How Marcelle Almost Didn't Solve the Puzzle
The Hotel McAlpin was constructed in 1912 on Herald
Square, at the corner of Broadway and 34th street in
Manhattan, New York City by General Edwin A. McAlpin,
son of David Hunter McAlpin. When opened it was the
largest hotel in the world. The hotel was designed by the
noted architect Frank Mills Andrews (1867–1948).
Andrews also was president of the Greeley Square Hotel
Company which first operated the hotel.

Construction of the Hotel McAlpin neared completion by
the end of 1912 so that the hotel had an open house on 29
December. The largest hotel in the world at the time, The
New York Times commented that it was so tall at 25
stories that it “seems isolated from other buildings”
Boasting a staff of 1,500, the hotel could accommodate
2,500 guests. It was built at a cost of $13.5 million (nearly
300 million in 2010 dollars). The top floor had a Turkish
bath and there were two gender-specific floors; women
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Quiz #383 Results
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Answer to Quiz #383 - January 13, 2013
Submitted by Jim Kiser.
1. What is the date this photo was taken?
2.  There are two buildings in the background left.
One has a white chimney structure. The other behind it is slightly taller.
What businesses are located (or will shortly be located) in these buildings?
3. What is the distance between the photographer and the white building?
1. May 18, 1940, at 3:40pm
2.  White building:  The Atlantic Bank Building, now Courtyard by Marriott
Taller building:  Once the Hotel McAlpin
now condos and shops with shops in the ground floor.
3. About 0.2 miles or 1218.41 ft   

Congratulation to Our Winners!

Marcelle Comeau                John Pero
Debbie Johnson                Dennis Brann
Daniel Jolley                Margaret Paxton
Carol Farrant                Arthur Hartwell
Collier Smith                Tom Collins
Rebecca Bare                Nelsen Spickard
Janice Sellers                Xavier Biche
Ed Vielmetti                Talea Jurrens
Stubby Tate                Mike Dalton
Dawn Colket
Comments from Our Readers
Google driving down 6th Ave.
reveals white building
on east side of street.
I Googled the exact headline (in quotes) on the newspaper held by the man and it led
directly to your photo, except yours had the bottom 5%-10% or so cropped off to
hide the very informative caption. (Googling the main parts of the headline did not
give the same good results, BTW.)

Google Maps and Street View supplied the rest of the info or leads to it.
Collier Smith
With the Bryant Park tavern, the Bryant Park hardware and the street sign, finding the
location was easy.  From there, one just googles** on down the street.  It got a little
confusing at West 34th, but reverting to the aerial view cleared that up.  It was the
date that I thought would be troublesome.  I thought the vintage of the car in front of
the truck would be my only clue, but then the 5 cent malted milk at the Tip Top
Luncheonette caught my eye.  That was all it took.  Of course, now I crave vanilla
malt.  Going back and looking at the picture now, the headline on the newspaper the
man is reading in front of the Tip Top is a good clue, too.  But given the choice
between Nazis and a malted milk, I’d pick the malted milk every time.
[**creative use of language]
Carol Farrant
Google images didn't help. Searching for the News paper headline gave me the picture
and date. Today 6th ave. is one way going north. I googled 6th ave. and found that in
1940 it was two way.we are looking south on 6th ave. from the NE corner of W 40
St. Present day New York is different from 1940 New York. I figured the building
was between 38 and 37 street. Nothing seemed to have been there in 1940. Then I
found That listed the stores and buildings along 6th ave. M&J
Trimmings were in the correct block, and had been there since 1938. The 1940
buildings had been razed. The tower on the block was built in 2002. Street width and
set backs may have changed.
Arthur Hartwell
This is really hard. After trying to find the answers using the Valleries Transportation
Service (which led me to East Hartford, CT), I read the headline on the newspaper
and found the date and place. I typed in the headline and found the date of 5/18/1940.

The buildings are the hard part. I thought the white building was the Atlantic bank 5
blocks away, but that building was built in 1954 (I think). Any hints on how I might
discover what the buildings were?
Rebecca Bare
Distance between 40th and 6th ave and 36th and 6th. is aprox .30 miles, 1557.74 ft.
calc. done with Lat/Long from Google and Distance from website.
Tom Collins
What is the distance between the photographer and the white building?

