Congratulations to Andrea Coyle for getting the correct answer first!
On July 19, 1967, the movie Up the Down Staircase premiered. Based on Bel Kaufman’s semi-autobiographical novel about an idealistic young teacher in a grim and gritty high school, the movie was the first film to be shot on location under the auspices of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting. In the Golden Age of Hollywood, every studio had a standard “NYC street scene” set on their backlot. But as audiences grew to crace more realism, the difficulties of shooting on the real streets of New York had to be overcome and the Mayor’s Office was the way it was done. The exteriors are mostly on the streets of East Harlem and the movies that followed placed vivid images of the city in the minds of viewers throughout the world.
On July 17, 1967, jazz saxophonist John Coltrane died of a liver ailment. Famous for his bebop and hard bop innovations and his great love of improvisation, Coltrane collaborated frequently with Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. He was also profoundly religious and used many spiritual themes in his music. But hard drinking and heroin use took a toll on his health. He contracted hepatitis and died soon afterwards. He was 41 years old.
On July 16, 2002, the Irish Hunger Memorial opened in Battery Park City. In the shadow of the World Trade Center, the memorial’s centerpiece is an actual farm house from County Mayo, depicted with no roof to reflect the practice of English landlords burning the thatch roofs of tenant farmers who couldn’t pay their rent. Surrounding the house are rocks from every county in Ireland (including the six northern ones) with the county name engraved in the stone. The many quotes about the Great Hunger in particular, and famine in general, run throughout the entrance and outer walls of the memorial, featuring such wisdom as “Those who are not hungry have so many problems. Those who are hungry have only one.”
The Steinway Mansion
There is no record who the architect of the greatest building in Queens was. But after the original owner Benjamin Pike sold it, the house became integrally linked to the name of William Steinway. The manufacturer of the greatest pianos in the world lived in this house in the northeastern reaches of Astoria. He also built transit companies and tunnels under the East River, enhancing Queens’ participation in the pace and flow of the city. Today, the mansion is in need of restoration, and is the primary focus of The Friends of Steinway Mansion who seek to buy it and turn it into a museum and educational center.
Park Plaza Apartments
Architect: Horace Ginsbern & Marvin Fine
Style: Art Deco
Borough: The Bronx
This polychromatic marvel was one of the first Art Deco developments in the Bronx, a borough which would later become famous for that style. Some of the décor features Mayan motifs which were popular at the time. With over 200 apartments, this is arguably the Bronx’s most beautiful residential building and became a New York City Landmark in 1979.
Architect: Henry J. Hardenbergh
Style: French Revival
The oldest luxury apartment building in New York City is a majestic chateau on Central Park West, so highly anticipated at the time of its construction that all of its apartments had been leased by the time it opened, in spite of the comparatively sparse development in the neighborhood at the time. Renowned for celebrity tenants, it has been the home of Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Rosemary Clooney, Judy Garland, Paul Goldberger, Boris Karloff, Rudolf Nureyev, Rosie O’Donnell, Maury Povich, and Gilda Radner, among others. Its looming quality gives it enough drama to serve as the primary backdrop of the movie Rosemary’s Baby and the novel Time and Again.
Congratulations to Marie France Lefebvre for getting the correct answer first!