Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Child Labor 1900s USA – Photos of Lewis Wickes Hine 1874-1940


"At the Maggioni Canning Company in Port Royal, South Carolina, children shucked oysters for 4 hours before a half day of school, returning for 3 more hours of work after school."


Photos: Lewis Wickes Hine 1874-1940 (Public Domain)



"January 1909. Tifton, Georgia. Workers in the Tifton Cotton Mills. All these children were working or helping, 125 in all."






"Force working in West Point Cotton Mills. West Point, Miss, May 1911"



"All these pick shrimp at the Peerless Oyster Co. I had to take photo while bosses were at dinner as they refused to permit the children to be in photos. Out of 60 workers, 15 were apparently under 12 years old. Bay St. Louis, Miss, March 1911"



"Eight year old Jennie Camillo lives in West Maniyunk, Pa. (near Philadelphia). For this summer she has picked cranberries. This summer she is at Theodore Budd's Bog at Turkeytown, N.J. This is the fourth week of school in Philadelphia and people will stay here two weeks more, September 1910"







Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day – a Day to Remember all American Veterans - North and South


The Marshall Family gravesite in Colebrook, New Hampshire.
(34 Star U.S. Stars and Stripes and Confederate Official “Star and Bars” Flag)




These two brothers, William Henry and Cummings Marshall, were born in Lumpkin County, Georgia, in the 1840’s. Their father, Abel Cummings Marshall, the brother of my great-great grandfather, had come from the forests and rock-strewn farms of northern New Hampshire to the gold fields near Dahlonega in search of his fortune. 

Shortly thereafter, he married Lucinda Hawkins of South Carolina. Over the next few years Lucinda gave birth to four children – William Henry, Cummings, Melinda, and Martha.  Abel disappeared from records sometime in the 1850’s – my suspicion is that he followed other miners to California seeking gold, though I have yet to substantiate that. In any event, Lucinda was left to raise her children by herself (the 1860 census lists her as head of household). Cummings also left the family – he journeyed to New Hampshire to live with relatives there. (More on Cummings later)

In early 1861, twenty-one year-old William Henry Marshall enlisted in the Dahlonega Volunteers, and soon was parading on the old Mustering Grounds in Dahlonega, from which North Georgia volunteers had assembled for earlier conflicts such as the Texas War for Independence and the Mexican War. Called by Governor Joseph E. Brown in late March to proceed to Macon, the Volunteers were designated Company “H” of the First Georgia Volunteer Infantry. …



Even though he was Southern born, Cummings Marshall must have felt great pressure to enlist in the service, with so many adult males gone to the army. On September 3, 1864, Cummings enlisted in the Ninth Company, New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, which became Company I of the First New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, commanded by Captain Charles O. Bradley. Sent to Washington for garrison duty, the companies of the First were dispersed between the several forts surrounding the city, with Company I being posted to Fort Reno. Fort Reno (or Battery Reno as it was also known) was located on the northwest side of the District of Columbia, roughly two miles west of Fort Stevens. 

Cummings' tour of duty was largely uneventful, though he was injured in a bizarre accident in March of 1865. During a drill, the company was marching at the double-quick across the parade ground, when several soldiers in the rear ranks, including Cummings, stumbled and fell while crossing a ditch. For several days afterwards he lay in his tent complaining of great pain in his abdomen. The injury, described as a “rupture”, would plague Cummings for the rest of his life.

Near the end of the war, my great-great grandfather, Moody Marshall, made the journey south to retrieve Lucinda and daughter Melinda. Moody wrote of great devastation as he travelled southward. Retrieving Lucinda and Melinda, he brought them back to northern New Hampshire. With the war’s close, William Henry made his way north to join his mother. 

The First New Hampshire was mustered out of service in Washington on June 15, 1865. Cummings returned to Colebrook, where he lived with his wife Julia and growing family until 1875, when they moved to Lowell, Massachusetts. 

At some point, Cummings and Julia were divorced, and Cummings returned to Colebrook, where he opened a small candy store and joined the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

William Henry returned to his miner’s roots, prospecting for silver in the nearby mountains. The unrepentant Rebel had a reputation as a bit of a trouble-maker, especially when the G.A.R. paraded on Memorial Day – Henry would gallop his horse through the “Yankee” ranks. As the years passed, the members of the Marshall family passed away, and were interred in the Colebrook Village Cemetery. There the Yankee and the Rebel brothers, once enemies in war, rest together in eternal sleep.



