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Posted: Dec 31, 2012 | 3:02 PM
by Jared Goldstein

December 31st in NYC History

1878:  Elizabeth Arden born.  Her red door is on 5th Ave.

1879:  Edison introduces his electric incandescent light in Menlo Park, N.J., now Edison, NJ.

1904:  The New York Times moves the New Years's Eve Celebration to the newly renamed Times Square with fireworks and a band.  For decades the celebration was Downtown with fireworks at Trinity Church.

1907:  The New York Times drops a ball from its headquarters at #1 Times Square, hearkening back to the British harbour tradition, synchronizing schedules.  I conject that in 1907 cellphones didn't have the time on them.

1909: On his last day in office, Mayor McClellan, who led the construction of the Manhattan Bridge, led his motorcade across it just before completion, so he could open the bridge two years before it was ready for the public.      

1910...The Manhattan Bridge opens...sort of. Mayor
George McClellan, hoping to leave a positive impression as he leaves office, leads a procession across the span – which still lacks a paved roadway and railway. Construction on the bridge is finally completed in 1912.

During his term, McClellan also initiated the subway, taking the
controls from the chief engineer and gunning the train as fast as it could go, with dignitaries on board.  He held on much longer than the ceremony called for! 

A lot happened during McClellan, and his life demands a
biography.     New York's great age of public works were stalled
by the 1916 income tax act, which drained New York City's money to the rest of the nation. 

[Insert pics of McClellan on Manhattan Bridge and on the subway.] 

1946:  Diane Von Furstenberg born.
  Birthday, Diane Von Furstenberg, fashion designer, and benefactor of the High Line Park.     I think the High Line is the next great park innovation since Central Park.  I call the style: post-post-industrial-neo-modernism.

1974:   The Yankees sign the Oakland A's Free Agent Catfish Hunter for $2.3 million for a five year contract, then the record for a pitcher.  The Baseball bidding wars begin.31

Happy New Year! 

for pictures:




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

December 30th in NYC History

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.

for pictures:




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

Dec 29th in NYC History


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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Posted: Dec 27, 2012 | 11:00 PM

December 28th in NYC History:
NCAA begins,
The Greatest Football Game EVER,
Happy Birthday Seth Meyers, Stan Lee, and Denzel,
Moscow tops the Hudson.

1905:  The NCAA's forerunner, the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States, founded in New York City. 

1922:  Bill Gallo, the Daily News' great sports cartoonist since 1960, born.

1954:  Fordham's Denzel Washington, actor, born.

1958:  "The Greatest American Football Game Ever Played." 

For the title, the Giants were down 14-3 at halftime versus Baltimore.

Then the Giants scored 14 points, so it was 17-14. 

With seven seconds left, Baltimore's Steve Myhra scores a 20 yard field goal, tying the game. 

8.25 minutes into overtime, Baltimore's Alan Ameche scores a 1
yard touchdown, prevailing Baltimore 23-17 over the Giants in front of over 64,000 at Yankee Stadium.  An estimated 45 million watched it on television, (and it would have been higher were the game not blacked out in NYC and its suburbs, due to contract restrictions). 

It was the only NFL championship game decided in overtime.  Its popularity led to the formation of the American Football League, AFL, which expanded football, and strengthened the NFL when they merged.

1971:  Republican Mayor John Lindsey runs for President of the U.S. as a Democrat.   His opponent, war hero and Senator George McGovern, will outrun him as the losing candidate to Nixon's overwhelming CREEP onslaught.  CREEP
was the Committee to RE-Elect the President.

The "Super Series" begins.   The Soviet Union's hockey team beat the New York Rangers 7-3 at the Garden.  They will defeat nearly all the other American hockey teams 5-2-1 in the midst of the Cold War.

1991:  Nine killed in stampede outside a hip-hop celebrity basketball game and concert.

2004:  Susan Sontag, Intellectual, died; so did Actor Jerry Ohrbach.

Happy Birthdays: Stan Lee (1922) & Seth Meyers (1973). 

