December 21st in NYC History:
Crossword puzzle debut;
Harry Wills the Greatest Champion Denied;
Many great birthdays - due to 1st day of Spring
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 | 10:02 PM
by Jared Goldstein
1860: Henrietta Szold, founder of Haddasah, the women's
charity for Israel, born. She died in 1945.
A few blocks from me is a mini-street, Szold Place
between 10th and 12th Streets and parallel between Avenues C and D. It is quite obscure, but it is no longer a place to get lucky for a parking spot.
It used to be Dry Dock street, because that is what was there. As you can imagine, with a name like that, it was severely flooded in 2012's Super Storm Sandy.
I am trying to find out why this particular place is named for her, except perhaps as a sop to the Jewish population that was in the area through the 1950s.
1913: The crossword puzzle born in NYC at the New York World newspaper, also the birthplace of investigative journalism. Speculation has it that its creator Arthur Wynne was inspired by a similar puzzle carved onto an Egyptian tomb.
This is the first crossword puzzle
1935: Phil Donahue, talk show host, the inventor of the talk show, the longest running one (until at least 2015), celebrates his birthday. Sometimes during tours I use his style of getting into the audience on the level, asking different people what they think to get them involved and to gauge my audience's reactions.
1937: Actress Jane Fonda born in NYC.
1950: Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg born in NYC.
1957: Queens' Ray Romano, Actor, "Everybody Loves Raymond," born.
1958: Harry Wills, the "Black Panther,"
heavyweight boxing veteran fighter of 100 battles dies. Because of his race, Wills was not able to compete for heavyweight champion of the world against Jack Dempsey.
After the racism following Jack Johnson's success, Wills was barred. He later became a Harlem Real Estate Broker.
1967: "The Graduate" premiers in NYC. I like to show off Dustin Hoffman's townhouse on Greenwich Village tours.
1971: The UN Security Council elects Kurt Waldheim as secretary-general. He succeeded U Thant, who has a little East River Island across from the UN named for him.
1987: The racist "Howard Beach" manslaughter conspirators convicted a year and a day after their deadly and violent attacks, including on Michael Griffith, a young black man who was killed by an automobile after the teens chased him onto the Belt Parkway. By way of reference, the Belt Parkway has aggressive traffic and nowhere for pedestrians.
1988: Pan Am Flight 103, from London to New York was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 aboard and 16 on the ground. It was the greatest loss of American life until the attacks of 9/11/01. The saga for justice is still continuing for the families caught between politics, international relations and other deals.
1994: A local man firebombed a subway downtown injuring over 40 passengers, and earning him 94 years in prison.