September 10, 2023

RESIDENTS: James T. Farrell letter

Another post concerning James T. Farrell, author of the Studs Lonigan trilogy in the 1930s, and a resident of No. 5 in the 1960s.

Today's artifact is a letter written by Farrell to Marylew Kogan. What their relationship was exactly is unclear, but Farrell dutifully reports where he stands at the moment on various projects, then asks Kogan to forward some stories to him for inclusion in his archive.  

A familiar return address first caught our eye. Where exactly he lived in No. 5 remains a mystery, but insiders insist it was one of the penthouses. 

Dear Marylew,

    I'll write soon. This is in haste. I finished Invisible Swords yesterday. I regard it as the most powerful book I have ever written.

    Judith is out.

    Childhood Is Not Forever will be out in Sept, 1969. I have a shorter novel than Invisible SwordsTom Carroll is almost ready. [Tom Carroll never published]

Jim Farrell       

P. S. And please do get the stories back to me so that I can send them away to my archive. 

Farrell was a busy writer, and he produced 52 books in all. But in the end, the most revered were the Studs Lonigan trilogy, written at the start of his career. See more about him here.


Please note that I'm taking a couple weeks vacation and will be back in October. See you then!

September 3, 2023


Hazy Tudor City (center left) and Waterside Station's smoke stacks (center right) are highlights from this view taken from the Second Avenue El train.

A look at the construction of the Queens-Midtown tunnel. It had first been conceived in 1921 to help ease congestion on the East River bridges, but its start date was postponed by political in-fighting and later by the Depression. Nonetheless construction began in 1936, and was completed four years later. FDR took the first ride across it.

What follows below are some snapshots chronicling the tearing down of several blocks in preparation for the tunnel's entrance. All photos in this feature are the work of Percy Loomis Sperr, profiled here.
Looking north, the demolition is contrasted with the Chrysler Building (far left), the Daily News Building (center left) and The Woodstock (far right). 

Again facing north, this time adding more of Tudor City to the shot. 

A view toward the East River showing Waterside Station's smoke stacks. The tunnel began its underground descent beneath the Kips Bay Brewing Company. 

This was followed by the power plant, then it made a sharp turn toward the river alongside the Manhattan Ventilation building. The fact that it turns the corner across the street from No. 5 makes it very much a neighborhood story ‒ even though it's happening 95 feet down.

The tunnel opened to traffic on November 15, 1940; there was a 25-cent toll. Today, 83 years later, the toll is $6.94.

August 27, 2023

INSTAGRAMS of the Month

 Once again, it's time for the best Instagrams that we managed to find, running the gamut from the July 4th fireworks to the wild fires of Canada.

by borisshoot

by elle.was.here_   

by lucas_d_in_nyc      

by 914201

by hannah.knoblauch   

August 20, 2023

ARTIFACT: Hotel Tudor brochure, 1933

Today's artifact is a 1933 brochure from the Hotel Tudor (today known as the Westgate New York Grand Central). For once, we're willing to withhold comment and let the item do the talking.


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Don't miss the 35th anniversary of Tudor City Greens, the non-profit that does such a splendid job with our parks. September 9th is the date, details here.

August 13, 2023

MORE of The Little Dogs of Tudor City

Yes, they are back. Apparently the sales of the first book ‒ The Little Dogs of Tudor City ‒ were sufficient enough to fund these new arrivals.

The first is entitled The Little Dogs of Tudor City Save the Dog Show. Expect the usual frivolity culminating at the annual dog show held at Madison Square Garden. But thumbs down on its cover, which fuzzes out the Tudor City Sign, then puts the title of the book over it!

Inside, they make amends with the dogs gathered at No. 25. 

More serious was another sequel entitled The Little Dogs of Tudor City Meet the Pandemic, which has to do with giving back. The dogs all wear service animal tags on its cover.

This book includes the TC dogs howling at the setting sun.  

Finally, the third, which is entitled The Little Dogs of Tudor City Meet the Pandemic Coloring Book. Kind of a mouthful, although it does spell out what to expect.

This version of the book subtracts all color ‒ and all text ‒ for a kind of Zen approach. We like it best of all.

August 6, 2023

RESIDENTS: Madeleine Carroll

Madeleine Carroll cigarette cards
A return to our series of posts about well-known people who once lived in Tudor City. Today, we examine the life of Madeleine Carroll, at one time the highest paid actress in the world and later a resident of a No. 5 penthouse.

Carroll was British, and her career began in London. After making a name for herself in plays and movies, she was offered a starring role in The 39 Steps, to be directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Of course, she accepted it.
The 39 Steps lobby cards
And so it was that Carroll appeared as Hitchcock's first ice-cold blonde. The picture was a hit in the states, and off she went to Hollywood. By 1938, she had managed to become the world's highest paid actress. 

Carroll made such memorable pictures as The Prisoner of Zenda, On the Avenue, and One Night in Lisbon opposite leading men such as Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda. Then, once war was declared, she stopped making movies altogether to volunteer for the Red Cross, specializing in aiding orphans.

In her Red Cross uniform
After the war's end, she took up with Andrew Heiskell, the newly named publisher of Life magazine. He was 30, married with two children; she was 44 ‒ and pregnant for the first time with Heiskell's child. (She also had three former husbands, among them Sterling Hayden, but that was another matter.)

Things worked out in a manner of speaking. Heiskell got a divorce, they were married, and he took the Tudor City penthouse. They used this as a base in New York, although a country house in Darien, CT was their primary residence. Tudor City was reserved for entertainment; he was the publisher of Life, after all.

The Heiskell family in happier times.

Carroll made her last film in 1949, and acted only occasionally in radio and television programs over the next decade. The couple remained together until Heiskell fell in love with another woman, and they divorced in 1965. Carroll never remarried. She died in Spain at the age of 81.

Circa 1937

July 30, 2023

Odds and Ends

Today's post is a catalogue of almost-there moments, moments when you had a vague glimmer of Tudor City.  

From the Daily News of 1960, comes the unlikely story of the seven-foot tall wolfhounds and the 12-year-old starlet. We will leave the details up to you.

Tudor City's towers lay hazily in the background of this photo made in the 1930s. The men are Stew, Mac, Leo, Roberto and Bob (via a note on the back). In the upper right corner are the smokestacks of the New York Edison Company.

Also from the Daily News, a picture of the 1969 Summer Festival Queen, toting a banner reading "New York is a Summer Festival." They had much better luck a few years later with a different slogan, the year-round "I ❤ NY."

Edie Sedgwick ('It' Girl of 1965), Chuck Wein (friend of Edie) and Andy Warhol (artist) at a cocktail party at the Empire State building. Tudor City at the upper right, above the artist's head. More Andy Warhol, here.