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Posted: Dec 26, 2012 | 11:12 PM

December 27th in NYC History
Freedom of Religion,
A great cathedral and music hall rise,

1657:  Religious Freedom (tolerance) comes to North America via the Flushing Remonstrance, a local sheriff's declaration to protect the freedom of Quakers/Friends to worship in Flushing, Queens.  This was in defiance to the intolerant Dutch Governor/CEO/Director General of the Nieuw Nederlands Colony.

"Wee desire therefore in this case not to judge least we be judged, neither to condemn least we be condemned, but rather let every man stand or fall to his own Master. Wee are bounde by the law to do good unto all men....

The law of love, peace and liberty in the states extending to Jews, Turks and Egyptians,
as they are considered sons of Adam, which is the glory of the outward state of Holland, soe love, peace and liberty, extending to all in Christ Jesus, condemns hatred, war and bondage ....

Therefore if any of these said persons come in love unto us, we cannot in conscience lay violent hands upon them, but give them free egresse and regresse unto our Town, and houses, as God shall persuade our consciences, for we are bounde by the law of God and man to doe good unto all men and evil to noe man...."

Such beautiful language and sentiments; it makes me proud to be a New Yorker.

This successful defiance made what would become the colony of New-York unique among its British-American colonies, some of which had freedom of religion of the intolerant kind. 

That is: 'freedom for me; you can and should fry in hell.'  Or why wait?  'Get in that that bonfire over there, which will send you to hell faster.  Your sizzling sounds good.'  This is an actual paraphrase of a diary of the same people who were saved by the Natives on Thanksgiving a few months before.

In any case, here in Nieuw Nederlands, people were standing up for other peoples' rights.  They weren't perfect: the Native Americans had it tough here, too, but we were above average.

1892:  Cathedral of St. John the Divine's construction begins. Happy 120th Birthday!

It is the world's largest Cathedral, and third largest church,
seating 6000 and standing another 2000. 

The Statue of Liberty can fit inside (150 ft, 50m, 15 stories) the dome.   

More about the Cathedral of St John the Divine's future, that didn't happen (yet?) is below, plus some notes for future editions.

1927:  "Show Boat," by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, opened at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City.  "Old Man River" is still a favorite song.

1927:  Agnes Nixon, the Queen of television soap opera, born in Chicago. 

1932:  Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.    

The original performance, including the Roxyettes (now the
Rockettes), lasted six hours.  (This is not pictured here.)

The subsequent format was briefer including live and filmed performances.   

All of Rockefeller Center was supposed to be called Radio City, and where the Music Hall is was supposed to be the Metropolitan Opera's location.    The original vision was for steps going up and the roof having a network of parks suspended over the developments below.  I'll try to get pictures of this, or you can send them to me.

Radio City Musical Hall was once the largest indoor theater in the world.  Seating almost 7000 (more than the Cathedral of St. John, the Divine), it is still one of the largest and most beautiful.  
The hourly tour is very worthwhile.

1937:  75 years ago, Actress Mae West was banned after she performed an 'Adam and Eve' sketch on NBC radio.

1945: The World Bank was created by 28 nations.

 1947: "Howdy Doody," the children's show, debuted on NBC

1964:  The Supremes perform on the Ed Sullivan Show their first time.

1967:  Red Holzman, the best New York Knicks coach, assumes the role.

1970:  "Hello, Dolly!" closed on Broadway after 2,844 performances.

Here are some things about the Cathedral of St John the Divine I will add in future years, interspersed amongt images of the proposed future of the Cathedral:

A St John the Divine early concept, looking SW

Yet another early concept, looking SW

Another early St John the Divine concept, looking NE

Santiago Calatrava's contemporary completion concept, looking south.

