April 19, 2018


This installment of Tudor City on Film examines Deux Hommes dans Manhattan (Two Men in Manhattan), a rarely seen 1959 French movie which opens with a scene set in the 43rd St cul-de-sac.               

Though the picture may be obscure, its director, Jean-Pierre Melville is well known to cineastes as the spiritual father of French New Wave cinema. A triple threat in Deux Hommes, he not only directs, but also writes and stars in the flick. The genre is film noir, all the darker since all the action unfolds over a single night.

Following a zippy credit sequence filmed from a car cruising through Times Square, the picture proper begins in Tudor City, which is introduced in voice-over. (The film is in French, hence the subtitles).

Below, the first two frames look south down First Ave, with the U.N., steam plant smokestacks, and Tudor City, from left to right. The 1912 gaslight ‒ still in operation in 1959 ‒ was filmed in the 43rd St cul-de-sac.

This rather lyrical beginning is in complete opposition to the rest of the picture, which is an entertaining crawl through the seedier side of New York nightlife.

See the jazzy opening credits here. (Watch the whole thing on Kanopy).

April 17, 2018

CLOSE-UP, 1930

Today, another series of rarely seen photos from a 1930 brochure, courtesy of reader Garth Justice. Thanks for sharing, Garth!

The base of No. 5, with a truck inexplicably backed up to the entrance. Parking evidently was not a problem in 1930, though the pristine street suggests the hand of a retoucher.

Looking across Prospect Place (now Tudor City Place) toward The Woodstock. Hedges lined both sides of the cobblestone street. The rowhouse at center right was owned by the French Company, but never developed. Today, it's the site of the children's playground opposite the North Park.

The hard-to-photograph roofline of the 3-H's. From left to right, Haddon Hall, Hardwicke Hall and Hatfield House. The latter is capped by stacked pavilions, one with a Tudor niche, another with an oriel and tall chimney.

A roadster parked in front of The Hermitage entrance. More retouching on the street and sidewalk

Essex House, with The Woodstock rising up above it. 

April 15, 2018

April 13, 2018


The vacant lot, circa 2008. Tudor City, right of center.

For some time now, the former Con Edison steam plant site has been a vacant lot. Set between 38th and 41st Streets, from First Avenue to the FDR Drive, it's an enviable parcel of land, with unobstructed river views and easy access to Midtown.

Following the steam plant's closing in 2000, the nine-acre lot was purchased by real estate magnate Sheldon Solow for $680 million. Demolition and cleanup of the site took another seven years, and then the recession hit. It has lain undeveloped ever since.

A recent New York Times interview with Solow revealed his latest thinking about the future of the site. There will be four towers ‒ three residential buildings (all condos), plus an office tower for biotech companies. No word as to the start date, but the nearly-completed construction of nearby 685 First Avenue (another Solow project) suggests it will be sooner rather than later.

Some years ago, Richard Meier and Associates made renderings of their proposal for this undeveloped parcel, which remain on their website. Whether Richard Meier will be the architect going forward is anyone's guess, given his recent public shaming. Thus, the renderings below are approximations only, but convey the general scale of what's to come. Brace yourselves.

The four towers, in a view looking west. Tudor City, right of center.

Looking south down First Ave, with Tudor City far right

April 11, 2018

Video Interlude: COCO ROCHA for LONGCHAMP

Today, a welcome break from the endless sepia toned photographs that this blog is so fond of running. Instead, here's a fun, mindless video of a pretty girl prancing around town and winding up in Tudor City.

Shot in 2013, the video is a promotional spot for Longchamp, the Parisian purveyor of luxury leather goods. The model, Coco Rocha, is a familiar face to followers of fashion.

The spot's entitled "Bigger Than Life," so naturally enough Coco plays a giantess roaming the canyons of Midtown, swinging her Longchamp bag.

She gets coffee, and strolls past the Tudor City sign.

Later, she takes a seat on the roof of the Ford Foundation, opposite The Woodstock.

Roll logo, end of spot.

See the video in all its 1:27-minute glory here.

Tudor City appears at 0:30 and 1:19, but the music ‒ "Toop Toop" by Cassius ‒ and Coco's supercool dance moves (0:37) ultimately steal the show.

April 9, 2018

Tudor City and the News Building

The headquarters of America's biggest selling newspaper, the Daily News Building opened in the summer of 1930. Tudor City's ad agency, sensing lots of potential business, sprang into action.

Travel time from Tudor City to the News Building is "almost a matter of seconds ‒ two blocks. You can go home for luncheon ‒ you can be playing golf in the evening by the time everyone else is putting his nickel in the subway slot."

The News Building rising, 1929. The Woodstock at upper left.

Similar Tudor City ads were targeted to tenants of the Chrysler Building (here) and the Lincoln Building (here).