, both stores embraced the film enthusiastically.  

Darryl F. Zanuck loved Miracle on 34th Street so much that he had the film released in June of 1947. 

Maureen O'Hara, who plays the skeptical Doris Walker, said that the cast and crew had a wonderful time working on the film, and it shows; the film was an instant hit and remains a nostalgic favorite. 

Ms. O'Hara, who is known as "The Lady Who Knows Santa Claus"  has said that by the time production wrapped everyone was convinced that Edmund Gwenn really was Santa Claus.  The beard is genuine. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What's that smell?

Location:   Manhattan
Year:   Present-Day

The Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan is the only school in the world offering a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dance The Night Away

Location:   The Big Apple
Year:   Now

Sanitation workers in New York City refer to  maggots as “disco rice.”

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Yellow Cabs

Location:   Manhattan and Chicago
Year:   Early 1900s

Ever wonder why New York taxis are all yellow?  It's because John D. Hertz, an enterprising immigrant from Hungary, discovered through his own researches that bright yellow is the color most quickly identified against a busy background. Beginning in 1915, Hertz founded the Fifth Avenue Cab Company in New York, the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago, and the nationwide Hertz Auto and Truck Rental businesses. Until he sold his interests in these companies in the 1940s, he maintained a virtual monopoly on the "pay-to-ride" / "pay-to-drive" industry in the Northeast and Midwest. Yellow became, and remains, the traditional color for taxis.