[story about rival architects, subway's tiles and Guastavino's tiles]  
 [ rivalry with Catholics St Patrick's and St Ambrose ]
  [ still under construction even as a landmark being renovated ]    [ insert story about Bonkers my dog marking one of the pillars on St Francis Day, amongst elephants and giraffes. ] 
  [ insert story about me teaching a class there for UHAB ]  
 [ insert story about development of sculptures in my lifetime and the local stone masons who carved them ] 

 [ Saturday Cathedral Tours: 2 'Vertical Tours,' and 2 'Highlight Tours'  Reservations and flashlights requested (212) 932-7347.  If you are going, let me know.  I want to join you. ]

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Posted: Dec 26, 2012 | 12:30 AM
by Jared Goldstein

December 26th in NYC History

 Great Snow Storm

1891:  Henry Miller, "a Brooklyn boy, a city man through and through," and author of the long-banned "Tropic of Cancer," born. When he became serious about writing, he quit his job and sold his poems door-to-door.  He died in 1980.

1909:  Frederic Remington, artist of the dying old west, died.

1921:  Prolific entertainment great Steve Allen born
in NYC.

1933:  Caroll Spinney, Actor, Big Bird on "Sesame Street" born.

1933:  Edwin Armstrong patents FM Frequency Modulation wideband radio
, which improved greatly improved the sound of radio over AM.  Huge corporations tied him up in patent and FCC suits for decades, including RCA/NBC/GE's David Sarnoff, who had an empire of AM stations.  FM was not to be widely adopted until about 40 years after its invention.  Columbia's jazz station WKCR was the first such station.

1939:  Phil Spector, recording producer and songwriter born in the Bronx. 
He was convicted of murder.

1947:  New York's greatest snowfall began, accumulating 26 inches (35 cm) in 16 hours, killing 80.

1947:   During this great snowstorm
traffic, buses, and streetcars were cancelled, so

over ten thousand NYC tennis fans walked through deep snow to MSG to witness Bobby Riggs' victory over Jack Kramer. 

1956:  David Sedaris, writer and performer, born in NYS, ironically, during christmas seasonHis hilarious deadpan depiction of not being a cheerful Santa Land elf at Macy's made his career.  Yet another miracle on 34th St.

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Posted: Dec 24, 2012 | 10:56 PM
by Jared Goldstein

Dec 25ths in NYC -
Deadly Christmas Riots,
First Outdoor Electric Christmas Tree,
First NYC Policeman falls in the line of duty,
First public Christmas Tree,
Bogey and Cab Born,
Billy Martin, Shubert, James Brown, and Eartha Kitt

Merry Christmas!  A new concept, invented here in NYC:

1806:  Christmas riots claim a lifeFor a second day, riots break out during Christmas,
with a mob harassing Catholic worshipers, and Irish Catholics banding to defend themselves on Christmas Day.  The riots kill one: New York City's first policeman killed in the line of duty.  
Part of the reason for Santa Claus' promotion in 1810 was to create a genteel shared tradition of calm quiet Christmases at home. 

It is better to have Santa Claus breaking into your home to give presents to the well-behaved, than to be breaking into stores.  It is better to have families quietly sharing presents that they bought, than to be in drunken, noisy, and violent mobs. 

Santa Claus helps hearken back to a shared peaceful Christmas heritage and traditions that didn't actually exist in New York or Nieuw Amsterdam. 

Santa helped bring peace to New York Christmases, ridding us of our actual shared heritage of Christmas riots.

So, now we can Have a Merry Christmas!  It started here in NYC.

Ironically, there is a new subversive naughty Christmas days tradition, the drunken SantaCon pub crawl with bad Santas playing the nightmare before Christmas games.

1806:  New York City's first policeman killed in the line of duty quelling a Christmas riot.  He died of a stabbing.  His name was either Christian Luswanger or Christopher Newfanger.  The unrest was one of the worst riots in early American history, stretching over a quarter mile.

"Christopher Luswanger one of the watchmen chased an Irishman armed with a club overtook and knocked him down another Irishman immediately followed him and struck him a left hand blow with a sharp pointed weapon which penetrated below the right pap and from the semblance of this wound it appears to have been made by a stiletto.  The man fell instantly and expired without a struggle.  The body was taken up immediately and carried to the Alms house." 

