June 18, 2018

CONFIDENTIAL: "Lady Raffles" Edition

Daily News headline, July 30,1937

This edition of our Confidential series ‒ a walk on Tudor City's wilder side ‒ tells the tale of Eleanor Campbell, Manor resident, sun worshiper, and jewel thief.

Her 10-day-long crime wave begins after she steals a passkey from The Manor's telephone switchboard room and robs six apartments. Detectives are called in to investigate, and spot her exiting an apartment (not her own), clad in a thin robe and bathing suit.

She darts up to the roof's sundeck. When the detectives arrive, she's sunbathing and apparently mending a handkerchief. In fact, the passkey is hidden in the hankie. The detectives are wise to her ruse. "That's the first time I've ever seen anybody sew with a door key" one comments dryly. Caught red-handed, Eleanor confesses to the thefts. "Okay, I guess that's that," says she.

But once at the police station, she charges her tune, stating "I'm sure this is a case of mistaken identity." Her attorney chimes in that the charges are "all wet." Nonetheless, she's specifically charged with the theft of a diamond pin, valued at $100. The tabloids have fun with the story, dubbing her "Lady Raffles" (after the fictional gentleman thief, Raffles, played in the movies by Ronald Colman).

The pin is later recovered from a nearby pawn shop, so the owner declines to press charges, and the case is dismissed. Eleanor gets off with a stern admonition from the magistrate: "You had better try to correct your ways, or you will go to one of the women's prisons."

Below, Eleanor arriving at court with her lawyer. Photo and caption from the Daily News.
Miss Eleanor Campbell, 26, her eyes shielded by sunglasses, is taken into Criminal Courts Building yesterday. The attractive blonde is accused of being a 'Lady Raffles' who robbed six tenants in the Tudor City apartment house where she makes her home. She was held in $500 bail for hearing next Friday.(NEWS foto)

June 16, 2018


Dawn breaks on 41st Street, in a photo looking east from a window in the Hotel Tudor, showing No. 5, No. 2 and the 3-H's.

June 14, 2018

TUDOR CITY ARTIFACT: Kate Spade Credit Card Case

Today's artifact, a luxurious credit card case, is of recent vintage, circa 2000. Made by Kate Spade New York, it's part of a leather accessories line that included wallets, organizers, holders for passports and business cards, and the like. The name of the line? Tudor City, of course.

The credit card case, above. Though the line has been discontinued, the item remains on the Kate Spade website, along with the news that it's out of stock. The website copy reads
Designed and built in the 1920s to be an urban utopia on Manhattan's East Side, Tudor City has become one of New York's most famous residential enclaves. We designed our latest take on a credit card case with that in mind, crafted it of smooth leather with a flap and a magnetic snap closure.

Though the Tudor City line has been sunsetted, many items are available from resale outlets like eBay. Yesterday's latest thing is tomorrow's collectible, just saying. . .

June 12, 2018

Lost Tudor City: FOUNTAIN Edition

This installment of Lost Tudor City concerns the long-gone fountain, above, that was the centerpiece of the North Park from 1927 to 1949.

Set in the center of a graveled oval opposite the lich gate entrance, it was the first thing a visitor to the North Park would encounter,

It was topped by a cherub holding a jug, astride a turtle. Water poured out of the jug, as well as from the mouths of lions circling the base.

Above, newspaper ads spotlighting the fountain and touting the enclave's city convenience, country charm, and cool wafting breezes.

No surprise, it was much beloved by small fry.

The parks were completely redesigned and the fountain removed in 1949, as part of the neighborhood upgrades pending the arrival of the U.N.

June 8, 2018

Tudor City Artifact: COFFEE POT Edition

Today's artifact is a circa-1930 single-cup coffee pot, used in one of the Tudor City restaurants.
Although petite, just 5½ inches tall, the pot is a sturdy, quadruple-plate item with a lovely patina. 

It's engraved with a Tudor City‒themed heraldic seal ‒ Fred F. French's initials on a shield, topped by a dove.

This silver soldered pot was made by Gorham, a renowned silversmith founded in 1831. The choice of Gorham is another example of Fred French's penchant for brand-name embellishments in the enclave ‒ Frigidaires, Murphy beds, Atlantic Terra Cotta, Lamberton Scammell china, and so on. He didn't skimp on the details.

June 6, 2018

Tudor City on Film: LADY BIRD

This installment of Tudor City on Film spotlights Lady Bird, a 2017 coming-of-age story starring Saorise Ronan and directed by Greta Gerwig.

Although Tudor City makes a fleeting, blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in the movie, it did not escape eagle-eyed resident John McDonald, who alerted us. Thanks for the tip, John!

The set-up: Title character Lady Bird (Saorise Ronan) and her friend are paging through bridal magazines at the supermarket check-out counter.
Cut to the magazine they're looking at, featuring a photo of a dressed-to-the-nines model lounging on the Tudor City sign.

Granted, it's a split-second appearance, but anything relating to the Tudor City sign thrills us.