Mary Sendek’s House Over Time

A pictoral of twenty plus photos of the house that stood against the tide.

Mary Sendek bought a house in 1925 in Elmhurst. When the house was first built in the 1870’s the street it stood on was called Hoffman Boulevard. When the Queensboro Bridge was built in the early 1900’s the name was changed to Queens Boulevard, and the role of the street started to change.   

At the time in 1925 it was still somewhat peaceful. Sure it would grow, but that would take a while. Maybe when she moved there all Mrs. Sendek was looking for was a place to call home, a place she could spend the rest of her life and never have to move again. Maybe that’s all any of us are looking for. 

I have written about Mary Sendek before, matching up several photos of her house as it changed over time . But in the years since I last wrote about her I have come across many more pictures of her house, I worked on presenting them all in this piece. All in all it’s a 100 year photographic trip across time with the backdrop of the constant of her house.

This view is west from about 56th Avenue on what was then Hoffman Blvd, the Sendek house is mid way down on the right.


sendek1907This is looking the other way as the above shot. East from Broadway down Hoffman, the house on the left. 


Hoffman Boulevard and Thomson Avenues in northwest Queens were combined to create Queens Boulevard. A small part of Thomson Avenue actually still exists in Long Island City. 


Trolley routes lined much of western Queens until the late 1930’s when they were replaced by buses. A trolley blocks the view of the house in this photo.



The church at the far left of the photo was the old Presbyterian built in 1796. In 1895 a new church was bult across the street which still stands today. The old church was being used as a nursery school and for other secondary roles when a fire destroyed it in 1928.

Modest residences still line the street in the 1920’s. 


In the mid 1920’s the west side of the road was cleared for subway construction and widening. The houses had to be moved back or be demolished. The Sendek house was on the east side and so was unaffected by the change directly. This photo offers a good clear shot of the house.


may71926East along Queens Boulevard from Grand Aveue. This is a good shot to get a detail of the street from the church down to the Sendek house.


A period of upheaval, equipment is in the street for subway line work, utility poles standing out of place, and during it all the old Presbyterian church was destroyed by a fire. It was still standing but would have to be taken down.


One more sad view of the old church. It was torn down in May 1929. 


Subway is now below the newly widened street. Queens Boulevard looks very different from itself even ten years before, yet it is still mostly residences across both sides of the street, including the Sendek house.


If you look behind the Sendek house in the above photo you can see some of the space that will one day become part of Macy’s. 


I spliced two 1935 photos to make a little wider view of what the east side of Queens Boulevard looked like at the time.



The house in 1940. The Sendeks have only lived here for 15 years at the time.  (NYC Tax document collection) 

One of the  Sendeks neighbors to the west appears to actually be standing in the doorframe of the house when this tax records photo was taken. A new street, 55th Avenue is in the city plans to be created right where this house stands.  If the Sendek’s house was even a few feet to the west of where it stood it might have had to go with it. 

1940secondBlackman Plumbing Supply was the eastern neighbor of the Sendek family house for decades. The location is now that of the Citibank branch next to round Macy’s. 

blackmanblackman - CopyBlackman’s Plumbing in Flushing has a sign listing the 87-07 Queens Boulevard location. So they mean that house right next to Mary Sendek’s 87-01 address. This location is still  in Flushing, the company still has a website and online catalog. 


1951aerialAerial of Queens Boulevard before 55th Avenue is built from Justice Avenue to Queens Blvd. 85-67 Queens Blvd house still standing.



Aerial in 1954 showing 55th Avenue completed, the 85-67 house next to Sendek house is no more. The aerial also makes it clear that there were only about 10 houses Macy’s needed to buy land from to clear the block, if only Sendek had agreed. 


1961probmarysendekAThe block has been cleared out for construction by Macy’s with one exception, the now holdout Sendek house.  


1964houseThe air space of the Sendek backyard meant a small notch had to be cut into the round shape of Macy’s huge circle. 

With both Sendek and Macy’s resolved to their fates, construction is completing on Macy’s.  What Sendek may have felt about Macy’s impact on her life is hard to say. 



The Macy’s store in Elmhurst officially opened on October 11, 1965 and it was no small event in Queens. The community hoped to be getting a store the equal of everything that Macy’s in Manhattan had become.



The notch Macy’s had to cut in its round circle was just part of the story. Macy’s had hoped the entire corner would be an attraction to shoppers, instead they decided to downplay the corner, and try to cut it out of many promotional materials. 



In 1966 a round Citibank is opening where Blackman once stood. Mary Sendeks house on the corner remains. Her house is almost one hundred years older than the Citibank or the Macy’s. 


One thing to look at in respect to the original design is how different the entire landscaping and sidewalks that would have led people to the store. How much of an impact on the store did her house have? It’s hard to say. Within a few years the Queens Mall was built which would become a much more popular location. Macy’s itself would move there.


marysendekMary Sendek behind her house in 1965 in what is the only known photo of her. 


1969julyMayor Lindsay campaign, with first astronauts on the moon Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Neil Armstrong. The Sendek house is just behind Armstrong’s arm. (LaGuardia Archive)


One more of the first men on the Moon parade in 1969, in this shot the house is clearly visible on the right. (LaGuardia Archive)


Citibank photo and Macy’s behind it. The photo seems to be intentionally  leaving out the Sendek house literally trying to pretend its not there.


Sendek lived through the entire decade of the 1970’s in her house, both Citibank and Macy’s were her neighbors.


Queens Boulevard must have seemed very different to anyone who knew it back in the 1920’s. Another modern architecture savings bank was built and a White Castle on this stretch of Queens Boulevard.  


Probably the last photo of the house, a year after Mary Sendek passed away.  The yard has been neglected for some time.  (NY Times photo).


Macy’s moved to the Queens Center Mall but its parent company attemped to make the round building work as a Stern’s store during the decade.


Today the space of the former Sendek house and backyard is a bank and office building. The Citibank remains next to it, and the former Macy’s is now called Queens Place Mall . The land Sendek held onto will probably never be incorporated into the rest of the block. It will forever be separate and the big building will always have the notch.

