July 6, 2024

TUDOR CITY in WARTIME

Today, a look at how Tudor City responded to the Second World War in the world of advertising. From the woman's place in wartime, to gasless Sundays, to relief from 'pressure' days, it's all covered here, making a move to Tudor City a solid value during the war.

Careful readers might also note that the enclave's slogan has slightly changed, now reading Live in Tudor City and Walk to Work. This change happened in 1941, but it wouldn't last long; it was last seen in 1943, when the entire community fell under rent control, and since that meant dirt cheap rent increases, no one moved. Ever. Advertising, sadly, was no longer needed.

 



 













For further reading on the subject, see our earlier post here.

June 29, 2024

THE NEW YORKER Profiles FRED FRENCH

A look at the New Yorker profile of our founder, Fred French, which ran in the June 1, 1929 issue. It was written by Robert M. Coates, a longtime contributor to the magazine, who was kind to French, presenting his tangled up life in a rather straightforward way.














A few (among many) notable passages from the article:

On his appearance: "His mouth is firm, stiff-cornered; he has a quick eye, blue and glinting, and above the eyes the brow rises to the high domed head, pinkly bald and gleaming in the soft glow of the indirect lighting."

On his success: "Work is the secret of success. At the age of thirty-five, he wrote in his diary, 'Still working like H___!' and in his talks he preaches the same gospel. 'It is to hard, persistent effort that I attribute whatever success I may have attained.'"

On his personal tastes: "He has a taste for elegance; he likes rich eating, yet many of his tastes are simple and his personal fortune is said to be small. He rarely goes to the theater, because he won't pay scalpers' rates, and he won't own a car, because the garagemen might cheat him."
                                        
On his gods: "Mr. French, since youth, has cherished an admiration for Roosevelt. His idea of a vacation is a hunting trip to the North Woods; when he set out for Alaska he went fully accoutered, his rifle and hunting clothes identical with Teddy's."

June 22, 2024

ANATOMY OF A PHOTO: Tudor City Vista

 
Welcome to another edition of Anatomy of a Photo, in which we search for clues in ordinary photographs. Today, we are examining a view of the complex made in 1931. 



A view of the East River properties bordered by The Cloister, The Manor and No. 45. Although their signs are difficult to read, Wilson & Co. and United Dressed Beef represent a sample of what's happening on Slaughter House Row. 



But it's the sign atop a new apartment building on 44th Street that captures our attention: Beaux Arts Apartments. Tudor City was not the only newcomer on the scene.




No. 45 in all of its glory. 




A closer look at the North Park and Middle Park. There is not much in the way of trees yet. Left of center are five umbrellas providing shade on what must be a sun porch of the Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled. The Hotel Tudor is at bottom right with a painted sign ‒ the electric one will come later.




The Woodstock and No. 25.
 


No. 5 offers industrial-chic views. 



Lastly, a blow-up of the tennis courts. The hold-out building that is keeping the plot from being developed can be seen at center right. The tennis office lies to its left.

June 16, 2024

MISCELLANY Again

It's time for another roundup of items relating to Tudor City that are interesting, just not interesting enough for its own post. 
 
Walking down Fifth Avenue the other day, we happened upon a plaque bearing our founder's initials rendered in brass: Fred Fillmore French. Of course, it was the French Building on 45th Street, but we were impressed ‒ his initials had become something of a trademark.



An early picture of the colony as seen from The Manor's point of view. It is winter, and scarcely a leaf can be seen in the North Park; even its pergola, below, is bare.





Taken from a window in No. 45, this is most likely from the Tulip Festival of 1939, with the person at the microphone being baritone Glenn Darwin. They had 50,000 tulips that year, a record. From the collection of Fabrice Frere, thanks Fabrice.



Finally, here is an imaginary night view by Matthew Rigione, featuring the sign lit crimson red. We thought it was lit in yellow, were we wrong? Color views of the sign at night do not exist. . . or do they?

June 9, 2024

WALKING UP 2ND AVENUE

We recently came across some photos of street life in the early 1940s, and we wondered what it would be like to walk up Second Avenue at that time. Above, to set the tone, is a view showing the area from 35th and Second, looking north. Although it was made from the Elevated train, we will be proceeding on foot.



Beginning our tour, here's a snapshot of 37th Street and Second Avenue. The tall building is an apartment house that still stands, built in 1930 and now called The Mango; sprouting up to the right is Tudor City.




In another photo taken some time later, a fence made of doors hammered together has been put up to protect passersby from the rubble.




Made from a different vantage point, this image shows the fence in its full glory.





We finally arrive at Tudor City, which looks impressive ‒ save for the rundown look of its neighbors. No idea what the '35' means.  




In the final shot, we see Windsor Tower. Although the photographer has changed position, moving out from under the El, it is inescapable ‒  the shadowy bottom of the photo testifies to its presence.

June 2, 2024

INSTAGRAMED

Welcome to another edition of the best of Instagramed Tudor City. Please raise your glasses to our contributors, whose photographs grace this space.


Fast car at a dead end, by jk_quattro                





The tulips in bloom, by to_the_edge_of_the_world     





Flags, Hotel Tudor and The Woodstock, by diplointhecity                 





During the solar eclipse, by jeffesque                





 The vacant lot and the river, by leli_bourg             


May 26, 2024

AD CAMPAIGN, 1933

For this Memorial Day edition of Tudor City Confidential, we turn to an ad campaign that ran in 1933, at the height of the Depression. Headlined What's Smart in New York Today, the message was simple: one could flirt with the world of high fashion and maintain a modest home in Tudor City. One offset the other. 

As for the retailers named, some remain ‒ Saks Fifth Avenue, Brooks Brothers ‒ while others have closed ‒ Lord & Taylor, Peck & Peck, and De Pinna.




























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A reminder that Manhattanhenge is just around the corner. Plan accordingly. 

Manhattanhenge 2024

Tuesday, May 28, 8:13 pm, half sun
Wednesday, May 29, 8:12 pm, full sun

Friday, July 12, 8:20 pm, full sun
Saturday, July 13, 8:21 pm, half sun