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Thursday, May 22, 2014

London Time Lapse






Have not been to London in over 30 years. I think it has changed a bit since then. 

One building of note that I had followed progress on when they were building it was the Shard - the tallest building in the EU. 








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Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Imagination" in Play - Artist George Henry Story - (no date)


"Imagination"
Oil on Fibreboard
Artist - George Henry Story 1835-1922
(Public Domain - United States)



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Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr. – Tribute to His Memory by John Cadwalader – Philadelphia Evening Bulletin – 1916


Eckley B. Coxe Jr., 1872-1916
University of Pennsylvania Painting Collection
Artist - Adolphe E. Borie 1877-1934
(Public Domain - United States)


Proceedings of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, Volume 28 (page 31)




“Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr.
 “Member 1914.
“Born May 31, 1872                                       September 20, 1916

“ Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr. of 1604 Locust Street, died September 20 1916, at his summer home at Drifton, near Hazleton, Penna., after an illness of more than a year. He was a son of the late Charles Brinton Coxe and Elizabeth Sinkler Coxe.

“He entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1891 in Biology and received a certificate of proficiency in June, 1893. He was, therefore, a member of the Class of 1893 and of the Delta Phi Fraternity as his father and four uncles had been before him. He was President of the University Museum, a member of The Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, and of the International Historical Society, also of the University, Rittenhouse, Racquet, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Country, and Huntingdon Valley Clubs.

“The tribute to his memory published in the Evening Bulletin and written by Hon. John Cadwalader gives such an interesting account of his family that it is here quoted:

“ ‘Eckley B Coxe, Jr. sustained the name and usefulness of one of the most distinguished families that this country has produced. Dr.Daniel Coxe, of London from whom he was directly descended, was in 1678 the proprietor of West New Jersey and of Carolina, which included all the territory between N. Latitude 31st to 36th parallels, and prepared the first general plan for a union of the colonies.

“ ‘Tench Coxe, the great grandfather at the age of thirty-three was a member of the Continental Congress, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury to Alexander Hamilton in 1789, filled many important posts until his death in 1824, and it was said of him that he “was never forgetful of the duty of exerting his peculiar talents for the good of his country.” The grandfather, Charles S. Coxe, was a judge of the district court, noted for its eminent judges, and rendered, among others, a most important decision relating to the privileges of consular as distinguished from diplomatic officials recognized generally by writers on international law. 

“ ‘His father Major Charles Brinton Coxe, was the youngest of the five sons of Judge Coxe, all of whom were men of unusual force of character and distinction.  The eldest Brinton Coxe, was one of the most learned lawyers of his day, as shown in his work on Bracton and his unfinished analysis of the Constitution of the United States.

“ ‘Eckley B. Coxe, after whom his nephew was named, was the most eminent mining engineer this country has produced, and held a very important position in the State, politically and as head of the firm of Coxe Brothers & Co., who operated the great anthracite coal fields owned by the Coxe family.

“ ‘Charles B. Coxe. the father was a scholar of a high order, having taken the highest rank in the University of Pennsylvania, in the class of 1862, that included many of our most successful citizens, among them two Provosts of the University.

“ ‘His services in the army, having been major of the Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry, the only lancer regiment, were most conspicuous for bravery and unselfish devotion.  He was equally popular with his fellow officers and men. Several of those in his company were long in the service of Coxe Brothers & Co., of which Charles Coxe was a member.

“ ‘Eckley B Coxe, Jr. though not of vigorous frame, was full of determined energy and untiring in any work he undertook.  Unlike many young men of independent means, he had but one object in life, which was to be useful, following the example of his great-grandfather.  His father having died in Egypt, the son had always felt a deep interest in that land of the earliest civilization.  Growing out of this interest, he became connected with the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, and secured for it the result of the exploring expeditions which he entirely supported under concessions granted by the Egyptian government.  Few persons understand to what extent this great department of the University has been dependent upon the liberality and generosity of a very few persons.

“ ‘Mr. Coxe became president of the Board of the Museum and had practically met the large annual outlay necessary to maintaining its work. This has been in addition to sustaining the expeditions and meeting the cost of the valuable publications constantly used.  Mr. Coxe did not limit his interest to these educational fields, but every charitable movement appealed to him.

