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November 19th in NYC History

Posted: Nov 18, 2012 | 11:22 PM
by Jared Goldstein

1887...   Emma Lazarus, gifted poetess of the famous Statue of Liberty poem, "the New Colossus," dies a year after the Statue is finally erected in NY Harbor.  She was 38

Her poem inspired millions of immigrants to donate an average 5c each to pay for the base of the statue's $200,000 cost. 

A base designed by America's leading architect, William Morris Hunt, trained in Paris, paying homage to modern French style. 

It is a wonderful poem describing the noblest sentiments represented by an inspirational allegory embodied in a Statue

..'Give us your tired, your poor, your huddle masses yearning to breath free...Send these, the homeless..to me...I lift my lamp besides the golden door.'  (the real version is linked above)

Before this poem, she was already notable. 

Lazarus was from an established respected Jewish family, the kind that formed settlement houses to quickly settle the unwashed masses into American society, while encouraging public service.

We see her home 

on Greenwich Village Tours. 
We see Settlement Houses on Lower East Side Tours, and Ellis Island on Ellis Island Tours!

1905...  Tommy Dorsey celebrated his birthdays on this date until 1956.  The big band leader propelled Frank Sinatra to stardom.  Sinatra's first solo shows sold out the Paramount for weeks in the late 1930s.

1902...  The Williamsburg Bridge opened.

The Jewish Lower East Side was the densest populated place in the world, known as "The Ghetto."  The opening of the Willyburg opened up opportunities for the emerging modest Jewish middle class to growing with a tree in Brooklyn and streets to play games on.  Williamsburg was humorously called the "Jewish Riviera."

1933... Larry King born in Brooklyn, nee' Lawrence Zeiger, the son of Jewish immigrants who operated a bar and grill.  King has reigned at CNN with his show, Larry King Live.  King is reportedly worth $144 million.  He is very friendly to his guests., nee' Lawrence Zeiger, the son of Jewish immigrants who operated a bar and grill.  King reigned at CNN with his show, Larry King Live.  King is reportedly worth $144 million.  He was known as being very friendly to his guests.

As the subway and real estate was developed, the Bronx served a similar role for Jews.

1942...the Bronx' Calvin Klein born.

1936...  Happy Birthday to Dick Cavett.  Is he the smartest talk show host?

1957... Leonard Bernstein nominated as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's Musical Director, the first American-born conductor to serve in this role

Tangent:  Bernstein's Dakota apartment would sell for $15.5 million around fifty years later.  It resold a few years after that for I don't know what.  Contact a real estate broker, nosy.

Personal note: Nearly ten years after Bernstein took over the Philharmonic, which had recently moved to Lincoln Center, a pregnant (with me) Helene Goldstein did something heroic.  She caught a cab in the rain. 

As she opened the door Leonard Bernstein bounded to the cab and charmingly asked: "Won't you let the Maestro have your cab?" 
My mother replied, "No." 
It was one of her droll stories. 

This was in strict adherence of the New York Code: Treat celebrities like you don't care about their celebrity. 

In retrospect, she should have applied the Cab Corollary to the New York Code by answering his question with this question: "Where are you going?   Sharing the cab would have ensured a better story, and perhaps gotten my parents an invitation to attend a radical chic party with the Black Panthers, or at least schnoogled some Philharmonic tickets.  I have true stories about such things happening in New York City.

1961...  Happy Birthday to actress Meg Ryan.

We see where this happened on my Lower East Side Walking Tour.  And where this happened on my Central Park Tours

when we have lunch or row boats at the Boathouse

Onto another track:

1965... Bret Hanover "the Big Bum" wins the Harness Racing Pacing Triple Crown at Roosevelt Raceway's Messenger Stakes in Westbury, garnering $152,000

On a personal note: My father publicized the event, and the crowd was probably around 40,000. 

Before going into business with my mother in 1969 in NYC, my father was Executive VP of Publicity at Roosevelt Raceway.  When Bret Hanover won, half of me was an egg-in-waiting and my other haploid probably didn't even happen until May or June of 1966.     

I was born at NYU Hospital in Manhattan, and a month later grew up for 8 years in Westbury, home of Roosevelt Raceway, which is why my family moved there, 35 miles 50k east of Manhattan. 

I wanted to live in Manhattan since coming with my parents to their office in Rockefeller Center above Radio City Music Hall (which nearly got destroyed by real estate developers in NYC's dark days).   My parents were frustrated Manhattanites, but they endured the suburbs because NYC in the 1970s and 1980s was hairy!  My mother said that they moved to the suburbs "to breed."

They told me tales of Manhattan glory and instilled in me that the highest state of human existence is living on Manhattan Island.  For many years I thought that every other city was a failed version of Midtown Manhattan.

They moved back to Manhattan as soon as they could, and I moved here as soon as I could, my freshman year at Columbia College, somewhere between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, but that's another story.

1972... Original NY Giants Stadium construction begins in NJ Meadowlands.   

On a personal note, my father publicized the opening of the NJ Meadowlands, the Giants home, in 1976, which I remember.  The developers correctly feared that New Yorkers would think anything off Manhattan Island would be too far, especially in another state.    

The distance is less than seven miles, as the crow flies.  So, my father had trained pigeons fly from the Empire State Building to the Meadowlands as a publicity stunt.  The flight took a few minutes.    The point being that it is not such a big deal to see the NY Giants just across the Hudson.

Unbeknown to the public, one pigeon didn't make it to NJ. 

One wag reported it, though.  The chattering class speculated that the pigeon might have been completely lost... or died.

Urban Legend had it that mob-connected union boss Jimmy Hoffa was entombed 13 feet (4 meters) below the western end zone of the original Giants Stadium.  

This lost bird was not exactly good publicity. 

But I will reveal the truth, which has only recently come out.  Not about Hoffa.  The bird flew back to his NYC coop, which isn't great publicity either, but the new NY Giants Stadium is doing fine in NJ with or without this bird.

This old pigeon's bird butt, or cloaca, is facing the Meadowlands.  It is a cousin of the one that did not fly there, but that it is another story.  The link only partially explains it.

Speaking of cloacas, Thomas Jefferson called New York City "the cloaca of the universe," or 'the universe's sewer.'

1975...  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest premiered in New York City.   It won five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson's first after four nominations), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher, who played Nurse Ratched), Best Director, and Best adapted Screenplay.  "Mmm!  Juicyfruit."

2009... Jared Goldstein delivers custom John Lennon's NYC Tour for the first time for a family staying at the Trump International Hotel while riding in a limousine.  It was a birthday present for the kid, a big John Lennon fan.  This tour had special meaning since Lennon's last performance was on Thanksgiving 35 years before (See November 28th).  John Lennon's New York City tour is still available through me, Jared the NYC Tour Guide.


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