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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Matchbooks from the Past - The Helmsley Palace New York City

#matchbook #NYC #helmsley #hotels #collectibles #urbanarcheology
“...Guests of the Urban Archeologist stay at the lovely Helmsley Palace...where the owner’s wife will yell at the staff while they make your bed!”

Not so poor Leona Helmsley was known as the Queen of Mean for the way she would treat and fire the hotel staff for small errors. There is plenty of history to review regarding the original railroad magnate’s mansion and how Leona's husband Harry Helmsley built a 50 story hotel on the site.

Image from WIkimapia

This jewel in the crown of Harry’s real estate portfolio, which included the Empire State Building and the Flat Iron Building, among others, ultimately lead to his and Leona’s downfall. When cost overruns and shady billing to contracting companies owned by the Helmsleys lead to indictments on tax evasion the couple were headed to court. Harry, by this time was too ill to be tried, but Leona wasn't. Exhibit A had to be these matchbooks -they clearly spent too much on them, the tips are gold! (Colored). Both Helmsley's are gone, but their legacy lives on as a very large and successful charitable trust in their names with annual giving in the 10's of millions.

from Instagram

Saturday, February 24, 2018

This map of Florida is gold!

#travel #oldmaps #Florida #ephemera #vacation #Cuba #precastrocuba #urbanarcheology
The map of Florida is gold. First, it’s Florida “PD” ( pre Disney), I mean it’s likely late 1940s and Walt was only just thinking of the names of the “Shell” companies’ names he would use to begin buying up property south of Orlando to keep from drawing attention to his master plan. This stitched image is a tiny taste of all the great little illustrations of sun and fun activities in each part of the state. What image of Florida travel would be complete without reference to Cuba as a real destination for Miami vacationers? If only these maps could be loaded into a time-machine and take you back... where’s my typewriter? This is a Sci-Fi story I have to write.
from Instagram

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018

Well if it looks like a hoax and is spelled almost like “hoax”

#medicine #quackery #humor #ephemera #urbanarcheology
Well if it looks like a hoax and is spelled almost like “hoax”....there has to be a quack somewhere. This is definitely going to be an exhibit in my live presentation.

from Instagram

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Warm baby’s bottle on a hot engine in 1937? WCGW?

#popularscience #foundpaper #invention #1930s #UrbanArcheology
Warm baby’s bottle on a hot engine in 1937? The idea was by strapping a tin can one size larger that the bottle you could capture the heat of the engine in an area where electric service and convenience items like bottle warmers didn’t yet exist. Ingenious? Yes! Unsanitary? Probably.
from Instagram

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sorry Abe! It’s all about George today.

#matchbook #history #longisland #roslyn #nostalgia #roadfood #breakfast #urbanarcheology
Sorry Abe! It’s all about George today. In preparation for Washington’s Birthday (feb 22) and Presidents’ Day, which I call the great holiday compromise, I thought this matchbook seemed appropriate. The GW Inn in Roslyn, Long Island has long been a stately manor with a single claim to fame, “GW stopped here to eat breakfast.” This place has changed hands several times keeping the name until 2012 when it became Hendricks Tavern. It is documented that George enjoyed a breakfast of Hoecakes - not a misspelling, and not as salacious as it sounds. A “hoe” was a griddle for frying and the batter was flour and yeast and water. Is that what he ate that morning on Long Island?
from Instagram

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mickey Mantle's Holiday Inn

#yankees #holidayinn #roadtrip #nostalgia #mickeymantle #urbanarcheology
Mickey Mantle was still a yankee when he partnered to have his name attached to this Holiday Inn. Some of his endorsements were not successful, but this one was and now items from this hotel - post cards, ashtrays, menus and matchbooks are very collectible.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Friday, February 9, 2018

Once upon a time.....

#found #nosmoking #flying #smoking #matchbook #collectibles #urbanarcheology
Once upon a time..... I saw these a though how odd it was that you probably couldn't smoke in the bathroom then, but the cabin? Sure! no problem. I know I'm likely wrong about that, I'm sure there were ashtrays (as well as ass-trays) in the bathrooms on board, but I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Matchbook 411: Captain Starn's Atlantic City NJ

#matchbook #atlanticcity #tourism #nostalgia #urbanarcheology
Clarence Starn built this tourist paradise just off the boardwalk in Atlantic City in 1940. I was lucky enough to buy a matchbook collection and this was in it. Captan Starns lasted 40 years and was demolished, but a Facebook page lives on dedicated to its memory.

Monday, February 5, 2018

I love this illustration

#newyorkermagazine #futurology #illustrator #williamcotton #Newyork #transportation #1940s
I love this illustration by William cotton from a 1940 New Yorker magazine. Not sure if these pictures are of 1960 from the eyes of a futurist in 1940 or maybe he was just fantasizing what a view of 1960’s transportation might look like as the New York World’s Fair was taking place. Personally, I love the inference to a commuter looking to get to White Plains, NY - that’s my home town.

The one thing he certainly got right was the rise of the "bubble car." Sure aerodynamic designs are not new but it seems to me that if I want a utilitarian vehicle that I can place a snow thrower in the back of - I am going to have to buy a pick-up truck. Everything else on the road is curved at the back like a bubble.

Friday, February 2, 2018

A good friend let me clear out an old family desk...

#NYU #pinback #collectable #1950s #newyork #urbanarcheology
A good friend let me clear out an old family desk. Among the many treasures was this pin-back from 1950. The NYU school of commerce has gone through many name changes opened in 1900. The owner of this pin was a captain of industry and it is interesting to wonder where it has been and what it has seen.