“ ‘The Children's Hospital, the College of Physicians, the Orthopaedic Hospital, many fields of work in aid of the miners and their families in the anthracite coal region, and the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania are only some of those that could be mentioned to which he has contributed on a very large scale.

“ ’There was a quiet, dignified reserve, with a gentleness of character, in Eckley Coxe rarely met with. Firm and decided wherever he had a positive view, it was always a pleasure to him to meet the wishes of those who appealed to him.  

“ ‘His generosity was not measured; but was indulged for the benefit of others, with little thought of himself. The concentration of wealth in the hands of such a man is productive of more good to the community than any possible distribution, among many could produce. His life was spent for the benefit of others and he maintained a reputation without a blemish. To those who learned to appreciate his generous thought and to his immediate family his loss is irreparable.


“ ‘He showed the value of inherited worth, and did not fail to sustain in every way what might have been expected of him.’ “


University Museum - University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia


1604 Locust Street - Philadelphia (Google Maps)
Former Residence of Eckley B. Coxe Jr. 


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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Pope Francis Hints at IT (E.T.)??? --- Contact! --- In the Near Future with E.T.s from Other Planets?




Second time in five years, the Vatican has alluded to extraterrestrial life and of course its mission to convert those "uncivilized" space aliens.

Ronald Reagan publicly alluded to Extraterrestrials twice, once in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

The bottom line is that they are probably there.

They will decide when they want to contact us. (Not the other way around.)

In all likelihood the universe is quite diverse and the technology to transverse the universe rather cheap once you get it. Not unlike the internal combustion engine in a Model “T” Ford automobile of yesteryear?

I would say that that kind of technology is possibly something like one to two hundred years in our future. That contact before that technology develops within the natural envelope of our various local civilizations and our new evolving global culture would be dangerous for all parties concerned.  

That our reaching the basic mechanics of interstellar travel will probably mark the point on the timeline where contact with “them” would have the least cultural shock for both sides or the many sides involved in the equation.

In the mean time, lets add some heat to those cold bath baptismal pools? LOL








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Friday, May 16, 2014

Old Saint Michael’s Church NYC – 1857 / 1907 - NW Corner 9th Avenue, 31st to 32nd Streets – Eminent Domain – Old Pennsylvania Station – and Tunnels


Old St. Michael's Church and School - 1868
NW Corner Ninth Ave and 31st-32nd Streets
(Public Domain)
Image: http://library.gc.cuny.edu/34th_st/items/show/880



Location of Work.—The area covered by the work of the Terminal Station-West is bounded as follows: By the east line of Ninth Avenue; by the south side of 31st Street to a point about 200 ft. west of Ninth Avenue; by a line running parallel to Ninth Avenue and about 200 ft. therefrom, from the south side of 31st Street to the boundary line between the 31st and 32d Street properties; by this line to the east line of Tenth Avenue; by the east line of Tenth Avenue to the boundary line between the 32d and 33d Street properties; by this line to the east line of Ninth Avenue. The area is approximately 6.3 acres.
House-Wrecking.The property between Ninth and Tenth Avenues was covered with buildings, 94 in number, used as dwelling and apartment houses and church properties, and it was necessary to remove these before starting the construction. Most of the property was bought outright by the Railroad Company, but in some cases condemnation proceedings had to be instituted in order to acquire possession. In the case of the property of the Church of St. Michael, fronting on Ninth Avenue, 31st and 32d Streets, the Railroad Company agreed to purchase a plot of land on the south side of 34th Street, west of Ninth Avenue, and to erect thereon a church, rectory, convent, and school, to the satisfaction of the Church of St. Michael, to hand over these buildings in a completed condition, and to pay the cost of moving from the old to the new buildings, before the old properties would be turned over to the Railroad Company.

(Old St. Michael's School - Top Left)

The house-wrecking was done by well-known companies under contract with the Railroad Company. These companies took down the buildings and removed all the materials as far as to the level of the adjacent sidewalks. The building materials became the property of the contractors, who usually paid the Railroad Company for the privilege of doing the house-wrecking. The work was done between April and August, 1906, but the buildings of the Church of St. Michael were torn down between June and August, 1907.
The bricks were cleaned and sold directly from the site, as were practically all the fixtures in the buildings. The stone fronts were broken up and left on the premises. Some of the beams were sold on the premises, but most of them were sent to the storage yards. Some of the lath and smaller timber was sold for firewood, but most of it was given away or burned on the premises.


