Archive for August, 2013

 

Hotel Granada in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Brooklyn-Long Island Cat club hosted its shows at several hotels, including the Granada and the St. George in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Public Library

On February 28, 1941, Royal Air Force planes bombed Asmara, Eritrea, as the British gained control of the air over East Africa during World War II. Also on this day, Hitler was preparing to give orders to camp commandant Rudolph Hoss for the expansion of the Auschwitz prison camp, to accommodate 100,000 prisoners of war and 30,000 “peacetime” prisoners.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn, New York, Mrs. Silas M. Andrews and Mrs. Edward D. Mudge were holding their first meeting of the Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Club with an afternoon tea in the Tower Room at the luxurious Hotel St. George in Brooklyn Heights.

64 Poplar Street Brooklyn Heights

Ann Mudge kept alley cats in the backyard of her home on Poplar Street (white building) in the 1940s.

“The Hotel St. George is yours.”
The Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Club was the brainchild of Ann Mudge of Brooklyn Heights. Although Mrs. Mudge had a pampered Persian named Chou Chou Bu, the backyard of her federal-style townhouse at 64 Poplar Street was home to numerous alley cats, including one of her favorite strays, Kitten Mitten. Mrs. Mudge was very concerned that Brooklyn had no animal shelter and no clinic for which the poor could take their sick pets.

Sometime in 1940, Ann Mudge approached Martin Samuels, manager of the Hotel St. George, which was just five blocks from her home. “Let’s have a cat show,” she told him. “And let’s ask not only champions but the grocer’s cat and the police station mouser and poor children’s pets.” Mr. Samuels, a reported pet lover, agreed to her suggestion. “Fine,” he said. “The hotel is yours.”

Hotel St. George, Brooklyn Heights

Only 30 rooms when it was first built in 1885, the Hotel St. George eventually amounted to eight interconnected buildings that occupied the full city block bounded by Clark, Henry, Pineapple and Hicks streets. The St. George boasted 2,632 guest rooms, a huge 11,000 square foot ballroom and a 120-foot natural salt water indoor swimming pool (which my dad says he swam in as a child).

The inaugural Brooklyn Heights Neighborhood Pet Cat Show at the Hotel St. George was so successful that its backers resolved to form a cat club. The purpose of the club, which was written in the club’s constitution, was to create a fund for a shelter and clinic that would provide medical attention for poor and homeless animals. Among those who were encouraged to attend the organizational meeting on February 28, 1941, were editors of pet magazines and “other authorities on felines.”

Charter Brooklyn and Long Island members of the cat club included Mrs. Helen Picciano, Mrs. Mildred Pike, Mrs. Charlotte Harkness, Mrs. C.R. Hartmann, Miss Marion Dietz, and Mrs. Clara H. Baker. Mrs. Norah Andrews served as president; Mrs. Clara R. Richards and Mrs. Freeman L. Meinertz were vice presidents; Mrs. George L. Packer was recording secretary; and Dr. Irving Altman was the club veterinarian.

Smoke Persian cats

Mrs. Norah Andrews, a charter member of the Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Club, bred Smoke Persians, like those shown here. Her cattery, Sunny Knoll, was located at her estate on Merrick Avenue in East Meadow. Norah was also president of the Cat Fanciers’ Federation.

In 1941, the club had about 50 members and met once a month in the Tower Room at the St. George. A little black and white cat, one of a litter domiciled by the hotel’s housekeeping department, was named Kitten BLI and chosen as the club’s masot.

In order to raise money to establish a cat shelter and clinic in Brooklyn, the ladies hosted numerous cat shows, the first few of which took place in the exotic Egyptian Club on the rooftop garden of the Hotel St. George.

St. George rooftop gardens

The recently renovated rooftop garden (2011) was once a sensational nightclub called the Egyptian Club. Opened in 1929, it had a full orchestra on the upper level and tables below. The Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Club held its first few cat shows on the rooftop in the early 1940s.

During the war years, the club also purchased war bonds and published an article for women about the benefits of having a cat in the home:

A Cat in Your Home? Plea made for Tabby
Women whose men have gone to war and who have taken a war job for the duration need not come home to a lonely apartment or house these days, according to Mae Wagner Carlysle of the Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Club, whose headquarters are in the Hotel St. George.