Footnote: Wikipedia states incorrectly that the circular design was in response to Sendeks refusal to sell which is not the case, Macy’s always intended to make the store round.

Hall of Fame 2019 Early Returns Impressions

We wont know who is getting into the baseball hall of fame officially until mid January, but we can get clues as to where the vote will go, thanks to Ryan Thibodaux and his hall of fame vote trackerThibodaux and his crew tally public ballots as they come in and you can get an idea of where things are going. I followed it last year and it made the run up to the vote much more interesting. It’s early right now, but even with just the first 14 ballots counted, you can start to make some sense of the ballot. The private ballots, the ones he never gets to see tend to have a few more no votes, so just factor that in, the final vote percentages will be lower.

Definitely In
Mariano Rivera is  getting in, you don’t need inside information to figure that one out. The only question is how close to unanimous his vote is going to be. Since nobody has gotten 100 percent, he would have to do what Ruth, Gehrig, and Ted Willams could not, to get every single vote, so don’t expect it to happen. It will be interesting to see if anyone who is going to vote no makes it public before the final vote is announced and tries to explain why. Edgar Martinez is off to a 100 percent in Thibodaux’s early showing too. And even though Martinez is on his last ballot, and no full time DH has gotten in before, it would actually be a surprise if he does not make it this time around. Roy Halladay with two Cy Young awards looks to have a good chance of being the third guy in. Halladay passed away in 2017 which makes him a sympathetic case too. He’s running at 85% on the early tally which at least tells you he has a good shot.

Trending Up
Mike Mussina rose to 65 percent in 2018, so he definitely could get in this year, but I wonder if Halladay’s presence holds Mussina back just enough to keep him below 75%. It would also set Mussina up for 2020 which just happens to be Derek Jeter’s first year on the ballot and then they could go in together. Mussina is at 79% right now, it will be close. Omar Vizquel got 37 percent on his first ballot last year, look for an improved tally this time, some purists don’t like to vote a yes the first time on the ballot. Right now he’s showing 64% on the early return, he might be setting up a run that will take a few years to complete.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens got around 57% last year, they have been steadily climbing since starting out down in the 30’s in 2013. They wont get in this year, but even if they get close to 60% the writing might be on the wall that one day they will. If nothing else it proves there is a wearing down of the resistance against them.  Bonds and Clemens are currently in the 70’s on Thibodaux’s early tallies, looks like the trend is continuing and even possibly accelerating.

Curt Schilling has been hovering around 50% for three years, and this is his 7th time on the ballot, so time is running out. Thibodaux’s tracker has him at 70%  so he could be setting up a run for the next year or two. Larry Walker climbed to 34 percent from 15 just a couple years ago, but this is his ninth ballot, so far this time he’s at 42.9% on the early numbers. Probably too little too late but you never

Not For A While
I don’t think either newcomers Andy Pettitte or Todd Helton are going to crack 30%. Helton will face Coors Field mile high air statistics doubters and Pettitte could lose votes over the HGH issue. Pettitte is currently at 28%, Helton 21%. Sammy Sosa is running 28.6%, Sosa has never broken 10% in his first 6 years on the ballot, so either Thibodaux found a bunch of Sammy Sosa fans to count early or Sosa is seeing an increase, Manny Ramirez is at 28.6% too after doing 22% last year. Manny is in his third year and hasn’t moved much on the ballot. If either sees an increase it might also indicate that erosion of the anti steroid vote.Scott Rolen got 10% last year on his first ballot, 15% this time would help him stay in the conversation, he’s showing 14.3%.

Maybe Never
Fred McGriff is on his last ballot and is going to fall short, he did 23% last year and so far he’s at 14%. Gary Sheffield is currently running at 7%, below his 11% last year result so he is not getting any love either. Andruw Jones only got 7% last year, he’s just fighting to stay on the ballot at all, and right now he’s showing 7%. Jeff Kent, Roy, Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Billy Wagner, and Michael Young dont show a single vote cast out of the first 14 ballots, maybe they’ve all just been forgetten, or maybe they are getting squeezed out by the others. Kent got 14% last year.

The balloting is still really early so a lot can change. But we will keep watching the tabulations, and have a good idea what is going on before everyone else.



The Q13 Movie Theater Bus Route Memorial

I grew up in Queens in the 1970’s in the northern part of Bayside known as Bay Terrace. There was no way to watch movies at home–no HBO, Netflix, YouTube. We didn’t have huge multiplex theaters; it was still the era of the small town movie house. I was too young to drive, but the local city bus route, the Q13 route which ran from Fort Totten to Flushing, could get me to them. On the route lay five separate distinct movie theaters. For a few dollars, I could see a film and at the same time get away from my parents for a few hours. It was a win-win if I could find the right movie at the right time at the right place.

The nearest theater to me, the Bay Terrace, was in walking distance. It was a fine enough theater, but it wasn’t my favorite for various reasons. I was too young to realize it at the time, but looking back, one of the reasons may have been the theater’s odd design. Outside was a large white brick wall overlaid with yellow stripes that was certainly unique but not particularly modern or classic. Whoever designed it must have loved yellow or gold.  The doors were lined with gold, the carpeting was yellow, the walls were yellow and white, and gold. The balcony, instead of being laid over the main seating section like most theaters, went further back up and away from the screen, so its seats were very far away. All that said, maybe the real reason I didn’t love the Bay Terrace is that it was just a little too close to my home. With other theaters just a bus ride away why not take advantage of seeing what they had to offer and put a little distance between me and my parents.

The Bayside Theater at 39th Avenue and Bell Boulevard was less than a mile south of the Bay Terrace, and it was a traditional old style theater. It was built in the 20’s (like almost every theater on the Q13 route other than Bay Terrace). But unlike the Bay Terrace, it felt like a movie theater should. The inside was red and velvety, and a small balcony sat over the main seating (the way a balcony should). For many years, the Bayside played cult films like the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Pink Floyd The Wall” at midnight on the weekends.

