New York City

Photo of the Day

Liz Smith with Donald, Ivana and Ivanka Trump in 1987. Credit Tom Gates/Getty Images

Liz Smith

“The Grand Dame of Dish”

She was the most powerful gossip columnist in the 1980s. A tabloid celebrity herself, she could turn anyone into a star overnight. Celebrity culture would be nothing like it is today were it not for Liz Smith, known better as the Grand Dame of Gossip. For decades, her column was the only thing that mattered in showbiz and even today, at 94, she’s still writing about the comings and goings of the rich and famous.

From the time she began her first job at a New York City studio rag called Modern Screen, the renowned journalist has had a ringside seat for every celebrity story and scandal since World War II. Smith, a native Texan and graduate of the University of Texas, arrived in New York in 1949 with $50 to her name and no ticket home. Turns out she didn’t need one.

After working at some of the country’s top publications in various roles, Smith became a new kind of gossip columnist – one known for wit, humour, extensive legwork and fairness.

Smith became a celebrity herself due to her syndicated gossip column, starting out by ghostwriting a gossip column for Hearst newspapers in the 1950s and landing her own self-titled gossip column at the New York Daily News in 1976.

At the peak of her career, she was syndicated in more than 75 newspapers worldwide, and she eventually went to the New York Post, which let her go in 2009 when she was 86 years old.

She opened up about what it was like to dismissed by Rupert Murdoch, which she said “hurt my feelings and stature as a columnist.

“I was more shocked than anyone,” she said. “I thought I was indispensable.”

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Photo of the Day

Wreckage of 2 plane crash over Brooklyn. (Photo by Stan Wayman//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Planes Crash over New York City

Decades before the September 11th terrorist attacks, New York City saw another tragic event in its skies, when two airliners collided in mid-air over Brooklyn, weeks before Christmas

Two passenger planes – United Airlines Flight 826 and Trans World Airlines Flight 266 – collided while they were making their descents toward Idlewild and LaGuardia on December 16, 1960, leaving a trail of carnage and flames in their wake. But out of the tragedy, a new era of airline safety measures was instigated, including the way flight recorders – commonly called black boxes – are used to investigate airline crashes.

A photoengraver, walking to his job on Brooklyn’s Park Slope, had his gaze drawn skyward by what seemed to be “a large bolt of lightning.” He saw the fuselage of an airliner smash into a row of Seventh Avenue brownstones.

A  United Airlines DC8 jet and a Trans World Airlines Super Constellation propeller plane had collided over New York and bodies and debris fell all over the downtown area.

On that morning the two airliners were approaching New York City, and suddenly there was silence from both planes as the controllers at La Guardia and Idlewild, now John F. Kennedy, airports tried to establish contact.

The two aircraft had collided a mile above the city and debris and bodies plunged to the ground. Many of the 134 passengers and crew who lost their lives on that snowy New York morning were students returning to the city for the holiday. On the ground, six people were killed by falling debris.

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No surprise that it wasn’t Billy-bob the red neck from Arkansas, it was Ahmed the still alive terrorist

Gee, what a surprise:

The New York Police Department says it is looking for a 28-year-old man for questioning in the New York City bombing.

The NYPD tweeted Monday morning (US time) that authorities were seeking Ahmad Khan Rahami.

He is a naturalised citizen from Afghanistan.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says he could be armed and dangerous.

An explosion in Manhattan on Saturday injured 29 people.   Read more »

Photo of the Day

In a 7:30pm update, station manager Thomas F. Burley Jr. at WCAP radio told his listeners, “The Morro Castle is adrift and heading for the shore.

In a 7:30pm update, station manager Thomas F. Burley Jr. at WCAP radio told his listeners, “The Morro Castle is adrift and heading for the shore.

 The Mysterious Fate of the Morro Castle

In 1934 the Morro Castle Burned off the New Jersey Coast, Killing One Hundred and Thirty Five People. Was it a Terrible Accident, or Something More Sinister?

In the early morning hours of Saturday, September 8, 1934, the cruise ship Morro Castle on its 174th return voyage from Havana was only hours from docking in New York City but never reached her destination. A perfect storm of ominous developments, bad weather, the ship’s design and questionable decisions doomed the ship.

Christened in 1930, the SS Morro Castle was one of a pair of passenger and cargo liners designed by Naval architects for the Ward Line. Both the Morro Castle and her sister ship the SS Oriente were designed to hold 489 passengers and 240 crew. Named for the stone fortress that stands vigil over Havana bay, the Morro Castle was built to carry passengers from New York to Havana, Cuba—which was a popular stop during Prohibition.

For four years, the Morro Castle made the voyage regularly. However, on September 5, 1934, the Morro Castle began what was to be her last return voyage from Cuba. She would never again reach harbour.

By the morning of September 7, the ship was sailing alongside the coast of the United States and encountering increasing clouds, intermittent rain, and wind—the beginning of a savage nor’easter. While the weather drove many passengers into their berths, the storm would prove to be the least of the dangers facing the Morro Castle.