The well-known cat’s meow might well be the feline version of the hit, “I’m so nice to come home to,” it is claimed. Cats are easily trained, can be left alone for many hours, are scrupulously clean and are most affectionate, said Miss Carlysle. Mrs. Elsie M. Collins of Riverdale, manager of the Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Show, which will be held in the St. George on Oct. 19 and 20, said that it does not matter whether a cat is a Persian, Siamese or just one of the “alleys,” women will get a lot of comfort and companionship from such a pet. Proceeds of the coming show will go towards building an animal shelter and clinic in Brooklyn. (Brooklyn Eagle, October 6, 1943)

Tower Room at the Hotel St. George in Brooklyn.

The first meeting of the BLI Cat Club was held in the Tower Room at the Hotel St. George.

Mr. Chips, Princess Mickey, and Prince

The Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Club’s shows were not just about showing purebred cats. There were awards for the most heroic cat, the funniest cat, the oldest and the ugliest cats.

A handsome tabby named Prince won the prize for “cat of distinction” in the late 1940s because he kept the mice away from the door at the Norwegian Seaman’s Home on Hanson Place.

Prince, Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Club

Prince with his owner, Sugar Miller, probably late 1940s. Brooklyn Public Library

In 1944, the club moved from the Hotel St. George to the Hotel Woodstock in Manhattan, where they had their fourth-annual cat show.

Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Club

This adorable Tuxedo kitty participated at the 1947 cat show at the Hotel Granada. Brooklyn Public Library

Some of the cats of this show included Bonnie Jean, 10, exhibited by Mrs. A.E. Townsend of Ardsley; Bonnie Maid o’the Mist; Silver Boy Brutus, raised from an alley cat by Mrs. Helen Piciano of 55th Avenue, Maspeth; and Mister Chips, a white Angora who played ball, sat up for meat like a dog and enjoyed going for walks on a leash.

Hotel Woodstock at 127 West 43rd Street.

Built in 1903 at 127 West 43rd Street a half-block east of Times Square, the Beaux-Arts luxury Woodstock Hotel featured 400 rooms, plus restaurants, a ballroom, and allegedly a fountain pool with live alligators.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the club held its shows at the Hotel Granada at 268 Ashland Place in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. There does not appear to be any more mention of the BLI Cat Club after the early 1950s.

Today there are several cat clubs in Brooklyn and Long Island, including the Booklyn Cat Fanciers, Long Island’s Gold Coast Cat Fanciers, and Long Island Cat Fanciers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Princess Mickey was Queen of the Brooklyn Cat Show

Princess Mickey was Queen of the Brooklyn-Long Island Cat Show at the Hotel Granada in 1948.

Hotel Granada

The Hotel Granada, pictured in the 1950s, was completed in 1927. Well into the 1960s, the hotel was a favored venue for events in the area — visiting baseball teams reportedly stayed there when playing the Dodgers. In 1994, after about a decade of housing homeless families in deplorable conditions, the hotel was torn down and turned into a parking lot. Brooklyn Public Library

NYPD Mounted Unit

NYPD Mounted Heroes, Part I

Since 1871, the year that the Board of Police established the first official Mounted Police Unit in New York City, more than a dozen mounted patrolmen have been killed in the line of duty in horse-related incidents. Most of these men died after being violently thrown from their horses when the horses became spooked.

A few men suffered even greater indignity when they were dragged, kicked or crushed by their equine partners after getting tossed to the ground. Two mounted patrolmen were killed only three years apart while riding the same department horse, Bulb.

Patrolman Christopher John Tierney

Born December 24, 1884, in Ireland, Christopher John Tierney came to America with his mother, Margaret, and sisters Catharine, Margaret and Ellen, in 1892. According to a 1900 U.S. Federal Census Report, Christopher lived with his family at 222 8th Avenue in Manhattan and worked as a messenger boy. Ten years later, he was single, working as a driver, and living with his mother and younger sister at 156 W. 24th Street.

In November 18, 1912, Christopher Tierney was appointed to the New York Police Department as a probationary patrolman. Six years later, on September 12, 1918, he registered for the World War I draft. According to his draft card, he was of medium build and had blue eyes and brown hair.

