Saturday, May 31, 2014

Notre Dame and The Fighting Irish

Location:  Gettysburg, PA
Year:   1863

Father William Corby CSC (1833-1897) was the Chaplain of New York's Irish Brigade during the Civil War. He is most famous for blessing the troops as they went into battle. After the Civil War, Father Corby became the first President of Notre Dame University in Indiana, a position he held twice. Notre Dame gets its nickname, "The Fighting Irish" from its association with Father Corby and the New Yorkers he blessed.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Broadway (III)

Location:   Manhattan and points north
Year:   1642


"The Great White Way" got its moniker in the  Roaring Twenties, when a star-struck theater critic was inspired by the sight of all the brilliantly lit marquees along the street.  As of 2014, there are 40 "Broadway" theaters, most clustered within a 12-block area of Midtown Manhattan. 

Not all "Broadway" theaters  operate on Broadway; most are on the surrounding side streets. 

Some "off-Broadway" and "off-off Broadway theaters operate in the area as well. 

"Off-off Broadway" theaters often cater to avant-garde and independent productions.

219 W. 49th Street
1125 seats

American Airlines
227 W. 42nd Street
740 seats

Brooks Atkinson
256 W. 47th Street
1094 seats

Ethel Barrymore
243 W. 47th Street
1096 seats 

Vivian Beaumont
150 W. 65th Street
1080 seats

111 W. 44th Street
1018 seats

222 W. 45th Street
766 seats

235 W. 44th Street
1186 seats

Broadway at 53rd Street
1761 seats

Circle in the Square
1633 Broadway
840 seats


138 W. 48th Street
1084 seats

Samuel J. Friedman
261 West 47th St.
650 seats

222 W. 51st Street
1933 seats

John Golden
252 W. 45th Street
805 seats

Helen Hayes
240 W. 44th Street
597 seats

Al Hirschfeld
302 W. 45th Street
1424 seats

249 W. 45th Street
1443 seats

Bernard B. Jacobs
242 W. 45th Street
1078 seats

Walter Kerr
219 W. 48th Street
945 seats

220 W. 48th Street
1091 seats

205 W. 46th Street
1519 seats

149 W. 45th Street
922 seats

Lyric Theatre
213 W. 42nd Street
1813 seats

247 W. 44th Street
1645 seats

1535 Broadway
1612 seats

200 W. 45th Street
1710 seats

Music Box
239 W. 45th Street
1009 seats

208 W. 41st Street
1235 seats

New Amsterdam
214 W. 42nd Street
1747 seats

Eugene O'Neill
230 W. 49th Street
1066 seats

1564 Broadway
1743 seats

Richard Rodgers
226 W. 46th St.1400 seats

St. James
246 W. 44th Street
1709 seats

Gerald Schoenfeld
236 W. 45th Street
1079 seats

225 W. 44th Street
1460 seats

Neil Simon
250 W. 52nd Street
1467 seats

Stephen Sondheim Theatre
124 West 43rd Street
1,055 seats

Studio 54
254 W. 54th Street
1006 seats

August Wilson
245 W. 52nd Street
1228 seats

Winter Garden
1634 Broadway
1526 seats 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Broadway (II)

Location:   Manhattan and points north
Year:   1642

Broadway, circa 1860

Broadway preceded the street grid plan imposed on Manhattan Island in 1811. Thus, although Broadway runs in a due north-south direction it does so irregularly, transecting Midtown diagonally. Thus, at various points it forms intersections with both east-west streets and north-south avenues. Broadway's intersections with north-south avenues are called "squares." Herald Square and Times Square are two of the city's more famous squares. The odd corners of these intersections have caused some to be turned into parks, while others have given rise to unusual and iconic architecture like the world's first skyscraper, the Flatiron Building. The Flatiron Building stands at Madison Square. 

The section of lower Broadway from its origin at Bowling Green to City Hall Park is the historical location for the city's ticker-tape parades. 

The area west of Broadway as far as Canal Street was the city's fashionable residential area until the 1820s. This was once waterfront property. Landfill has more than tripled the area of lower Manhattan since the early 19th Century.

Further north, Broadway marks the boundary between Greenwich Village to the west and the East Village to the east.

The original Macy's Department Store stands at Herald Square. 

Times Square lies where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue. Times Square, where stood the headquarters of The New York Times, was New York City's red-light district from approximately 1965 to 1985; the area has now been thoroughly gentrified. 

Broadway at Times Square, circa 1968

Broadway at Times Square, Circa 2010
Just north of Times Square begins the Theatre District ("The Great White Way") wherein are concentrated most of New York City's famed theatres and a large number of of Broadway's commercial enterprises. 

North of Columbus Circle, Broadway becomes a wide boulevard passing through a residential district to 169th Street. 