St. Michael's Church 424 W. 34th Street NYC
(School Building on 33rd Street)
(Photo: 
Jeanette O'Keefe,







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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Souvenir - World Trade Center – Dish 6 ¼” Diameter – Tall Ships Bar – Vista Hotel – February 1983


6-1/4" Plate - Tall Ships Bar - Vista Hotel - World Trade Center NYC - 1983


I see that the WTC "911" museum is about to open at the New World Trade Center.

Admission charge $25.00 (Freedom ain’t free folks.)

Burgers, Fries and Cokes available in the Visitors Gift Shop and Food Court???


I have my own memories and a piece of the old Tall Ships Bar of the Vista Hotel, part of Hilton (later a Marriott on 9-11-2001).

Memories of drinks with friends. Not memories of chaos and death. 

Watched them build the hotel piece by piece from across the street at Bankers Trust Plaza 130 Liberty Street when I worked there. 


Source: New York Magazine  28 Nov 1983 - page 145

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

“Millionaire’s Prayer” – To the Money god – Father Thomas J. Ducey – St. Leo’s Church NYC - 1901



Image Source: King’s Notable New Yorkers 1896-1899
 (original copyright expired)




Rev. Ducey, a noted New York priest and socialist, is the author of the following “Millionaire's Prayer” to the gold god - a paraphrase on the prayer which Jesus taught his disciples:


“My father who art in heaven; 
hallowed be thy name.

My kingdom has come on earth;
thy will be done - in heaven; 
my will be done here.

Give me this day all the income I want.


 Give me my debts in violence against humanity, 
in foreclosure against my debtors.

Deliver us this day from all the ‘isms’ 
that destroy our power
 to enslave humanity.

Mine is the kingdom and the power, 
and thine be the glory forever.

Amen!”



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A Mounted Police Officer on Duty - Union Square NYC - 1905


Copyright, 1905, by Harper & Brothers. 
From “Harper’s Weekly”.
(original copyright expired)

A Mounted Police Officer on Duty at Fourteenth Street and Fourth Avenue.




(original copyright expired)







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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dinner at Delmonico’s 26th Street and Fifth Avenue – “Tony Pastor” Father Thomas Ducey of St. Leo’s New York


Delmonico's Restaurant - SW Corner Fifth Avenue at 26th Street NYC (1876-1899)
(Public Domain - United States)




...How a man made his money was no concern of “Del's”; he was welcome so long as his behavior was correct and the “solid” element raised no objection.  Hummel was well-mannered; and even the stalwarts of the Tenderloin police, unchoosey as to the sources of the incomes that were much larger than their salaries, took their ease in off hours with the dudes and the dandies, the Cuban patriots and prima donnas, the lovely women and lonely old maids who nightly gathered there. Nor was the unction of religion withheld from the well-fed throng.

A patron of imperishable benignity was the Reverend Thomas J. Ducey. In addition to fulfilling parish duties, Father Ducey occuped the position of virtual domestic chaplain to the Delmonico family.  His mother had been housekeeper for James T. Brady, the celebrated forensic orator of the mid-century whose name had been all but synonymous with the Chambers Street Delmonico's. This early association had given Ducey a tenuous connection with the world of wealth and as a priest he had devoted himself to the spiritual welfare of that class. Men and women plentifully blessed with the goods of this earth are surely entitled to the consolations of religion as much as the poor; indeed, if Holy Writ be trustworthy they may need those consolations more.  To them Father Ducey extended the blessings of church and ceremonial in the style to which they were accustomed.

In 1880 Father Ducey was enabled to build his own church - St. Leo's in East Twenty-eighth Street - mainly with the assistance of two intimate friends Lorenzo and Charles Delmonico.  St. Leo's was a small church and select; the congregation was drawn from the well-to-do who lived in the neighborhood. Father Ducey like a London monsignor of the same period was sometimes lightly termed the “apostle to the genteel”, yet he was as compatible with the poorest suppliant as with the proudest millionaire. He solicited the welfare of his flock on weekdays as well as Sundays dined where they dined (at Delmonico's) and was a constant reminder of their hopes of heaven in the banquet hall as in the sacristy. The dinner banquet hall sacristy hour was his vespers, and it was said that the text Father Ducey elucidated with the profoundest penetration came from the Gospel according to St. Matthew chapter 11, verse 19: “The Son of man came eating and drinking.”