Christopher never had a chance to serve his country in the war. On September 20, 1919, he was killed while serving the citizens of Brooklyn. There are very few details about his death, but we do know that he was killed when he was thrown from his department horse, Bulb.

In 1919, the NYPD had 143 mounted patrolmen (plus 11 sergeants in the mounted units) and 110 mounted patrolmen in Traffic Regulation. Five other New York police officers were also killed in the line of duty in 1919, in non horse-related incidents:
May 23: Ptl. Emil Carbonell, Motorcycle Sqd. 2 (Highway Unit 2), auto accident
July 27: Det. James S. Maher, shot while investigating a homicide
November 10: John J. McCormack, shot during a domestic dispute
November 19: Ptl. James Hughes and Ptl. John McIntyre, Harbor Unit, drowned when their boat capsized

Patrolman Frank J. Mace

Francis (Frank) J. Mace joined the New York Police Department in 1915 at the age of 24. Just like his brother officer, Christopher Tierney, Frank also registered for the World War I draft. According to his draft card, Frank Mace was tall, of medium build, with grey eyes and brown hair. By 1922, Frank was married and residing at 2621 Newkirk Avenue.

On December 11, 1922, the New York Bureau of Public Safety, under the command of Lt. Martin Noonan, initiated a safety campaign to help reduce the number of bad automobile accidents that had been occurring in and around the city. Under the program, police officers were instructed to stop vehicles and inspect their brakes — bad or inoperable brakes were often the cause of the accidents.

On that same day, Frank Mace was patrolling the Flatlands neighborhood on his horse, Bulb. The partners were at the corner of Kings Highway and Flatbush Avenue when a motorized truck driven by John Johnson of Franklin Avenue struck Bulb. Frank was thrown from his horse and his head struck the roof of another motor car, killing him instantly with a broken neck and fractured skull. Bulb suffered a broken shoulder blade, but a vet with the police department said he could probably be saved. The driver of the truck was arrested and charged with homicide.

Fifteen other New York police officers also died in the line of duty in 1922:

Detective Moriarty

Detective John Moriarty died of a gunshot wound he received when he and several other detectives confronted some burglary suspects at 308 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. One of the suspects fled by way of the roof, and Detective Moriarty gave chase. The two exchanged gunfire, and Detective Moriarty was stuck in the neck with one shot. He died at the hospital eight days later.

 

Patrolman Otto Motz

Patrolman Otto Motz of the West 135th Station was lodging an intoxicated prisoner at the West 123rd Street Station House when another violent prisoner snatched his gun and shot Motz. Patrolman Motz lived in the Bronx and had a wife and 6-year-old daughter.

Jan 5: Det. William A. Miller, shot during arrest
Jan 6: Det. Francis M. Buckley, shot during arrest
Jan 19: Ptl. Otto M. Motz, shot by prisoner

Mar 15: Ptl. James H. McMail, shot during arrest
May 10: Henry L. Pohndorf, shot during arrest
May 18: Douglas W Hay, shot by irate citizen
June 24: William Deans, heart attack after being assaulted
July 2: John J. Moriarty, shot during robbery

Officer Kennedy

Officer John Kennedy was struck by a train and killed while conducting surveillance on a criminal.

July 14: Frank S. Mundo, accident
July 22: Arthur Loewe, shot
August 2: Albert S. Duffy, explosion
October 10: Peter J. McIntyre, bicycle accident
November 12: Charles Hoffman, hit-and-run auto accident
November 12: Thomas J. Shine, auto accident
December 3: John Kennedy, struck by train

Kings Highway and Flatbush Avenue

Flatlands Brooklyn map

The Flatlands boundaries in 1870.

In 1922, Kings Highway and Flatbush Avenue were both narrow, curvy dirt roads lined with trees and frame houses with picket fences. It’s interesting to note that the very same intersection where Patrolman Mace lost his life was once called Keskachane (“council fire”), and was the main settlement of the Canarsee band of the Lenape Indians.

Dutch habitation of the area began around the mid-1630s when three plots or “flats” were “purchased” from the Canarsee by Jacobus van Corlear, Wolphert Gerritsen, Andreas Hudde, and Wouter van Twiller, who called their settlement New Amersfoort. The few dozen residents of New Amersfoort – including the Schencks, Strykers, Van Sigelens and Van Kouwenhovens – lived close to one another in farmhouses near the intersection of Kings Highway and Flatbush Avenue. This town eventually became known as the Flatlands Town Center. In 1664, the town was officially given a charter as the town of Flatlands.