On the evening of September 7, Captain Robert Wilmott, who had been the captain of the Morro Castle through all her years of voyaging, asked for his dinner to be served in his quarters. Shortly thereafter he complained of stomach trouble and died, leaving Chief Officer William Warms in charge of the ship.

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Photo Of The Day

Babe Ruth Bows Out. New York. Nat Fein, New York Herald Tribune. His jersey number 3 was retired at his last appearance at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 1948, which also commemorated the stadium's 25th anniversary. Ruth died on August 16, 1948. More than 100,000 people paid their respects at Yankee Stadium and at his funeral at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Babe Ruth Bows Out. New York. Nat Fein, New York Herald Tribune. His jersey number 3 was retired at his last appearance at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 1948, which also commemorated the stadium’s 25th anniversary. Ruth died on August 16, 1948. More than 100,000 people paid their respects at Yankee Stadium and at his funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Babe Ruth Bows Out

It was a gloomy dismal day in New York. June 13, 1948. The day that Babe Ruth announced his retirement to the Yankees due to illness. George Herman ‘Babe’ Ruth would die two months after this photo was taken. The day was not only his last day in uniform but also the 25th anniversary of Yankee Stadium, the House that Ruth built. It was also the day that the number three, Babe Ruth’s number, was retired along with him. Thin and frail as a result of a long illness, Ruth emerged from the dugout into the caldron of sound he must have known better than any other man.

The field was swarming with photographers, and one Nat Fein (the N.Y. Herald Tribune) took the rear-angled composition that effectively captured the significance of the anniversary of the stadium, of the retired number and uniform and stooping figure of sick Babe Ruth. Ruth’s identity was unmistakable even without the sight of his face. Fein refused to use flash on that overcast day and used f5.6 and 1/25 shutter speed to slowly take the picture.

His picture caught the whole essence of what Babe Ruth was… and it allows the reader to take his own imagination and experience into the story. The Babe Bows Out won a Pulitzer Prize for Fein, the only sports related photograph to win the Pulitzer. The magnificent photograph is featured in the Smithsonian Institute and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, besides the immortal uniform.

In all of baseball history, there has never been anyone like Babe Ruth. Yes, he was an athlete of imposing skills, but we have had plenty of those. He was a grand performer in the arena of professional sports, but there seems to be a new one of those every weekend.

He forever changed the way baseball was played, inventing the home run as an offensive weapon, but some authorities will tell you that if it hadn’t been Ruth, it would have been someone else. What made him so unique and endearing was the way all these things were wrapped up in one boyish, fun-loving package.

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Photo Of The Day [Updated]

The Amazing Scene, Just Before Impact. The B-25 collided with The Empire State Building on the north side, around the 78th Floor. Immediately upon impact, the plane's fuel exploded and flames shot out from the gaping hole where the plane had entered the building. The explosion could be felt several floors above and below the point of impact.

The Amazing Scene, Just Before Impact. The B-25 collided with The Empire State Building on the north side, around the 78th Floor. Immediately upon impact, the plane’s fuel exploded and flames shot out from the gaping hole where the plane had entered the building. The explosion could be felt several floors above and below the point of impact. Updated, this is not the B.52 bomber plane, this photo was taken on a different day and a different plane in photo. The correct caption should read: Empire State Building in New York City, Sept. 4, 1945. (AP Photo)

B-25 Bomber Crashes Into

Empire State Building

At 9:50 am on Saturday July 28, 1945, impossibility became a reality. A B-25 “Billy Mitchell” bomber belonging to the US Army Air Corps crashed into the Empire State Building. The plane was enroute to the Newark Airport located in New Jersey when it struck the 102-story structure. The odds against such an incident ever happening were computed as being 10,000 to 1. But weather flying conditions at the time helped contribute to the incident.

Office workers were carrying on as usual in The Empire State Building, when a sudden thud knocked them from their desk chairs and on to the ground. Smoke quickly filled the room. The B-25 Bomber, on a routine mission in heavy fog, had crashed into the 79th floor. The harrowing experiences of the survivors—and those that died—are stories that have been rarely recounted since.

There was a thick haze of fog over New York City on the morning as employees such as Betty Lou Oliver, an elevator attendant at The Empire State Building, made their way to work.

Overhead, a B-25 Bomber with two pilots and one passenger aboard was flying from New Bedford, Massachusetts to LaGuardia Airport. Because of the fog, air-traffic controllers suggested that the plane might try to land at Newark Airport instead. This required a new flight plan, one that would take the B-25 through Manhattan and the crew were advised that the skyscrapers would most likely not be visible due to the immense fog.

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Photo of the day

Ma

The Queen of Thieves’

New York’s First Female Crime Boss

During the Gilded Age, New York City’s first crime ring came into power under a leader who taught the city’s best criminals, bribed those in power, and made a fortune. Meet ‘Marm’ Mandelbaum.

She had the eyes of a sparrow, the neck of a bear and enough business acumen to build an empire as the “Queen of Fences.”

