March 20, 2019

Introducing the FORD FOUNDATION GALLERY

In breaking news, a new amenity comes to Tudor City via a recently opened art gallery inside the Ford Foundation.

It's a new day at this venerable institution, the culmination of a two-year, $205 million renovation to the landmark 1967 structure. Asbestos removal, sprinkler installation and wheelchair accessibility were all addressed. But there was also a more sweeping change to the DNA of the institution, now rechristened the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice.

In keeping with what's in the air these days, the mission is now all about inclusion and diversity. Individual offices have been remodeled into open-plan seating, and executive suites repurposed into gratis conference rooms for non-profits. 

Downstairs, the new art gallery is meant to draw the public into the building, and there's even signage promoting it on the 42nd Street sidewalk (above). The first exhibition, "Perilous Bodies," features contemporary artwork with pointed social themes and runs through May 11th. The particulars:

FORD FOUNDATION GALLERY
ENTRANCE: 320 E. 43rd St. 
HOURS: Mon ‒ Sat, 11 am ‒ 6 pm
Free admission
  
Further info on the gallery's website here

Installation view of the 2,000-square-foot gallery space.

Adjoining the gallery is the foundation's lush atrium garden, also open to the public, but remarkably still something of a best-kept secret.
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Thank you to Rose Sculley for the intel. Dear readers, be like Rose and share your story ideas ‒ and especially your vintage memorabilia ‒ with this blog.

March 13, 2019

An Onion for Walter Winchell


Today, a look back to the spring of 1935 when Walter Winchell, famed newspaper columnist and radio broadcaster, ran an item about Tudor City's parks:

. . . Scallions to the Tudor Park sign; "No Children, Only Adults Admitted!". . .

Winchell's implication that Tudor City was child-unfriendly didn't please the French Company, and soon Tudor City Service, the colony's monthly magazine ‒ underwritten by the French Company ‒ set the record straight.

The editorial in its entirety, below:



Winchell continued to run assorted Tudor City items over the years, see earlier posts herehere and here.

March 10, 2019

WPA Poster, 1940

Above, a 1940 poster promoting a WPA art exhibition held in Windsor Tower's Grey Room, a community space used for parties, lectures, musicales, art shows, and dance lessons from Gene Kelly.

March 6, 2019

Annie Leibovitz At Work

Today, behind the scenes at the 2011 Annie Leibovitz photo shoot featuring the Tudor City sign, profiled earlier. 

The photographer in the setup room opposite the sign.

Her subject, actor Kevin McKidd, tries on various ensembles.

On the roof, the fans are readied.

McKidd turns on the charm.

Leibovitz at work.

Looking at the results on her laptop, below.


March 3, 2019

The INQUIRING FOTOGRAPHER, 1960s style

Another entry in our Inquiring Fotographer series, taken from the Daily News' question-answer-and-photo column that unaccountably fascinates this blog. This edition's respondents are three gents living in Tudor City during the Swinging Sixties.



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See more Inquiring Fotographer in earlier posts here and here.

February 27, 2019

Residents: WILL EISNER

This edition of notable Tudor City residents spotlights Will Eisner, the cartoonist behind The Spirit, the influential cult strip that the New York Times later called "the Citizen Kane of comics."
Eisner in his Tudor City studio, 1941

Here is Eisner's life, in bullet points.

⬥ Born 1917 in Brooklyn. Displays a talent for cartooning in high school, starts his career by doing pickup work for titles like Wonder Comics and Wow Magazine. At the time, comic books are a burgeoning industry.

⬥ In 1939, Eisner strikes a deal with Quality Comics to produce a Sunday comic book supplement for a newspaper syndicate. The schedule is rigorous ‒ a new seven-page episode every week. The strip is to introduce a new character called The Spirit whom Eisner has been developing.

⬥ Rents a fifth-floor one-bedroom apartment in Windsor Tower to be used as his studio/office. Four other artists are hired to work in the cramped space, later described by Eisner biographer, Bob Andelman:
The Eisner studio at 5 Tudor City Place consisted of one large room, a bedroom, and a small kitchen that was nothing more than a wall. Eisner used the bedroom as his private office. Staffers frequently borrowed the key on weekends as a place to bring their dates. There was no bed, but the couch was extremely popular.


⬥ It was in this studio that The Spirit was born. Lookswise, the character is modeled on Cary Grant, but otherwise he's decidedly different from his peers. Instead of a costume, he wears a baggy blue suit, wide-brimmed hat and a blue mask that appears to be tattooed on. The Spirit has no powers. He can't fly, see through walls, or lift up cars, he's just a working class detective ‒ who's come back from the dead to fight crime.



⬥  The Spirit debuts on June 2, 1940. [One of its signature touches ‒ never repeating the design of the title logo ‒ is illustrated above.] At its height, the strip is syndicated in 20 newspapers with a readership of 5 million, but stays under the radar since it never runs in New York. The strip folds in 1952, and Eisner turns to a lucrative career in educational comics. 

⬥ In 1965, cartoonist Jules Feiffer publishes the first serious study of the comics, The Great Comic Book Heroes, which concludes with an episode of The Spirit. Overnight, the strip is rediscovered and becomes a cult sensation, credited with influencing generations of cartoonists to this day.

Eisner and associates working on The Spirit in Tudor City, 1941