It wasn’t as easy to figure out movie start times, and as a kid it was hard to remember what they were even after you read them. The newspaper was vital to determine where to go and when to get going. Luckily my parents usually got one delivered.  We never checked reviews; I think we didn’t even know what reviews were yet. Movies with the biggest and most attractive ad in the paper “just had” to be good anyway, and the movie playing in the most theaters was usually the one to see. Newsday had a separate index of theaters showings and times. If for any reason there was a delay for a bus or if I had to wait on a slow friend, the plan to see a particular movie could be ruined. However, the next theater on the route offered what at the time was a unique solution, four different movies starting at four different times.

A movie house with four theaters by today’s standards pales, but in the 70’s, one theater with that many showings was quite special. If you missed one movie there was sure to be another starting soon. The Quartet was actually a $750,000 renovation of an old theater, the 1920’s single screen Roosevelt. None of us knew or cared what it had been before it was the Quartet, we just knew what it was then, and it looked and felt exciting. Big red numbers one through four represented each theater on the marquee, big black numbers one through four could be seen everywhere inside, literally leading you to your showing. The Quartet was fun, but it wasn’t in always happening downtown Flushing like the last two theaters on the route, the Keiths and the Prospect.

The Prospect on Main Street was a little like the Bayside. Nice, but nothing outstanding, it was an old style downtown theater.  The Prospect had already been turned into two screens by this time. If nothing else it gave me a couple more movie showings and times. The RKO Keith’s, a few blocks to the north where Main Street meets Northern Boulevard, was a theater that stood in a league all its own. During its heyday in the 1920’s and 30’s, it had featured vaudeville and other live shows. Forty years later, it still felt elegant. The lobby had a three-story high domed ceiling, surrounded by wide circular staircases leading up to the balcony. The twilight blue dome could be seen both inside the lobby and in the seating area. The column work was finely detailed throughout. It almost felt that it was beneath the Keith’s standards to just be showing movies instead of live shows.

Part of the trip, in addition to the theaters, regardless of where we went, was the surrounding businesses near each theater. The best Chinese food in northern Queens sat only a few feet from the Keiths’ at Lum’s. Gertz and Alexanders were right on Roosevelt Avenue by the Prospect Theater on Main Street. Right under the Quartet marquee stood Mike’s comic cards store. Little King restaurant was right by the Bayside and Baskin Robbins 31 flavors stood right next to the Bay Terrace.

Movie theaters changed by the 1990’s.  New multi theater houses opened up everywhere and the local town theaters suddenly seemed outdated. Some, like the Bayside, were sliced into four screens, but sadly it only seemed to delay its closure for a short time. By 2000, every one of the five Q13 route theaters on the route had shut down. The Bay Terrace was converted into an Applebee’s, as a sixplex opened at the other end of the shopping center. The gaudy white and yellow bricks painted over with a more muted burgundy. The Bayside vanished into storefront and offices. The Quartet’s four showings, unique in the 70’s, had become less than standard for theaters that now had ten and fifteen showings. The Quartet closed and is now a supermarket. There is virtually no sign of what was once the Prospect on crowded Main Street.

One of a kind in its best days, The Keith’s has also had a unique story after closure as well. Despite various attempts to turn it into shopping and housing complexes, every  company that has bought the property have run into one financial problem or another (sometimes ending in criminal prosecution) and nobody has been able to put up a new construction. The now landmarked lobby will have to be included into whatever is eventually constructed. Hopefully someone will be able to open the doors that have been closed for over 30 years. Historian and photographer Chris Kellberg has continued to photograph its beautiful interior work. He advocates for the renovation and reopening of the theater, citing other locales where the same has been achieved. Chris’s facebook group is here

If you were to ride entire the Q13 today, you would not see a movie theater on the route. The adventure of seeing a movie along it is no longer possible. In their own way, these outings helped me gain my independence; so today’s youngsters in Queens will have to achieve that in other ways. I eventually worked up to using the bus to go to see the Mets in Flushing and the Knicks and Rangers in Manhattan. Thankfully those options remain today. The days of the movie theaters and the Q13 route, however, are now only a memory.

The Theaters Then and Now








Tex Antoine: A Career on the Air


Tex Antoine 1956

Tex Antoine combined a warm, friendly personality with talents as a cartoon artist to make himself the most popular weather forecaster in New York City for nearly 30 years. He won an Emmy for best local on-air personality in 1961, met his wife through his work in 1964, and eventually became an inspiration to the generation of weather forecasters who followed in his footsteps. In 1974, after 25 years doing TV weather, he was honored with a ten minute on-air video chronicling his work. Then in 1976, he made a shocking remark on the air and his career never recovered. The comment, a joke about rape, has not been forgotten by many. I wanted to try to understand the man who was so popular for so long, look at the remark that brought him down, and ultimately make sense of this man’s legacy.


Tex Antoine and Uncle Weathbee

Growing Up
Herbert Jon Antoine, Jr. was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1923. His father was a traveling salesman who, according to Tex, tried to sell everything he could but had little success doing it. His mother was a teacher who could always be seen with school books by her side. Tex said he and his family were poor; they spent the depression living out of a Franklin Touring car on the side of the road. He went to high school near Houston, Texas. While he was at a summer theater internship in Plymouth, Massachusetts, he discovered a love for the stage and the theater that would drive him to want to work in show business. He also was a boxer in his youth. His ex-wife Suzannah Glidden said he was very proud of his time in the Golden Gloves program. She explained that one of the fighting competitions was what first brought Tex to New York.


Tex’s Lynbrook House

New York
Antoine started in the Big Apple as a tour guide for NBC in 1941. Within a year, he auditioned for and landed a full-time position as an NBC station radio announcer. By 1945, he was taking part in a three person on-air news team in the morning, announcing for a soap opera during midday, and reading commercials and fill-in spots for the rest of the day. He continued on as an announcer for many years after he started doing the weather. Tex moved into a four bedroom house in Lynbrook, Long Island, and made many island area public appearances until the 1960’s when he got married. Many of those appearances were charity drives to fight diabetes, from which he suffered.

