On January 13, 1943, Mafioso Carmine Galante was arrested for the murder of anti-Fascist newspaper editor Carlo Tresca the previous day. Believed to have been ordered by Vito Genovese to carry out the murder as a favor to Mussolini, Galante may have stepped out of a car and shot Tresca in the back of the head. Tresca had been a staunch and vocal activist against both Mussolini and Stalin, while his outspoken views against Mob infiltration of the labor unions had won him many enemies at home. But there was never enough evidence to bring Galante to trial and no one was ever charged with the murder. 26 years later, Galante was gunned down in an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn in one of the most high-profile hits in Mafia history.
January 12 is National Pharmacist Day and focuses not just on the profession itself, but its evolution from a simple dispensary in an apothecary shop to a university-trained medical professional. As one advocate says, “Pharmacists help us feel so much better, and only ever see us at our worst.” But part of the charm of New York City is the seamless integration of the old and the new. So, if you wish to thank a modern pharmacist on their special day, do so at one of the city’s great historic pharmacies, like C.O. Bigelow, which has served Greenwich Village patients since 1838.
“He fell in love with Manhattan’s skyline, like a first-time brothel guest falling for a seasoned professional. He mused over her reflections in the black East River at dusk, dawn, or darkest night, and each haloed light-in a tower or strung along the jeweled and sprawling spider legs of the Brooklyn Bridge’s spans-hinted at some meaning, which could be understood only when made audible by music and encoded in lyrics.” — Arthur Phillips
Congratulations to Leroy L for getting the correct answer first!
On January 8, 1868, under the directorship of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the newspaper Revolution began publication. With offices on Printing House Square, located between The World and Scientific American, the publication began during a great divide in the suffrage movement, as alliances between the fight for racial equality and sexual equality were breaking down. With its focus on women’s rights, the newspaper’s motto stated “Principle, not policy; Justice, not favors; Men, their rights and nothing more; Women, their rights and nothing less.” It would remain in print until 1872.
On January 7, 1943, brilliant and eccentric inventor, physicist, and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla was found dead in his room at the Hotel New Yorker, where he had lived since 1934. Born in Belgrade, Tesla had moved to the US in his late 20’s and became a citizen at 35. Famous for developing technologies that would ultimately lead to the modern x-ray, microwave oven, radio remote control, and other cutting edge innovations, Tesla made friends with other eminent figures such as Mark Twain and Stanford White. He also became fond of luxurious living, taking suites at the Waldorf Astoria, the St. Regis, and the Hotel Pennsylvania, all of which had evicted him for failing to pay exorbitant bills. He finally settled at the New Yorker where he died at age 86.
On January 6, 1993, legendary jazz trumpeter and innovator of bebop Dizzy Gillespie died of pancreatic cancer. Born John Birks Gillespie in South Carolina, Dizzy learned music at an early age and came to New York City on tour with the Frank Fairfax Orchestra. He played every club in town many times over his busy career, discovering his signature bent trumpet at Snookie’s and meeting his wife for the first time at the Apollo. With his style of inimitable complexity, Gillespie played everything from swing to Afro-Cuban music, but is best known for developing bebop in the 1940’s. Shortly after his death at age 75, his trumpet sold at auction for $63,000. He is buried in Flushing Cemetery, Queens.
It’s no secret that, here at Beautiful New York, we love trivia! So, on January 4, we celebrate National Trivia Day. Whether we’re publishing questions on Trivia Tuesday, or sharing fun facts while guiding tours of New York City (including the old Toy Center neighborhood where some of our fellow tour guides worked as card consultants for the original edition of Trivial Pursuit), we invite you to share with us the fun of gloriously obscure information. Happy National Trivia Day!