Posts Tagged ‘Upper West Side’

A fine day for a stroll by the Hudson River

April 16, 2009

Riverside Park, enjoyable by foot or in a carriage on a sunny spring day. At the time this postcard was mailed in March 1908, the park was already 33 years old.


One thing you won’t see in this postcard that is usually visible from the water’s edge along the park: the George Washington Bridge. It would be another 19 years before ground would break for constructing the GWB.

Going back in time at the Lucerne Hotel

January 10, 2009

The salmon-pink beaux-arts structure on the corner of 79th Street and Amsterdam Avenue is the Lucerne Hotel—formerly the Hotel Lucerne. Built in 1903, it was billed as “fireproof and quiet, in the pleasing part of New York” on the back of this promotional postcard.

In the early 20th century, the Lucerne was home to lots of movers and shakers—including Eugene O’Neill, who listed it as his address while away at school at Princeton University in 1907. His parents maintained a residence there.











After decades as kind of a second-rate hotel, the Lucerne was cleaned up and redone, its terra cotta facade restored. Today, it looks strikingly similar now to the way it did over a century ago.


Daddy Browning and his Peaches

September 24, 2008

Meet Edward West “Daddy” Browning and his 15-year-old bride, Peaches. Daddy Browning was an Upper West Side real estate developer who lived on West 72nd Street and had a penchant for publicity. In the 1920s, he ran an ad in the New York Herald Tribune seeking to adopt a 14-year-old girl, supposedly as a playmate for his daughter.

Thousands of gold-digging applicants flooded his office, and in 1926 he met and married Frances Belle Heenan, a wannabe actress from Washington Heights he nicknamed Peaches. The two delighted in their Jazz Age excess and tabloid celebrity status.

Of course, it didn’t end well. After 10 months of flaunting their bizarre relationship, they landed in divorce court, the press dutifully reporting all courtroom details. Daddy Browning died in the 1930s, and Peaches lived into the 1940s.