Posts Tagged ‘Old New York’

Union Square Jim was a large, blue-eyed, orange tabby mascot of the old Union Square Theatre in New York City. Jim was born in the theater sometime around 1886, a year after James Hill took over as manager of the theater.

Like most cats that became the popular mascots of New York City police stations, fire stations, hotels, and theaters in the 1800s and 1900s, Jim began his life as a vagrant cat without friends or influence. It didn’t take him long, however, to win the hearts of the managers, actors, and patrons of the old Union Square Theatre.

Two weeks after the Equitable Life fire, workmen who were trying to salvage the contents of the cellar vaults and safe boxes rescued a cat named Kaiser and a black guinea pig later named Miss Bacillus.

Unbeknownst to the FDNY firefighters, a cat named Kaiser was trapped in the basement of the Equitable Life Building as it burned to the ground.

Many articles have been written about the iconic Equitable Building fire in New York City, but few mention Kaiser, the Equitable Fire Cat.

In Part I and Part II of this Old New York bohemian cat tale, many of the photos were taken by photojournalist Jessie Tarbox Beals. In this final post in the series, I’ll share many of her cat photos and take you on a tour of her Sheridan Square studio in Greenwich Village.

“The public clamored for news of this wealthy family—celebrated as much for its celibacy as its eccentricity—and the press obliged. Despite a fortune built on fur and real estate, the eight Wendel siblings shunned high society, ensconcing themselves in an antiquated house of mystery amid the cacophonous commerce of midtown Manhattan. There, starved of society […]

Part 3 of a 3-part story about Isaac Van Amburgh, the Richmond Hill estate in Greenwich Village, and New York’s Zoological Institute in the Bowery

Part 3 of a 3-part story about Isaac Van Amburgh, the Richmond Hill estate in Greenwich Village, and New York’s Zoological Institute in the Bowery

Part 2 of a 3-part story about Isaac Van Amburgh, the Richmond Hill estate in Greenwich Village, and New York’s Zoological Institute in the Bowery