The 73rd Precinct

Both Patrolman Tierney and Patrolman Mace had been assigned to what was known as the 73rd Police Precinct up to July 18, 1924. Prior to this date, the precinct operated out of a station house at 1830 Brooklyn Avenue in Flatlands. (From July 18, 1924, to July 3, 1929, the 73rd was known as the 35th and the 65th in Brownsville was renamed the 73rd; from 1929 to present, the former 73rd of Flatlands has been called the 63rd. Yes, it is all very confusing.)

Today this large 63rd precinct comprises approximately 8.96 square miles with 146.61 miles of street and 1.5 square miles of park, including Flatlands, Mill Basin, Mill Island, Georgetowne, and undeveloped marshlands of the Marine Park area. This precinct also borders a National Park, Gateway National Recreation Area, which it shares related jurisdiction with the United States Park Police. The present-day police station is located just up the street from the former 73rd station at 1844 Brooklyn Avenue.

The New York Mounted Police Unit: The early years

Charles U. Combes joined the NYPD after serving in the US Calvarly

Many of the Mounted Unit’s founding members had served on the United States Cavalry during the Civil War. Charles U. Combes (or Combs), shown here, served as sergeant in the First NY Mounted Rifles of the Seventh NY Cavalry during the Civil War, and afterward joined the NYPD. (Artist: David Edward Cronin, 1891, NY Historical Society)

The New York City Police Department began using horse-mounted officers as early as 1858. At a meeting of the Commissioners of Police on January 12, 1858, General Nye reported in favor of a mounted police unit for the upper wards of the city. Nye pointed out that many criminals tried to flee by running toward or into Westchester County, and a mounted police force would be a good deterrent to these opportunities for escape. General Nye told Mayor Tiemann and the Commissioners that he thought 28 horses would be required for 26 officers, so that there would always be two horses in reserve.

During this meeting in 1858, Mayor Daniel F. Tiemann made the following resolution:

“Be it Resolved, that this Board deem it expedient to organize a mounted police of 24 men and 2 sergeants, for the Twelfth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-second Wards, for the better protection of the lives and property in that section of the City.”

Daniel Fawcett Tiemann, New York Mayor

Daniel Fawcett Tiemann (1805 –1899) was an industrialist who resided in the hamlet of Manhattanville and served as the mayor of New York from 1858 to 1860. The nephew-in-law of Peter Cooper, Tiemann was also a founding trustee of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

According to a map issued in 1860 for Valentine’s Manual of the Corporation of New York, the 22nd Ward was on the west side, from 40th to 85th streets, and included most of the southern portion of Central Park. Ward 19 was on the east side, from 40th to 85th streets, and the 12th Ward covered everything above 86th Street, including the northern section of Central Park, and the hamlets of Manhattanville (west 120s, where the mayor resided) and Carmansville (west 150s).

In Part II of NYPD Mounted Heroes, I’ll tell you about Patrolmen William H. Galbraith and Artemas Fish, who were also killed in the line of duty while patrolling on horseback.

Madison Square Garden II

Part II of a Parkville Precinct Tale

I recently told an old New York story about Max, one of five talented young pups from Belgium that comprised the first authentic police canine squad in America. Max rose to hero status in 1907 after leading police to an unconscious man near Parkville, Brooklyn, only a few months after the dogs had arrived in New York. This next story about the Parkville police dogs features some amazing dogs, fascinating New York City history, human and equine tragedy, and some good old high-society scandals and murder. Enjoy.

An invitation to Madison Square Garden
News of Max’s heroic deed on that cold January night must have traveled fast, because two weeks later, Max and his fellow New York Police Department canines were invited to make their public debut and compete for a special Westminster Kennel Club (WKC) prize at Madison Square Garden.

The dogs were attending a finishing course in what was then a remote district in the Bronx when the invitation arrived. Police Commissioner Theodore Bingham agreed to sponsor the dogs and Lt. George Wakefield, who was in charge of the dogs’ training, also agreed to assist at the show.

