August 7, 2022

Look, Up in the Sky!

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman, in Tudor City at last. Or at least a painting of Superman ‒ this circa 1978 rendition stars Christopher Reeve in one of the countless reboots of the character. Here Superman hovers just above the Tudor City bridge with The Woodstock and the Hotel Tudor featured above his right hand.

This original painting by the artist Koufay is for sale on eBay. It's being offered at the buy-it-now price of $7,250.

If that's a bit high for your budget, check out this free Instagram photo by Jonathan Belle on the Tudor City bridge. Known as the Seattle Superman, he poses in costume against photographic landmarks across the country.

July 31, 2022

Percy Loomis Sperr and No. 5

Today, we would like to introduce Percy Loomis Sperr (1889-1964), who photographed Tudor City in its early days.

He had been hired by the New York Public Library to photograph what buildings were coming down, and he roamed city streets from 1924 to 1945 as its enigmatic recorder. In his imagination, he saw himself as a writer. "I am not much of a camera fan. My own interest is rather in the story than in the picture." 

The completed Nos. 25 and 45 awaiting their neighbor, No. 5.

Nos. 701-719 First Avenue, photographed by Sperr in 1926. Future site of No. 5.

A more straight-on view. Amid the rubble, one building remains, the obstinate 8 Prospect Place; it will remain standing until after World War II, when the French Company finally buys it. The backstory here.

A shot of The Woodstock, towering above it all.

And finally, the completed No. 5. Photo made by Sperr in 1936.

July 24, 2022

Best of Instagram

Our picks for the best of Tudor City on Instagram.

     Infinity pool by sharles22

 Tudor City by americanphotographicartists

Sisterhood by feralcatpro 

 Batman by lekristoff

Anchors Away by perchiknyc

July 17, 2022

RESIDENTS: Claudia Schiffer

Welcome back to our residents of note feature, where today we spotlight Claudia Schiffer, supermodel and one-time Manor resident.

Schiffer was born in Germany and discovered in a discotheque at age 18. Soon thereafter, she was photographed for Guess Jeans by Ellen von Unwerth (above) and her tousled look reminded many of Brigitte Bardot. "The company became much more known around the world because of Claudia" said the owner of Guess Jeans. A supermodel was born.

She posed on cars and in speedboats, and had a roaring career. She holds the Guinness record for the most magazine covers ever ‒ over 1,000. In 2002, she married director Matthew Vaughn and they now have three children. 

Schiffer lived in The Manor at the beginning of her career, probably starting around 1990, and probably underwritten by Guess Jeans. The above photograph was made on the terrace of PH 6, her apartment. "From the archive," she says. "Early days in my first apartment in NYC, and my first ever Fendi bag." 

Thank you David Reiff for the tip.

July 10, 2022

THEN AND NOW: The Entrance to No. 45

 Looking west from the entrance of No. 45, then and now.

The original photograph, made around 1928. 

In 2022, the most marked difference are the cars, both in numbers and size. The cobblestoned road was replaced by asphalt in 1952. As for the Lich Gate, it disappeared around this time too, as part of the neighborhood upgrades for the U.N. And finally, there have been remarkable advances in awning design.

July 3, 2022

The Other Penthouses

A look at Tudor City's other penthouses, those resting atop the more modest sized buildings. They never got much attention, but the reasons they remain in demand is outside access, always at a premium in New York. Even if the access is long and narrow, and the apartments on the small side.

A corner of The Cloister.

A roof garden on The Manor.        .

Looking west, a variety of greenery on No. 2, the 3H's and Essex House.

From No. 2, looking north toward The Woodstock.

This Essex House penthouse has an eastern view of No. 25.

Atop Haddon Hall, facing northwest. The view includes the water towers of the 3H's, the Hotel Tudor and The Woodstock.

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.