The press called her a “Queen Among Thieves” and the person who “first put crime in America on a syndicated basis.” In 1884, The New York Times named her “the nucleus and centre of the whole organization of crime in New York City.” During the Gilded Age, Fredericka Mandelbaum, a German-Jewish immigrant, rose to power as the country’s premier fence—seller of stolen goods. Described as “a huge woman weighing more than two hundred and fifty pounds” with “extraordinarily fat cheeks,” Mandelbaum was the head of one of the first organized crime rings and a driving force behind New York City’s underworld for more than twenty-five years.

Mandelbaum was better known as Marm, and a mother is exactly what she was. She set up shop in New York City sometime around 1864, and for 20 years she built up a reputable gang of thieves, pickpockets, and bandits—who all trusted her to pay them fairly for what they stole. It’s estimated that she and her gang handled merchandise that would today be worth somewhere around around a quarter of a billion dollars when adjusted for inflation. Part of Mandelbaum’s success was due to the way she treated her network of thieves. She stood by her own, and always kept a law firm on retainer for any of her gang who got caught. She was famous for handing out bribes to police and judges, encouraging them to look the other way. Unlike most of the other street gangs, a large number of Mandelbaum’s crew were women.

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Photo Of The Day

On March 13, 1964, Catherine 'Kitty' Genovese, 28, was repeatedly stabbed to death over a 30-minute period in two separate attacks by the same man. For decades it was believed that her cries of distress were totally ignored.

On March 13, 1964, Catherine ‘Kitty’ Genovese, 28, was repeatedly stabbed to death over a 30-minute period in two separate attacks by the same man. For decades it was believed that her cries of distress were totally ignored.

The Kitty Genovese Story

For decades, students have crossed their arms during introduction to sociology lectures and said: “I would never do that.” They said it when Stanley Milgram’s experiments suggested ingrained obedience to authority could lead anyone to commit Nazi atrocities. They said it when the Stanford Prison Experiment suggested even a mock institutional setting could spark brutal, fascist torment. And they said it when learning of the Kitty Genovese murder, in which a young woman was stabbed in the middle of the night as 38 witnesses sat in the safety of their apartments and didn’t even bother to telephone the cops.

On that last one, the students may have it right. The 1964 murder, which has stood as a symbol of urban apathy and inspired musings by everyone from Harlan Ellison to Alan Moore to Malcolm Gladwell to Phil Ochs, may not have been quite the nihilistic horror show we were taught.

The notion of a building full of people who “didn’t want to get involved” was perpetuated by a New York Times story (38 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call Police) later expanded by Times editor AM Rosenthal into a book.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Corbis Images. 21 January 1957. "Mad Bomber" George Metesky Smiling in Jail. Bomber Behind Bars---Happy Terrorist.--Obviously enjoying the white light of publicity, George Metesky grins happily from behind the bars of Waterbury jail after his arrest as the "Mad Bomber" who had terrorized the New York area for more than 16 years with his planted homemade bombs.

Photo: Corbis Images. 21 January 1957. “Mad Bomber” George Metesky Smiling in Jail. Bomber Behind Bars—Happy Terrorist.–Obviously enjoying the white light of publicity, George Metesky grins happily from behind the bars of Waterbury jail after his arrest as the “Mad Bomber” who had terrorized the New York area for more than 16 years with his planted homemade bombs.

Mad Bomber Arrested!

Serial killers must continuously kill simply because they are addicted to the feeling they get through the process. They’re rationalizing every aspect of their behaviour so they don’t see any good reason to stop doing what they’re doing. That’s when the headache for investigators comes into the game – how to get even a smallest idea of who the killer may be?

This kind of problem solver is criminal profiling, also known as psychological profiling. The origins of criminal profiling date back to the Middle Ages, where the inquisitors were trying to profile heretics. In 19th century, the potential of profiling was realized by Hans Gross, Alphonse Bertillon, Jacob Fries, Cesare Lombroso, but their researches were generally considered to be prejudiced.

Psychiatrist Dr. James A. Brussel is credited to be an author of the first systematic profile within a criminal investigation, while chasing a person, best known as “Mad Bomber”, responsible for a series of indiscriminate bombings spanning 16 years in New York.

On November 16, 1940, an unexploded bomb was found on a window ledge of the Consolidated Edison building in Manhattan. It was wrapped in a very neatly hand-written note that read,

CON EDISON CROOKS-THIS IS FOR YOU.

The police were baffled; surely whoever delivered the bomb would know that the note would be destroyed if the bomb detonated. Was the bomb meant to not go off? Was the person stupid …or was he just sending a message?

No discernible fingerprints were found on the device and a brief search of company records brought no leads, so the police treated the case as an isolated incident by a crackpot, possibly someone who had a grievance with “Con-Ed,” the huge company that proved New York City with all its gas and electric power.

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Daesh is threatening New York and Washington DC now

Boing Boing reports:

ISIS, or as they hate to be called, Daesh, released a video online Wednesday threatening an imminent attack on New York City.

The jihadi propaganda clip mentions Times Square, and displays what is said on the video to be a man assembling an explosive device, and a suicide bomber zipping his jacket over a suicide belt.

The New York City Police Department told CNN it was aware of the video, and that officers from its new anti-terrorism squad will be deployed just in case.

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