Television was in its infancy in the 1940’s as the industry had just begun migrating from radio to screen. On radio, a weather forecast could simply be read from paper, whereas TV required more visual presentation to work. Robert Henson, weather historian and author of Weather on the Air, writes, “The visual nature of television demands action in the form of weather maps and people who could explain them.” TV’s first weathermen were primarily military veterans and college professors because they were the only people who could provide any level of detail. As television audiences grew, stations looked for ways to make the weather more entertaining.

According to interviews, Antoine was approached in January 1949 by his bosses at NBC. They told him on a Thursday that he was going to be their new TV weatherman and to have a show ready for the next Monday. He was told to go to the weather bureau, learn as much as he could, and be ready to go when the cameras started rolling Monday. Luckily Tex had his talents as an illustrator. Ms. Glidden described him to me as a “magician with a pen.” He could draw anything and do it quickly; then with a few more seconds, morph what he had just drawn into something else.


Tex on the air in 1949

In preparing, Tex also created a wooden shaped stick figure character to go on the air with him as a sidekick. He said the inspiration for the character came from his days as a child in the south. He recalled a toy which allowed for magnetic attachments like ears, a hat, and a mustache. Tex said the name Uncle Weathbee came while en route to the weather bureau. The idea was the character and the bureau would save Tex from blame if a forecast went wrong. Antoine could say Weathbee, in effect the Weather Bureau, was responsible for the incorrect forecast. He would affix a black eye to Weathbee when the forecast was embarrassingly bad. 

He put on a smock to merely protect his clothes while doing the weather. But the smock turned out to be a great finishing touch. It made him appear as much artist as weather forecaster. The introduction for his premiere show in the January 15, 1949 New York Times read, “WNBT will start a new daily series of weather reports with an artistic flavor featuring Tex Antoine, announcer, beginning Monday from 6:25 to 6:30. Mr. Antoine, an amateur cartoonist, will give a complete round-up of weather conditions in the metropolitan area and then sketch his impressions of this report.” (WNBC Channel 4 in 1949 went by the call letters WNBT).


Gil Hodges, Andy Pafko, Peewee Reese protesting rain forecast in 1952

Tapping into his announcing skills, Tex came across as soft spoken and friendly, while his drawings made weather fun. Critics and viewers were impressed. New York Times writer Jack Gould wondered if Tex should be on the air more and said he liked his dry and witty humor. Sponsor Con Edison quickly capitalized on Antoine’s popularity with ads that looked like a column written by Uncle Weathbee which included often not so subtle suggestions to buy washing machines, refrigerators, and air conditioners throughout. Tex was especially popular with kids, and so coloring books and almanacs were published featuring Uncle Weathbee. Tex was given an additional five-minute slot at 11:10 PM. By the mid 1950’s, Antoine was firmly established as the most popular weatherman in New York City.


Carol Reed

Hiring attractive women to do the weather was something other area stations had tried, but it seemed to become a requirement in the late 1950’s by stations aiming to compete with Tex in ratings. By 1960, every station had a lead woman forecaster (or “weather girl” as they were called at the time) except for WNBC and Antoine. Then Vice President at WABC Joseph Stamler explained the rationale of the weather girl:“We feel that women–or ladies–have greater acceptance than men, because with the combination of an attractive looking personality the men prefer to look at and the women are attracted, too, because of the fashions they wear, so we’ve really got a twofold program.” Tex’s manager at NBC Peter M. Affe contended by saying, “Our first concern in the presentation of our weather shows is the effectiveness and accuracy of the forecast.” Whether Tex’s forecasts were more accurate or not, he prevailed in the ratings and the other stations eventually moved away from women leads. When Carol Reed was let go by CBS TV in 1964, it marked the end of the “weather girl” era.

Marriage, Changing Channels
When it came time to renew his contract in 1966, Tex found channel 7 WABC expressing strong interest in his services. ABC always lagged behind both Channel 4 and Channel 2 in the ratings and was looking for a way to catch up. Tex turned back to NBC to see if they would counter with a better offer, but they chose not to. WNBC had a trained meteorologist on staff who was a familiar face with the public, science reporter Dr. Frank Field. Tex found the difference in salary too much to pass up, and so in March after 17 years with channel 4, Antoine became the new weatherman for WABC Channel 7 News. 


Suzannah Glidden in 1966

There was another attraction for Tex at ABC: his wife worked there. Antoine had just married reporter and former weather girl Suzannah Glidden. They had met while both were researching their forecasts at the weather bureau and married in 1965. It was Tex’s second marriage. He had been married for a short time when he first came to New York and already had an adult daughter Nancy.

While working with his wife and getting more money was great, Tex was also leaving the one station he had called home for 17 years. Channel 7 was trying to catch up in ratings after having lagged behind for years. The station would soon hire news manager Al Primo and bring in a format later referred to as “happy news,” in which on-air staff were encouraged to be more jovial and edgy. Antoine’s lively personality seemed to make him the perfect fit, though it would one day also be blamed for his future incident. New York Magazine’s Paul Klein called Tex’s move to channel 7 a watershed event in local news.


1967 Antoine drawing, courtesy of  Ted David

Signs of Trouble
Primo asked all on-air staff members to wear blazers, which meant the end of Tex’s signature smock. When Antoine protested, Primo said to Tex, “Either we all wear blazers or smocks,” and the smock was gone. Uncle Weathbee seems to have diminished from his routine at about the same time. It all meant Tex would have to rely more on conversation and less on his customary drawings and props.

Tex suffered from diabetes, and as Primo explained, it made Tex harder to understand, especially when combined with alcohol. Primo said Tex was a creature of habit, that he would go to the same German restaurant each night and have a glass of wine, sometimes two, between the 6:00 and 11:00 PM shows. Ms. Glidden explained that he needed two insulin injections daily to deal with his diabetes. The diabetes, the change in environment took a toll on Tex, and he and Glidden divorced in the early 70’s.

