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October 16th in New York City History - Snodgrass Centennial Edition, Mets and Yankees win in the 1960s, Eugene O'Neill, Angela Lansbery, Dave deBusschere, Birth Control Clinics, and John Mayer born.

Posted: Oct 17, 2012 | 12:48 AM
1888:  Greenwich Village's Eugene O'Neill, the greatest American playwright of his era, was born.  He died in 1953.

O'Neill helped bring American theater beyond melodrama, and spectacles for sex and violence hiding behind Shakespearean, Biblical and mythology plots to slip past censors.  O'Neill's theater was inspired by real life: marriage problems, labor struggles.

O'Neill fits into the milieu of Greenwich Village as the cradle of the personal, real life real lives, revealing the truth.

There are three Greenwich Village O'Neill sights that I like to share on Greenwich Village Tours.

  • The Lucille Lortel Theater's Independent Theater Walk of Fame's stars has O'Neill's the biggest and in the center.
  • The historic Cherry Lane Theater.
  • The Provincetown Playhouse.
Greenwich Village's importance in culture is about being true to yourself and to your society.  It is about freedom of expression and being an individual that fits into a unique community.

1912:  Fred Snodgrass dropped a fly ball.  "Snodgrass' Muff" lets Boston beat the Giants at Fenway Park 3-2 to win the World Series.

1916:  In Brooklyn, Margaret Sanger opened Planned Parenthood, the world's first birth control clinic.  Already under indictment for publishing about contraception, she promotes the clinic in English, Italian, and the European-Jewish folk language Yiddish, attracting 150 women the first day.  Ten days later police will shut it down.

What a place Brooklyn is!  Birthplace of birth control, tele-evangelism, and Alcoholics Anonymous.

1920:  Over 30,000 World War I veterans march on Fifth Avenue for soldiers' bonuses.

1925:  Broadway's five time Tony Award winning Actress Angela Lansbury born.

1940:  Basketball playing and management great Dave DeBusschere born.  He was traded to the Knicks after playing pro-basketball and pro-baseball in late 1968.  The big forward turned New York into championship material.  DeBusschere's scoring and rebounding helped the Knicks' attain the 1970 and 1973 NBA championships.  Following his retirement, he became the NY Net's GM, then took over as the American Basketball Association's (ABA) Commissioner.  Later he became the Knicks GM for four years.

1958:  Actor Tim Robbins born.

1962:  The Yankees won their 20th World Series in 40 seasons.
  Ralph Terry pitched a no-hitter leading to a 1-0 victory over the Giants in San Francisco, winning the series 4-3. 

1969:  "You Gotta Believe!"  The Amazin' Mets, won the World Series
4-1.  Led by Cleon Jones and Ron Swoboda, they beat the leading team, the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 at Shea Stadium

The Birds were the dominant team even before the season began, and they were the favorites.  Yet they peaked early.  The 1962 expansion team Mets were perennial jokes, but they picked up steam through the summer, moving up from ninth place (out of ten National League teams). 

I think the Orioles' luck was spent.  The team was literally and figuratively shaken up by the near crash of an airplane with several players aboard towards the end of the season.

How the heck do I know this?!  In 2008 I was a subcontractor for a researcher (my father) for a book about the 1969 Mets' 40th anniversary of their championship.  I read every sports page of the Baltimore Sun throughout the 1969 Baseball season. 

My father told me he'd tell the writer about the Oriole's airplane nearly crashing.  The project was not completed.

After my father died, the writer was intrigued about the airplane incident.  He wasn't informed about it.  Too bad.  Interviewing the aging Orioles about it might have been interesting.

(1969 was a great year for New York expansion teams beating established Baltimore teams.  The Jets had already beaten the Colts in the Football championships, the first one to be called 'the Superbowl.')

1977:  New York resident rock musician John Mayer born.


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