On January 23, 1867, the East River ferries stopped running in response to the freezing over of the world’s busiest waterway. Though talks about a more efficient and weatherproof thoroughfare between the separate (at the time) cities of Brooklyn and New York had been bandied about for years, the crippling catastrophe of this blizzard reignited plans for the eventual construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.
On January 22, 1917, Victor Herbert won his lawsuit against Shanley’s Café for unlicensed use of his music. Three years earlier, Herbert had co-founded the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers which has since grown into one of the most powerful unions in the entertainment field. His suit against Shanley’s, which had charged him for every price on their munu but paid him nothing for their live performances of his work, established composers’ right to charge performance fees for live performances of their music.
On January 21, 1942, Edward Hopper completed his most famous painting, Nighthawks. The legendary image of three down-and-out patrons and a soda jerk at a cheap diner at night has since become one of the most recognizable tableaus in American art, inspiring imitations, tributes, and parodies. Shortly after it was completed, the painting was purchased by the Art Institute of Chicago for $3,000. Since then, it has been loaned to other museums on various occasions, including the Whitney for one of its many Hopper retrospectives.
January 20 was designated National Disc Jockey Day in honor of the anniversary of the death of Albert James Freed, the originator of the term “rock ‘n’ roll”. Among the various radio stations where Freed worked was WINS in New York. This city that is the capital of nightclubs, jazz clubs, radio stations, and recorded media has certainly had its share of influence over the DJ profession. The birth of hip-hop and other modern forms has served to advance disc jockeying into its own art from as the turntable itself has become a music-altering instrument.
Congratulations to Michael Dillinger for getting the correct answer first!
On January 18. 1942, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia began his weekly series of Sunday radio talks on WNYC. Whether discussing food prices, pushing the war effort, condemning gangsterism, encouraging kids to stay in school, Mayor LaGuardia became a star of the air waves and a beloved mainstay to New York City listeners. The series ended in 1945, when LaGuardia had made it his practice to read the papers over the air during the newspaper delivery workers’ strike.
New York is a walker’s city. Rain or shine, hot or cold, sunny or gray, New Yorkers find themselves walking out in the elements a lot. Hats are especially important here. National Hat Day was designated to celebrate headgear as a matter of style, rather than practicality, but New Yorkers have always had a flare for combining the two. So hop over to J.J.’s Hat Center for some of the finest toppers for sale and strut around New York well-capped. Happy National Hat Day!