September 25, 2022

SALVADOR DALI, the Sewer-Realist

Dali and Babou
It is 1966. A small crowd is gathered at a hole in the ground at 41st Street and First Avenue. Windsor Tower and Tudor Tower lie in the background. Salvador Dali, famed surrealist painter, is announcing his forthcoming 'happening' at Lincoln Center's Philharmonic Hall. This is the press conference.

He is dressed in a gold lame jumpsuit and a heavy blue overcoat and carries Babou, his pet ocelot, and a walking stick with an elaborately carved head. "It's a new Dali," he says.

"Underneath Manhattan are the activities which give the city life" he continues, then bids the newsmen, soundmen, photographers, and workers to follow him underground by means of a primitive cable car. Forty feet underground, where engineers are constructing a new sewer line.

Dali was past his prime and talked on and on. Nonetheless, his best line ‒ "it's a real happening when no one knows what's happening" ‒ was used by all. And, of course, the term "sewer-realism" was also slyly mentioned.

Above, typical coverage in the Morning Call of Allentown, PA; Dali in the center holding a white cap. Below some images, more familiar, from Philippe Halsman.

September 18, 2022

The Secretariat Arrives

The first girder of the Secretariat building is put into place.

A look back at the construction of the Secretariat building of the United Nations complex, directly opposite No. 45 on First Avenue. The day that its first girder was erected, the sign at its base read Fuller-Turner-Walsh-Slattery Inc., Building Construction.    

The rising Secretariat and a woman are the subjects of this photograph, taken as the building was starting to take shape. Meanwhile, the woman knits, looking away from the new building.

The four towers of Tudor City ‒ Nos. 5, 25, and 45 and The Woodstock ‒ opposite the Secretariat. 

Along First Avenue, we see the painted waves in the pond fronting the entrance for parking. Across the street is No. 45, turning its back on the whole thing; the only windows are in the hallways.

Road engineers were at work digging an underpass beneath First Avenue.

A woman stands and stares across the street. The United Nations will take almost four years to build.

This is the north side of No. 45. The man at right is only partially seen, but its a safe bet he works at the delicatessen given the white cap he's wearing. 

Finally, on a lighter note, an ad for Palisades Amusement Park contrasted with the Secretariat building.

September 11, 2022

The Apartment Hotel

The biggest in Tudor City: No. 45, No. 25, No. 5, and The Woodstock.

Today, the answer to a question that's long been on our mind. 

No. 45, No. 25, No. 5, and The Woodstock are the four largest buildings in Tudor City, big enough to have their own designation, apartment hotels. The apartment hotel differed from the apartment house in one important way: the service pantry featured no heating element. 

It seemed rather implausible to us. 

Then, we came across a Christopher Gray column about One Fifth Avenue, another apartment hotel opened in 1927. He writes 

This was not a conventional apartment house but an apartment hotel with two- and three-room units, each with a serving pantry for food brought up by service elevator from a central restaurant on the ground floor.
In fact, the apartment hotel was a widespread fiction of the period; 'non-housekeeping' residential buildings could be built taller and deeper than regular multiple dwellings because they were considered commercial buildings.

Tenants in fact usually set up full kitchens in the serving pantries. 

That answers our question. Hot plate, anybody?

September 4, 2022


Once again, we turn to the dead ends of our blog research, the items that don't merit enough interest to deserve a full post, yet too good to pass by. Here are three ads for your inspection.

Hahne & Co., a department store in Newark, ran this advertisement on November 26, 1928. Copywriter unknown. 


Advertisement by the National Terra Cotta Society that appeared in the Architectural Forum for September, 1930. The fine print reads Detail, Tudor City, New York, N.Y.  Fred F. French Co., Architects.  


From the Fred F. French Company comes this ad that ran in the Herald Tribune on October 23, 1928. "Why not live where you aren't put through the meat chopper twice a day?"

August 28, 2022


Please welcome the latest arrival to the neighborhood, Tudor City Tavern. Set in the rear of the Westgate New York Grand Central ‒ the former Hotel Tudor ‒ it's relatively unknown in Tudor City, and just might be the perfect rendezvous.

A quiet, pleasant-looking bar. A 19-page menu, that specializes in bourbon. There are partnership deals with Horse Soldier Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Chappellet Family Vineyards, and Stella Artois (above). Of particular interest to this blog, it offers specialty drinks named after famed, long-ago characters:

Directly across from the bar is a mini-marketplace of sundry goods that the bartender will add to your tab. They make life easy for you here.

August 21, 2022

ARTIFACT: Hotel Tudor menu, 1943

The artifact of the day is this menu for the Tudor Room, the restaurant in the Hotel Tudor. It is dated August 18, 1943.  

A note from management as to the menu: 
OUR GOVERNMENT ASKS US TO CONSERVE FOOD. You can do so by curtailing the use of sugar and cream, butter, oil and condiments. . . We shall make our menus less elaborate than formerly, but will nevertheless offer an ample selection.  

All seems normal here, save for the cup of Postum, manufactured by the Post Cereal Company. Used as a coffee substitute, it was a caffeine-free drink made from roasted wheat bran and molasses, and a popular choice in 1943.

Above, the back side of the menu, illustrating the disregard for wine at the time ‒ only two varieties were offered, American vs. Imported, although bottle prices were available on request. 

This menu shares a cover with one from the Tudor City Coffee House on July 8, 1944, covered here

August 14, 2022

REAL ESTATE REPORT: What's Your Apartment Worth?

Recent Tudor City sale prices via Streeteasy.
The Cloister 
$970,000, Apt 201, two bedroom
$875,695, Apt 905, two bedroom

Essex House
$625,000, Apt 808, one bedroom
$460,000, Apt 111, one bedroom

Haddon Hall
$999,500, Apt 901C, two bedroom
$949,000, Apt 701C, two bedroom

Hardwicke Hall
$825,000, Apt 103C, two bedroom
$820,000, Apt 405B, two bedroom

Hatfield House   
$345,000, Apt 901A, studio
$315,000, Apt 401A, studio

The Hermitage 
The Hermitage is a rental-only building. Recent monthly rentals:
$6,495, Apt 305, three bedroom
$5,595, Apt 204, two bedroom

The Manor  
$975,000, Apt PH 17, one bedroom
$525,000, Apt 418, one bedroom

Prospect Tower, No. 45
$495,000, Apt 1907, one bedroom
$485,000, Apt 2011, one bedroom

Tudor Gardens, No. 2
$2,495,000, Apt 11AS, three bedroom
$1,190,000, Apt 5BN, two bedroom

Tudor Tower, No. 25
$940,000, Apt 1010, two bedroom
$825,000, Apt 1212/1214, two bedroom

Windsor Tower, No. 5
$2,999,900, Apt PH C, two bedroom
$605,000, Apt 1532, one bedroom

Woodstock Tower
$899,000, Apt 2807/2809, two bedroom
$555,000, Apt 918, one bedroom

The revelation that the million dollar studio is at almost at hand is the big news this cycle. Penthouse 3C of Haddon Hall has just been listed at a cool $995,ooo by Douglas Elliman.
The view from the outside is rather simple, a square-ish box atop a rooftop. 

Inside, it's business as usual. The room is good-sized but nothing special, save for having windows on three sides. The website helpfully adds "it's also possible to build out onto the terrace." Hmmm.

In the end, it's all about the outdoor space, all 1,040 square feet of it. There's nothing wrong with the northern view from the west terrace (below) either.