Posts Tagged ‘New York City in 1904’

A Broadway chorus girl gets away with murder

June 27, 2011

Of course, Nan Patterson, a pretty chorus girl in the 1900 smash Broadway hit Florodora and daughter of a Treasury Department bigwig, insisted she didn’t kill her married boyfriend, gambler Caesar Young.

But the evidence against her was strong.

On the morning of June 4, 1904, Nan and Caesar were taking a hansom cab to a Hudson River pier where Caesar and his wife were to board a transatlantic ship.

At West Broadway and Franklin Street, a shot rang out from the cab. Caesar lay dying in Nan’s lap, a bullet in his chest.

Nan told police Caesar shot himself, upset that she was leaving him. The cops said no way: the bullet entered Caesar from an angle not compatible with suicide. And anyway, Caesar’s gun was found in his pocket.

Arrested for murder, Nan’s sensational trial attracted a ton of media interest and resulted in two hung juries. In the end, she went free.

“The prosecutor concluded that no jury would unanimously believe that such a sweet young thing could commit so brutal a crime,” writes Patrick M. Wall in The Annals of Manhattan Crime.

[Photo: Bain News Service; Floradora program cover, 1900]

The exuberant entrance of a 32nd Street hotel

November 10, 2010

Even in lit-up-in-neon Koreatown, this turn-of-the-century building is a show stopper, with one of the city’s most striking and ornate facades.

Originally built as the Aberdeen, an apartment hotel, in 1904, this Beaux-Arts beauty on East 32nd Street has got all the trappings: garlands, columns, lion heads, flowers, various curlicues, a portico, and two god-like male figures guarding the doorway.

When it opened, the Aberdeen was in the center of everything, like Broadway theaters and Ladies’ Mile shopping.

But quickly the city moved northward, leaving the Aberdeen and other former luxe hotels, such as the Wolcott and the Martinique, behind.

In the 1920s, it made a name for itself as one of the first hotels to admit unaccompanied women.

It’s now part of the La Quinta hotel chain—probably the most voluptuous hotel building they own!