June 26, 2022


Today, a look at a problem that plagued Tudor City from day one. Soot. It came from the smokestacks of New York Edison's Waterside Station, positioned catty-corner to No. 5 on First Avenue.

It was too close for comfort, that was apparent from the start.

Part of the Daily News editorial. No. 5 at upper left.
It was enough of a problem that the Daily News ran an editorial about it on October 4, 1930, above. Simply put, you needed some kind of material to burn to make steam to turn dynamos to generate electricity. This material was coal.

The type of coal used was anthracite, which burned slowly and pungently, and the News claimed that "powder blowers" were the answer. Whether or not they were ever installed is unknown; the complaints against soot continued.

Photograph by Percy Loomis Sperr.

Still from Deux Hommes dans Manhattan, 1959 French film.
By the 1950's, the plant had managed to reduce the number of smokestacks to three (although they look considerably wider) and switched from coal to natural gas in 1958. Critics found little improvement.

Finally, after much discussion, the station was decommissioned, its last usage on April 25, 2005. Demolished in 2007, it has been a vacant lot ever since.

June 19, 2022

Wayback Machine: 1820 MAP

Herewith a map, dated 1820, depicting the area that would one day be Tudor City. The map is unusual in that future street names have been overlaid on it ‒ a city law was passed in 1811 ‒ but in the decade since, little had been done about it in this neighborhood.

The caption reads: Map of the Turtle Bay Farm and its Six Subdivisions, accurately plotted from the field notes of Surveys made in the year 1820 by John Randall, Jr., City Surveyor, which field notes are recorded in liber 147 by J. B. Holmes, C. E. and City Surveyor / 47 Exchange Pl. / NY / July 1867.

Map of the Tudor City area in 1820. This is the farm of Thomas Charles Winthrop, the son of Francis Bayard Winthrop, merchant of note.

This might look familiar to some readers, as the subject of a past post. It was the summertime mansion of Francis Bayard Winthrop.

Winthrop also owned Farm No. 5 just above Turtle Bay, eleven acres which primarily kept his household in fresh produce. 

Finally, we move northward a few blocks to a spot that was known as Turtle Bay, said to be named after the turtles that frolicked there. Turtle Creek was its estuary, meandering to 49th and Second before it disappeared on this map, but in fact continued up to the southern end of Central Park.

June 12, 2022

Summer in Tudor City

 A look at an article published in the September, 1929 edition of The Voice, published by the French Company for its employees. 

"Tudor City has brought summer comfort in town within the reach of the average man. A community of modern apartment houses on a hill swept by river breezes, and grouped around two large, beautifully landscaped parks ‒ here at last is the answer to the busy business man's hot-weather problems."

"In these parks reigns genuine peace. Here, as nowhere else in New York, one's ears are unassailed by the constant roar of swiftly-passing motors; one's nostrils unoffended by their poisonous exhaust fumes. For there is no through traffic in this oasis of quiet."

"Mrs. Tenant finds it good on a warm day to sit in the shade on a comfortable bench and gaze upon the smooth lawns, with the murmur of the fountain mingling pleasantly with the voices of her children playing in the sand-boxes nearby. And what could be more delightful to her husband, as a soothing aftermath to a tiring day in a hot office?"

"Of course, if one happens to have a penthouse apartment, he need only step out on his own private roof space to enjoy them. Especially delightful is the view at night, with the million-jeweled city on one side, on the other the dark water with the lights of the river craft gliding slowly to and fro ‒ and always the cool, invigorating breeze."

June 4, 2022

Instagramable, Again

 Today, a new entry in our ongoing coverage of Instagram in Tudor City.  

Reverse view, by_nazlizeynepn             

Sunny Day Sign, by ericsamuels2             

Presiding Over His Kingdom, by timothyclary       

Down on Manhattanhenge, by johnny.cab      

   The Woodstock, by lucas_d_in_nyc                    

May 26, 2022

Anatomy of a Photo: NORTH 42ND STREET

Again, another photographic deep dive through Tudor City where we attempt to extract something meaningful.
We begin with the photograph above, not a terribly impressive picture at first glance. The view is northwest; the building at top left is the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled. Thus, this is 42nd Street.

Then there is the sign on the side of the building which reads This Property Will Be Developed Under THE FRENCH PLAN as Part of TUDOR CITY. Such signs hung on many a building throughout the neighborhood.

But in fact, this building, along with the other roadhouses on both sides of 42nd Street, would remain standing until the late 1940s, when they were purchased by the city and demolished in order for the street to be widened.

At left, the cottage for the rental units of the Fred F. French Investing Company, moved from its original location, beside No. 45. It would not last long at this new site, moving to a brownstone across the street at 332 East 42nd St.

This part of the photo shows the wooden braces used to keep the wall from collapsing. Nearby, a group of men are gathered for an unknown reason. In the foreground, an unused wheelbarrow completes the tableau.

*   *   *   *   *

A couple of quick notes. First of all, McFadden's bar at 42nd and 2nd has closed ‒ after 43 years ‒ and is in the process of being converted to a branch of Urgent Health Care. There's something about it that just doesn't sound right, but I assure you it is true.

Secondly, Manhattanhenge is almost upon us. The dates are:

Monday, May 30, at 8:14 pm

Tuesday, July 12, at 8:20 pm

May 22, 2022


Here are four pictures, all unrelated to each other. Make what you will of them.
First of all, our favorite way to look at Nos. 25 and 45. The only question is how the photographer got the shot ‒ it appears to be straight down.

*  *  *  *  *
The House of Libra, from a picture that ran in Tudor City View sometime in the 1940s. Located near the corner 0f 41st and Second, the shop didn't last for long.

*  *  *  *  *

Next up, an eastern view of Tudor City, which seems to be rather reminiscent of our earlier post, Tudor City on the Prairie.  As it turns out, this time the grass is of the potted variety and lines a terrace wall of The Cloister. A reverse view, below. 

*  *  *  *  *

Finally, a photo collage of the movie Scarface made by an unknown photographer. He was attempting to photograph the actor in the phone booth ‒ Al Pacino ‒ but his camera wasn't good enough. Oh, well.

May 15, 2022

Tudor City on Film: NEW AMSTERDAM

This edition of Tudor City on Film deals with a drama series from NBC about how a new medical director breaks the rules and fixes the system ‒ or at least tries to ‒ at America's oldest public hospital. The name of the fictitious hospital is New Amsterdam, but it's clearly standing in for Bellevue, the country's oldest.

This excerpt is taken from Season 4, Episode 2.

There's a party thrown on the rooftop of No. 45, and the mood is convivial. Some lovers have intimate conversations, but we dismiss them, intent on something else.

It is suddenly night and time for what we've been waiting for. 

There, on the middle roof, are Dr. Max Gordon (Ryan Eggold) and Dr. Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman). Since they first hooked up ‒ in the previous episode ‒ Max and Helen have been hot and heavy for each other.

Here they are more relaxed. She repeats she has a job offer in London, and says she has doubts about whether to take it. Max seems sympathetic but noncommittal.

Minutes later, they rejoin the party. Then Max calls for silence and announces they're both going to leave. For London. Together.

The thought of its medical director leaving stops the party cold. Cut to next scene.