At times the diocesan authorities wondered about Father Ducey; he was considered erratic; they certainly looked askance at some of the jokes the good Ducey was inspiring. Example: “Why is St Leo's like a certain theater on Fourteenth Street? Answer: “Because it has a tony pastor.”(*)

Father Ducey pursued what is known as “the even tenor of his ways”- even while winding his way back to the rectory from Delmonico's - and might have winningly invoked the sanction of the concluding sentence of the above-cited Scriptural verse: “But wisdom is justified of her children.”



(*) Tony Pastor 



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Artist Studios – aka Y.M.C.A. Building 1869-1903 – 52 E 23rd Street – 23rd Street and Fourth (Park S.) Ave – James Renwick Jr. Architect


Y.M.C.A. - 52 East 23rd Street - 23rd Street and Fourth Avenue NYC
James Renwick Jr. - Architect
(public domain)


The first built for the YMCA purpose building in the United States in New York City, the “Christian Clubhouse”, was located at east 23rd Street, SE corner, and then Fourth (Park) Ave and finished in 1869.

Built across from the National Academy of Design on the NW Corner of 23rd Street and present day Park Avenue South, the YMCA building had 40 artist studios for rent on the top two floors, 4th and 5th floors.  Rent from the studios subsidized the mission of the "Y" as a Christian clubhouse with Library, Reading Room, lounges, classrooms, lecture rooms, large Auditorium and Gymnasium in the basement. Also some store fronts for rent on the NE corner frontage.

That along the timeline some of the artists who rented space at "52 E. 23rd Street" NYC were:





Alexander Helwig Wyant (who also died there in his studio)


  
Recommended Reading:






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Monday, May 12, 2014

Catholic Church In Boston Afraid of Religious, Political and Cultural Diversity – Black Mass Tonight at Harvard To Celebrate Free Will and Human Nature





The Archdiocese of Boston, the Bernard Cardinal Law Bailiwick that recognizes and promotes child abuse by Catholic Clergy, and rewards people like Cardinal Law with big promotions in such cases, is now showing its total ape-shit drunken spirit-uality like Bill Donohue PR intolerance to the Satanic ritual going to be performed in a pub within the Harvard Campus area.

The problem with man-made mono-theistic religions is that they cannot flourish in diverse political cultures such as the United States. As such they, the Catholic PR machine fueled by millions of tax free donor dollars, is in motion to make the next guy uncomfortable in their shoes in the presence of their magic ancient not universal but non-universal provincial god. Beware.


If anything, like the made up Wicca practices of the nineteenth century to fill a gap of a dead cultural religious witchcraft of feminine cultures that the RC helped to ethnically cleanse from Europe centuries ago - the Black Mass of the Satanists is a reactionary ceremony to recreate the RC Mass with Priests with magic fingers making magic bread. This all in a kind of "Stockholm Syndrome" like grudging respect of victims to their former victim-izers. To worship what Satan truly represents - Free Will and or Human Nature. 

That without true spirituality within, all ceremonies or rituals are merely assembly lines in pie factories so to speak or at least from the this POV. Whatever.



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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Young Mother - 1881 - artist G.H.Story


The Young Mother (1881)
artist G.H.Story
Wadsworth Athenaeum Harford Conn.
(public domain)



The Young Mother, the 1881 version is in the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum in Hartford Conn. The orginal version of The Young Mother, exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition 1876, for which the artist George Henry Story received a medal, the original version, whereabouts unknown. 

Happy Mother’s Day 2014


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Rev. Father Thomas J. Ducey - St. Leo’s Church NYC - “Successful Americans” November 1900


Rev. Thomas J. Ducey
Photo by David H. Anderson (1827-1905), New York
(original copyright expired)


...During the last twenty years as Rector of St. Leo's Father Ducey has probably accomplished more for the “submerged tenth” than any other man of his resources in New York.  These philanthropic acts are not of common knowledge, however, for the reason that the kindly priest will never talk about them and if a visitor approaches such a topic the talk is diverted to literature, the arts, or sciences, or kindred generalities adapted to desultory conversation.