Mayor DeWitt Clinton offered a $250 reward for the capture of the murderer. 

Two days later, the assailant tried to find an Irish Captain to take him from the country.  Captain Menzies "took him to Mrs Sutton's tavern on South Street where he was amused until some watchmen were sent who seized him in the bar room and conveyed him to the police office."

See the previous entry for more about the Christmas riots.

Question:  If a child is on a Santa Claus tour, how does one bring this up?

1899:  Humphrey Bogart the great actor, born.

Bogart and wife Lauren Bacall, longtime Dakota resident.

1907: Cab Calloway, Bandleader of Harlem's Cotton Club and much more, born.  Famous for Minnie the Moocher, he passed in 1994.

1912:  Madison Square Park sponsors the first public community Christmas Tree Celebration to encourage unity among rich and poor.
  Below is the newspaper announcement.

1912:  Madison Square Park's Christmas Tree reveals the first outdoor electric Christmas Tree.

1941:  Bing Crosby performs Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" for the first time.  The song's popularity percolated for a while.  It was released in the summer of 1942 as one song in the film "Holiday Inn," which is a love story centered around Christmas.  It struck a chord with our troops abroad and the song gained popularity until it became the best selling song int he history of music.

Berlin already knew he was onto something when he penned the song out west, and declared to his Secretary to: "Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I've ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!" 

The song suggests the strangeness that New Yorkers feel when we see palm trees decorated in Christmas lights, or the homesickness of troops overseas, or of a father who lost his son on Christmas, which happened to the Jewish-born immigrant Berlin.

1953:  Lee Shubert, the iconic Broadway theatre mogul died at 82.  For fifty years the Shubert brothers had a Broadway theatre juggernaut.

The Shubert Organization is still the top Broadway show producer.

1958:  New York Yankee great (1985-89) and Baseball Hall-of-Famer Rickey Henderson born.

1977:  Film star, producer, comedian, United Artists founder Charlie Chaplin died at 88.

1984:  Bernard King scores 60 points, a club record, 40 in the first half.  Nonetheless, the Nets win 120-114 at MSG.

1989:  Five time New York Yankees manager and all-time hard drinker, Billy Martin is killed in an automobile accident at 61.  Martin was not driving

Martin had a great career as a baseball player, and as manager he led the Yankees to winning the World Series  in 1977. 

He and his sometimes nemesis, sometimes boss, Yankee's owner George Steinbrenner appeared together endorsing Lite Beer, but they argued why:  Tastes Great or Less Filling! 

2006:  Singer James Brown, the hardest working man in show biz, died at 73

He stopped rioting from breaking out in 1968 after Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated.   

His body was in state at the Apollo Theatre with throngs waiting to view the great.    Brown's Live at the Apollo Theater from over twenty years before was a pioneer of that format for popular music.

I saw him play at the Apollo around 1987, where he played many times.  That night he got on stage around 11 PM!  
Billy Mitchell, the great Apollo Theater Tour Guide tells of James Brown having young Billy read to him to encourage

There are several other James Brown stories I like to share on Harlem walking tours.

2008:  Eartha Kitt leaves this side of the earthly coil.  She was born in 1927.

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Posted: Dec 23, 2012 | 11:36 PM

December 24th in NYC History
Hitmaker Harry Warren;
Behind the Headlines I.F. Stone.
Rock Center's surprising first tree;
Joe Namath;
Caruso's last stand;

1893:  Harry Warren, 3-time Academy Award winning composer of "42nd St.," "Lullaby of Broadway," "Shuffle off to Buffalo, "September in the rain," and 300 others, born.  His birthname: Salvatore Gauranga from Brooklyn.

1907:  I. F. Stone, a guru and conscience for generations of political journalists, born.  He eventually started his own journal: "I.F. Stone's Weekly".  He died in 1989

1912:  The first public and electrically lit Christmas tree in Madison Square Park is celebrated by rich and poor alike.

1920:  Enrico Caruso's last public performance at the Metropolitan Opera.