This I really don't know. The distance between the man reading the newspaper and
the white building is 5 city blocks (or approx 0.2 to 0.3 miles according to Google
Maps). From the photographer is another question which I cannot answer. A
telephoto lens was obviously used in this photo, judging from the 'location' of the
buildings relative to each other and I don't know enough about the evolution of
telephoto lenses to make that calculation. All I can say is 'more than five city blocks'.
Marcelle Comeau
Enjoyed the challenge today.   Lots of great hints in the photo.   When I entered "Nazi
Army 75 miles from Paris" on Google, the first hit was a page giving the photo date.
When I entered "Tip Top Luncheonette," the first hit was a page giving a link to a
google street view from today.   Just a stroll down the Avenue of the Americas led
me to the two buildings. Lotsa fun.  Thanks.
Nelsen Spickard
Colleen, I had fun with this one deciding if the Macy’s or Gimbels or even Herald
Square itself were involved. I’m pretty sure Gap wasn’t around in 1940. This is fun.
John Pero
Clues from the Picture
W 40th & 6th Ave.
Street Sign
Indicates New York City
Nazi Army 75 Miles from Paris

Googling the headline will give you
the date of 20 May 1940
Some readers surfed on
TipTop Lunchroom in NYC
(Not sure how useful this was.)
Bryant Park Signs
Google Maps show that Bryant Park is
on the corner of W. 40th & 6th Ave, New York City
Clock on Storefront
on far side of street
indicates 3:30pm
Identifying the Buildings in the Distance
The man is reading the newspaper is standing on the southwest corner of the
intersection of 6th Ave. & 44th St., New York City.  The photographer must be facing
southwest along 6th Ave.; otherwise Bryant Park would be visible to the right of the
photograph.  The man would be standing in the park and not in front of a lunchroom.

It's possible to find the building using Google Maps Street View by "driving" down the
street and looking for structures that match the ones in the picture.
The white building
with the chimney
structure is several
blocks away.
The southwest corner of 6th Ave and W. 40th St. then and now,
looking down 6th Ave.
Driving further down 6th Ave.
shows unobstructed view of building.
It matches the one in the quiz photo.
Approaching base of white building.
The address is 960 6th Ave., NYC
For His Next Trick, Gene Kaufman Designing Two Midtown Hotels
The Union Square Hyatt is well underway
and the Hotel Chelsea's makeover has
gotten started, so where will the one and
only Gene Kaufman turn his attention
next? To two new Midtown hotels,
according to today's Post. They are a
Courtyard by Marriott at 960 Sixth
Avenue and a SpringHill Suites by Marriott
at 25 West 37th Street. That first address
has been mentioned around these parts
before the
960 Sixth Avenue site sold to
Hidrock Realty in June 2010, at which point its hotel future was still somewhat in
doubt. The plans have now firmed up and call for 167 rooms, ground-floor retail, and a
"very significant" rooftop bar where Kaufman haters can go to drink away their
sorrows. At 25 West 37th Street, the SpringHill Suites will have 173 rooms. Anyone
got renders? Well, send 'em over!
Poster in window shows the name
Hidrock in the lower left of white area.
Standing in front of 960 6th Ave,
and looking down 6th Ave,
a building resembling
the taller building appears.
Corner of taller building.
Street sign shows Broadway & 34th St.
Vintage map of intersection.
Hotel McAlpin shown
on southeast corner.
Google Map of intersection.
Several shops shown
on southeast corner.
Address is 1212 6th Ave.

Google Maps gives selected businesses
at 1212 6th Ave, NYC:

AG Welding LLC‎
Amba Gem Corporation‎
B V International Inc‎
Beautiful Smiles Dental Associates PC‎
Business Council-Understanding‎
California State Franchise‎
Career Group Inc‎
Coltrin & Associates‎
Diamond Harmony‎
Financial Relations Board‎
fourthFLOOR fashion talent‎
G M Diamonds Inc‎
Gala Resources‎
JDM Import Co‎
Ots Travel Svce‎
Royal Stones Corporation‎
Stratpro Limited‎
Wedbush Securities, Inc.‎
The Hotel McAlpin
Hotel McAlpin
c 1914
checking into the hotel could reserve a room on the women's only floor and bypass the
lobby and check in directly at their own floor. One floor, dubbed the “sleepy 16th” was
designed for night workers so that it was kept quiet during the day. It also hosted a
travel agency.

