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Posted: Mar 31, 2013 | 9:19 PM
by Jared Goldstein

April 1st in NYC History

April 1, 1789: House of Representatives first achieved a quorum and elected its officers

1939:  Baseball great picture Phil Niekro born.  He won his 300th game with the Yankees as a senior pitcher with dozens of years as a pro.

1953:  Barry Sonnenfeld the director of Men In Black and other films born.

1971:  Staten Island's rapper and Wu Tang Clan member Method Man born.

1973:  Rachel Maddow broadcast journalist and commentator born.

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Posted: Mar 31, 2013 | 2:36 PM

March 31st in N.Y.C. History

1923:  Alma Cummings danced 27 hours non-stop, setting a world record and sparking the nation's marathon-dance craze.

1943:  Rodgers and Hammerstein first musical, the revolutionary "Oklahoma!" opened on Broadway.  With its mix of ballet, and other innovations, it was expected to be a flop.  It was a hit, running for over 2,200 performances.  The best seats cost less than $5.

1943:  Actor Christopher (actually Ronald) Walken born in Astoria, Queens.

1945:  Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" debuted on Broadway.

1945:  Actor and comedian Gabe Kaplan, of "Welcome Back Kotter" born.

1947:  Mayor William O'Dwyer submited NYC's first $1 billion budget, second only to the federal budget.

Legend has it that O'Dwyer's parade up Broadway's Canyon of Heroes was finagled as a deal for his resignation during a corruption scandal. Nonetheless,

330,000 witnessed his resignation parade, and O'Dwyer had an illustrious career as a pioneering Mayor and military hero.

1984:  Grammy winner Jack Antonoff of the band Fun born in NJ.  He went to high school in NYC where his music career started.

1992:  The U.N. Security Council banned flights and arms sales to Libya, branding it a terrorist state for harboring six men accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 and a French airliner.

1998:  The first Jewish woman in Congress, and a bold feminist, Bella Abzug died.  She served from 1971-1977.

1999:  Four New York City police officers were charged with murder for killing Amadou Diallo on February 4th.  Diallo was a young unarmed African immigrant, killed in a hail of 41 bullets as he reached for his wallet.  They were acquitted the following year.

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Posted: Mar 30, 2013 | 12:25 AM
by Jared Goldstein

March 30th in NYC History

1865:  The New York City Fire Department is established, which consolidated and replaced rival volunteer fire companies that would sometimes battle each other outside the blazes to determine who would get the spoils from looting the buildings.

We honor the New York Fire Department on the World Trade Center Tour, 20% of the profits benefit the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation and the Complete 9/11 Timeline, both of which are highly efficient volunteer-managed charities.

1867:  Secretary of State William Seward, a great New Yorker who served as Senator and Governor, reached agreement with Russia to

purchase Alaska for $7.2 million, which was ridiculed as "Seward's Folly."

Now it is considered visionary. 

(Seward also managed to keep Britain and France out of the Civil War.)  I regard him as the best Secretary of State.

We see the Seward's statue on Madison Square tours; on Santa Claus tours; Flatiron tours; Ladies Mile tours; and Chelsea Tours.

We see his historic eponymous High School on Lower East Side tours.

1909:  The Queensborough Bridge opened, connecting Manhattan and Queens.  It is also known as the 59th Street Bridge, and the Koch Bridge.

We see this bridge on Roosevelt Island tours.

1940:  New York Knicks champion and 1972 MVP, Jerry Lucas, born.  He is an amazing person.  He is a memory expert.

I love the Knicks from that era.  Such characters.  Rhodes Scholar and Senator Bill Bradley is a Knick from that era, too.

1964:  What is the name of the TV game show "Jeopardy!" that premiered on NBC in NYC on this date?

1979:  Norah Jones born in Brooklyn.

1986:  Actor James Cagney died at age 86.

He lived down the block from me generations before I was born.

1999:  A Portland, Oregon jury ordered New York City based Philip Morris to pay $81 million to the survivors of a man who died of lung cancer after smoking Marlboros for four decades.
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Posted: Mar 29, 2013 | 8:49 PM
by Jared Goldstein


Tunnels Tours of NYC.

The tunnel leading to a KGB (Russian Soviet Spy) agent drop off.

6th and-a-half Avenue.

From Times Square to Fifth Ave through the new and the old original Rockefeller Center.

Obscure Penn Station.

