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December 30th in NYC History

Posted: Dec 30, 2012 | 10:04 PM
by Jared Goldstein

1873:  The Happy Warrior, Al Smith, four-time Governor
of the State of New York, and Democratic candidate for President of the
USA in 1928, born.  Smith, son of Irish immigrants, started out
as a laborer, then a self-educated lawyer, became the go-to guy in the
NYS Legislature because he was the only one who read every word of every
bill, affably quietly collecting favors.      

When the Triangle
Shirtwaist Fire happened in his district, he moved the powerful Tammany
Hall political machine to finally allow unions and investigate labor
and fire safety conditions in NYS, which have saved countless lives,
since these reforms became a national model.      

After losing
to Hoover for President, Smith became the President of the Empire State
Building development corporation, inspiring its workers to complete the
tower ahead of schedule, ahead of cancellation due to the Depression,
like at least two other towers.      

Two of Smith's protegees
became very influential in national politics through the Depression:
President Franklin Roosevelt and his (first female) Secretary of Labor,
Frances Perkins, who inspired the New Deal legislation that has saved
and is still saving millions of lives.  Perkins said that the New Deal,
which occurred twenty years after the Triangle Fire, was born from the
blood of its 146 killed workers.  Al Smith's influence lives on.

1942:  Bobbysoxers, manic teens, mobbed the Paramount Theater for 27 years old Frank Sinatra for the next eight weeks.

1979:  Composer Richard Rodgers went to Broadway
Musical Heaven at 77. His influential hits include "Oklahoma," "South
Pacific" and "The Sound of Music."

1994:  Hap Moran, the NY Giants' halfback from 1928-34 died at 93.

Birthday, Patti Smith, poet, rocker, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame winner,
National Book Award recipient, composer of 1978's #13 hit for Bruce
Springsteen, "Because the Night."     I saw her perform
at the North Cove Marina, behind the World Financial Center, around
2003.  She was great.  Very vital, edgy, and talented.

 Happy Birthday James Burrows, the Director of TV hits and gems, "Taxi," "Cheers," and "Will and Grace."  Two out of three took place in NYC.

Happy Birthday, Matt Lauer, host of the "Today" show.

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