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Aeolian Hall: 1919

Aeolian Hall: 1919

August 1919. "West 42nd Street east from Sixth Avenue, showing Aeolian Hall." And let's not forget the Fleischman Baths. Gelatin silver print by American Studio, New York. View full size.


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Can anyone read the banner down the street?

Last two lines appear to be U.S. Navy and ## East 23rd Street but I can't make out the first two.

[MEN WANTED / FOR THE / U.S. NAVY / 34 EAST 23rd ST. - Dave]

Re: girl alone

Gosh, I hadn’t noticed her till JennyPennifer pointed her out. Now she really pops! Also note the two men in uniform in Bryant Park, near the base of the statue, both caught in near-identical mid-step.

Dr. Sims

The statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims seen on the very right side of the photo was moved from Bryant Park in the 1920's (during subway construction) and then erected in Central Park in 1934. It was removed from Central Park permanently in 2017. It is still in storage, but may someday be restored near his grave in GreenWood Cemetery. Here is the backstory:

You'll never walk alone

On the sidewalk nearest the camera, at the bottom of the photo, there is what appears to be a child walking by herself, arms down at her sides. She's wearing a short dress in a printed fabric, and from her body language and theirs, she seems (to me) not to be accompanied by any of the adults walking just behind her. And from this angle she gives the impression of being transfixed by something she sees. I wish I knew what she was up to that day.

Light Bulb Sign

In the days before neon was used in commercial signs, they often had light bulbs to attract attention. The Fleischman Baths sign has three separate bathers on it. By lighting the men in sequence from top to bottom, it would look like a man diving down the side of the building splashing into a pool of bubbles. By the 1920s this could be achieved using neon.

A Plunge That Is Like the Surf

New York Times Feb. 7, 1908:


Company Gives a Fine Entertainment to the Press and Friends


Diocletian Club to Have Special Privileges

A Plunge That Is Like the Surf.

Rhapsody in Blue

On February 12, 1924, Aeolian Hall heard the premiere of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," with Gershwin at the piano and Paul Whiteman's Orchestra. The audience for this epoch-making event included John Philip Sousa, Igor Stravinsky, and Willie "The Lion" Smith. An acoustic recording, abridged but with the same performers, was made four months later and can be heard on YouTube.

101 years later

The trees have grown considerably and hats are hard to find.

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