Architect: C.B.J. Snyder
Style: Baroque Revival
Delightfully Germanic in its appearance, this Elmhurst high school’s 3,000 students are as ethnically diverse as the neighborhood itself. And the graduates have become eminent in professions ranging from politics, to high finance, to music, to drama, to athletics.
On February 19, 1992, the musical Crazy for You, featuring old standards by George and Ira Gershwin, opened on Broadway. It would go on to run for 1,622 performances, win the Drama Desk Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography, and later win the Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Choreography, and Best Costume Design.
On February 18, 1902, Charles Lewis Tiffany died at the age of 90. The founder of Tiffany & Co. was known as the foremost expert on jewelry and the patriarch of a retail empire whose legacy continues today, featuring the world’s first retail catalogue and an elegant store on Fifth Avenue that has been immortalized in literature, theatre, and cinema.
“Every now and then, seeking to rid my mind of thoughts of death and doom, I get up early and go down to the Fulton Fish Market. I usually arrive around five-thirty, and take a walk through the two huge, open fronted market sheds. The smoky riverbank smell, the racket the fishmongers make, the seaweedy smell, and the sight of this plentifulness always give me a feeling of well being, and sometimes they elate me.” — Joseph Mitchell
On February 15, 1942, the New York Times published its first Sunday crossword puzzle. The newly inaugurated weekly puzzle page, once considered “a primitive form of mental exercise”, became an instant hit. Eight years later, in September of 1950, the Times crossword became a daily feature.
On February 14, 1842, the Boz Ball was held at the Park Theatre in honor of the newly arrived visiting author, Charles Dickens. Hailed as a literary hero, Dickens had just embarked on a five-month reading tour of the United States, and New York’s high society turned out in grand fashion to pay him deference.
On February 13, 1832, the board of aldermen agreed to grant tax exemption to Gramercy Park. While Gramercy remains New York City’s only private park, gated with access by key, the tax exemption is motivated by the notion that the park’s preservation as a green space without chance for development limits the land’s value. The controversy that has followed is one of the many class-conscious debates to plague the park over the years.
Architect: Stephen Decatur Hatch
Style: French Revival
This Second Empire wonder is a gem on an otherwise lackluster stretch of Broadway. Once a favorite lodging place for Diamond Jim Brady, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and others, it is a marvel of cast-iron architecture. Since its heyday as a hotel, it has been converted into apartments.
Architect: John H. Duncan
Style: Roman Revival
Use: Resting Place
This majestic memorial is the largest mausoleum in North America and was the number one tourist destination in New York until the opening of the Empire State Building. Grand and imposing, it hosts the remains of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia Dent Grant. However, as they are both above ground, the proper answer to “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” is “No one.”