1931:   Working on Christmas Eve, construction workers decorate the Rockefeller Center development (when whole thing was called "Radio City") with a makeshift humble Christmas Tree. 

Is it decorated with TP?  They are getting their paychecks.

1963:  Idlewild International Airport renamed for John F. Kennedy, a month after he was killed.

1967:  'Broadway' Joe Namath leads Jets football to its first winning season in its history, passing 4007 yards.

1997:  Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn marry He 62; she 27.  But there is  more to the story than that, so click the link.  I saw them once.

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Posted: Dec 23, 2012 | 1:28 AM

December 23rd in New York City History: 
Sante Claus the children's friend gets magical reindeer;
WTC 1 tops;
Fan Abuse;
New York City, America's early capitol, in 1784;
Great athletes, industrialist and philanthropist born.

1784:  The Continental Congress decides to move the Confederation Capitol to New York City from Trenton, NJ.  New York City will remain the capitol through the Confederation and into 1790.

1821: Sante Claus, the Childrens' Friend, published by Gilley inspired his neighbor Clement Clarke Moore's 1822 poem, or did Clement Clark Moore write this illustrated children's book companion poem (quoted below), that influenced A Visit from St. Nich?

“Old Santeclaus with much delight
His reindeer drives this frosty night.
O’er chimney tops, and tracks of snow,
To bring his yearly gifts to you…..
Each Christmas eve he joys to come
Where love and peace have made their home”

This illustration was America's first lithograph.
Santa was very important propaganda, and not just for kids.

1823:  The poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (by Clement C. Moore?) was first published, in the Troy (N.Y.) Sentinel

It became a national hit, establishing Christmas Eve as a quiet gift-giving time, as well as establishing Santa/St Nicholas as fat and jolly, looking like an elf (actually being an elf that can fit down chimneys), having a (New York style) sled, and eight magic reindeer. 

You probably wouldn't be surprised that this is covered on my Santa's NYC Birthday tour.

1867:  Sarah Breedlove Walker, NYC hair products millionaire and philanthropist who was probably the first black woman to be a millionaire, was born
.  She died in 1919.   

She was not the first black New Yorker to become a very wealthy philanthropist from hair care; that's Pierre Toussaint's story.  That was on my Saints of NYC tour.

1942:  Jerry Koosman, the longtime Met's pitcher who won the 1969 World Series, born.

16 Oct 1969, New York, New York, USA --- Jerry Koosman of the Mets pitching during the final game of the World Series, 10/16, against the Baltimore Orioles at Shea Stadium. The Mets won and took the series four games to one.

1946:  Actress Susan Lucci born.

1947:  Bill Rogers, four time NYC Marathon winner, born.

He won the first NYC Marathons that were citywide across the
five-boroughs from 1976-79, which brought a great deal of pride and development for NYC.     

I remember those days.  Some Marathon insiders were worried that the runners might get mugged, but the city's "outer-borough" residents were so happy to be included in the event, that marathoners love NYC's marathon for the spirit of the locals who cheer them like no other, and supply them with water.

1970:  WTC 1, the north tower (the one that had the broadcasting antenna and the restaurant), tops out with the customary American flag,

making it the tallest building in the world.

(In 2012, the new WTC 1 became the tallest building in NYC.  The observation deck is at the level of the original one.)

When WTC 1 is destroyed 31 years later, it will still be among the top half dozen tallest in the world, but still the most massive.  Tower 2 will top out in early 1971.

1979:  NY Rangers fans reach over the boards and start grabbing Boston Bruins' hockey equipment and attacking the players.

Team members leap into the lower seats beating on the rabid fans.

One Bruin attacked an audience member with the spectator's own shoe.  This player later became a coach and later a general manager for the Rangers' rival, the Islanders.   

Nowadays, there is "Fan Abuse" regulations in which fans are not supposed to shout profanities at the teams.