In 1972, Antoine made a comment on the air during the Munich Olympic hostage crisis stating that more attention should be paid to the many lives lost in U.S. traffic accidents rather than the hostages. It came off as insensitive and Tex had to apologize for it. In 1974, at his 25th anniversary party, he yelled at fellow reporter Ron Johnson to get the f-word out of the way because he couldn’t see his cake. A rookie sound producer working that night didn’t turn off a live microphone and so it was caught on the air. Tex was having trouble keeping up with the workload. He gave up the 11:00 PM slot to focus on just the 6:00 news show.


Backed by Melba Tolliver, Roger Grimsby, Geraldo Rivera and Bill Buetel, 1973

Despite it all, Tex remained popular through the mid 70’s. The New York Times in 1973 described his audience as awestruck fans that had grown up following his forecast for years. Discover magazine observed that Antoine had a unique “almost jazzlike patter” which naturally drew listeners in to him. Craig Allen, now lead meteorologist on WCBS radio, remembered a visit from Tex to WSNL Long Island in 1974. Allen said he was “genuinely polite and friendly to fans, namely me.” Ted David, veteran CNBC broadcaster, knew Tex well when he was a page at WABC. Ted said Antoine was a gentleman, had a great voice, and was an all around good guy. There always seemed a bright side to Tex, but he was heading towards his darkest moment.

November 24, 1976
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving on the news at 6:52 PM, anchor Bill Beutel reported the attempted rape of an eight-year-old Yonkers girl, gave a stock market report, then handed off to Tex for weather. Antoine said, “With rape being so predominant in the news lately, Confucius once say if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it,” and continued to the weather. Once the words escaped his mouth, things would never be quite the same.


Doing weather in 1973

TV critic and author Peter Conrad pondered in The Medium and Its Manners if Tex somehow thought it was his professional obligation to be “as comically resilient about the assault as he always was about the weather.” Weather historian Robert Henson pointed out that the “relentless emphasis on high jinks and humor” helped create the atmosphere in which Tex would try to tell such a joke. Newspaper columnist Jack Anderson wrote that the broadcast on the same day also included an edgy Liz Taylor joke, a double entendre about keeping fresh Thanksgiving items, and several other similarly objectionable quips. But the comment could not be ignored, particularly with women’s groups. Author Ron Stokes wrote in his 2010 book of remembrances, “I guess Old Tex didn’t get the women’s lib memo that was circulating at the time.” Rape and humor were not good topics to mix, and to make things worse for Antoine, the report was about an eight-year-old girl.

While WABC went to commercial, news and public affairs director Ron Tindiglia called the studio from home and insisted that Tex immediately make an on-air apology which he did. “If I offended you with the Confucius saying, I apologize,” Tex said and finished his weather report. In the next 25 minutes, according to the station about 650 irate people called to complain about the remark. At 11:00 Grimsby announced Tex had been suspended indefinitely. Storm Field was brought in to do the 6:00 weather the next Monday, and Grimsby introduced him with the now infamous, “Lie back and enjoy the weather with Storm Field.”

Station management never publicly said they were going to fire Tex; in fact they appeared to be taking up his defense. On Saturday November 27, station President Richard O’Leary said Antoine had demonstrated such impeccably good taste it would be hard to invalidate his whole career over the “breach.” Station General Manager Kenneth MacQueen said, “We don’t think we will use this as a thrust to end his career. We have no plans to fire or terminate Tex.” Letters to newspapers also defended Tex. One asked everyone, “Where is our mercy?” Another asked people to “chalk the incident up to human frailty and to forget it.”


December 8, 1976 Protester

A group called the Women’s Anti-Rape Coalition was not so sympathetic. On December 9, the members organized a rally at ABC headquarters not only to demand that Tex be fired, but also to express outrage at Grimsby for his Storm Field remark. Spokeswoman Dorothy Glasse said, “We are concerned about a general insensitivity towards women at the station.” Ironically, as a result of the protest, WABC reported a further increase in support for Tex. The station said it received 140 calls, with most of them favoring Tex after seeing the story of the protest on the news.

On December 18MacQueen announced that while they had lifted Tex’s work suspension, he would not be going back on the air. MacQueen said he could help Storm Field prepare his report. Field was a trained meteorologist and Antoine was not, so it’s hard to say what Antoine could do to help Field. Maybe if Tex had stayed with WNBC, and this was his 27th year with the station instead of only his tenth, the management might have expressed more loyalty. Despite all the comments by Tindigla, MacQueen, and O’Leary, that they would spare Tex’s job, WABC let him go on March 13, 1977, the same day his contract ran out.


1978 Channel 5 Announcement

Last Years
In January 1978, WNEW Channel 5 gave Tex another chance. He was hired by the station with what at the time seemed to be great enthusiasm. Station Vice President Mark Monksy said, “Tex was once the best weatherman in New York and hoped he would be again. The man has been out of work for a year and that should be punishment enough.” But in only 10 months, Tex was let go again, replaced by former Miss New Jersey Linda Gialanella. After fending off the competition of weather girls throughout the 1960’s, he was in effect ultimately replaced by one. When asked what he would do with no job he said, “I don’t know. After 29 years where else can I go? I have no forecast for my future.”

The truth was Tex was losing his health. His ex-wife Ms. Glidden told me the diabetes condition worsened progressively during these years. She said he didn’t want to admit it, but he was not the same. Despite being only in his 50’s, disease and lifestyle had taken their toll. Tex did not make another public appearance and died on January 12, 1983, in his Park Avenue apartment of what was officially deemed to be natural causes.

Praise and Reflection
Bill Beutel spoke fondly of Tex at his funeral in 1983 and Ms. Glidden, now an avid active environmentalist and living in Westchester New York, only had kind words to say to me about Tex. He lived and loved broadcasting. For thousands of hours he was great on the air; he gave people the weather and made them laugh.