A Chinatown tunnel going from an obscure bend to a major avenue, in between which is where gangs fought and now where you can be treated by a Metaphysician.

The Northwest Passage to Grand Central and the North East Passage!

The Tunnels of the World Trade Center to TriBeCa and almost to the Seaport...

And more.

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Posted: Mar 28, 2013 | 10:43 PM
by Jared Goldstein

March 29th in N.Y.C. History

1848: America's richest man, John Jacob Astor, who made his greatest fortune parlaying real estate investments died at age 84, 64 years and 1 day after arriving.  

His empire began with using his fur fortune for leasing and developing Trinity Church's vast property holdings.  During this era New York City emerged as America's greatest port and city, and its population doubled every ten years, which necessitated developing the real estate friendly grid plan which transformed Manhattan from fertile farmland to cityscape.

Legend has it that, on his deathbed, he expressed one regret: 'More Manhattan real estate.'

We explore Astor's legacy on Downtown tours, Harlem tours at Astor Houses, East Village tours at Astor Row, also known as Colonnade Row.

1889:  Howard Lindsay, Broadway actor, producer and playwright from the team Lindsay and Crouse, who wrote the Sound of Music and many other hits, was born.

1945:  Walt "Clyde" Frazier,
New York Knicks Champion 
and Basketball Hall of Famer born.

1951:  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg convicted of espionage for passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.

It turns out that Ethel didn't do it.  We see where her jail was on Greenwich Village tours.

1959:  "Some Like It Hot," the comedy starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemon and Marilyn Monroe, premiered in New York.

1962:  Jack Paar hosted NBC's "Tonight Show" for the last time.

1967:  John Popper, frontman for Blues Traveler born.

I didn't go to Columbia with him.  He is a great guy, and he'd probably pretend to remember me if one of our common friends introduced us.

1999:  Wayne "the Great" Gretzky of the New York Rangers scored the last of his record National Hockey League 894 goals in Madison Square Garden against the New York Islanders.

1999:  The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 10,000 for the first time.

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Posted: Mar 27, 2013 | 7:40 PM
by Jared Goldstein

March 28th in NYC History

1784:  John Jacob Astor arrived in New York at age 20, seeking a fur fortune, then focusing on New York City real estate, making him America's richest man.

1928:  Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter Administration national security adviser and Columbia professor, born.

1948:  Academy Award winning film actress and Broadway drama star and Upper West Sider, Dianne Wiest, born in Missouri.  

We see the Upper West Side in Upper West Side tours.

1950:  In the age when college hoops ruled basketball, dwarfing the NBA, NIT champions City College beat Bradley University to capture the NCAA title at Madison Square Garden, making City College the only team to win college basketball's "Grand Slam."

The following year the glory tarnished due to sports gambling corruption in which local players were caught shaving points from their teams' victory margins to manipulate gambling point spreads.  Several local programs shut down, and championship college hoops did not return to the metropolitan area for decades.

1963:  Alfred Hitchcock's film "The Birds" premiered in New York.

1981:  Julia Stiles, actress, Columbia alum, lifelong New Yorker, born.

I've seen her jogging my Alphabet City neighborhood.  You can experience my neighborhood this spring, summer and autumn with an East Village Community Gardens tour.

1986:  Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga! 

We go by her high school on Upper East Side tours, and general Manhattan tours.

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Posted: Mar 26, 2013 | 10:00 AM
by Jared Goldstein

March 26th in NYC History

1879:  The Engineer and designer of many of NYC's Great Bridges, including the GW, Hellgate, Bayonne, Bronx-Whitestone, the Throgs Neck, and the Verazzano-Narrows, two of which were the world's largest in their day,  Othmar Ammann born in Switzerland.

1892:  Poet Walt Whitman, the exuberant chronicler of his personal reality in New York City and Brooklyn, died at age 72.  He was a founder of the Brooklyn Museum.

1934:  Academy Award winning actor Alan Arkin born in Brooklyn.

Arkin in Catch-22

1940:  James Caan the actor who starred in the Godfather and Elf and other films, born in the Bronx.

1942:  Writer Erica Jong, and Barnard alum, born.

1944:  Singer Diana Ross born.

1960:  Actress Jennifer Grey born in NYC.  

1964:  The musical "Funny Girl," starring Barbra Streisand, opened on Broadway.

1966:  Michael Imperioli, the Actor who played Christopher on "The Sopranos", born.

