Texas Guinan: New York’s most famous hostess and her Club Intime

“Hello, Suckers!” – this is the way you would have been greeted if you entered the club in its heyday in the 1920s. The greeting would have been delivered by the infamous Texas Guinan. Texas Guinan came from Texas (thus, the nickname) to take New York by storm. Starting as a simple showgirl she worked…

Frank Lloyd Wright at The Plaza

While working on his last major project—the Guggenheim—Frank Lloyd Wright stayed at the Plaza. His impressive 4,000-square-foot corner suite there was his home from 1954 to 1959, the last six years of his life. The architect had been traveling to New York for business and pleasure for decades but was not shy in expressing his…

Books About New York

Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 (The History of NYC Series), Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace The Island at the Center of the World, Russell Shorto Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, Michelle Nevius, James Nevius Footprints in New York: Tracing the Lives of Four Centuries of New…

Black and White Ball – a Work of Art by Truman Capote

On November 28, 1966, Truman Capote hosted “a little masked ball” for 540 of his closest friends. The event, held at the venerable Plaza Hotel ballroom, went down in history as the Party of the Century. Though hailed as the greatest party ever thrown, it was also shamed for its over-the-top exuberance in the context…

Frank Sinatra: from Hoboken to Eternity

1915 Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, at 415 Monroe Street in Hoboken, NJ. He was the only child of Italian immigrants Natalina “Dolly” Garaventa and Antonino Martino “Marty” Sinatra. Sinatra weighed 13.5 pounds at the time of his birth and had to be delivered with the aid of forceps, which severely scarred his left cheek, neck, and ear…

A Family Quarrel, Steamboats, and US Patent Law

If all family disagreements resulted in innovation and progress, then, well… the world would be a far better place! A particular quarrel between Colonel John Stevens and Robert Livingston led directly to the establishment of steamboat operations on the Hudson River as well as the creation of US patent law. Colonel Stevens, the founder of…

Snapping Turtles and Founding Fathers

It’s nearly impossible to imagine Aaron Burr peacefully sharing a meal with Alexander Hamilton. But as it turns out, both of them used to belong to a gourmet organization called the “Hoboken Turtle Club.” They were joined by other Founding Fathers – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, to name a few – who…

Colonel John Stevens, Founder of Hoboken

The city of Hoboken was founded by Colonel John Stevens – patriot, attorney, civic-minded inventor, city planner, engineer, and patriarch of America’s first family of engineers. John Stevens was born in 1749 in New York City. Raised in the city, he went on to get a law degree from King’s College, now called Columbia University….

Sybil’s Cave and the Unsolved Murder of the Beautiful Cigar Girl

A recreational destination for 19th-century leisure seekers, Sybil’s Cave, achieved fame, or infamy rather, as the site of an unsolved murder. Sybil’s Cave was created in 1832 by the Stevens family as a folly. The man-made cave, adorned with an elaborate Gothic-style entrance, was built around a natural spring and served as a cafe where…

The Witch of Wall Street: the Legend of Hetty Green

There are people so odd, and so easy to loath, that their character loses its human form and becomes the stuff of legends. One such individual was a woman who went down in history as the “Witch of Wall Street.” She was awarded the title of the world’s greatest miser by the Guinness Book of…

Audrey Munson in New York

“POMONA” of the Pulitzer Fountain   Location: Grand Army Plaza, 5th Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets Sculptor: Karl Bitter/Isidore Konti Built: 1916 The exquisite female figure atop the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel is an allegorical depiction of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. Symbolizing bounty, she holds a basket of fruit as the…

Mamie Fish – the “Fun-Maker” of the Gilded Age

    “Can I get something for your throat, dear?” – inquired Mr. Stuyvesant Fish. His wife retorted: “Yes, this diamond and pearl necklace I saw today at Tiffany’s.” The most irreverent broad of the Gilded Age, Marion (“Mamie”) Fish did not shine with beauty. Nore with education. Heavyset, stern, barely literate, and often quite…