Tag Archives: New York City

The New Yorker Debuts

Eustace-TilleyOn February 21, 1925, The New Yorker debuted with its first issue. The New Yorker is an American magazine which includes serious reportage, social commentary, essays, satire, fiction works, poetry, and essays. Though mostly centered around the life of New Yorkers, the magazine has a broad international fanbase and because it is produced weekly, it is known for its highly topical covers and commentary on American popular culture.

The magazine was founded by Harold Ross and his wife, New York Times reporter Jane Grant. Tired of the “corny” content which filled other humorous publications at the time, Ross strove to create something sophisticated, yet entertaining. The magazine started out as a glorified society column centering around life in New York featuring a now famous dandy gentleman staring at a butterfly through a monocle on the cover. The dandy man on the cover, later given the name ‘Eustace Tilley,’ was drawn by The New Yorker‘s first art director, Rea Irvin.

NY168 - Seaside Cafe.graffleTilley’s appearance on the first cover was meant to be a joke, but confused readers did not know what to make of it or the magazine at first. Was it supposed to be an accurate portrayal of The New Yorker readers? And if so, what did it mean? Are readers cosmopolitan individuals closely studying life’s small beauties? Or are they haughty beings only concerned with their own existence? The perplexing first cover image seemed to mirror the likewise befuddling content inside. Filled with gossip and writing targeted at in-the-know Manhattanites, those involved in the beginning soon decided a broader scope should be the natural evolution of the new publication.

Still holding on to its humorous roots, The New Yorker gradually established a base for serious fiction writers and journalists to publish their work. After World War II came to an end, the magazine began to print short stories, poems, essays, and other contemplative and stimulating writing by some of the 20th and 21st centuries’ most renowned writers. Such famed names as Haruki MurakamiVladimir NabokovJohn O’HaraPhilip RothJ. D. SalingerIrwin ShawJames ThurberJohn Updike, and E. B. White have appeared with bylines in the publication.

The New Yorker’s circulation is now well over one million, and its audience is made up mostly well-educated and liberal-minded individuals who seek the detailed coverage and commentary of Americana the magazine provides. Its combination of journalism and creative pieces as well as reviews and art has made The New Yorker one of the most revered magazines in the world.

Sources: The New YorkerBritannica.com, Wikipedia

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Holland Tunnel Opens

HollandTunnelOpenOn November 13, 1927, the Holland Tunnel, which goes under the Hudson River and connects Manhattan with Jersey City, New Jersey, was opened to the public. As the first vehicular crossing across the Hudson River, it is considered an outstanding engineering achievement.

Most American public works projects are named after a historical figure, government official, or local hero, but because the Holland Tunnel was such an amazing engineering feat, the tunnel was named for its first chief engineer, Clifford Holland. He unfortunately died before the tunnel’s completion. For centuries, the only way to cross the lower Hudson River was by ferry. In the first decade of the 20th century, several tunnels were constructed under the Hudson River for trains to connect major stations in Manhattan in New Jersey. Because of the completion of these tunnels and the rise in automobile usage, interest began to peak in making a tunnel for vehicular passage across the Hudson. Originally, a bridge was going to be built over the river, but this idea was abandoned in favor of a tunnel for cost reasons.

The biggest challenge in building a tunnel for automobiles under the river was how to properly ventilate it. Underwater tunnels were already a well-developed part of civil engineering, but since this was a tunnel for automobiles, carbon monoxide emissions produced by cars could be deadly to drivers if there was not proper ventilation in the tunnel. One of the tunnel’s chief engineers, Ole Singstad proposed building a circular tunnel with automatic ventilation buildings on both sides. The completed tunnel contained four ventilation buildings with 84 fans providing a change of air every 90 seconds. This revolutionary engineering feat made the Holland Tunnel the first underwater tunnel for automobiles with a ventilation system. Some members of the press proclaimed that the quality of air in the tunnel was better than air on some New York City streets. Engineering techniques used in the building of the Holland Tunnel are still the basis for building underwater tunnels all over the world today.

In 1984, the Holland Tunnel was made a National Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil and Mechanical Engineers. And in 1993, the U.S. Department of the Interior made the tunnel a National Historic Landmark.

Sources: Wikipedia, Port Authority of NY & NJ History


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First Black Female Judge

On July 22, 1939, Jane Bolin was assigned to the Domestic Relations Court (later, Family Court) in New York. This appointment made her the first black woman to become a judge in the United States.

Born in Poughkeepsie, New York on April 11, 1908, Jane Bolin accomplished many other firsts as a black woman in America. She was the first to graduate from Yale Law School, to join the New York City Bar Association, and the first black female to work in New York City’s legal department.

She reluctantly retired in January of 1979 after serving as a judge for 40 years.  Bolin died at the age of 98 in Queens, New York in 2007.

Sources: The New York Times, Wikipedia

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Billy the Kid Dies

One of the most notorious outlaws in history, Billy the Kid, was shot to death on July 14, 1881 in Fort Summer, New Mexico.

William Henry McCarty Jr. was born in New York City on November 23, 1859. It is rumored that he killed his first man in 1877 at the age of 17, and that in his lifetime he had murdered 21 – one man for every year that he was alive.

The law caught up with Billy the Kid in 1880 when he was arrested for killing a sheriff and sentenced to be hanged. By 1881 however, he had escaped from prison, eluding law enforcement and killing two guards in his path. Billy the Kid was tracked down and shot dead by Sheriff Pat Garrett at the Maxwell Ranch in New Mexico.

Sources: History, Biography

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New York City 2011 Wall Calendar

Click to buy the New York City 2011 Wall Calendar

Click to buy the New York City 2011 Wall Calendar

New York City 2011 Wall Calendar

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