September 18, 2019

Evolution of a LOGO

Our slogan ‒ Live in Tudor City and Walk to Business ‒ was in place from the very start. We believe it was created by the Huber Hoge ad agency, a well-regarded firm whose clients included Standard Oil and Smith & Wesson. The agency's fortunes, however, were fleeting. Hit hard by the Depression, it closed in 1931. 

While Tudor City's slogan was set in stone, its logo design underwent some variations over time, the subject of today's post.

Above, the logo on an early newspaper ad, dated February 3, 1927, seven months before the first buildings opened. The slogan is there, but the layout a bit clunky.

In April, 1927, the words are rearranged in a more eye-pleasing manner.

Above and below, several attempts in early 1928 to completely reinvent the logo. None of them stuck.

The logo soon morphed back into an earlier format, above, and would remain unchanged for many years. . . 

. . .until there was a word modification in May, 1941. "Walk to Business" became the more modern "Walk to Work."

Detail of inside matchbook cover, circa 1942. What a difference an exclamation point makes!


Tudor City's print ads abruptly ceased in early 1943. There was no point: it was wartime, and a citywide housing shortage made promotion unnecessary. On top of that, all of Tudor City had just been put under rent control, mandating such low annual increases that nobody moved out. Print advertising for the enclave never returned ‒ except for a short stint in the '80s, when the complex went co-op.

More about the slogan here.

September 15, 2019


First Avenue, looking north from 39th Street.
At upper left, No. 5 stands tall both then and now. In the center, the industrial steam plant smokestacks that once dominated the landscape are now home to the modernist United Nations campus.  The Queens Midtown Tunnel entrance is long gone.

1946 photo made by the Wurts Brothers, profiled earlier.

September 11, 2019

ARTIFACT: Hotel Tudor Brochure, 1958

A look at a circa-1958 brochure from Hotel Tudor, newly rebranded as "an international hotel" following the United Nations' arrival in the neighborhood. The advertising copy spelled it out:
Because so many places are so close at hand, particularly the United Nations Headquarters, people from many lands make a point of staying at The Tudor. In the handsomely restyled lobby and public rooms, you'll hear languages from the world over.

The hotel's longtime traditional Colonial furniture has been replaced by sleeker, more contemporary furnishings.

The onsite restaurant, the Cameo Room. Oddly enough, it does not serve dinner. 

The oval bar in the cocktail lounge. We hope the drinks were as stiff as the advertising copy!

September 8, 2019


This installment of Strange But True tells the story of Fela Biro, a Polish émigré, her two-year-old son, John, and a 10-cent toy garden hoe.

The incident begins on Sunday, April 22, 1934, when Fela takes her son out to play in Central Park. The child begins to dig in the dirt with his hoe, drawing a policeman, who tells the mother to make the child stop. "He's just playing," she protests, and one thing leads to another. In the end, she's brought before a magistrate and fined two dollars, which she doesn't have. It's the Depression. Her husband is out of work. Their meager income derives from her salary as an actress with the Artef Players Collective, a Communist theater group.

So Fela and her son are thrown into jail for four hours. The press somehow gets wind of it and is outraged at such harsh treatment for a petty offence. Says the Daily News, "The majesty of the law descended heavily yesterday upon an impoverished mother and sent her to jail for a day because her baby boy dragged a 10-cent tin hoe along the sacrosanct grass of Central Park."

The incident gets enough bad press to warrant a response from Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. Fela, he says, is a "so-called hard luck case" and a "Communist baiter of cops. All the evidence indicates that she was just looking for trouble and that the newspaper notoriety that followed was duck soup for her." [Fela was an avowed Communist; her son's full name is John Reed Biro, after the Socialist activist].

The New Yorker concludes the story in Tudor City in a droll Talk of the Town piece:
Mrs. Fela Biro and her two-year-old son John, who were sent to jail for digging in Central Park, made their latest, and perhaps their final, public appearance last Wednesday morning. One of the newsreel companies, anxious to film the celebrated excavator but unwilling to become accomplices to another crime by filming it in Central Park, took John over to Tudor City's private park on Prospect Place. John brought along his beach spade and his mother, and enthusiastically reenacted the outrage. The recording called for only a little superficial turning up of the sod, but as soon as it was over, John started digging like mad. "Hey, you can't do that!" hollered one of the Tudor City people, and made a grab at his spade. It took two grown men to stop him. 

September 4, 2019

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Sometimes Tudor City just makes one want to break into dance, proof of which is abundant on Instagram.

Dancer Kurt Froman, profiled earlier, photographed with a mannequin modeling bridal gowns.

September 1, 2019

Tudor City Artifact: 1944 MENU

A luncheon/dinner menu from the Tudor City Coffee House in No. 25, dated Saturday, July 8, 1944. 

Though Chilled Prune Juice and Jellied Essence of Tomatoes have gone out of fashion, other dishes on this luncheon menu remain standards today.
The Tudor City Coffee House motto: "This restaurant is operated for the convenience of our Tudor City tenants. Our aim is to serve the best quality foods at moderate prices."

A three-cent liquor tax explains the odd drink prices. Egg nog, offered on this July menu, was apparently a year-round drink.

August 28, 2019

Residents: TWIGGY

In this installment of our notable residents series, meet Twiggy, supermodel and Tudor City tenant. Here is her life, in bullet points:

✪  Born Lesley Hornby, 1949. Begins her modeling career at age 16 in 1965. Her big eyes, stick-thin frame and boyish haircut make for an androgynous look perfect for the Swinging Sixties. Becomes an iconic figure ‒ one of the first international supermodels ‒ overnight.

✪  Retires from modeling in 1970, transitioning into movies (The Boyfriend) and the theater (a Tony Award‒nominated turn in the musical My One and Only).

✪  Marries British actor Leigh Lawson in 1988, and continues to work as a singer, author, fashion designer and television personality. Made a Dame of the British Empire in March 2019.


Twiggy's Instagram feed reveals that she lived in Tudor City in 1984, most likely when she was on Broadway in My One and Only