Thursday, July 02, 2015

THE Manhattan Battleship Project


"The equipment is that of the up-to-the-minute dreadnought with accommodations on board for day and night life of officers and men." -POPULAR SCIENCE, AUG. 1917
As a recruiting tool the ship was very successful, helping to recruit 25,000 men into the U.S. Navy.
The First World War ended in 1918, and by 1920 the Recruit was no longer needed in Union Square. It was properly decommissioned and dismantled, with the intention of relocating it to Coney Island's Luna Park. This did not happen and the fate of the Recruit is unknown.*

*If you check the roll-over, it appears thatlike with Iran todaythe government gave it to the Sioux Nation who used it to win at the Little Bog Horn?!?

I am astounded and gob-smacked thatin this time where cable televison's 758 channels devote 24/7 to history and the miltary!that I have lived approx. 97 years without having had so much as an inkle about this Union Square battleship.  Full props to Ron Metzgercan Hat Dance for finding it for us.  He wrote:
It's news to me, too. The reason is most of my NYC stays are at a hotel a block from Union Square. Many of the buildings in these 95+-year-old photos are still there. And, in one of the 'battleship' photos, a statue of Lafayette is in the foreground. It's still there, too. PS The appearance of this 'battleship' is much like the original appearance of USS Arizona, built at Brooklyn Navy Yard and launched in 1915

And horry clap; look!  The Navy was the pioneer Gays in the Military service!  Who knew?  Many more pics here.


Anonymous said...

I only knew about the USS Recruit in San Diego. I served proudly aboard her for several hours in 1974.

Anonymous said...

Arrrrgh, 'twas a ship made of wood.

Skoonj said...

I lived on 14th and B, just a few blocks from Union Square. The buildings are familiar to me, including the one with Lafayette Electronics, kind of an early Radio Shack or Frye's. Since the streets themselves are not depicted, I can't tell if the one on the right is S. Klein, the huge department store or not. Probably not. There was also a Model's there, a sporting goods store.

Union Square was most remembered for being the site of May 1st rallies by communists. My old man was a NYC cop, and told me you could tell the communists on May 2nd. They were the ones with bandages on their heads, where the cops used their nightsticks on them on May Day.

Rodger the Real King of France said...

best vignette ever skoonj!

Esteve said...

That bottom photo is the reason submariners were generally not allowed out in public.

Stu Tarlowe said...

My family lived at 14 and Ave. C when I was a little kid; then we moved to the diagonally opposite corner of Stuyvesant Town, 20th and First. Like Skoonj, I am more than passing familiar with Union Sq., "S. Klein on the Square", Nedick's, Chock Full O'Nuts etc. and the rest of 14th St. It seemed there were always people ranting in Union Sq.

pdwalker said...

Hey, the English didn't say their navy ran on "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" for no reason!

Anonymous said...

Nobody used to thing twice about military men dancing, singing, etc. Or in prison, watch Elvis in Jailhouse Rock.

But when homosexuality became politicized, everybody had to watch out.

In medieval Europe friends of the same sex thought nothing of holding hands, or walking arm in arm. Opposite sex, that was something else.

Skoonj said...

There were several oddities about that neighborhood. A half block away, on 14th Street, was the Academy of Music, a truly grand movie house. A few doors from there was an unusual Italian restaurant. You could get a big bowl of spaghetti for $.50. They didn't drain it well, though, so you had to poor it out or it would be very watery. Do that, though, and it was great.

Skoonj said...

Facing Union Square on 14th Street was perhaps the best known restaurant in New York. I think it was next to the little Italian restaurant across the street from Union Square itself. Luchows, with dots over the u, was a German restaurant in that place from the 1880s. It was magnificent, with a menu of the finest German food and beer. If you look at the Wikipedia entry, just about every name in show business, composers, presidents, and the just plain wealthy ate there.

I ate there once, my parents taking me there, I guess at age 8 or 9. There was a legend going around that a US president made occasional trips there, I think Taft. He was so fat that the regular seats couldn't accommodate him. He was seated on a specially designed chair, which was placed in position with a winch. Once he was at the table, a man used a ruler to measure the distance from his belly to the table bottom. They fed him until his belly touched the table, than he left.

Luchows was there about a century, when the neighborhood deteriorated, and it was moved. Eventually it went out of business at its new location. Have a look at the Wikipedia entry for an eye opening entry. Oh, Stu Tarlowe, Jean Shepherd and Fred Allen were both on the guest list.

Stu Tarlowe said...

Skoonj, that 50¢ spaghetti joint was probably one of the ones that Michael Savage speaks of in "When Pasta was Spaghetti",
I think there were a couple of them, including at Times Sq. That reminds me, remember Tad's Steaks?

Also, was it the Academy of Music that became the Fillmore East? Or was that the Jefferson Theater, on the same block of 14th?
I used to buy shoes at the Thom McAn store on that block. I remember buying "PFCs" there; they were the pointy-toes shoes we called PFCs because that was short for "Puerto Rican Fence Climbers".

I'll bet our friend Barry has some stories about Lüchow's.

Skoonj said...

Stu, I couldn't tell you if there was another Italian joint by the same people. By the way, I think meat balls came with it.

The Academy of Music became the Palladium in the late 1970s, long after I left for the AF. The original Academy of Music was an opera house, demolished in 1926, along with Tammany Hall.

We bought shoes at Buster Brown, on 1st Ave. That was near Gristede's, where I met Hopalong Cassidy.

Skoonj said...

Tad's Steak House? When I lived there, I'd never even heard of it. In 1974, I was at a wargaming convention in NYC (I was also on active duty at McGuire AFB), and someone decided we go to Tad's. It was cheap, I'll give them that. But so gristly that I wouldn't consider going back.

Skoonj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The mention of the Academy of Music on 14th Street brought back memories of a seven night stand by the Grateful Dead in I think 1971. I made it to five of the shows. Good times those!

Anonymous said...

When The Dead played for seven nights, are you sure it wasn't just one song?

Phil N. LeBlanc

Anonymous said...

No, Phil, a little research confirmed they played a number of songs. But good one! I was off on the date, although I still think it was February.

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