Both of the well-known performing arts landmarks, Juilliard and Lincoln Center, are located along this stretch.

From West 70th to West 73rd Streets, passing through Harlem, Broadway intersects with Amsterdam Avenue. Two small squares, Sherman Square and Verdi Square  occupy this wide intersection. Although both Sherman Square (named for Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman) and Verdi Square (named for Italian composer Guiseppe Verdi) are considered landmark parks, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, they were the haunts of drug dealers and users, called collectively "Needle Park."

Just north of Needle Park lies the 72nd Street Subway Station, one of the original subway stations in the city, and maintained in its original form. The Ansonia stands nearby, as does the site of Plato's Retreat, and the Beacon Theatre.  

In the area of 95th Street stands the Titanic Memorial in Straus Park (one of two Titanic Memorials in the city) near to the concert venue The Symphony Space. 

Columbia University begins at 116th Street in the Morningside Heights neighborhood, followed quickly by Barnard College, Union Theological Seminary, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the Manhattan School of Music, and CUNY---City College.

To the immediate east are the handsome brownstones of Hamilton Heights. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital lies on Broadway between 166th and 168th Streets in Washington Heights. 

Broadway crosses the Harlem River in Inwood at the Broadway Bridge, passes through the mainland Manhattan neighborhood of Marble Hill, and crosses into the Bronx at Spuyten Duyvil. 

It passes into Westchester County, until it forms the main street of legendary Sleepy Hollow, where it ends at the town's northern border.   

225 Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Broadway (I)

Location:   Manhattan and points north
Year:   1642

Although Broadway is known as "The Great White Way" and is a world center of Theatre Arts, Broadway was originally the Wickquasgeck Trail, carved into the brush of Manhattan by the Lenape Indians. This trail originally snaked through swamps and rocks along the length of Manhattan Island. 

Upon the arrival of the Dutch, the trail soon became the main road through the island from New Amsterdam to its northern tip. The Dutch cleared and widened the trail, giving it the name Breede weg --- "Broad Way" --- the name the British adopted. 

Broadway is first mentioned in Dutch records in the year 1642. In the 1740s, lower Broadway in the heart of what was then New York City in lower Manhattan was briefly known as Great George Street, but the name "Broadway" was ultimately applied to the full length of the road. 

It is also known as U.S. 9. It crosses into the Bronx over the Broadway Bridge at Spuyten Duyvil, and continues north --- still known as "Broadway" --- to its end in the village of Sleepy Hollow, a distance of 33 miles, making it one of the longest single-name thoroughfares in the world.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Location:   Long Island City (Queens)
Year:   1924

Long Island City lies directly across the East River from York Avenue, one of the most fashionable neighborhoods on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Reachable by the Queensborough Bridge, aka the 59th Street Bridge, Long Island City has always been a blue collar area packed with small houses and big factories such as Swingline Staplers.  

"Silvercup" was the brand name for bread made by the Gordon Baking Company, who during the initial Long Island City factory building boom of the 1920s, constructed a massive 500,000 square foot production facility with four flour silos on the premises. 

Silvercup  Bread was very popular, and became a household name for decades, particularly in and around New York City. The brand was so famous that businesses named Silvercup Meats and Silvercup Fruit opened in the neighborhood, though they had nothing to do with the bakery. 

Silvercup Bread sponsored radio and television programming in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

In 1974, Silvercup closed its doors rather suddenly. Silvercup had an exclusive three-year contract with the New York City Board of Education and needed to but could not raise its contracted price for bread after President Nixon sold grain to the Soviet Union, causing bread prices in the United States to double. At the same time, the Teamsters Union demanded that a ten percent surcharge be put on bread products. Silvercup could not meet their stated demands. Neither the School Board nor the Teamsters were willing to take what Silvercup could offer in response. With New York  City in its worst recession in recent history, Silvercup sold its trucks and machinery and ceased all operations in early 1975. Six hundred employees were let go.

The massive white Silvercup factory with its landmark sign still loomed over Long Island City.  It was purchased for a paltry $2,000,000 in 1980, and the new owners converted the massive factory floor into movie sound stages.

Beginning in 1983 with one 3,000-square-foot sound stage, Silvercup Studios has grown to 18 sound stages, totaling 400,000 square feet. Most New York-based television production (including The Sopranos and the Law & Order franchise) occurs at Silvercup Studios.  The massive white building with its landmark sign still looms over Long Island City.