2003:  Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., died at age 76.

2011:  Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, the first female major party nominee for the office, died at age 75.

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Posted: Mar 26, 2013 | 9:26 AM

March 27h in New York City History

1879:  Edward Steichen, a Photo-Secession Group leader born.

Flatiron 1904

1884:  The first long distance telephone phone call between New York and Boston.

1899:  Gloria Swanson, film, stage and television actress, born.

1924:  Sarah Vaughan, jazz singer and pianist born.

We see where she was discovered on amateur night when she was a teenager: the Apollo Theater on Harlem tours.

1952:  "Singin' In the Rain" premiered.

1970:  Mariah Carey, singer, actress and philanthropist active in NYC, born in Long Island.

1983:  Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" opened on Broadway.

I saw it about three months later.  Former Mayor John Lindsay was at the performance.

Later that summer Matthew Broderick starred in "War Games."

Matthew Broderick is on Broadway today in 2013...

1998:  The Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer's


2002:  Comedian Milton Berle died at 93

I saw him around 36th Street and Madison Avenue in the late 1990s.  I didn't bother to say hi to him because he always, friendily, denied that who he was.  He was a very tall man.

2007:  NFL owners made instant replay a permanent officiating tool.

That took only a few decades.
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Posted: Mar 25, 2013 | 9:37 AM
by Jared Goldstein

March 25 in NYC History

Arturo Toscanini 3/25/1867 - 1/16/1957

1881:  Bela Bartok, the Hungarian pianist who was one of the most important composers and musicologists of the 20th century, born. He died as a professor at Columbia University in 1945.

1911...In one of the worst factory fires in the city's history, 146 workers are killed when fire sweeps through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Greenwich Village. The tragedy prompts reforms in workplace safety practices.

1913The home of vaudeville, the Palace Theatre, opened in New York City.

1958James McDaniel, Actor ("NYPD Blue")

1988Robert E. Chambers Jr. pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of 18-year-old Jennifer Levin in New York City's so-called "preppie murder case."

1990...Eighty-seven people die in a fire at the Happy Land Social Club in the Bronx.

1965:  Actress Sarah Jessica Parker ("Sex and the City") celebrates her birthday.  Her husband Matthew Broderick's birthday was on 3/21.

We explore SJP and Carrie's neighborhood on Greenwich Village tours.

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Posted: Mar 24, 2013 | 6:27 PM
by Jared Goldstein

March 24th in NYC History  Birth of the Subway (?), Long Distance, the Escape Artist, Playing the Palace, and more.

1755:  Pride of Jamaica Queens Rufus King a drafter of the US Constitution born in MA, which he represented to the Constitutional Convention.  He spent his final years in Jamaica.

March 24, 1874, Harry Houdini, the Hungarian-born magician and escape artist, was born. Following his death on Oct. 31, 1926

1883...Long distance phone service begins between New York and Chicago.

1887: Fatty Arbuckle born elsewhere he died in NYC.  What a life!  The first millionaire actor, the comic nurtured the careers of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Bob Hope.  He was involved in one of Hollywood's first great scandals.  He was tried three times for the rape and murder of a prostitute that he had nothing to do with.  The scandal ruined his career.  After he finally got a film contract for a movie to be produced in Brooklyn, he said it was the happiest day in his life.  That night, in his mid 40s, he died in his sleep.

1897:  Visionary, kook, influential, Wilhelm Reich born.   It is hard to summarize him and his life.  My favorite theory of his is that sexual repression leads to Nazism, and that focusing the universal energy behind sex could destroy fascism.

1900...Ground is broken in front of City Hall for the Lexington Avenue subway.

1902:  Thomas E. Dewey 47th Governor of NY born.  He lost the Presidential races against FDR and Truman.  I love how the Republicans and Democrats of that era ran the same unsuccessful candidates twice for the Presidency after losing.

1913The home of vaudeville, the Palace Theatre, opened in New York City.

1951Tommy Hilfiger, Fashion designer

1955"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams opened on Broadway.

1958Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army in Memphis, Tenn.

1962)Star Jones is an American lawyer, journalist, writer, and television personality. She is known for her former role as a co-host of theABC weekday morning talk show The View from 1997 to 2006.

1977:  Pride of Julliard, Jessica Chastain born.  She lives in NoHo, a neighborhood in Manhattan with her rescued three-legged dog Chaplin and her husband.

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