York Almanac ->
New York City in FEBRUARY
If Paris is the perfect setting for a
romance, New York is the perfect
city in which to get over one, to get over anything.
- Cyril Connolly
....Average monthly temperature for a New York February:
Westminster Dog Show high-tails into Madison Square
Garden ....also don't miss the International
Art Expo at the Javits Center.
ABOVE: a view of the now shuttered Schrafft's Restaurant,
a once- great place to bring a date at 58th Street and Madison
Avenue, snapped February 1, 1948....
....This night in 1892, Mrs. Astor invites 400 of her closest
friends to a ball. Mrs. Astor pontificates that there are
only 400 people of the best people in New York high society,
and issues only that number in invitations. The event instantly
gives rise to the phrase The
Four Hundred to describe the haughty elite (full disclosure:
her ballroom could only hold 400 people)...live from the
old Ed Sullivan theater, "Late Night with David Letterman"
premieres this night in 1982 on NBC....
February 2 Groundhog Day
Amsterdam is incorporated, 1653.... there are 622 paupers
holed up in the Chambers Street Alms House: 29 Englishmen,
87 Irish, 30 Scots, 34 Germans and 60 Americans (as well
as 21 others of indeterminent origin) this day 1795...Frederick
Rodman parachutes off the Statue of Liberty this day in
1912 for one of the world's first movie stunts....
....Percival Prattis, who writes for Our World in New
York City becomes the first black news correspondent
admitted to the House and Senate press gallery in Washington,
DC this day in 1947....in 1984 a sellout crowd of 18,210
at Madison Square Garden in New York City sees Carl
Lewis beat his own world record in the long jump by
....La Tosca premieres tonight at the Met, 1901....John
Giola of New York City becomes the world champion Charleston
endurance dancer with a 22 hour, 30 minute performance this
day in 1926....Thornton Wilder's Our Town premieres
tonight at the Henry Miller Theater, 1938. The author gets
a Pulitzer Prize....
Street disaster this day in 1850 claims the lives of
67 New Yorkers in a boiler explosion....a massive nor'easter
buries the northeastern U.S. in 1978 with 18 inches of snow
in New York City, 16 inches at Philadelphia, and 14 inches
at Baltimore. Boston, at 30 inches, shuts down for a week....
four disciples of Osama bin Laden go on trial in New York
in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa....
Clinton is appointed mayor in 1811 and not only becomes
the first to occupy the present City Hall, but proves to
be one of the city's best mayors ever. He personally attends
to fires, soup kitchens and the general care of the town's
less fortunate, and later helps establish the city's first
public school and the New York Historical Society. Salary
as mayor: $13,000 per annum....
.... this day in 1857 (a year of financial panic on Wall
Street) William Alan Butler is author of the satirical poem
to Wear immortalizing the scandalous spending habits
of "Miss Flora M'Flimsey of Madison Square". It
is later illustrated in book form and becomes an instant
Bowery has its first
electric tattoo machine.
New York is in an uproar over whether or not to host the
World's Fair this day in 1889. The plan to take over 19
acres of Central Park is dubbed "audacious" and
"preposterous" and the international exposition
moves to Chicago in 1892....on the Bowery, Professor Samuel
F. O'Reilly introduces the first
electric tattoo machine this day in 1892, resulting
in perfectly drawn "tattaugraphs"....
....Twenty years after the first woman was admitted to the
New York Stock Exchange, the Exchange Luncheon Club installs
a ladies rest room this day in 1987....
...."The Lake" opens this night in 1934 starring
the young Katherine Hepburn of whom critic Dorothy Parker
writes the infamous...she ran the gamut of emotions from
A-to-B....and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
opens at the Morosco Theater, 1949....
....A job posting today in 1751: "....the public
Whipper of the City of New York being lately dead, if any
Person inclines to accept the Office with Twenty Pounds
a Year, he may apply to the Mayor, and be entered...."
....at Madison Square Garden, Thomas L. Rankin builds the
country's first indoor skating rink, inaugurated this day
in 1879 with a gala ice carnival....symphonic jazz is on
the program tonight in 1924 at Aeolian Hall in which George
Gershwin gives Rhapsody
in Blue its first public performance....and Woody
Allen makes his Broadway debut as scriptwriter for Play
It Again, Sam at the Broadhurst, 1969....
....with the nightlife nothing to write home about, (but
discovering "the ladies singularly beautiful,")
Dickens arrives in New York this day in 1842 for a three-month
February 14 - Valentines Day
opens at the Eden Theatre this night in 1972 and later moves
to Broadway where it becomes the longest-running musical
to date with 3,388 performances....
