Comments Off on 1896: Tige, the Newfoundland of Mount Loretto Orphanage for Boys in Staten Island, Part II

 

48th Street and First Avenue, 1915Tim and Tige lived and played on East 48th Street near First Avenue, pictured here in 1915. This neighborhood was razed to make way for the United Nations Plaza in 1948. NYPL Digital Collections

When we left Part I of this Old New York dog tale, little Tim Leahy had just been separated from his only friend, a Newfoundland named Tige. In Part II, we’ll travel to the southwest shore of Staten Island, to Father Drumgoole’s Mission of the Immaculate Virgin at Mount Loretto, a large, 600-acre farm for thousands of orphaned children and one very lucky homeless Newfoundland.

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Comments Off on 1896: Tige, the Newfoundland of the Mount Loretto Orphanage for Boys in Staten Island, Part I
Boy with Newfoundland dog, vintage

This is not Tim Leahy and Tige, but this vintage photo is perfect for this story.

Tim Leahy was only seven years old when his father died and his mother ran away and left him on his own. With no other living relatives in his homeland of Ireland, he was put on a ship and sent to live with a great aunt in New York City.

Great Aunt Julia Kelley was not a wealthy woman by any means; in fact, she barely made enough money selling apples and candies at a little stand in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue (the neighborhood kids called her Apple Julia). But she welcomed Tim into her modest tenement apartment at 400 East 48th Street and cared for him as best she could.

Shortly after Tim was united with his great aunt, a homeless, half-starved Newfoundland followed Tim home and won over the hearts of the little boy and his aged aunt. Though very poor, Aunt Julia could not turn the dog away, and so the three lived in poverty together.

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Comments Off on Presentation: The Dames and Damsels of Old New York and the Lap Dogs They Adored
Aimee Crocker with Bulldog

Aimee Crocker with one of her many prized pampered French bulldogs.

I’m taking the Hatching Cat on the road again with a new presentation for dog lovers. My first presentation of The Dames and Damsels of Old New York and the Lap Dogs They Adored will be on Thursday, May 11, 6:30 p.m., at the Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick, New York. 

In the 1800s and early 1900s, lap dogs were extremely popular with socialites and starlets of stage and screen. Pet dogs were as much a status symbol for these wealthy ladies as were their diamonds and pearls. Many–if not most–of these women loved their dogs more than their husbands (and their children, if they had any).

In this hour-long presentation, I will wind the audience through the streets of Old New York as I share amazing stories of eight wealthy and eccentric women of New York City’s Gilded Age and the dogs they adored. Hear about:

 

  • The monkey griffon that opened the door for all pets at the Plaza Hotel
  • The French poodle with a $1 million dog yard on Fifth Avenue
  • The terrier that inspired Margaret Wise Brown’s last picture book
  • And 5 more fascinating dog tales

Fun for dog lovers and New York City history fans alike!

Remember, if you know of a library or nonprofit group (eg, animal shelter, historical society) in the New York City area that you think would be interested in this presentation, please contact me and let me know.

Comments Off on 1906: Lions, and Tigers and Cats and Dogs, Oh My! The Menagerie at 42 Bleecker Street, Part 2
For 40 years, Fred Sauter stuffed every kind of animal imaginable at 42 Bleecker Street, pictured here on the right sometime around 1905.

For 40 years, Fred Sauter stuffed every kind of animal imaginable in his workshop at 42 Bleecker Street, pictured here on the right sometime around 1905. Note the entrance to the brand-new subway in the foreground, at the intersection of Mulberry Street and Elm Street (today’s Lafayette Street).

In the first part of this Old New York menagerie tale, we met taxidermist Fred Sauter Jr., a well-known New York City taxidermist who did a thriving business stuffing deer, bears, lions, birds, monkeys, and even pet dogs and cats in his large warehouse at 42 Bleecker Street. In Part 2, we’ll explore the history of the building on Bleecker Street where Fred Sauter Jr. and his son turned the skins of dead animals into fascinating if not grotesque displays for hunters, department stores, theater sets, movies, and distraught pet owners.

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New York City taxidermist Fred Sauter was renowned for his realistic stuffed animal skins, like this lion that appeared at the annual Sportsmen's Exhibit.

