The Bronx Already Has the National Garden of American Heroes

I woke up today to find out that in a speech last night a plan was announced for something called a “National Garden of American Heroes” with a “vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans who ever lived.” This is really surprising to me–and anyone else–who knows about the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, which has been in The Bronx since the first class was inducted in 1900. In Continue Reading →

Governors Island and the Confederacy

A story dominating the news this month is about how the U.S. Army has ten posts named for Confederate Generals. A second story is the only Army post in New York City, Fort Hamilton, has roads named for Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Because I wrote the book about Governors Island and have spent untold days visiting and leading tours of New York’s greatest park, it got me to examine why this post, which Continue Reading →

8 More Unmarked Graves of Woodlawn Cemetery

I am really happy my friend Michael Cumella has pushed Woodlawn Cemetery to finally put a gravestone on the final resting place of singer Nora Bayes. The unveiling is Saturday, April 21, at noon at the landmark cemetery in the Bronx. A nice New York Times story explains the whole rigmarole about why the famous singer never got a stone when she died 90 years ago. But this is just the first of a number Continue Reading →

WWI Princeton Club of New York Casualties Remembered

Princeton lost 151 men in World War I. Whether through wounds, accidents, injuries, sickness or the Influenza Pandemic, the toll was high. Of these 151, twenty-nine were members of the Princeton Club of New York. In the club entrance foyer is a beautiful bronze memorial to the honored war dead of the club. For my talk at the club on my book World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to Continue Reading →

WWI Centennial Countdown Begins with Private C. LeRoy Baldridge Art

In thirty days is the centennial of American entry in World War I on April 6. To mark the occasion, beginning today I am going to post a daily countdown with a different sketch by Private C. LeRoy Baldridge. He was a sketch artist in the war and his work was widely distributed. I am going to post these images daily until April 6 on my Tumbler, Twitter, and Facebook Page. Here is a little Continue Reading →

An Acting Family’s Tragedy, Alfred Bardelang, Jr.

Kensico Vaudeville Project #13 Name: Alfred Bardelang, Jr. Act: None Born: March 1929 Died: 4 February 1934 The little boy would have been the fifth generation of his family to enter the theatrical profession. However, tragedy struck the family of Alfred Bardelang, Jr. He died at just four years and five months old. His twin brother only lived to be two and 1/2. Alfred Jr. was the progeny of two actors. His father, Alfred Sr., Continue Reading →

Governors Island WWI Memorial Project Launches

Last summer I started work on a project that is small in scope but means a lot to me. Today I submitted the final grant application information to the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission for what I am calling the Governors Island World War I Memorial Project. Last year when my book The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide was published I was not done with the island, which is by far my favorite park in Continue Reading →

Charles Clair, English Dramatic Actor

Kensico Vaudeville Project #12 Name: Charles Clair Act: Actor Born: 2 February 1871, London Died: 12 Oct 1939, Brooklyn Actor Charles Frederick Clair was born 2 February 1871 in London. He emigrated to the United States when he was 21. He arrived in New York on 11 April 1892 aboard the City of Berlin from Liverpool. His name appears as both Clair and Claire in billings; Clair is on his immigration application. Clair married a Continue Reading →

I Unearth 1933 Radio Show with George Gershwin, Kitty Carlisle, Richy Craig, Jr.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/301243246″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /] About five years ago I bought a tape on eBay of an NBC radio show from 1933 because it had Heywood Broun and Deems Taylor as guests. Both were members of the Algonquin Round Table, and I was obsessively acquiring as much ephemera as I could. A lot of the material went into my book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide (Lyons Press, 2015). But Continue Reading →

Dorothy Parker Reviews the Ziegfeld Follies

On Saturday I debuted my W.C. Fields History Walking Tour as part of Fields Fest, a 6-week celebration of the life of the great comedian. Dorothy Parker was a huge fan of Fields. In my book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide, I was really happy to be able to include a photo of Parker and Fields together. One of the parts of the tour I wanted to do, but didn’t for Continue Reading →