Perhaps the newspaper men realize more fully than any other class the extent of Father Ducey's generosity to the unfortunate.  It is within the writer's knowledge that during the last two years this notable priest has received more than twenty thousand applications for assistance many of which were from strangers in New York.  Of these over fifty per cent secured personal interviews and obtained material succor adapted to their several necessities while quite as many unquestionably undeserving were sent away.

It may truly be said that Father Ducey is the counsellor of the rich, the brother of the poor, and a father to humanity.  He believes in community of effort and resource.  The wealth and the woe of mankind excite him equally to establish more harmonious relations between labor and capital.  Only a few weeks ago he demonstrated the accuracy of this estimate of his character by visiting Hazelton, Penn., and the contiguous coal mining sections of that State in order that the American public might learn through the medium of his pen the exact differences existing between mine operators and their employees.  

Father Ducey has been active in nearly every movement inaugurated in New York designed to bring about municipal reform.  His independence of spirit has occasionally provoked the criticism of his ecclesiastical superiors but his views have always been so exalted and disinterested that censure could find no lodgment.

…Since his installation at St Leo's Father Ducey has watched his flock in that parish for a score of years.  Among his parishioners are many multi-millionaires. distinguished scientists. and notable leaders well as others in the various professions equally devout but lacking in acumen and substance as compared with more fortunate fellow worshipers.  A proportion of the church expense is from the priest's private means.  

A few years ago Father Ducey had his called to the need existing in all large cities for a place suitable for the reception of the "stranger dead" until relatives could arrive and inter the remains. Hotels are averse to sheltering corpses even of old time guests and they invariably refuse to receive a body for which temporary shelter is required.  Father Ducey determined to fill this need so far as New York was concerned.  The result is the only structure of its kind in the United States. It adjoins the church on Twenty-eighth Street, cost $75,000 and has been open for eleven months.  

In inaugurating this benevolent project Father Ducey expended several thousands from his own resources and the balance was subscribed solely by his non-Catholic friends. “I refrained from asking Catholics to contribute” said Father Ducey, “as I wished to be perfectly free so to incorporate the work that whoever succeeds me will be bound to carry out my purpose in the interest of the 'stranger dead' of any and all denominations.

And so it is that during the present year this unique structure has been the scene of fifteen funeral services which otherwise would have been performed in the back room of an undertaker's shop.

A.S.D.(author)

Sessa Nulma - David Arkenstone / Charlee Brooks from Loveren




Sessa Nulma, Sessa Nulma
Enchant tonight

Sessa Nulma, Sessa Nulma
Bring me to life
Spirit take me behind the sea to a universe that's ours

Sessa Nulma, Sessa Nulma
Treasure that I seek to find
Enchant me, sweetly, quietly, slow
Rivers flow out to the corners of the earth

Sessa Nulma, Sessa Nulma
Reflections in your eyes

Sessa Nulma, Sessa Nulma
Draw me close tonight
Guide me through all the sands of time
Through the darkness that binds me

Sessa Nulma, Sessa Nulma
Relentless desire
Cast your light on all that's true
Surrender your beauty
Let it be my muse

Sessa Nulma, Sessa Nulma
Enchant tonight

Sessa Nulma, Sessa Nulma

Bring me to love



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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Confederate Veteran Michael Lyons - Mike Lyons Restaurant – 259-261 Bowery Finally Locks Its Doors – January 1907




I am thinking that “The Sun” reporter’s article below on the closing of Mike Lyon’s 24 hour restaurant has got more details in it than others including the NYT regarding the close of the one-time center of Tammany Hall lunch time and dinner time meals and political strategy sessions – those official and unofficial sessions being for the most part in the last decades of the nineteenth century.

The Sun reporter may or may not have been better connected to Tammany politics than others.

A few factors I am aware of probably put Lyon’s off the main track of good basic eats on the Bowery by January 1907.

Mainly, the entertainment center shifted up north to its present and seemingly final place around 42nd Street and Times Square. No more open real estate to following a shifting population in the once open spaces of the island. The Opera House, the “Academy of Music” kept up entertainment and vaudeville after the new 



Metropolitan Opera House opened in 1883 at 39th and Broadway – becoming the only main opera house in town – with the high brows going further uptown and staying up there for their champagne midnight suppers but not at Lyons’.




