Showing posts from 2014
Social Schemes & Dark Deeds Attributed to Morris-Jumel Mansion
The story reads like a plot line from a TV soap opera like ALL MY CHILDREN or DYNASTY but it was true to life. By virtue of a deathbed wedding ceremony, the daughter of a prostitute became the richest woman in America.  Her name wasn't Erica Kane or Alexis Carrington, but Eliza Bowen Jumel and she lived at 160th Street and Edgecombe Avenue where Harlem meets Washington Heights.

The lady of the house is long gone, but the Morris-Jumel Mansion in which the brilliant and beautiful Madame Jumel pursued her social climbing agenda is still there, the oldest remaining Colonial-era house remaining in New York City located near the C train stop.

 British Colonel Roger Morris and his American bride Mary (Polly) Phillipse (Phillipsburg Manor), daughter of the Squire of Yonkers (owner of most of current Westchester County) and their 4 children lived with servants in a grand home in New-York (still hyphenated) at Stone & Wh…
Mark Simone NYC radio host inflicts his Friars' pal Lionel on his radio audience
One of my favorite guilty pleasures is listening to Mark Simone in the mornings (if I'm not working) on WOR-710am from 10am to 12 noon. When Simone is talking with his silver-toned voice everything is wonderful.  He's up on the news and the stories behind the news and has a really incisive view on issues of the day and he's fun to listen to. But more often than not, Simone "farms out" big pieces of his show to windbag friends like "Lionel."

The trouble?  Mark Simone is also a big shot at the Friars' Club on East 55th Street in Manhattan and every comedian in the country is always trying to get "air time" on Simone's morning call-in show. Now sometimes he has a Joy Behar or a Regis Philbin or another huge name so that's fine. They're famous because they are funny and usually have something interesting to say or comment.

But more often than not h…
TITANIC Home Office still Located at Nine Broadway
On my specialized New York City sightseeing tours I show TITANIC locations when requested...locations that had something to do with the passengers and crew of the ill-fated ship which never docked at the end of 19th Street as expected in April 1912. The ship is still the stuff of legend, fantasy and film.

The owners of TITANIC, The White Star Line, had luxurious office at Nine Broadway near CUNARD LINE and other shipping lines of the day. There's a famous picture of people banging on the door to get answers when TITANIC didn't arrive on schedule. "Where's my wife?" people shouted. "Where's Uncle Joe & Aunt Mary?" "Where's my cargo of valuable art?" etc. etc. White Star Line finally bolted the doors because they just didn't have definite answers until survivors arrived on Carpathia to tell what happened.

Today the elegant old White Star Line office is still there, transformed in…
Celebrities spotted on Tour by Jim Dykes, New York City private tour guide
Since New York is a city of celebrities EVERYwhere, it’s undeniable that celebs pop up on our tours. Sometimes as a passenger on the bus, sometimes as a “sight” on the tour, sometimes they become PART of the tour! I recently put out a request to guides on the Facebook site for guides and people came forward with personal stories. Marc Landman said that he saw both Katie Courie and Savannah Guthrie but years ago his most famous celebrity sighting was SPUDS MacKenzie, the bull terrier from the Bud Light commercials.  Guide Stan O’Connor contributed: “ I was in Midtown, standing in the stairwell of the double-decker bus, giving a tour. As we went past the Four Seasons Hotel, I told the people that I. M. Pei designed it.  Continuing, I went on to say that "he'd also designed the Javits  Convention Center, the big gold pyramid on the National Mall in Washington and a similar pyramid at the Louvre in Paris…
Just for fun from Jim Dykes, New York City private tour guide:

In case you're curious, in New York City, check out the number of stores:

Dunkin Donuts-515 Starbucks-283 Subway Sandwich shops-467 Duane Reade/Walgreens- 318 McDonald’s-240
Baskin Robbins-202
REGIS PHILBIN- Once the "King" of Morning TV, done in by MONEY DEMANDS & EGO
In 1994 Regis Philbin left the Upper Eastside and his Park Avenue apt. which had been his home since he returned to New York from Los Angeles in the 80’s to begin his morning chat show, syndicated nationally by Disney/ABC’s Buena Vista division.  A life-long Catholic, he lived near his St. Ignatius church where his daughters would be married. Footnote: this was the church of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s funeral as well as Jackie Onassis’ funeral in 1994.
He moved across Central Park to the Upper Westside to a new condo tower-Millenium Tower, where his famous neighbors have included: Tony Danza, Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner, Liam Neeson, Alan Alda (Regis’ next door neighbor on 53rd floor), Julie Andrews, Howard Stern and others. But more importantly, his new condo was across the street from the ABC studio where he did “LIVE WITH REGIS & KATHIE LEE”…later to become LIVE WITH REGIS & KELL…
Manhattan Mafia Memories
It’s always fun to spice up your New York tour with a few famous names—from time to time I toss in names & places that have to do with famous Mafia references, although so many of these names are dead and the places have completely changed so that a lot of imagination is necessary on the part of the guide and the tourist. Some Mafia references are scattered all over to the far corners of The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, but there are still a few favorites in Manhattan. Some people even advertise a "mafia" tour of New York, but other than a few midtown and Little Italy spots, much of the standard "mafia" tour is in the boroughs and the 'burbs and let's face it, most tourists don't have more than a short attention span (3-4 hours tops) so we're relegated to the most popular Manhattan spots for murder and mayhem. Sparks’ Steakhouse is still there on East 46th St. where in 1985 Paul Castellano was gunned down near S…