So this is entry is not about NYC or travel, but it's too adorable not to post. This is my two-year-old niece who has recently learned not only to climb out of her crib but to explore the refrigerator. (Maybe this is about travel, after all.) Note her indifference at being caught brown-handed: she simply gives her name and continues chewing in a chocoholic haze.
See who made their fortunes before the White House and who profited afterwards.
Who was our richest president ($1 billion)?
How poor was Andrew Jackson, the great populist? (Not poor at all...in fact, one of our five wealthiest.)
And when did our presidents last represent the middle class? The last half of the nineteenth century.
From the Atlantic: Beginning with Millard Fillmore in 1850, the financial history of the presidency entered a new era. Most presidents were lawyers who spent years in public service. They rarely amassed large fortunes and their incomes often came almost entirely from their salaries. From Fillmore to Garfield, these presidents were distinctly middle-class. They often retired without the money to support themselves in anywhere near the fashion they were accustomed to while in office. Buchanan, Lincoln, Johnson, Grant, Hayes, and Garfield had almost no net worth at all.
People have asked. Each year the two-day event is held at Madison Square Garden, which can trace its birth back to this famous canine carnival. The first "First Annual New York Bench Show of Dogs" (1877) was held in the old depot at Madison Square, known at the time as Gilmore's Garden (formerly P.T. Barnum's Hippodrome).
According to Miriam Berman's Madison Square, "...it was in fact one of the canine show's executives, W.M. Tileston, who in 1878 picked up Gilmore's expired lease and kept the arena functioning by booking a variety of sports such as tennis, archery, and riding...Cornelius Vanderbilt had died in 1877, leaving his son William K. Vanderbilt with, among other holdings, the properties of the old depot on Madison Square. The younger Vanderbilt decided he would continue to rent the premises to various specialty shows, such as the circus and dog shows, but the main use of the complex would be as an athletic center. He officially renamed the arena Madison Square Garden, combining the name of the park, 'Madison Square,' with the 'Garden' of Gilmore's venture, and reopened it Memorial Day 1879."
Named after the hotel at whose bar sporting gentlemen met to boast about their shooting and their dogs, the Westminster Kennel Club was formed in the 1870's, helped stage a dog show in Philadelphia in 1876 and officially inaugurated the pageant of pooches in New York with 1,201 dogs in 1877.
This means that they have been handing out this top prize longer than the Academy Awards (1927), the Pulitzers (1917), and the Nobels (1901). I've heard it said that it's the oldest continuously held sporting event; however, a quick search showed me that the Kentucky Derby was inaugurated in 1875. There's also the America's Cup (1851) and the National Jousting Hall of Fame (1821). And then, of course, there's this which claims to be the world's oldest recorded sporting event--it held its TRICENTENNIAL in May of 2008.
I've attended the show twice, spending the afternoons watching the Best in Breed events and returning at night for the Best in Group and Best in Show. I had so many favorite moments, including the victory of J.R., the Bichon Frise pictured here whose white fur glowed inside that arena, but I'm slightly ashamed to say that I most loved whenever the announcer, with the poshest of accents, would introduce one of the female dogs: "Florence is a three-year-old bitch." That NEVER grew old. I would laugh, laugh, laugh (like a three-year-old idiot), but I think that the tension had something to do with it. When the judge walks up and down the line of contestants, you can hear a pin drop and feel your heart thudding in your chest. It is freakish.
In 2002, in the New York Times, Jesse McKinley took a $100 ticket for Broadway's Mamma Mia (now $127.50) and broke it down to the penny, showing what it takes simply to maintain a production and who profits the most. See the original here.
For trivial amusement, can you guess which three groups/departments receive the largest percentages of your Broadway purchase?
Thanks to a commenter who pointed us in the direction of the Center for an Urban Future's most recent "chain report." On January 26th, we asked if you could guess the national chains with the most stores in New York and our answers were from the 2008 report referenced in the second edition of the Encyclopedia of New York City.
Here are the numbers from 2010 (and 2008 to compare):
1: Dunkin Donuts: 466!!!!!!!! (up from 341)
2: Subway: 389 (up from 335)
3: Starbucks: 256 (up from 235)
4: Duane Reade: 248 (up from 216)
5: McDonalds: 241 (DOWN from 248)
6: Baskin Robbins: 204 (DOWN from 215)
7: Rite Aid: 195 (DOWN from 209)
8: GNC: 121 (up from 115)
9: Radio Shack: 119 (up from 116)
10: T-Mobile: 117 (up from 82)
11: CVS: 115 (up from 108)
12: Payless: 107 (DOWN from 109)
13: Sleepy's: 102 (DOWN from 105)
14: Burger King: 96 (up from 92)
15: GameStop: 84 (up from 69)
For a pdf of the complete list and a fascinating borough breakdown (Starbucks is SO Manhattan), visit the Center's A CHAIN REACTION.
One of the most unpopular statues unveiled in New York was first seen in City Hall Park in 1922. The sculptor was the beloved Frederick MacMonnies, who apprenticed under the legendary Augustus Saint Gaudens, and whose work can be seen on both the Washington Square Arch and the facade of the New York Public Library. His most famous New York work was also one of his earliest--Nathan Hale (1890), which stands close to the site of his 1922 statue, Civic Virtue.
Civic Virtue depicts a nude man stomping two women who represent Vice and Corruption. Mayor LaGuardia, mooned by the statue whenever he looked out his office window, hated it and called it Fat Boy. Women, who had recently won the right to vote, objected to the sexist imagery. In 1941, LaGuardia exiled the statue to Queens, setting up the joke that there is no longer any Civic Virtue in Manhattan.
Last Wednesday, the City Room at the Times blogged about a fragile artifact from the archives of the New York Historical Society: an 1870 guidebook that served as a Zagat of sorts for the city's brothel industry. The Times was able to scan its pages to provide an interactive experience that allows you to take a fascinating tour of of nineteenth-century Manhattan. In what neighborhoods could you find the most houses of prostitution? What street was considered the most iniquitous? What were panel thieves? How did the writer/publisher use his introduction to protect himself?