A lot of theaters started to migrate over the last two decades of the nineteenth century from around the east end of fourteenth street up Broadway and ending around the Longacre Square area, renamed later, and then the new New York Times building that was built as the centerpiece of this new “Times” Square wrapping itself around this anchor building on the southern end of that confluence of Seventh Avenue and Broadway at 42nd Street, that is btw not a square at all but more like the shape of a hour glass.




The news reporters hung around Lyons' of the old days to rub elbows with the Tammany men down from Tammany Hall on fourteenth in a building next to the old Academy of Music. The Tammany men were more likely to be in the vicinity of the old Police HQ at 300 Mulberry Street, about four blocks from Lyon’s.

Where better to hang out for politicians than at Police HQ in a very corrupt town. That all came to an end with the Lexow State Committee probe of NYC police corruption 1894-1895 and with reformer types like Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt at the same time who made good press on his appearance of making headway fighting the corruption of Tammany within the police force.




That and a new Police Headquarters to open in 1909 would push the cop lunch traffic another five blocks further south. In its day at Lyon’s, plain clothes cops and reporters along with tourists to the Bowery filled Lyon’s eatery twenty four hours a day.




With being an all-night restaurant is was not that inconvenient to grab a cab down from after the theater or opera on 14th street and pop a few corks of champagne at midnight or 2 A.M. etc.

The front door was never locked for something like thirty years until they started to close at midnight, in its last year or two in business. The subway further west near Broadway could carry what was left of the newspaper business and its reporters centered around City Hall downtown, next to the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge - carry them uptown and faster than in streetcars and toward the new center of communication and NYC energy at Times Square. 

There was also the telephone as a new means of communication – no need to sit and talk person to person or over a fried veal chop to get details on deals at city hall.

At five A.M. the poor and housewives/mothers with baskets would line up at the front door in the Lyons’ “breadline” to get food scraps and day old bread not used by the restaurant. 

There was an enormous amount of charity to the neighborhood by Lyons in a world with little or no government social safety nets. It took from the local economy and it gave back some.

Economically sound too with little refuge to cart off guaranteeing that the food would always be fresh and wholesome unlike many other restaurants along the Bowery known for its cheap and dangerous leftover food delivered to the poor in this increasingly skid row like economic area.

Ironic I think that Confederate Private Michael Lyon’s of the Sixth Louisiana Regiment of Infantry company K would be handing out bread for the rest of his working life after being a baker of bread for the troops of the Confederacy – along the long road from New Orleans to Appomattox.

The Raines Law was an attempt to stop drinking of alcohol in public on Sundays in the late nineties. Sunday was the only free day of the week, the only day off for most working men. The stories of abuse and family breakup over drink was an early trial balloon by Republicans, for something like later Prohibition, to strike at the backbone of Democrats and their natural organization centered around saloons.
 
Only hotels could serve drinks and not from a bar but to a table in a hotel in New York City and only after a meal had been ordered – and yes a sandwich could now be considered a meal.

The loophole was that all you needed above your saloon was ten furnished rooms to qualify for a hotel license to protect the Sunday consumption of booze in your saloon business, now a hotel restaurant – the old bar area now crammed with tables.

Lyon’s already had a hotel license when the law went into effect.
Raines Law Hotels came into overnight existence and notoriety and they also came in two categories. The saloon actually rented out rooms or they just had ten rooms, not rented, as a sham to get a license.

The offset of protecting family values on the Bowery and other parts of New York City was that with so many new “hotel rooms” available, the Bowery became more heavily populated with prostitution, rent by the hour love nests for lunch hour and afternoon adulterous and single couples, and the poor who turned these SROs – Single Room Occupancies – into notorious flop houses.  The poor and the lawless, feeding and growing off the fruits of good intentions of government trying to impose blue laws on the population etc. (sarcasm)

After Mike Lyon finally retired, he sold the business to his oldest son who took out a mortgage that same year no doubt to finance a reopening of Lyon’s which came in late 1908 and the doors of anything connected to the Lyon’s family restaurant business at 259-261 Bowery finally finally closed in 1910 with an auction of fixtures and equipment to pay creditors. 



Confederate Veteran – Private Michael Lyons
Sixth Louisiana Regiment of Infantry Company K
1843-1921
Buried in Green-Wood Cemetery Brooklyn 





The Sun - January 6, 1907 - page 6 (above)