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.




























⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺


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

May 19, 2024

The VACANT LOT in Photos

Today, a history of the Vacant Lot in photographs, the story of the three-block site from its beginnings up to present day. 

To get in the mood, we begin with this atmospheric picture of the New York Edison Company, made from 39th Street and 2nd Avenue. Producing both electricity and steam, the plant opened in 1901, and underwent many changes over the years.



A rare view of construction to the original building, dated December 26, 1906.



Two photos made in the 1960s. There have been many changes over the years ‒ including the name to Con Edison in 1936 ‒ but the original name remained over the door.
 



The final day of operation came on April 29, 2005, after 104  years of continuous operation. The wrecking ball was not far behind.  



Real estate developer Sheldon Solow bought the site ‒ for $630 million ‒ and in 2008 announced plans for seven luxury towers. 



Then Solow fell ill, and the fate of the property languished. The years went by. A verdant tangle of weeds gave the place a kind of Manhattan, Kansas vibe. More years slipped by.



And now, finally, the present day. Sheldon Solow has passed on and his son controls the site, which he has renamed Freedom Plaza. It now hosts the Field of Light show, an after-dark attempt to draw positive buzz to its proposal for a casino ‒ a block away from the UN. 

Only in New York, dear readers!

May 12, 2024

ANATOMY OF A PHOTO: 42nd St and Second Ave

 
Once again, an episode of Anatomy of a Photo in which we examine a photograph in close-up. This one was taken by the Wurts Bros around 1943, just after the Second Avenue El was disassembled and carted away.



We begin with this close-up of the northeast corner of 42nd and 2nd. From left to right are a Cigar vendor, a Beauty Salon, and a Laundry; a line of parked cars borders the ramp. A sign urges QUIET ‒ a hospital is nearby.



On the opposite southeastern corner is a Whelan's Drug store; the two-story building that is its home is a 'taxpayer' ‒ a building that was put up temporarily to pay the taxes until better times came along. The second floor was occupied in part by the Home of Empire State ‒ Cleaners, Tailors, and Launderers.




As for the remaining businesses around the corner on 42nd Street, there is a Hosiery, a Cleaners, and an awning bearing the words Hotel Tudor. But it's the sign on the second floor that catches one's attention: TUDOR HAIRDRESSERS. Clearly one  of the Tudor City wannabes in the neighborhood.      




Of course, it would be remiss not to include close-ups of the Hotel Tudor sign. . .  




. . . and the ghostly Tudor City sign.