1995:  The Snow Bowl.  NY Giants fans assail the San Diego Chargers with snow and ice balls, halting the play, nearly forfeiting the game, hospitalizing three security guards, knocking out the Chargers' equipment manager.  175 were ejected and 14 were arrested. 

The Giants had a lousy game at the end of a lousy season, and there was a lot of drinking.  A $1000 bounty was put on the head of the pictured snowballer. Take a good look:

? Donald Trump ?!  No, Jeffrey Lange.  He lost his job in computing as a result, but he now works in events management. 

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Posted: Dec 21, 2012 | 5:32 PM

December 22nd in NYC History

1882:  First electric Christmas tree.  Edward Johnson, an Edison Executive, outfits his tree with 80 red, white, and blue bulbs, the size of walnuts, on a revolving tree in his home on 136 E 36th St., near Lexington Ave.  19 years later Edison will market Christmas lights, but they were expensive, mostly used for store window displays. 

1883:  Marcus Hurley, 3 Olympic Cycling Gold Medalist (1904) and 3 time Columbia Basketball All-American (1905-07), born in New York.

1895:  The Puerto Rican Revolutionary Committee debuted the modern one-star flag of Puerto Rico at a meeting in Chelsea. It was illegal to display the flag in Puerto Rico, but the design is officially adopted when the commonwealth establishes its own constitution in 1952.

1917:  Mother Cabrini, the first American resident to be canonized, known for her work with poor and sick New Yorkers, died at 67.  She founded 65 orphanages, schools and hospitals.

1937:  The Lincoln Tunnel opens.

1945:  Diane Sawyer, television journalist from "Good Morning America", born.

1960:  Jean-Michel Basquiat the artist born.
  He died at 27.

1962:  Old Town Bar wishes actor Ralph Fiennes a happy birthday in 2012.

1984:  Bernhard 'Bernie' Goetz, 'the subway vigilante,' a slight white man, provided his own version of "Death Wish" and "Revenge of the Nerds" when he brutally shot four black young men with criminal records who were harassing, threatening, and robbing him on a crowded train.  

Goetz was on the lamb for over a week until he turned himself in. 

He was charged with attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and illegal gun charges.  He was convicted for illegal gun possession.  He served eight out of twelve months.  


The New York City of the 1980s was an intense period for the city with a sense of danger and violence pretty much anywhere anytime, especially in the subways. 

Violence broke out anywhere over haircuts, and more commonly and more viciously, over: race, class, and robbery.

New York City's violent crime rate was 70% higher than the national average. 

Now NYC, with 20% of its violent crime rate of twenty years ago, is the FBI's "Safest Big City in America."  

Goetz: survivor of several attacks before his big case:

Earlier, in 1981, Goetz was violently robbed in the subway, and the assailants had him detained in jail! 

His assailants escaped serious consequences, even though Goetz is still chronically injured from the incident. 

Subsequently, Goetz used an illegal gun to fend off two additional muggings. 

His fourth incident in three sparked a national debate in 1984-85.

The upshots:

Most of Goetz' assailants/victims quickly returned to committing even more serious violent crimes. 

One of Goetz' victims/assailants is paralyzed and has brain damage.  As far as I know, these injuries assisted him in becoming a law-abiding citizen.

A Bronx jury, after a civil lawsuit trial that took 11 years to happen, awarded the criminals/victims a $43 million judgment, but it doesn't seem that they've seen money from it.  (Bronx juries are renowned for their lenience on criminals, locals, and peoples of color.)

Goetz still lives at the top of Greenwich Village, running his electronics repair business, Vigilante Electronics.  I think I've seen him at least once.  He appears earnest.

Goetz advocates and cares for the squirrels of NYC. 

He has run for local office on a platform of vegetarianism, especially in the NYC schools.  

In 2010, 80% of Black and Hispanic NYC Public High School students, the great majority of our one-million public school students, will either drop out or graduate with substandard educations.

Here are Goetz' websites:



2000:  Madonna married film director Guy Ritchie, who moved her from NYC.  They divorced in 2008, paving the way for her return to NYC at an Upper East Side townhouse.

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