"....Press in the button and crank once only; unhook
the listening telephone [receiver] and put it close to your
ear, when Central Office will enquire: "What number?"
Give Central Office and number of person wanted, and upon
receiving the answer "All right," hang up the
receiver, and wait til your bell rings, then place the receiver
to your ear and address person called..." *
* Instructions on how to place a telephone
call. From The Metropolitan Telephone
and Telegraph Company Subscriber's List, published February,
....the first daily news telecast in America is broadcast
from the New York studios of NBC, 1948...apprehended this
day in 1965 are Robert Collier, leader of the Black Liberation
Front, and Michelle Duclas, a member of the Rassemblement
pour l'Independence (a wing of the French Canadian Separatist
Party) for plotting to dynamite the Statue of Liberty. Uncovering
the plot are the NYPD, the FBI, and the Royal Canadian Mounted
....From the Annals of the Criminally Inane: A bank robber
glowingly described as "awfully stupid" hands
an illegible stickup note to a teller in Brooklyn. "I
don't understand," says she, "you'll have to write
it out again." The would-be thief sheepishly does as
he is told while the teller rings the silent alarm and summons
the police. Booked later at the Snyder St. police station,
the not-too-bright beginner is nicknamed "Poor Johnny
One Note" this day in 1977....
....at a cost of $12,423.15, a new wing for "the accommodation
of maniacs" opens this day at New York Hospital this
day in 1809....also this day in 1809, the city's first Sunday
paper is published. The Observer folds six months
later....in 1890 there's a strong movement afoot to equip
policemen with roller skates so that robbers, who did not
wear them, could be caught more easily....the first 3-D
movie, Bwana Devil, is released in New York City this day
....at a dinner party tonight in 1910 bon vivant and man-about-town
Jim Brady enhances his reputation and his waistline
when he consumes seven dozen oysters, five servings
of roast beef, two gallons of stewed fruit, and three gallons
of orange juice. He lives.
....a puppet show is being shown at Mr. Holt's room on Pearl
and Broad Streets today in 1738 entitled The Adventures
of Harlequin and Scaramouche. Admission: 5 shillings....
New Yorker magazine hits the stands today in 1925....civil
rights leader Malcolm
X is gunned down this day in 1965 at the Audubon Ball
Room before a packed house. Reported last words: "Be
cool. Be calm."
....the first Jewish cemetery is established this day in
1656 and remains Manhattan Island's most ancient burial
place - part of which is visible today at Park Row....women
are allowed the right to work on the city docks today in
1979 as longshorepersons....
demise of Madame
Restell, the wickedest
woman in New York.
....New York's notorious Madame
Restell, (whose botched abortions have long been the
talk of the town) comes under scrutiny of the National Police
Gazette this day in 1848 and condemned for disposing of
her mistakes in the Hudson River: "...how many more,
then, who enter her halls of death may be supposed to expire
under her execrable butchery? Females are daily, nay, hourly
missing from our midst who never return. Where do they go?
What becomes of them?...Witness this, ye shores of Hudson!
Witness this, Hoboken beach!"
Despite her notoriety, the 19th century's most infamous
abortionist continues to ply her trade among the poor, although
she is hounded by the police for years afterward. Finally
indicted in a sting operation, Restell (a.k.a Mrs. Ann Lohman)
is discovered in a bathtub in her palatial Fifth Avenue
mansion having bled to death from a self-inflicted gash
to her throat. She leaves an estate worth more than one
....the whole town is awash in excitement as a whale is
killed in the Hudson River and brought down to New York
"where she is exposed to view" this day in 1704....
....America's first reported monkey act hits town in 1751
courtesy of showman Edward Willet. For the price of a shilling,
the audience sees the monkey walk a tightrope, dance and
'exercise' a gun ....
....Six people are killed and more than a thousand injured
when a van packed with a 1,210-pound bomb explodes in the
the World Trade Center this day in 1993. The explosion
leaves a 200-foot wide crater and causes over 591 million
dollars in damage. Dr. Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman and 14 of
his followers are accused of the bombing....
"....Let us have faith that right makes might and in
that faith let us dare to do our duty," says Abe Lincoln
in what is considered the greatest
anti-slavery speech on record. It's delivered at Cooper
Union at Astor Place this day in 1860 before a crowd of
....in one of the worst years of famine in Ireland, Harper's
Weekly in New York urges Americans to contribute to
Irish relief funds. A month later, the USS Constellation
is dispatched from New York with over 3,000 barrels of food
and articles of clothing destined for the Erin Isle....