December 11, 2019

ARTIFACT: National Register of Historic Places DESIGNATION MAP

Above, the official map from the National Register of Historic Places delineating the borders of the Tudor City Historic District. The designation was made on September 11, 1986.

WHAT'S IN: all the buildings constructed by Fred F. French from 1925-1930, a church dating from 1871, four 1870s rowhouses [holdouts that refused to sell to French], and a 1926 apartment building.

WHAT'S OUT: the two children's playgrounds adjacent to the parks, and No. 2, Tudor Gardens, 30 years old at the time of designation. Generally, properties must be at least 50 years old to be included in the National Register.

December 8, 2019

PICTURE OF THE DAY: Halston Celebrating on the Bridge

Tudor City Bridge, 1968.

Picture of the day is this historic photo showing fashion designer Halston and his business associates, made on the day he launched his own eponymous label, August 22, 1968.

Pictured, from left to right, is Halston, the former celebrity milliner turned budding couturier; Frances Stein, former Glamour editor now a design adviser; Joel Schumacher, boutique owner and future movie director (St. Elmo's Fire, Flatliners, Batman Forever); and Joanne Creveling, former Macy's exec now in charge of the business end of the company.

Although Halston's boutique was on the Upper East Side, the celebratory photos were made on the Tudor City Bridge, no doubt because of its splendid city backdrop.  

More fashion on the bridge here and here.

December 4, 2019

Strange But True: SIGN EDITION

Strange but true, the Tudor City Sign is currently without letters. This freedom from expression, of course, is in preparation for its imminent refurbishment. Is everybody ready?

Thanks to Peter De Botti for the tip, and Diogo De Botti for the photos. Dear readers, this blog always welcomes submissions.

December 1, 2019


This edition of our Confidential series recounts the sensational story of a policeman who murdered a nurse, dumped her body behind Prospect Tower, and then shot himself.

Daily News, July 5, 1946
The bizarre story, a tabloid sensation, begins in the early morning hours of Independence Day, 1946. Patrolman Mariano Abello and his supervising sergeant are making their nightly rounds. At 5:00 AM, the sergeant visits Hotel Tudor for a routine check, following up on a recent series of hold-ups. He goes in alone, telling Abello to wait in the car. When the sergeant returns fifteen minutes later, Abello and the car are gone.

Around 5:30 AM, a bus driver spots an abandoned patrol car with a flat tire near a "lonely, ill-lighted sidewalk under the Tudor City bluff on Slaughter House Row" [today the site of Ralph Bunche Park]. Patrolman Abello is standing near the car, and several feet away is the body of a woman, who has been strangled to death. Abello tells the bus driver to guard the body while he goes to the police station.

Instead, he commandeers a passing car at gunpoint and orders the driver to take him to the Bronx, telling him "I'm in a hell of a mess." Abello manages to hide out for eight hours until he is cornered by a phalanx of detectives. Rather than surrender, he shoots himself in the head. He is sent to the hospital in critical condition, with little chance of survival, and lapses into a coma.

It's all rather hard to imagine, since Abello is a model cop, on the force for ten years with a "spotless record for sobriety and conduct." He's 35, handsome, happily married. Not much is known about the victim, Catherine Miller, a 42-year-old divorcee. She's been living in New York for about a year, working as a secretary, a clerk and a practical nurse. She has no fixed address, storing her clothing in a locker at Grand Central. She has been arrested several times for intoxication, and the autopsy shows she had been drinking on the night of her death.

There is no evidence that the pair knew each other, and thus there is no motive for

the killing. The mystery deepens. Abello remains in a coma, the days pass, and then reports surface that Abello and Miller were in the same bar that fateful night ‒ Louis' on E. 31st St. Miller was a regular there, while Abello dropped in for reasons unknown. No witnesses saw them together that night, but regulars said the cop and the nurse did in fact know each other.

The story fades away in the press. By August, Abello is out of his coma, and, miraculously improved, appears for his arraignment in Homicide Court on the charge of first-degree murder. The trial begins in May, 1947. The most damning testimony comes from the driver of the abducted car, who states that Abello told him, "Drinking is bad. I just killed a woman. She was a slut."

The defense does not have much of a case, and Abello never takes the stand. He is ultimately convicted of second degree murder, and sentenced to 20 years to life in Sing Sing.

Daily News, May 17, 1947. Abello's wife awaiting the verdict.

What exactly happened the night of the murder remains a mystery to this day.

November 27, 2019

Special BEAUTY Edition

Caruso Beauty Salon, 1962
Herewith, a selection of advertisements for Tudor City's longtime beauty parlor, in business for over 35 years. All the ads come from Tudor City View, the monthly neighborhood gazette. 

In 1934, the Tudor City Beauty Shop opens in No. 25, leased by Michael Caruso.

The business gets a new name (Caruso's Beauty Salon) and a new address (Windsor Tower) in 1939. 

Caruso's two sons, Enrico and Julius, learn the trade in the shop, and go on to become celebrity hair stylists. In 1951, Enrico invents the Poodle Cut, a tightly curled style popularized by Lucille Ball that would prove to be his claim to fame. 

A nostalgic look back at hair curling techniques of yore, from 1966, when nostalgia was in flower.

More on the Caruso Beauty Salon here.

November 24, 2019


This thrilling photo, made last week, shows the newly fabricated letters of the Tudor City Sign in the shop prior to prepping and painting. (As reported in an earlier update, the letters will be painted a metallic gold mimicking an earlier color scheme.) For the last 30 years, this historic sign has been cursorily maintained after being extinguished around 1990. The community owes a big thanks to the board and shareholders of Prospect Tower for undertaking this project.

Predicting when the letters will be installed is a fool's game, but inside word is sooner rather than later. 

The backstory on the sign here.

November 20, 2019


This edition of Tudor City on Film takes a look at Living With Yourself, a new high-concept Netflix series starring Paul Rudd (of Ant-Man fame).

It's the story of Miles Elliot, an average guy who inadvertently clones himself. His clone is like him in every way, but better ‒ kinder, happier, gentler  and very much in love with Kate, Original Miles' wife. Kate is bewildered. Although Clone Miles is familiar to her, he's also very much a stranger.

Tudor City turns up in Season One's Episode 7, with the action taking place on the Tudor City Bridge.

The sequence begins with Clone Miles and Kate going for a run and pausing for breath on the bridge.

Turning on the charm, Miles hands her a piece of paper. 

It's a plane ticket to Paris for two. "We can move there, start fresh," he says.

It's all too sudden for skeptical Kate. "I guess I'm not feeling very spontinée," she replies. An awkward silence ensues.

He realizes he's moved too fast, and tactfully changes the subject. "Wanna keep running?" he asks. They move off the bridge.

The camera lingers for a moment on the 42nd Street corridor. Cut to next scene.