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Dec 29th in NYC History

Posted: Dec 29, 2012 | 10:37 AM
by Jared Goldstein

Dec 29 NYC - Montez' Art of Fascination! College Hoops Craze! Joe Namath, Champ. LGA bombed. Nasdaq booms. 1812 heroes honored.


1812:  400 attend a grand dinner to honor victorious naval commanders from the War of 1812, Stephen Decatur, Isaac Hull, and Jacob Jones.  Washington Irving, America's first novelist, in attendance called it "the most splendid entertainment of the kind I ever witnessed."


1851:  Lola Montez, the mysterious and fascinating "English and Spanish" beauty, actually Irish born, Brooklyn's Maria Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, performed her outrageous racy Spider Dance to a fancy NYC audience.  The dance's theme was that spiders were on her skin and dress, so she lifted it up to shake them off.

    Women didn't even show their ankles in NYC in the early 20th Century.  (To see women's shins 100 years ago, you'd need an Edison Kinescope, a hand-cranked viewing machine, sort of like porn movies, VHS tapes, CD-ROMs, and the Internet of its day.  I like to show a Kinescope on my Theatre District tour.)

    Montes had already publicly promoted her illustrious conquests, bedding and bagging Franz Liszt, the great composer, Alexander Dumas, the author, and Bavaria's ancient King Ludwig, who bestowed the title Baroness upon her after she basically ran the country and introduced liberal reforms.  

    She was known as 'the Courtesan.'  

    New York society, which resisted feminism through about 1919, didn't appreciate her performance or persona, so she took her show to the more popular Bowery Theater District, where the dancer and adventuress was greatly appreciated and highly successful.          

    From 1818-1861 (43 years) Gilbert completely re-made her identity into Montez, promoted it, lived life to the hilt around America and Europe, and capitalized on it.  Described as "… a devastating beauty, enslaving the hearts of powerful and famous men as she danced seductively on stages all over the world… Her beauty was reputed to conceal a physical courage as great as any man’s....Renowned for her spirit and defiant will, Montez traveled the world and gained international notoriety."  
Lola Montez (1818-1861) dancer and adventuress.

    Here's a description from Montez' 500 page Yale University Press published book: "During a short but incredible life, Lola Montez transformed herself from middle-class British daughter to notorious adventurer, attracting admirers and scandal wherever she went....[O]ne of the best-known women of the Victorian era-a dancer and actress, a power behind thrones, and a mistress across four continents."  

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Photography Department had an exhibit on Montez' pioneering use of photographic portraiture and publishing to create celebrity.  After 145 years, Montez was finally accepted by New York society (or at least its museum's art history academic curators, raised on Andy Warhol).  





1934:  Ned Irish presents college hoops double headers for over 16,000 at MSG, making college hoops a national obsession, leading to the NIT in 1938 and the NCAA in 1939.  The pro-ball Knicks wouldn't debut until the next decade.


1967:  Basketball great, Harry Fisher, dies.  He wrote the "Official Basketball Guide," coached Army, Fordham, St John's and Columbia for ten years, which won 101/140 matches, as well as a 1910 championship, after he was an All-American forward for Columbia College.


He looks like Jesus Namath on his way to the Super Bowl in Jerusalem.

1968:  Joe Namath leads the Jets to the AFC championship, beating Oakland 27-23 in front of 64,000 at Yankee Stadium.  Next would be the 1969 Super Bowl.  1969 will be, perhaps, the greatest year in New York City sports.



1975:  Mysterious terrorists bomb a baggage claim area of LaGuardia Airport, killing 11, and injuring over 75.  

    As I recall, the bombs were in lockers, prompting the removal of all public lockers in NYC, inconveniencing millions until there is no more terrorism ever, which will probably be never.  I liked public lockers.  I dislike schlepping stuff around for the rest of my life everytime I'm visiting somewhere.  As you might imagine, or know, I don't pack light.

    The top guess is that the bombing was due to Croatian separatists, since they were involved with recent TWA bombings around then and at Grand Central.  I don't see how Croatia got its independence a second faster as a result of the equivalent of 24 sticks of dynamite hurling glass and metal at travelers, employees, and limo drivers looking forward to some togetherness.  I guess LGA was easier to hit than bombing Tito of Yugoslavia, even so, Tito seemed unmoved.  

    Other suspects include Puerto Rican separatists (who bombed Fraunces Tavern earlier that year), the JDL, and the PLO.  Again, I don't see the benefit to Puerto Ricans, Jews or Palestinians.

    If you are for Croatian, Puerto Rican, Jewish, and/or Palestinian Independence, which I am, too, but somehow I've offended you, and you are considering being a terrorist, please communicate with words, instead.  I'm not that powerful, and if you use reason (and passion) to change minds, one at a time, then that is how revolutions happen -- within the few square centimetres inside our craniums, as George Orwell described.  If you blow up my cranium, then you've changed my head, but not my mind.  And all my friends and relatives will become aware of your cause as a bad thing to be opposed.

    I don't get terrorism.  It is defined as the use of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal.  

    If the attackers and their motive is a mystery, then what's the point besides mass murder and mayhem?  'Don't fly, especially around New Years?'   What kind of message is that?  Nothing political in that, somewhat economic, so asymmetric warfare.

    Is it like the pilfering Ruth Gordon in "Harold and Maude," teaching us about the evanescence of life?  Not really political, and a really negative way to express this.  This sort of appreciation for life undermines the nihilism of terrorism.

    Is it pure evil?  Is it misguided fervor?  Is it revenge?  None of that is political.  These are just stupid.

    Did the terrorists mean to claim responsibility, but then realized that if they did, then they'd get caught?  Well, that's cowardly and pointless.  I think that the reason that Times Square 2010's Faisal Shazad (Fizzle Shizzle) and the 1993 WTC bombers got caught was that they were supposed to be suicide bombers who chickened out.

    Terrorism is a very blunt instrument.  I'm beyond sick and tired of it.  End of that rant.  Five more to go.



1999:  Nasdaq closed above 4,000 for the first time, ending the day at 4,041.  

    I helped make other people millions of dollars in 1999.  How?  By pushing Earthweb repeatedly to do a deal with Dice.com, which finally they liked so much, they bought it.  Dice became Earthweb's main asset.  It was one of the first profitable Web sites, being a tech talent market.  

    Earthweb's IPO in the summer of 1999 brought back the dot com boom, followed the next day or so by theglobe, which surpassed us, and then the market was booming again after the Asian Financial Crisis dip, driving the Nasdaq stratospherically.

    By December 1999 I left Earthweb, because the Executive Vice President's son was promoted to be my boss.  His resume's previous job: ice cream sales clerk in college.  Earthweb's brokerage didn't sell my stock, much of which I bought with my salary through an employee salary withholding.  I worked very hard for that money.

    Remember those t-shirts?  "My grandparents went to Florida, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."  Here's mine:  'I helped other people make millions of dollars in




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