Tex was an inspiration to many aspiring 1970mayb-e31160_tex-antoine_1weather people who followed in his footsteps, and he was especially popular with children. Al Roker said he grew up playing with Uncle Weathbee Colorforms®. Area weatherman Bob Harris said instead of Chuck Berry and Elvis his idol was Tex. Author Robert Henson said his first source of weather reports was Antoine. For generations of New Yorkers, from the 1940’s to the 70’s, Tex was synonymous with weather. It’s unrealistic to think that the stigma of Tex’s bad joke will ever be completely forgotten, and his legacy will always pay a price. But in talking to those who knew him and looking back at his life, the professional, friendly, enthusiastic, and talented man who he was should not be forgotten either. (There are two scripted YouTube videos of Tex, which show him drawing, a Gaines Burgers commercial and a Bufferin Commercial.)



“Oral Husbandry, The Gentleman Likes To Be Called Mert and He Takes To the Air at 6:30 AM” (Jan 28, 1945) The New York Times

“Alias Uncle Wethbee” (November 1951) Radio TV Mirror

Jane Gerard “Weather Rain on Island Texan” (August 12, 1953) Newsday

“Television Weatherman Finds the Big Storm Had Him Snowed” (March 20, 1956) Newsday

Nancy Seely, “This Week on TV: Tex Antoine vs the Elements” (June 2, 1963) New York Post

“WCBS TV Decides To Drop Carol Reed and Weather Show” (May 29, 1964) The New York Times, p57

“Rainy Days Are for Weathermen” (October 4, 1964) The New York Times, pX17

“Weather Couple Engaged” (December 30, 1964) The New York Times

“Fund Drive Will Aid Diabetes” (May 6, 1964) Long Island Star Journal

“Suzannah C Glidden to Wed Tex Antoine” (July 19, 1965) The New York Times

Audrey Clinton “For Two Weeks It’s Been Fair and Blonde”(August 19, 1966)  Newsday

Val Adams “Antoine to Quit WNBC for WABC after 17 Years” (February 8, 1966) p79

“Weatherbee Twists Dial Takes Sponsor” (Feb 8, 1966) Newsday p2c

Harry Waters, “The News With a Dash of Dirt” (January 25, 1970) The New York Times p93

Paul Klein, “Happy Talk Happy Profits” (June 28, 1971) New York Magazine p60

Dan Menaker, “Unfortunately Raindrops Keep Falling on Their Heads: TV Weatherman” (August 19, 1973) The New York Times, p 121

“TV Line” (November 11, 1973) Newsday

Marvin Kitman “Dirge for Obfuscation” (February 12, 1974)  Newsday

“Events Pedal for Diabetes Fight” (May 2, 1975) Yonkers Herald Statesman

Barbara C. Chadwick, Bayshore, “Letters” (December 14, 1976) Newsday p53

Phillip Gedaly, Westbury “Letters” (January 5, 1977) Newsday  p 61

“WABC Suspends Tex Antoine After a Flippant Remark on Rape” (November 25, 1976) The New York Times p45

“Tex Antoine to Return to ABC After Last Week’s Suspension” (November 29, 1976) The New York Times

Gerald Fraser, “Antoine Will Stay But Won’t Go On Air” (December 18, 1976) The New York Times

“Tex Antoine Returns to the Tube”, New York (December 12, 1977) 8

“Weatherman Tex Antoine Is Fired” (November 6, 1978) Newsday

“No Forecast for Antoine’s Future” (November 7,1978) Newsday  9QQ

Marvin Kitman, “Linda the Weatherperson” Newsday (August 13, 1979) A31

Glenn Garelick, “The Weather Peddlers” Discover (April 1985)p 24

Jerry Barmash, “Caching Up with Al Primo, the Man Behind Eyewitness News” (March 14, 2011) Adweek Magazine


Robert Henson, 2010 Weather on the Air: A History of Broadcast Metereology
Ron Stokes, 2010 Mother Is Different and Other Family Secrets
Peter Conrad, 1982 The Medium and Its Manners


House Photo, Google Maps

Demonstration against Tex Antoine at ABC-TV, Bettye Lane, Harvard Univ Archive

1967 forecast, Ted David photo collection

1952 “Dodging The Dodgers” New York Post Photo By Con Edison p. 55

with barometer –

The Defunct Newspapers Of New York City

Front page of the New York World-Telegram dated August 7, 1945 featuring the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The World-Telegram was in circulation from 1867 to 1966. We all remember NYC based newspapers that are no longer in business. Many of our families had the paper delivered to our homes, daily. Some of us worked for the newspapers, and quite a few of us delivered newspapers!


Here is a partial list of defunct newspapers of NYC.

Brooklyn Times-Union
Brooklyn Eagle
The City Sun (weekly)
Colored American (weekly)
Daily Graphic
East Village Other
Freedom’s Journal
The Freeman
Freie Arbeiter Stimme (Yiddish-language)
Der Groyser Kundes (Yiddish-language weekly)
Il Progresso Italo-Americano (Italian-language daily)
Long Island Press (original daily)
National Guardian (weekly)
New York Ace
New York Age / New York Age Defender
New York Avatar
The New York Blade (weekly)
New York Clipper
New York Daily Mirror
New York Dispatch
New York Enquirer (twice weekly)
New York Evening Mail
The New York Globe (two newspapers)
New York Graphic
New York Guardian (monthly)
New York Herald (daily)
New York Herald Tribune (daily)
New York Journal American (daily)
New York Mirror
New York Press (historical)
The New York Sporting Whip
New York Sports Express
The New York Sun (daily)
New York Tribune (daily)
New York World
New York World Journal Tribune
New York World-Telegram
New Yorker Staatszeitung (German-language weekly)
The Onion (free weekly)
Other Scenes
Rat Subterranean News
Spirit of the Times
Staten Island Register
The Sun

Contributed to our group Old Images Of New York by longtime member Herb Shatz

Original post located here

Arcadia Book Giveaway



Arcadia Publishing is running a contest! They are doing it in conjunction with my page Old Images of New York.  You will win three free books packed with historic pictures of New York. They’re published by Arcadia Publishing, home of the iconic Images of America series and the leading publisher of local and regional interest in the US. Here’s how to enter:

1. Like their page
2. Like my page (where we save you money on toner)
3. Comment below & tag a friend on this facebook post (comments welcome here as well)
THAT’S IT!! Free NYC History Books For You!!!
We’ll pick 10 winners on May 6th.

