| Grand Central opened on February 2, 1913 and the Woolworth Building opened that year on April 24. These two icons still help define New York City a hundred years later and that got us wondering what else was going on in New York City that year? Here are some of the things major and minor on New Yorkers' minds in 1913, with much help from the NY Times' Times Machine. (We've included links to the articles, but you can only read them with an All Access Times subscription.)
A letter to the editor of the Times about Vanished Bookshops laments the "decline of New York literary taste" and the closing of bookshops on 23rd Street between Fourth and Lexington.
Wall Street's Troubles and How to Remedy Them. The more things change, and all that.
Also on that date, the Times runs a review of Chekhov's The Kiss and Other Stories under the headline A Russian Writer Greatly Overrated by Americans. Woops!
The 1913 Armory Show opens at the Armory on Lexington [25th/26th], now regarded as a seminal event in American art, bringing Modernism to the country. Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase and Blue Nude by Matisse were two of the notable works.
Manhattan Borough President McAneny predicts, at a City Club luncheon, that the Day of the Skyscraper is Passing.
Nannyhattan! No Turkey Trotting with Tea: Mayor Gaynor wants to restrict afternoon dances. The Mayor, who had survived an assassination attempt on an ocean liner in 1910, would die later in 1913 on a deck chair of another ocean liner.
Girl's Shoe Stolen Right Off Her Foot—Pump with Silver Buckle Is Grabbed as Miss Littlefield Climbs Subway Stairs
Brooklyn Dodger's Ebbets Field opens.
A plan to make over New York's GOP. "Reconstructed, the party, in this State at least, will no longer be dominated by stand-patters, but will be made 'responsive to the will of the voters,' as a letter sent out yesterday to young Republicans all over the State suggests."
Wide Range of Hat Shapes at 1,000 Women's Luncheon was the headline coverage by the Times for an event at the Hotel Astor for the Women's League for Political Education.
About a month later, back in Onion territory, they ran a Sunday piece titled Exercise Cure For Feminine Unrest, with the subhead reading Noted Harvard Authority on Physical Training Says That Girl Who Jumps Fences and Acts Part of Hoyden and One Who Shouts 'Votes for Women' Both Seek Outlet for Normal Amount of Emotion.
Our Suffrage Movement is Flirtation on a Big Scale ran a headline quoting Mrs. Arthur M. Dodge, President of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. In the article, she says, "Women are yielding to [the suffrage movement] because, idle and neurotic, they find in it the excitement which their bent natures crave. Having abandoned the useful things of life, child-bearing and home-making, they must still in some manner occupy their time." It goes on like that.
A lock of George Washington's hair was sold by the George H. Richmond Co., 19 East 45th St.
Married Teachers Not Wanted Here—Home and School Suffer, was the School Board thinking, when employing married women in public schools.
Why Do People Go To Coney Island? The subhead read: It's the Only Place on Earth Where Folks Do Exactly the Opposite of What They Do Elsewhere, and They Go There Because Coney Has Capitalized the Latent Insanity in Mankind.
A resolution for the impeachment of William Sulzer, the Governor of the State, was for presented to the Albany Assembly. He was eventually removed from office. The charge: lying about campaign contributions. Sulzer claimed the amount was $5,460; the truth, according to the resolution, was "greatly in excess of said sum, to the personal knowledge of said Sulzer." Love that 'said Sulzer,' as if everything about him was now suspect.
Dissed for bad taste: "The tastes of New York playgoers have become so terribly wicked and the stage of this city has fallen so low that the Board of Governors of the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre of England has forbidden the Stratford-on-Avon Players to appear here at all, and, using the cable to make the command more imperative, has canceled all of the dates which the organization had secured for New York." The Times notes drily that "the majority of New York theatregoers will probably be able to withstand the shock of the non-appearance of the company…"
The first published crossword puzzle is printed in the New York World.
What the New York Diner Out Orders For His Dinner, in which we learn that grapefruit was "very much in demand for opening a dinner." That oysters were the most popular appetizer. That caviar "used to be written with an 'e' on the end, but since the price has leaped up, they have shortened the name and abbreviated the portion they serve you." Antipasti has "a hostile sound." Salmon is "not by any means a favorite hereabouts, because it is usually served boiled." Sweetbreads, squab, beef, chicken are favorite main courses. Fruit and greens were being served together: "…More people are being converted to a belief that fruits, when mixed and placed on lettuce leaves, are palatable if a French or mayonaise dressing is used to cement the lot." For dessert? Three out of four order ice cream.
[Main image: View from the Woolworth Building, 1913]