New York City taxidermist Fred Sauter was renowned for his realistic stuffed animal skins, like this lion that appeared at the annual Sportsmen’s Exhibit at Madison Square Garden.

Part 1: Fred Sauter’s Stuffed Menagerie

One early spring day in March 1901, several pedestrians in lower Manhattan were startled by a 12-foot Bengal tiger which had emerged from the door of 3 North William Street. No one ever expected to see a tiger on the streets of New York, so you can imagine the surprise when a giant buffalo and mountain lion entered the sidewalk, followed by a gorilla, an elk, and some jaguars and lions.

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Comments Off on 1895: Taffy, The Laird, and the Clowder of Town Topics Office Cats on Fifth Avenue

Taffy Town Topics Office CatsIn May 1895, the first official cat show in New York City took place at Madison Square Garden. More than 200 felines ranging from humble street cats (such as Brian Hughes’ Nicodemus) to the high-society cats of Mrs. J.J. Astor and Mrs. Stanford White were all on display at the first National Cat Show.

Although they did not take home any ribbons, a trio of black cats belonging to Colonel William D’Alton Mann, publisher of the Town Topics society magazine, were the center of attraction that year.

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The Hatching Cat Was Hacked

Posted: 26th March 2017 by The Hatching Cat in Uncategorized

Dear Readers,

Last weekend a got a vicious virus on my computer which encrypted all my files. I had to erase my entire hard drive to get rid of this virus, and in doing so, I lost all the research that I had done for my next story about the cats of the Towne Topics newspaper office. I hope to be back up and running in about a week or two, so please stay tuned. The Towne Topics cats is a great story and I look forward to posting it in the near future.

The Hatching Cat

Comments Off on 1911: Buster, Topsy, and Yaller, the Police Mascots of NYC’s Lower East Side, Part 2
118 Clinton Street, police station constructed in 1909

Constructed in 1909, the large, block-long police station at 118 Clinton Street was quite the fortress, but it was simply not big enough to peacefully accommodate Buster and Topsy, the rival police cat mascots.

In December 1911, the policemen of the old Eldridge Street police station in New York City’s Lower East Side moved into the new station house constructed for the men of the old Delancey Street station. Although the new station at the corner of Clinton and Delancey streets was more than big enough to accommodate everyone, the rival police cats, Buster and Topsy, refused to share the same territory.

In Part I of this old New York City Police mascot story, we learn that the move to 118 Clinton Street was a disaster for the little male cat, Buster, who was clearly bullied by the much larger female cat, Topsy. One has to wonder if the outcome would have been different had the two feline mascots been of the canine persuasion instead.

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Buster Topsy

This vintage photo is not of Buster and Topsy, but it’s how I imagine they may have looked had the two feline mascots actually liked each other (and had Topsy lost some weight). 

Part I: Buster and Topsy, the Rival Police
Cat Mascots

On the evening of December 6, 1911, the men of the old Eldridge Street police precinct in New York City’s Lower East Side moved into the brand-new station house occupied by the men of the old Delancey Street precinct.

The large modern building at the corner of Clinton and Delancey streets, with dormitory quarters for 250 men, was more than adequate to accommodate everyone. Everyone, that is, except for Buster and Topsy, the two rival police cat mascots.

In other words, when the two stations merged peacefully, the feline mascots refused to do the same.

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Comments Off on 1887: Punch and Chico, the Photogenic Dogs of Alice Austen That Lived Where History Was Made, Part II

Chico and Punch, the two pampered pooches of photographer Alice Austen, on the porch of Clear Comfort, the 17th-century farmhouse on Staten Island where Alice spent most of her life. Chico and Punch lived with Alice for about 15 years, during which time she took many photos of them. Alice took this photograph in 1893. 

In Part I of this Old New York dog tale, we met Alice Austen, an American photographer who grew up in the Austen family’s 17th-century farmhouse in Rosebank, Staten Island. Part I left off on June 24, 1950, the day Alice, once of prominent woman of New York’s high society, took an oath declaring herself a pauper.

In Part II, we’ll visit the Staten Island poor farm where Alice lived for a short time and briefly explore the history of Clear Comfort, the home where Alice spent most of her life with her family, her lifetime partner, Gertrude Tate, and her dogs, Punch and Chico.

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