The books being given away are …
New York City Skyscrapers By Richard Panchyk
Greenwich Village By Anita Dickhuth
The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair By Bill Cotter and Bill Young


Penn Station Comes With Old Scars

A December 30th 2015 New York Times article asserted that Penn Station was already “ruined” long before it was destroyed. Author David W. Dunlap wrote that those who came into the station in the late 50’s would have been in a place that bore little resemblance to its once great former self.  Dunlap focused on a  1950’s renovation that he felt diminished the look of the station. The New Yorker magazine columnist Lewis Mumford at the time termed it an “indescribable botch.”


“The Clamshell” in MTA Transit Museum 1958 Photo

The centerpiece of the 50’s remodel was a huge new lighting apparatus that came to be known as “the clamshell.” It was 164 feet wide, made of aluminum and steel, and was intended to brighten newly installed ticket booths and make getting a train ticket comparable to that of a plane.

Critics accused Penn of intentionally putting in a design so bad that demolition would seem to make more sense. What would they have said if Penn had done nothing in the 50’s? Dunlap may be right that the renovation was poor, but most of us would probably still choose the Penn of the 50’s over the one that replaced it in the next decade. Whenever the decline set in for rail travel, the date of no turning back in the eyes of New Yorkers will always be 1963 when the wrecking ball crumbled the station to the ground.

If you want to get New Yorkers riled up, you can just ask them about Penn Station. They still can’t believe the same company that had the creative genius to put a timeless transportation hall in the heart of their city would see fit to dismantle it just fifty years later. The current station has been unpopular with New Yorkers from the moment it opened. It is looked at with disdain not only because of its basement-like feel, with narrow halls and low ceilings, but because it is the impostor put in place of their once cherished Penn Station. New Yorkers are literally reminded every day of what was taken from them.


New Yorkers are almost universally dissatisfied with the current station. They want something better put in its place. Something closer to what that original station was. To them, injustice has been done and it needs to be rectified.

And so the groundswell to improve it has grown year after year as commuters trudge through it. A plan inspired by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was developed in the early 2000’s to move some of it one block west to the Farley Post Office. The Farley between 8th and 9th was designed by the same architects as Penn. But the plan has been dreadfully slow in progressing.

The City Council voted 47-1 in 2013 to terminate Madison Square Garden’s lease so a better station could be constructed. (The one nay vote came from a former executive of the Garden.) Not much else came from the council in terms of definitive plans though. The vote without substantive plans is reflective of the great distance between the emotional desire to get something better in the station, and the struggle to deal with the practicality of actually getting it done.

Just this week, Governor Cuomo announced that he will try to speed up the stalled Moynihan plan and add new features like a glass wall on the 8th Avenue entrance.  Madison Square Garden apparently gets to stay, much to the dismay of the New York Times editorial board which likened it to a manhole cover, blocking light and air to the station below. If the garden were forced to move, where could it go? Cuomo’s plan also included renaming Penn, the Empire Station. Critics thought it sounded more like something out of Star Wars.

If we have learned anything about the station both past and present, it’s not an easy place to renovate, and even when you do, people often don’t like the changes. We can never get the old station back, and whatever is done to it, however bad or good, people will keep coming to it. What choice do they have, that’s where they have to go to get to their trains.

Get Your 2016 Old Images of NY Calendar


Cover Photo

For 2016 we have created the Old Images of New York Calendar, a collection of New York classic images. It will make a stunning addition to your office or home decor, or the calendar could be a Christmas or holiday gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend.

The photos are great quality and high definition; they offer a unique perspective on the city’s most famous landmarks. We packed in as much New York City as we could into the calendar. You have come to expect excellent photo posts from our Facebook page, and we have strived to give you the same high standard for this print calendar.


Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is probably second to none when it comes to favorite New York City landmarks. It was completed in the frenzy of a race with rival Bank of Manhattan Trust Building to be the tallest building in the city. Near the very end of construction, the Chrysler’s builders hoisted  a high needle-thin spire to push the building over 1,000 feet and make it the taller of the two.


Flatiron Building

The March photo may be many people’s favorite shot–a snow-lined look at the Flatiron Building. The Flatiron can be photographed from any angle, but its most popular view is from the north, with Broadway trailing off to the left, Fifth Avenue to the right. The man who designed the Flatiron, George A. Fuller, died in 1900 and so never saw the building completed in 1902. In 1905, a new twenty-first floor was added; you have to take a separate elevator from the 20th floor to get to it.

Included in the calendar are excellent shots of the Empire State and Woolworth Buildings, the Manhattan Bridge, the Washington Square Arch, Macy’s, and Times Square. You will also find a magnificent photo of the classic tile glass ceiling work of the now abandoned downtown City Hall subway station. The station still exists, but has not been used since 1945.

Thanks to the many of you who helped me grow the Facebook page, we have put together the calendar, and I think we have something special–our celebration of area history. This calendar is sure to please, with photos we know our audience responds to and likes to see, our most popular shots.


I would like to dedicate the calendar to my father, who passed away in October after a battle with cancer. He was a great, but complicated man who tried to do his best. I hope he would be proud of my effort here.

If you want something that embodies our page, our city, and ourselves, this calendar  is a perfect choice. After all, who doesn’t love old New York photos?

Calendar Available  here



What Is New York City’s Most Popular Building?

You may think you know which building is most popular to New Yorkers, but do you know which one it is for sure? Nowhere could I find anyone being polled what their favorite New York building was. So I decided to ask the fans of both the Old Images of New York  Facebook Page and Old Images of New York Facebook Group to give me their first and second favorite New York City buildings. I counted two votes for their first choice, one vote for their second. I got more than 300 responses, I tabulated the answers, and comprised the results.