The McAlpin hosted what may be the first broadcast from a New York hotel in 1920,
by singer Luisa Tetrazzini from her room in the hotel. The Army Signal Corps arranged
the broadcast, and later, in 1922, the McAlpin became one of the first hotels to link ship-
to-shore radios into their phone system. The hotel would later be the first home of, and
give the call letters to, radio station WMCA in 1925.

The hotel underwent an expansion half a decade later. The owners had purchased an
additional 50 feet of frontage on 34th street two years early and proceeded to dismantle
those properties. The new addition was the same height as the original 25-story
building, and was expected to provide an additional 200 rooms, four more elevators,
and a large ballroom. A major refurbishment costing $2.1 million was completed in
1928 refreshing the rooms, installing modern bathrooms and updating the elevators.

The McAlpin family sold the hotel in 1938 to Jamlee Hotels, headed by Joseph Levy,
president of Crawford Cloths, a prominent real estate investor in New York for
$5,400,000. Jamlee reportedly invested an additional $1,760,000 in renovations. During
the Jamlee ownership, the hotel was managed by the Knott Hotel Chain until 1952 when
management was taken over by Tisch. On 15 October 1954 Jamlee sold the hotel to
Sheraton Hotels for $9,000,000 and it was renamed the Sheraton-McAlpin, then later
the Sheraton-Atlantic Hotel.

The hotel's Marine Grill was considered one of the more unusual interiors in the city of
New York due to "an expansive grotto of polychrome terra cotta designed by the artist
Frederick Dana Marsh." The building owner had closed the restaurant and historic
preservationists were concerned with the future of the artwork. Their worst fears were
realized when Susan Tunick, president of the non-profit group Friends of Terra Cotta,
saw dumpsters outside the hotel filled with fragments from the murals. Rescue efforts
Zoom of 34th side of building reveals
Herald Towers, Luxury Rentals
Address: 50 W. 34th St., Manhattan
Note:  Googling "Herald Towers History" will tell you that the Herald Towers
apartment building was once the Hotel McAlpin.
were eventually successful when the
murals were reassembled under the
oversight of the MTA Arts for Transit
Program at the William Street entrance to
the Fulton Street subway station.

In the late 1970s the building was
converted to 700 rental apartments. During
the housing bubble, the building attempted
to convert to condominiums but ultimately
failed. It is currently a rental building
known as Herald Towers.
How I almost DIDN"T solve this week's Quiz:

The first question was the easiest. I picked out a few clues:

1. Bryant Park on some of the store signs
2. Street sign w. 40th Street and 6th Ave.
3. Headline on newspaper man was reading which gave a year the
photo might have been taken
4. large buildings in the background
5. One-way Street

then I did a Google search (guessing it was probably New York City)
"man reading newspaper on street corner New York 1940"

A number of links to the photo popped, one was the New York
Municipal Archives photo database (this gave me the date the photo
was taken) also several other sites, where it had been used by
someone in a Blog and by a UK newspaper in an article about New

On to question 2 and that is where I got messed up. I looked at the
direction of the One-Way Street and that messed me up when I used
the Google Map function, I kept going in the wrong direction and
could not find the buildings in the background.

I think the One-Way has been reversed since that 1940 photo.

I eventually figured it out and found a couple of buildings that were
good candidates and did a "real estate" search on the street address of
one of the buildings.

On to question No. 3. Distances. As I mentioned in my response, I
decided the photographer used a telephoto lens which distorted
distances and confounded me because he could have been standing
WAY back from w 40th and 6th. But I think I was just making the
question too difficult, and I couldn't figure out the telephoto factor
anyway so I sent in a distance calculation as if there was NO
telephoto factor.

I hope I got it right, or close enough, in the end!

It was an absolutely sensational photo, the resolution was fantastic.

Marcelle Comeau