January 29, 2023

AT LAST: Grand Central Madison Opens

At long last, the new stop on the Long Island Rail Road has arrived. After 17 years of construction and $11.1 billion, Grand Central Madison is here. Originally called East Side Access, it was renamed by Governor Hochul and the MTA last year.

This deep-down tunnel comprises five blocks ‒ from 43rd to 48th Streets ‒ and three levels which can be reached via mammoth escalators.

The station-within-a-station's overall design owes a lot to Grand Central, with a modern twist to the same elegance of the 1913 building. Punctuating this are some permanent artworks by the artists Kiki Smith and Yayoi Kusama.

Above, Kiki Smith's work, which is installed in arched alcoves on the mezzanine level. The artworks are "The Spring," "The Presence," "The Sound," and "The Water's Way." 

Her other work, entitled "River Light," is an abstract depiction of sunlight playing on the East River.

Then there is the gigantic mosaic by Yayoi Kusama, "A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe." It is 120 feet long and brings some Pop influences to the affair.

Ms. Kusama is known for her polka-dot pumpkins and is 93 years old.

The mural is snappy enough for the Governor to hold her press conference beside it.

For the time being, the station is only offering service to Jamaica and back, but in weeks to come, full service will be gradually added, including the train to the plane for $13. Sweet.

January 22, 2023

Instagram Interlude

Once again, we would like to welcome this new batch of inspired Instagramers to the dance floor.

Windy Day by adamovaphoto

Tudor City Abstraction by julipuyo

A Good Start by manzitwaal

The Man and His Hat by gcpbid 

Here and Not Here by jlin.photo


January 15, 2023

Penthouse 4

A recent visit to Streeteasy turned up the newly-listed Penthouse 4 in No. 5. This is a first-time item on the site, and we're particularly taken by the cartouche on its rooftop terrace, part of its jaw-dropping view. The price is $3.2 million.

The living room with its 17-foot ceiling.

Reverse view showing the staircases and, below the painting, the fireplace.

Dining room on second floor.

One of the two bedrooms.

The other bedroom. Note that all photos are "virtually staged." What this exactly means is never explained, but in the photo above, we can see the flooring turn from white to brown. 

The terrace, eastern view. Towering above it all is the only weathervane remaining in Tudor City. 

The western view from this one-of-a-kind terrace.

Floor plan.

January 8, 2023


 The Voice was the internal news organ of the ever expanding empire of Fred F. French. When it began in 1925, it was originally conceived as a sales technique manual, but as employees grew, The Voice's pieces grew more broad.

Today's installment is from November, 1930, and its cover photo depicts a new branch office for French Plan investors in Newark, New Jersey. But the real news is that the country has been in a Depression since October, 1929.

Here are the stories on page 1: "Expansion of Fred F. French Investing Company, Inc.," which relates the opening of the first branch outside of Manhattan in Newark; the Xs on the windows show the offices rented. 

"Hotel Tudor Rents Well" claims that in the first month in business it is approximately 75% full.

"They Could Because They Thought They Could" is plainly Fred French's view of the Depression. "During the past disagreeable fourteen months following the financial panic of 1929, fear and hopelessness have become general throughout the world. . . Let us get out of this slough of despondency. We'll be out of it in a few months anyway, so why not now? We will be forced out of it soon."

Similarly, "Buy During Slump!" urges readers to reinvest. The cartoon is entitled "The Owner of the Brownstone Front Who Refused to Sell," depicting a mighty colossus built around the lone brownstone.

"The Moderate Priced Apartment Hotel" was written by H. Douglas Ives, the main architect of Tudor City (and reprinted from The Architectural Forum). Although many others contributed to Tudor City's look, it was Ives who signed off on the final design. Illustrations include a typical floor map for The Woodstock and a photo of No. 25 and No. 5.

A continuation of Ives' article carries over to the back page. He's very cavalier about the size of the apartments' kitchens. Photos of The Woodstock and the Tudor City Development, and more floor plans from The Woodstock.  

January 1, 2023

What Happened to Tudor City?

 A recent assessment of the buildings in Tudor City was a disheartening one. All the buildings ‒ except one ‒ is sheathed in scaffolding. 

The bright side of this is we've got four years to get it right. Four years from now, in 2027, Tudor City turns 100 years old. That is something worth celebrating.

The Hermitage.

340 and 342 E. 43rd, built in 1870; landmarked as part of Tudor City in 1988.

The Manor.  

N0. 45. 

No. 25.

No. 5, making progress.

No. 2.  

Essex House. The Christmas decorations on the overhang are a whimsical touch.

The entrance to the 3Hs, now in its fourth year with the construction of the Turken Foundation dormitories.

The Tudor Grove playground, owned by the city since 1948. 

The Woodstock.

The Church of the Covenant amidst roof repair.

Hotel Tudor, now the Westgate New York Grand Central.

And finally, The Cloister, the only building without scaffolding. 

Happy New Year!

December 25, 2022

. . . And a HAPPY NEW YEAR

The cover of Tudor City View, December, 1944.
The Christmas tree can be seen at bottom, right of center.

December 18, 2022

Stained Glass for Christmas

A friend of ours recently complained that we don't cover stained glass nearly enough. So to remedy that, here are some pictures made of the windows of No. 25. Let the holidays begin.