# 1

Number 1 – The Chrysler Building, 34 percent. Whether it was for its art deco styling, its silver color, its ridged and pointed crown, angled gargoyles or whatever else, Chrysler Building is by far most popular. One woman mentioned that she would sneak up alone to the old Cloud Club, the restaurant that stood atop the building until 1977, and have the pleasure of being up there with just the East River and the Empire State Building to see. The Chrysler Building came up again and again in the voting. 74 percent of the people who voted for Chrysler made it was their first choice for favorite in the poll.



Number 2 – The Flatiron Building, 17 percent. Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, (which means classic Roman) and completed in 1902. The Flatiron is most often photographed at the distinctively sharp corner of 5th Avenue and Broadway, its narrow end where it makes a beautiful curve around the corner. Everything just seems to work for this building in terms of design. It has a classic look you never get tired of. It houses among its tenants the publishing houses of Macmillan and St. Matins’ Press. The Flatiron spawned the expression 23 skidoo, which is what policemen would shout at men who tried to get glimpses of women’s dresses being blown up by the winds swirling around the structure. The 21st floor was added in 1905, you have to take a separate elevator from the 20th floor to get to it. 58 percent of those who voted for Flatiron in my poll had it as their first choice.



Number 3 – The Empire State Building, 10 percent. Completed in 1931 during the depths of the depression. Like the World Trade Center decades later, The Empire State struggled for years to become popular before becoming very successful in the end. It was not profitable until the 1950’s. It has one of the cities most popular city tourist attractions, its observation deck and tower. The popular tradition of lighting the building at night started in 1976 for the bicentennial. 62 percent of those who voted for the ESB in my poll had it as their first choice.



Number 4 – The Woolworth Building, 8 percent. Completed in 1913, it was the tallest building in the world until surpassed by the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street in 1930. It has a beautiful, simple, elegant, gothic appearance. The basement has an abandoned pool and hot tub, with doors that once opened to a passageway to the now abandoned but also beautiful glass ceiling city hall subway station. Its top 30 floors are currently being converted into luxury condominiums. The roof was where the climax for the Disney movie Enchanted was set.



Number 5 – Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, 4 Percent. Its construction took over twenty years, from 1858 to 1879, with a long break for the Civil War taken in between. The cathedral seats 2,400 people, has 2,800 stained glass panels has between 18 and 15 masses said every day. It has 150 weddings every year, and five million people visit it annually. The cathedral is in the process of an extensive restoration project. Although it was also restored in 1949 and 1973, this project is much more extensive. It is hoped the restoration will be completed by the end of 2015.



Honorable Mentions: The Twin Towers and Penn Station finished just out of the top five. Those two and The Singer Building, which was torn down in 1968 and got several votes, were the biggest vote getters for buildings no longer standing. The Metlife Tower, and PanAm building got several votes as well, despite the fact that many revile PanAM for blocking the view of the New York Central building, which itself did not get any votes in my poll. A lot of other buildings were mentioned, including Grand Central Station, Saint John The Divine Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall the New York Public Library, the United Nations, The Dakota, and even the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. The building I was most surprised to see not mentioned even once, unless it was because people did not to consider it a building, was The Statue of Liberty. With its pedastal, it stands t 305 feet tall, or roughly 28 stories high.Freiheitsstatue_NYC_full

John Pettibone School Closing

Picture 165

Pettibone School Book Fair 2010 Photo

It has been announced that John Pettibone School in town is closing. The New Milford Board of Education has decided that due to decreasing enrollment and the school’s aging infrastructure, it is time to shut the doors in June. In the fall of 2015, the kids that would have attended JPS will go to one of the town’s other five remaining schools. Much attention has understandably been focused on the closing and the changes it brings. With third and sixth graders moving locations, it will be a difficult time for those families who have to adjust and sort things out.


1961 Photo of Six Year Old John Pettibone School

Both of my kids went to Pettibone for six years, starting with the Excel program and all the way through third grade.  For those years the school was the focal point of our lives. They enjoyed each year and I did, too. We went to concerts, family fun days, chorus field trip days, book fairs, festivals, and all the rest, while getting to know and like the teachers and administrators. For a few of those years I dressed up as a really bad fortune teller for the Halloween party nights. My wife and I always tried to help with the  school events when we could find time to do so.

Picture 310 - Copy

Bad Fortune Teller at Pettbone for 2011 Halloween Fest

Even though I have lived in New Milford for over 13 years, I still consider myself new to the town. I think of my family’s time at Pettibone as a very small part of the school’s overall history. My children are just two of the thousands of kids who have attended the school. Some past students have probably had the pleasure of witnessing their own children or grandchildren return to the same school to which they went. I can only begin to imagine how much learning, growth, and creativity has taken place inside its walls. And so I wanted to take a moment to remember the school on just the merit of what it has meant to the community: to think of those who started in their paths towards success at the school. I wanted to reflect on the tireless efforts of the teachers and staff who helped these children along on their way.


1944 photo of Mr. Pettibone

John Pettibone School first opened in the fall of 1955, at a time when New Milford and the rest of Connecticut was attempting to rebuild after the worst flood in state history. The school itself was constructed to address what was an exponentially growing town population. New Milford had grown to 5,800 in 1950 and would house 14,000 by 1970. In the 1955-56 school year, Pettibone handled third through eighth grades and educated more than half of the town’s school population. The school was expanded within its first eight years, adding twenty more classrooms and two wings.

John Pettibone School is the only town school named after a school administrator. Mr. Pettibone is but one of many who have given their lives to teaching the kids of New Milford. We should make sure we continue to honor him and the many educators who have spent their lives helping our children at John Pettibone School and all of New Milford’s schools. John Pettibone retired as superintendent of schools after 41 years of service in 1944.


New Milford Spectrum Photo

It will be hard not to notice that John Pettibone School is closed; it sits on a huge section of land, just south from the center of town, on our busiest road. I don’t know how we will all feel when we pass by for the first time in the fall and realize there are no students attending it any longer. No doubt that the town will continue to thrive and grow without the school. Anyone who has spent time here knows we have too strong and vibrant of a community to let anything other than that happen. But let’s not forget a part of our town history—the red brick school that stood proudly for sixty years in the middle of it.


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