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.

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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

MISCELLANY

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.

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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.

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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. 


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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.


May 8, 2022

Tudor City's PEARL HARBOR DAY

Protestors call out Harry Helmsley. Behind them, the wall.

Today, a look back at May 24, 1980, when Tudor City took on Harry Helmsley over the fate of its parks. It was written just days after the events, and is taken from the June 1980 Tudor City Association newsletter.

TUDOR CITY'S 1980 PEARL HARBOR DAY began Saturday morning May 24th at 7 a.m. when truckloads of lumber and about 20 workmen arrived at the North Park to start construction of a wall around the park. Lisa Ericsen alerted Tudor City Association President John McKean, who, thorough the use of a bullhorn, immediately called residents for emergency action. Even though it was Memorial Day weekend, the community responded at once! Within 30 minutes, over 200 people were on the street. In another 30 minutes, they had removed all of the lumber from the park and police arrived in force. Meanwhile, TCA was searching for a lawyer and a judge, both difficult to find on a holiday weekend.

They finally got a restraining order, but things were far from resolved.   

VOLUNTEERS SLEPT in the park Saturday night ‒ fortunately ‒ because at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Fay Weprin reported the arrival of more lumber, workmen and a bulldozer.  Disregarding the restraining order, Helmsley was attempting another attack. Careful advance planning was evident ‒ when the bulldozer arrived, a lady unknown in Tudor City jumped into a car and drove away, clearing the way into the park. About a dozen residents formed a human chain in front of the bulldozer. Police responded quickly to call for help and ordered the bulldozer and workmen out.

And so it went for several days. When the courts lifted the ban, the workers continued to build the wall. The TCA took the politics out on the street and picketed Helmsley's office and home. Then, realizing he was losing the public relations battle, Helmsley backed down and agreed to remove the wall, and give fifteen days notice before resumption.

ON TUESDAY,JUNE 3,HELMSLEY TOOK DOWN HIS WALL, a happy ending to ten bad days. However, we must remember this is only a battle we've won, not the war. The entire community can be happy about its courage against overwhelming financial power, and we can all be proud to be a part of a community that has again defended itself effectively.

⸺⸺

For further reading, check out the entire document.



May 1, 2022

THEN AND NOW: East 40th Street

Looking east down 40th Street from 2nd Avenue, then and now:

No. 5, circa 1940

This picture was made around 1940, featuring No. 5, triumphant amidst the chaos all around it, including the elevated train tracks of the Second Avenue El, at the top and the murky goings-on in the street, below it. 

No. 5, in 2022

Eighty-two years later, the neighborhood has changed with the arrival of No. 2 in 1956, and then 305 E. 40th Street in 1962. Both buildings were tall enough to almost eclipse No. 5, and today there is only a hint of it on the street. 



April 24, 2022

ARTIFACT: 1939 Souvenir Brochure


Above, today's artifact, a 1939 New York City brochure. It was printed and distributed to those who advertised in it, in this case, Woolworth's. What is amazing about it is its size, nearly 5 foot by 2 foot when unfurled. There is plenty of information to absorb, and for the Tudor City fan, a six-panel ad. 


Of course, the big news is the 1939 New York World's Fair, and thus the largest picture is an aerial view of Tudor City and the Fair:

After that, the Fair was forgotten in favor of the countless wonders of Tudor City. Still, there were two things that caught our eye.

One is sublime, this elegant take on The Woodstock. . .

. . . while no doubt the silliest was the sad copy above, somewhat saved by a map of the community.

The rest of the brochure touches on everything you can possibly imagine. Here's the Chrysler Observation Tower:
Finally, to fill up space throughout the brochure, there are small photos of storefronts. Below, a collection for your inspection.


 



April 17, 2022

East Side Airlines Terminal


Today we revisit a posting made in August, 2020 regarding the news that there will soon be East Side Access to the LIRR. Service would begin in December, 2022, and according to the news online, that still holds. Not only will the train supply direct service to Long Island, it will also stop at JFK airport. Genius.

It was reminiscent of the exalted East Side Airlines Terminal, which opened in 1953. An offshoot of the original Airlines Terminal, it issued airline tickets, baggage claim forms, arranged for ground transportation, etc.

It also promised rooftop parking and convenience ‒ for Tudor City residents, it was a mere three blocks away.

A look at the place around 1955. Occupying an entire block, it leant a decided nautical feel to the neighborhood. The greenery at left borders the entrance to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. At upper right, the tips of The Woodstock and No. 5.

The company did well for the first 20 years, then it began its decline. Finally reduced to a bus depot in 1985, it was sold for $90.6 million to developers who turned it into The Corinthian, a luxury apartment house.