Travels with Grace: New York, 1919 Part 1


Welcome to our 2019 #TravelTuesday series: Travels with Grace, where we’re sharing (and annotating) posts from the travel diaries of Grace Amelia Hecht, native Baltimorean, b. 1897 and d. 1955. As mentioned in my introductory post transcription errors sometimes occur and I’ve made my best guesses where possible, denoted by [brackets]. – Rachel Kassman, marketing manager


Aerial view of New York City, 1919. Ensign Joseph A. Eaton Photo Album, Naval Aviation Museum.

Novmber 2, 1919

November 2, 1919: Sunday Evening. Dinner at Hotel Pennsylvania[1] on arrival. Then to Hotel Knickerbocker[2], our temporary home, where the Maas family called in the evening. My first visit to New York and I am so excited.

Left: Postcard showing the interior of Café Rouge, the Hotel Pennsylvania’s restaurant. Via. Right: The Hotel Knickerbocker, c. 1907. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs.

November 3, 1919

Postcard showing the Aquarium, pre-1923. Via.

Visit the Aquarium[3][4] in Battery Park. Rode to the top of Woolworth Building[5], 56 stories high, now tallest building in the world. Ride thru Chinatown, Italian quarter (little Italy) with its push cart parade and Jewish East side. All very picturesque and foreign. Pass the Tombs prison, as gruesome as its name. See the curb-broker in Broad St. (wild excitement – such complicated signaling with caps and hands from street to windows) and the Stock Exchange and City Hall. In the evening saw Fritz Kriesler’s “Apple Blossoms” at the Globe Theater.

Left: Woolworth Building, c. 1913. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs. Right: Globe Theater, c. 1920. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs.

November 4, 1919

Grant’s Tomb, North of Riverside Drive, c. 1920. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs.

Rode along Riverside Drive to Grant’s Tomb which I found very impressive. Called on Madeline and Miss Gordon and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Museum of Natural History which was most interesting. In the evening enjoyed the performance of “Happy Days” at the Hippodrome. Father and mother joined in the singing of the old songs and had a good time.

Left: Museum of National History, c. 1913. Photo by Irving Underhill, courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs. Right: Exterior of the Hippodrome Theatre. Courtesy of the Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library, digital collections.

November 5, 1919

Went to Altman’s this morning, one of the finest stores I have seen. Took a ride along Fifth Avenue and through Central Park. This afternoon Aunt Julia gave a reception for us at her home, 32 W. 85th Street, where we met all our relatives, near and distant. Stayed for dinner and in the evening Fred entertained me with the old family albums.

The Altman Building, 1914. Courtesy of the Science, Industry and Business Library: General Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collections.

November 6, 1919

Left: Columbia University, c. 1901 – 1907. Courtesy of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collections. Right: Student Chapel, Fordham University, c. 1901-1907. Courtesy of Courtesy of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collections.

We were shown all over Tiffany’s this morning. The salesmen are so courteous and obliging in showing things even when they knew we did not come to buy. Such marvelous jewels, crystal ware, bronzes, clocks and ornaments of the rarest. Rode out to see the buildings of Columbia University and Fordham College. Paid a most enjoyable visit to the Bronx Zoo. Tonight we saw “The Storm,” a most exciting melodrama at the 48 St. theater.

Left: Bronx Zoo, c. 1911. Courtesy of the Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collection. Right: 48th Street Theatre, 1912. Via.

November 7, 1919

Left: Biltmore Hotel, 1913. Courtesy of Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collection. Right: Opera singer Amelita Galli-Curci, c. 1919. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs.

We went to hear the Friday morning musicale at the Hotel Biltmore where we saw some exceedingly smart looking people. Galli-Curci sang, Stanley and Wilkinson accompanying. Stayed at the Biltmore for lunch. This is quite a gay hotel. This evening we had company at the Knickerbocker. In the afternoon we visited [Van Tynes?] where we saw some beautiful oriental importations including a magnificent screen with mother-of-pearl panels and carved ebony frame. Also went in Lord and Taylor’s.

Lord and Taylor’s Establishment on Grand Street, 1905. Courtesy of Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library, digital collections.

[1] The Historic Hotel Pennsylvania: Saved!

[2] Hotel History: The Knickerbocker Hotel

[3] When the New York Aquarium was in Batter Park

[4] New York Aquarium

[5] The Woolworth Building


 

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