The renaissance of Silvercup helped spark a renewal of the ailing Long Island City, once New York City's manufacturing hub. Hundreds of new businesses and thousands of jobs now call the neighborhood home, and many of the ratty old factory lofts have been converted into upscale housing, making a Long Island City address one of the most desirable addresses in Queens.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Location:   Waterloo, New York
Year:   1865

The official story of Memorial Day begins in the summer of 1865, when a prominent local civic leader from Waterloo, New York, Henry C. Welles by name, suggested to some of his friends at a social gathering that while praising the living veterans of the Civil War it would be well to remember the patriotic dead by placing flowers on their graves.  

Everyone agreed, but nothing was done until the Spring of 1866, when Welles advanced the idea to General John B. Murray. Murray, an intensely patriotic Civil War hero, supported the idea wholeheartedly and marshalled veterans' support from the local chapter of the Grand Army of The Republic. 

Plans were developed for a more complete celebration by a citizens' committee headed by Welles and Murray. It has been held annually ever since.

On March 7, 1966, the State of New York recognized Waterloo as the official birthplace of Memorial Day in a proclamation signed by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller. 

This was quickly followed by recognition from Congress of the United States when the House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 587 on May 17th and May 19th, 1966 respectively. 

It reads in part: "Resolved that the Congress of the United States, in recognition of the patriotic tradition set in motion one hundred years ago in the Village of Waterloo, NY, does hereby officially recognize Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day..."

On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson, signed a Presidential Proclamation recognizing Waterloo as the Birthplace of Memorial Day

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Statue of Liberty (VIII)

Location:   New York Harbor
Year:   1886

The Statue of Liberty is struck by lightning an estimated 300 times per year:

As an iconic representation of the United States, Lady Liberty has appeared on hundreds of different stamps and coins minted by the U.S. for the last century:

She has also appeared on the numismatics of other nations who embrace the concept of liberty:


In preparation for her hundredth birthday, she was completely refurbished:

During her Centennial, people of all nations participated in honoring the Lady With The Lamp. New York Harbor was ablaze with fireworks. Ships of all nations, and vessels of all sizes, from Tall Ships to aircraft carriers, to Pearson yachts to Sunfish, crowded upper New York Bay as part of "Operation Sail" in order to celebrate:


Due to her iconic status, she is also a popular subject for political cartoons and other statements on issues of the day: 

She's found herself in the debate on race in this nation. An internet legend arose that this was the original design of the Statue of Liberty, rejected by a white male-dominated America in the 1870s. In fact, although Bartholdi and Laboulaye wanted to honor the end of slavery in America by creating the Statue of Liberty, this design was created in 2007, and is not one of Bartholdi's designs:


Sometimes, she even finds herself on both sides of an issue ---


--- even when that issue is immigration --- and it should be noted that the immigration rate in the early 1900s was --- you guessed it --- three million per year. She didn't cringe in the 20th Century. Why would The Mother of Exiles cringe now?:



Our Liberty is our most potent weapon against those who would oppress us:

In the wake of 9/11 she sent Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda a personalized message:

And stood at post for those who died:


There are large-scale Statue of Liberty replicas in almost every nation of earth --- even at least three in New York City itself:

"Little Miss Liberty" complete with an interior staircase and viewing windows used to throw visitors to Midtown for a loop: "I can see the Statue of Liberty from here???" Well, you could, from 1912 to 2002. Within sight of Lincoln Center, she was beloved of New York trivia buffs. In 2005, she was moved to the Brooklyn Museum.
This Lady With The Lamp can be seen gracing the top of a building in the Bronx across River Avenue from Yankee Stadium.
Another Lady on Williamsbridge Avenue in The Bronx

"Miz Libbatee" in Alabama

One of four Statues of Liberty in Paris. There are at least 200 large-scale replicas throughout France.
This Statue of Liberty is Bartholdi's original scale model bronze casting, now standing in the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
This La Liberté éclairant le monde of Paris has two dates on its tablet: America's Independence Day and France's Bastille Day

A Statue of Liberty in Brazil

An iron Lady in Buenos Aires

This Statue of Liberty stands in a town populated by Israeli Arabs

"Victory" would be Nike, not Libertas, but the architect of this Kosovo Hotel isn't up on his Classical mythology
Shenzhen China is a city full of ersatz monuments: Christ of the Andes, Lady Liberty, and a 1/3 replica of the Eiffel Tower are among three of them

Lady Liberty in Leicester, U.K.
An unusual "Liberty Enthroned" in Lviv, Ukraine
And small-scale replicas and memorabilia abound:


She also gives us a chance to laugh at ourselves, whether we're facing down Superstorm Sandy --- 


 Letting it all hang out ---


Or simply celebrating our Liberty!  Yes, some of it is beautiful, some angry, some bitter, some poignant, some loving, and some silly . . . 


. . . But I'm reminded of the words of Mark Tapely in Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit: 

Americans "all love Liberty so much they can't help taking liberties with her."