October 22, 2018


Dale Messick, circa 1945.
This edition of notable residents in the enclave features Dale Messick, a cartoonist known for her groundbreaking comic strip, Brenda Starr, Reporter. Here is her life, in bullet points.

❈  Born 1906. Illustrates greeting cards during the Depression, dreams of creating a comic strip. Sells Brenda Starr, Reporter to the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate in 1940 and becomes the first nationally syndicated female cartoonist.

❈  The strip's intoxicating mix of glamour and adventure is a hit, touching a nerve with women readers. Beautiful, brainy Brenda (her look inspired by Rita Hayworth) is an independent working woman who eschews reporting society news for more exotic assignments ‒ parachuting out of airplanes, being kidnapped by pirates, etc. (In later years, she's hailed as a feminist heroine, alongside Wonder Woman, a character launched around the same time.)

❈ At its peak in the mid-fifties, the strip runs in over 250 newspapers. We believe that it is at this time that Messick takes an apartment in No. 5, no doubt a pied-à-terre chosen for its convenience to her place of business. Like many other cartoonists ‒ Milton Caniff, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, and C.D. Batchelor among them ‒ she's drawn to Tudor City for its convenience to the Daily News and Daily Mirror offices. How long she resides in the colony is unknown.

❈  Messick retires in 1982, passing away in 2005. Brenda Starr, Reporter outlives her, finally succumbing in 2011.

Although Brenda naturally has many suitors, her heart belongs to Basil St. John, a mysterious but dashing millionaire with an eye patch and a baffling illness that can only be cured by a black orchid serum found in the Amazon jungle. They meet cute when he rescues her from a fire at a fashion show. After a 36-year courtship in a number of far-flung locales, they finally marry in 1976.

Over its 71-year run, the strip spawns a variety of commercial tie-ins. Below, a poster for a 1945 movie serial, and a whimsical set of paper dolls.

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Read all our notable resident posts to date here.

October 18, 2018


1930 brochure detail.

Tudor City had its own private police force from the very beginning, a service that was part of its sales pitch. They were foot patrolmen ‒ a breed that's all but vanished from city streets.

Below, Tudor City's police force posed in front of No. 5 in 1938, in a picture that originally ran on the cover of Tudor City View. The original caption below the picture.

Proud are we of this month's cover, with its stalwart guardians and peace officers. They are, from left to right, Jerry Fallon, Harry Robinson, Denis McCarthy and James Quinn, all good men and true, and who are known by more residents than any other of our uniformed staff.
It's unclear how long the private force patrolled the enclave. There's a suggestion that they were still on duty in 1953, as seen in this still from the French film, L'Ennemi Public No. 1, shot on the Tudor City Bridge.

That's the French movie star Fernandel, having such a heated conversation with his companion that he draws the attention of a cop. The scene implies that there were still foot patrolmen in the enclave, but it is, after all, a movie. The picture is said to be the first feature ever shot on location in Tudor City. More about it here.

October 16, 2018


Today, some evocative photographs of the South Park in winter. The unknown photographer uses a wide-angle lens and Photoshop expertise to achieve his edgy effects.

The same photographer provided the content of a recent Picture of the Day post.

View of the South Park fountain, looking north. 
Looking south, with No. 25, No. 5 and No. 2 in the background.
Looking north across 42nd Street toward the North Park and The Manor.

October 14, 2018


Today's picture, made from a window in the Chrysler Building, captures Tudor City and the world around it on a specific day ‒ November 16, 1929. The boulevard on the left is 42nd Street. At lower right, the white building under construction is the future home of the Daily News. The smokestacks at top right, part of the Con Edison steam plant, are evidence of how industrial the riverfront still was at this time.

Of particular interest to this blog are the three signs in the photo, blown up below.

Showing the twin TUDOR CITY signs bracketing 42nd Street, atop Nos. 45 and 25. (The latter sign had a short life, removed in 1933, while No. 45's version remains in place to this day.) The warehouse buildings behind them were part of the East River's slaughterhouse district, then in full swing.

Facing the East River, there's a bonus sign for THE NEW YORK EDISON COMPANY, the neighborhood steam plant. How long this sign remained in place is anyone's guess, but the smokestacks were demolished in 2007.

October 12, 2018

Lost Tudor City: The GAZEBOS

This episode of Lost Tudor City spotlights two long-gone gazebos that once graced the South Park.

Octagonal pavilions made of heavy timber with shingled roofs, the gazebos were in the English style, in keeping with the overall design of the parks. Set on the north- and southeast corners of the park, they were in place from 1930 to 1949.
The southeastern gazebo, with No. 5 in the background.
Above, the northeastern gazebo depicted on a postcard, and on a wintertime cover of Tudor City View (photo by resident Sidney Lehman).

The gazebos were removed in 1949, when both parks were redesigned as part of the neighborhood upgrades for the arrival of the U.N. The redesign was not in the English style, and the gazebos never returned.

October 10, 2018


The United Nations, then and now.

In 2011, the United Nations was in the midst of a eight-year-long renovation to refurbish its facilities. Asbestos was removed, glass walls replaced, and systems brought up to current building codes. The project was completed ‒ to the tune of $2.15 billion ‒ in 2017. 

We're happy to report that the reflection of Tudor City and the Midtown skyline on the Secretariat's glass curtain wall remains as Instagram-worthy as ever.