Thursday, March 20, 2014

Diamond Jim Brady - Cartoon - The World February 29, 1908

Diamond Jim Brady - Cartoon - The World February 29, 1908


1895 Electric Brougham – First Automobile in NYC – Diamond Jim Brady

The vehicle was a custom built electric brougham  manufactured by A. H. Woods of Chicago. The automobile arrived accompanied by a mechanic named William Johnson—an African American man who knew how to run it and fix it. Brady immediately hired Johnson away from Woods, dressed him in a bottle-green uniform and gave him the title of chauffeur.

Brady had Johnson drive him around the city on five consecutive mornings between three and four o’clock, when no one was watching, so he could be confident that the automobile would not break down. Then he alerted the press before debuting his horseless carriage in the daylight. On a Saturday afternoon in the spring of 1895, William Johnson in his uniform and Diamond Jim Brady in a top hat, drove down Fifth Avenue to Madison Square. 

Crowds gathered along the way to view the spectacle and cheer them on. The new machine delighted the spectators, but horses on the road were much less welcoming. When the brougham reached the busy thoroughfare of Forty-Second Street at least five teams of horses bolted in surprise and ran away. After several trips around Madison Square they stopped at the Hoffman House and Diamond Jim went inside and ordered a lemon soda at the bar (he did not drink alcohol.)

The trip had caused so much disruption that the New York City Police Department ordered Brady not to bring the contraption out again during the day. This prohibition was short lived; within a year automobiles powered by gasoline as well as electricity were a common sight in New York City.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Undertaker’s Gate – Servant’s Entrance – Dakota House – 72nd Street and Central Park West – NYC – Urban Legend

Servant's Entrance - "Undertaker's Gate" - Dakota House NYC

Of some of the lovely ghosts that call the Dakota House Apartments in New York City their home, I find the one that John Lennon is haunting the most time locked back gate – Original Servant’s Entrance 1884 – to be the place John is taking a smoke outside in the New York hot and or cold along with the seasons, to be rather far fetched.

As urban legends go, I see the same language in at least a dozen blogs and news articles about this alleged backdoor entrance hangout for the late great John Lennon.

If anything, the management and the co-op board want the tourists to keep away from the front door/gate and hang out at a locked gate in back away from that main entrance on Seventy-Second street.



Main Entrance - 72nd Street


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fragment of Old St. Bartholomew’s Church – Great Jones Street and Lafayette Street New York City

                                                                                                                                                                         Google Street Maps

I absolutely loathe the Byzantine style church outside and inside, a wanna be Episcopal Cathedral, at 50th Street and Park Ave. NYC.

But that is my taste.

The original congregation began at a humble site in the East Village at Great Jones Street and Lafayette Place 1835.

Over the years, taking the old “6” MTA bus north, I often noticed the fragment of church building amongst the industrial buildings of the area.

After some research I believe the building fragment above is a piece of the original old St. Bart’s.

It is not unusual for buildings to be sold and chopped up and standing after their so-called demise. I believe that pieces of the original Columbia main college hall on Murray Street survived the selling of the building. Evidence of the size of lots on Murray Street suggest that fragments of the original building stood on their own, along supporting wall lines and subsequent lot lines, after the building’s so-called demise. Recycling was a virtue in olden days.

The building of the church there on Great Jones Street and Lafayette is no doubt the reason retired merchant Seabury Tredwell bought a house on the next street on East Fourth Street.  Tredwell was one of the founding members of the St. Bartholomew Church. His house, the Merchant’s House is now a museum. His daughter Gertrude lived there for 93 years from birth to death. Gertrude is part of New York City urban legends in that she is said to be the inspiration for the novel Washington Square by author Henry James, adapted several times into cinema. Story is that Gertrude fell in love with a Catholic doctor and her father refused permission for a such a union and mixed marriage, not to say compromise of his standing in his Episcopal congregation.

The original building of the Church of St. Bartholomew (Episcopal) at Great Jones Street and Lafayette Place, New York City, erected in 1836

3/15/14 Item still under research and not anything definitive at this time. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

7 West 46th Street New York City - Former Residence of Diamond Jim Brady - Urban Legend

7 West 46th Street NYC - Google Maps

Many, many, years ago I passed this building and there was a plaque next to the front door that “Diamond Jim Brady” had lived here. The main floor shortly thereafter was turned into a Japanese Restaurant and the plaque disappeared somewhere along the way. I think also that the present fa├žade is colored faux-stone designed stucco and not the original brownstone.

It is amazing sometimes the buildings that manage to survive in NYC.

Source of above text image -

3/15/14 Been informed by reliable source that DJB never lived here. A genuine but false urban legend. -- MM