“The latest European novelty”
February 14, 1908, was a Valentine’s Day to remember for the 5,000 spectators at the 32nd annual Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. According to reports, despite all the special classes and championship competitions, the police dogs were the biggest hit of the day. Everyone there wanted to see the latest European novelty –- the police dog.

When the dogs arrived in the big hall, the rails of the arena were lined “ten deep with interested spectators.” The balconies and galleries were also more crowded than they were for the rest of the show. The only attendees missing from the big hall were the 2,000 other dogs competing in the show. Whether out of jealousy or just pure canine rivalry, the veteran show dogs let out a chorus of yelps and barks for almost 10 minutes, throwing the amateur police dogs into utter confusion.

Parkville police dog in training

The outlaw who performed with the dogs at Madison Square Garden was a volunteer who had been working with the dogs during their training.

Parkville Police dogs wow crowd with their skills

With the other dogs finally settled down, Max and his pals were able to demonstrate their training. Under the control of a leash, muzzle, and a police officer in uniform, they obediently marched to the rear of the ring and lined up as the crowd clapped and cheered.

First up was Nogi, the one all-black dog of the squad. Unfortunately Nogi did not enjoy the fanfare and was too disturbed by his surroundings to perform. (Either that, or his police performances were highly overrated, according to The New York Times reporter.)

Next was Jim, a brindle Airedale terrier, who won over the crowd when he dashed across the arena in pursuit of an “outlaw” who appeared from a small box-house when an officer threw open the door and blew his whistle. Jim weaved in and out of the man’s legs, causing him to fall repeatedly, and then jumped on his back.

Although all the dogs performed the same exhibition, the crowd decided that Jim and his handler, Patrolman Patrick Shelly, were the winners. Lady, who was handled by Charles Bierman, received second prize and Donna, handled by Patrolman J.A. Key, took third place. Nogi and Max, both heroes on the streets late at night, were simply not destined to shine in the spotlight.

Best in Show: I Need a Remedy, Remedy, Remedy

In 1908, the same year the Parkville canine cops made their grand entrance to New York society, a Smooth Fox Terrier named Ch. Warren Remedy won the most-coveted Best in Show award. It was the second time she won, having received the inaugural Best in Show award in 1907. Warren Remedy went on to win one more time in 1909, making her the only dog ever to win three Bests in Show at the Westminster Dog Show.

Ch. Warren Remedy smooth fox terrier

Ch. Warren Remedy is the only dog ever to win three Bests in Show at Westminster.

As an aside, Warren Remedy’s owner was Winthrop Rutherfurd, a New York socialite and direct descendent of Peter Stuyvessant. In addition to showing his fox terriers, Rutherfurd was known for his romance with Consuelo Vanderbilt (daughter of William Kissam Vanderbilt, whom you’ll read more about later), his affair with Ava Astor (the married daughter of John Jacob Astor IV), and his marriage to Lucy Mercer, a former mistress of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The Westminster Hotel

Sometime around 1876, a group of “sporting gentlemen” began meeting regularly at the bar of the Westminster Hotel in Manhattan to brag about their hunts and their purebred dogs. These men formed a kennel club, bought a training area and kennel, and hired a trainer.

The Westminster Hotel, located at Irving Place and East 16th Street, was a fashionable establishment at the time and quite in vogue with English travelers. So the story goes that when the men couldn’t agree on a name for their new club, someone suggested they just go ahead and name it after their favorite hotel bar. One can imagine these men all clinking their glasses together and saying, “I’ll drink to that!”

Westminster Hotel

In 1902, the Westminster Hotel was sold under foreclosure to Metropolitan Life. The building was sold again in 1909 to George Borgfeldt & Co., chinaware and doll importers, and demolished to make way for an 11-story, Italian Renaissance loft building. Today that building houses the NYC Human Resources Administration/DSS.

In 1877, the Westminster members established their first clubhouse in what they called “an ancient mansion” in Pascack, New Jersey. During their first meeting on December 7, 1877, the main item of business was a vote to incorporate. Several prominent men took part in this vote, including Dr. William Seward Webb, a Pointer breeder; George De Forest Grant, a Wall Street banker; Henry Bergh, founder of the ASPCA; yachtsman C. Oliver Iselin of America’s Cup fame; William M. Tileston, kennel editor of Forest & Stream, and Civil War hero General Alexander Stewart Webb, who served as President of the Westminster Kennel Club from 1877 to 1887.

Madison Square Garden II

The Madison Square Garden where the Parkville pups made their debut in 1908 is not the same world-famous arena as we know it today. It wasn’t even in the same location.

The arena was originally called Barnum’s Great Roman Hippodrome, aka, Barnum’s Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome. It was located on the site of former passenger depots for the New York and Harlem Railroad and the New York and New Haven Railroad at Fourth Avenue (today’s Park Avenue South) between 26th and 27th streets. These two depots, collectively known as the Union Depot, were the inspiration for a Grand Central, where different rail companies would use the same centralized facility.

New York and Harlem Railroad depot

The original mid-line depot for the New York and Harlem Railroad was destroyed by fire. This 1860s view shows a spacious, castle-like building that replaced the 1845 structure.

In 1873, two years after the first Grand Central Terminal was built at 42nd Street, P. T. Barnum and a group of investors leased both rail stations from Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt. The two depots were joined and enlarged to create a grand exhibition space –- the Hippodrome.

P.T. Barnum's Hippodrome

The 400 x 200 foot open-air Hippodrome featured an oval track and a single tier of seats and benches that accommodated 10,000 people. It also had a canvas canopy that was raised over the arena in wet weather – that’s better than Yankee Stadium today.

By 1875, Barnum had sold his lease to Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, a bandmaster who served in the Union Army during the Civil War and composed “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” Gilmore was apparently a happy guy (couldn’t resist), who decorated the Hippodrome with shrubs and flowers and renamed it Gilmore’s Garden. In addition to flower shows, beauty contests, and revival meetings, the First Annual N.Y. Bench Show of the Westminster Kennel Club also took place at Gilmore’s Garden in 1877.

Following the death of Commodore Vanderbilt, grandson William Kissam Vanderbilt took back control of the arena, which he renamed Madison Square Garden and opened on May 31, 1879. One year later, tragedy struck.

On April 21, 1880, the Hahnemann Hospital fair was in full swing at the Garden, with about 800 people in the building. (Hahnemann Hospital was a homeopathic facility established in 1869 and located at 657 Park Avenue, between the Seventh Regiment Armory and Hunter College). At about 9:30 p.m., a newly constructed, 100-foot wall facing Madison Avenue gave way, falling outwards. Two horses in the street were instantly killed, and about 20 people were injured. Three women, whose bodies were crushed and mangled beyond recognition, were also killed: Maria Ann Connolly, Anna Bradford Clark Hegeman, and Anna L. Willets. One man, WKC founding member William M. Tileston, died at St. Luke’s Hospital. It was just six days before he was scheduled to serve as manager of the 1880 Westminster Dog Show.

Vanderbilt eventually sold the drafty old arena to a syndicate that included J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, James Stillman, and W. W. Astor, who demolished it to build a new arena. The new Garden, shown in the color postcard above, was designed by noted architect Stanford White. (You may recall that White had also designed a restaurant for Louis Sherry on Fifth Avenue, which was the scene of the famous Horseback Dinner in 1903.)

Tragedy at Madison Square Garden

William M. Tileston, manager of the Westminster Kennel Club, three women, and two horses were killed when a wall at Madison Square Garden collapsed on April 21, 1880.

The new Madison Square Garden II was 200 feet by 485 feet and featured the largest main hall in the world, with permanent seating for 8,000 people and floor space for thousands more. The building also had a 1200-seat theater, a concert hall, the largest restaurant in the city, and a roof garden cabaret, where, incidentally, the building’s architect was murdered.

Architect Stanford White

On June 25, 1906, Stanford White was killed by Pittsburgh millionaire Harry K. Thaw, the husband of White’s young lover — Gibson Girl Evelyn Nesbit — while White was attending the Garden’s rooftop theater, Cafe Martin.

Despite its importance to the New York cultural scene in the early 20th century, the second Madison Square Garden was demolished by the New York Life Insurance Company, which held the mortgage on it. In its place they built a new headquarters building in 1928 — the landmark Cass Gilbert-designed New York Life Building, which features a “can’t miss” pyramidal gilded roof and occupies the full block between 26th and 27th Streets, Madison Avenue and Park Avenue South.