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Contains photographs of the Corrina Railroad station - History

Contains photographs of the Corrina Railroad station - History


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Unusual COVID vaccination venues

A woman receives a COVID vaccination as part of a Tel Aviv municipality initiative offering a free drink at a bar to residents getting the shot, in Tel Aviv, Israel February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Corinna Kern

A visitor receives a dose of the QazCovid-in COVID vaccine in a vaccination centre located at a shopping and entertainment mall in Almaty, Kazakhstan April 27, 2021. Kazakhstan started using its own domestically-developed QazCovid-in vaccine, also. more

People get vaccinated against the coronavirus at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok, Thailand April 28, 2021. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

People wait to get shots of COVID vaccines in the Usce shopping mall, where the first 100 vaccinated will receive a discount voucher worth 3,000 dinars ($30.74) secured by mall's management and retailers, in Belgrade, Serbia, May 6, 2021. more

France's national cycling team trains as people wait to get a dose of the "Comirnaty" Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the indoor Velodrome National of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, southwest of Paris, France, March 26. more

MTA security contractor Janet Santiago reacts after she received a shot of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine during the MTA's public vaccination program at the Coney Island subway station in Brooklyn, New York, May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan. more

The Vacci'Bus, a bus converted into a consultation and vaccination center that travels through isolated villages near Reims to bring the Covid-19 vaccine to elderly people, drives on a road in Vandeuil, France, January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal. more

People wait to receive the COVID vaccine inside the Salisbury Cathedral, in Salisbury, Britain January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Paul Childs

A man receives the coronavirus vaccine next to a brandy pot still in the remote mountain village Ljevista, Kolasin municipality, Montenegro, May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

Municipal health worker Ana Cassia Oliveira de Lima and her colleague are seen along the Negro river banks, where Ribeirinhos (river dwellers) live, before administering the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at Nossa Senhora do Livramento community, in. more

People undergo their waiting period in the pews after being vaccinated against the coronavirus, accompanied by live music from an organist, at a clinic held by 6M Geriatrics at Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in the Capitol Hill district of Seattle. more

Customers have their meals at a restaurant where people are receiving doses of the Chinese Sinopharm COVID vaccine in Kragujevac, Serbia, May 4, 2021. The Biblioteka kod Milutina restaurant offered a free meal to anyone who decided to get vaccinated. more

People wait in a line to receive COVID vaccinations at Grand Central Station Terminal train station in Manhattan, New York, May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Marair Queiroz receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID vaccine from municipal health worker Neuda Sousa during a flood by the rising Solimoes river, one of the two main branches of the Amazon River, in Anama, Amazonas state, Brazil May 14, 2021. more

A patient receives an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination at the general practice of Doctor Claudia Schramm in Maintal, Germany, March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

People queue outside a bus modified into a mobile COVID vaccination centre in Thamesmead, London, Britain, February 14, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

An information banner placed outside the coronavirus vaccination centre is on display at a food market in Almaty, Kazakhstan April 14, 2021. Kazakhstan set up COVID-19 inoculation facilities at shopping malls and bazaars in hope to speed up its mass. more

A Venice resident receives a coronavirus vaccine on board a traditional 'vaporetto', a ferry normally used for public transportation in Venice, Italy, April 5, 2021. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri

Health professionals come out to the farming community to deliver COVID vaccinations in Mecca, California, February 1, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

A woman receives a dose of Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac) vaccine at a mobile vaccination centre located on a bus in Simferopol, Crimea, April 14, 2021. REUTERS/Alexey Pavlishak

A rice mill worker receives a dose of COVISHIELD during a COVID-19 vaccination drive at Bavla village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave


CORONA, CROWN OF QUEENS

Known to most as a throwaway line in a Paul Simon song, or where you go for the Lemon Ice King, Corona, the neighborhood between Elmhurst /Jackson Heights and Flushing Meadows Park, has a well-defined history, as FNY correspondent Christina W. will relate…

GOOGLE MAP: CORONA
Above: sign, 37th Avenue

Before the land between Elmhurst and Flushingwas developed in the 1850’s, there were only a dozen families living in the area. From the highest point on a hill 108 feet above sea level, they could take in fantastic views of Long Island Sound and the isle of Manhattan and could even see clear to the Palisades of New Jersey. At the lowest point at Flushing Creek, they would bring their corn and wheat to be ground into flour at a grist mill. Farms here also grew cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, pumpkins, pears, peaches, apples and grapes, and raised pigs and cows. Hunting for cottontail and grouse, and setting traps in Flushing Bay for tasty tomcods were also ways the settlers varied the food served on their tables.

Ground was broken for the Flushing Railroad in 1853. This event would spark the transformation of the sleepy settlement into a bustling commercial, industrial and residential center. A real estate company was organized in Manhattan to create “West Flushing,” a name which wouldn’t last long. The West Flushing Land Company engineered the first of two major phases of development by selling houses on small plots carved out of former farmland.

LEFT: 1853 map of Corona, before the railroad arrived. Modern street and road names are marked in red.

The twelve families in the area used only five roads to get where they needed to go. These were Junction Avenue (Boulevard, today), Newtown Avenue or Spring Hill Road (Corona Avenue, today), Grand Avenue (National Street, today), Shell Road (37th Avenue, today) and Hendrickson’s Lane (totally gone from maps since the mid-1800’s). Strong’s Causeway, which was a bridged passage over Flushing Creek, was absorbed into the Long Island Expressway.

(LEFT: Strong’s Causeway crossing the Flushing River in 1905)

National Racetrack clubhouse, 1850s

In 1854, the National Racing Association, a group of Southern horse owners, purchased a farm and erected a track to which they sent their racing horses to compete. On June 26, 1854, the first race was run at the National Racetrack, coinciding with the official opening of the main line of the Flushing Railroad, which created a stop for the track. In 1856, the track opened for the season as the “Fashion Pleasure Ground,” named after the champion horse, Fashion. In 1858, the track hosted the first baseball game for which an admission fee was charged. In 1861, the owners transported their horses back down South to help the Confederacy during the Civil War, so northern horses took their place. In 1867, the racehorse, Dexter, broke the world’s trotting record for the 1-mile course at the Corona track. Ulysses S. Grant attended a race there shortly after becoming President-elect in 1868. In 1869, the track hosted its last race and in 1871, railroad tracks for the Woodside Branch of the Flushing Railroad were laid through it, with a station called Grinnell located right in the center of the racing oval. The track structure and railroad stations are completely gone today the only remnant of the racetrack is National Street, the route that ran past the park’s entrance.

1873 Beers map of Corona. Though most of these streets are on the present-day map, only two have kept their names: Junction Avenue (Boulevard) and Spruce Street. map from Brooklyn Genealogy Information page

West Flushing’s second phase of development was the responsibility of Benjamin Hitchcock, who also developedWoodside at the same time. He bought 1,200 West Flushing lots in 1867 and sold them in 1870. He offered installment payments to his less wealthy customers, which was a novel idea at the time, and one which they found very attractive.

Resident Thomas Waite Howard
discovered that his town’s name was confusing to outsiders and even to the post office. In 1868, he petitioned the post office to change West Flushing’s name to ‘Corona’ as he felt that his neighborhood was the “crown jewel” of Long Island. The post office granted his request in 1872.

In 1907, Michael Degnon, builder of the Williamsburgh Bridge, the Cape Cod Canal, part of the IRT subway and the Steinway Tunnels, and owner of the Degnon Terminal in Sunnyside, began buying up every tract of salt meadow along Flushing Creek. He thought that he would be able to build a port facing Flushing Bay, and that the federal government would pay for his plan to dig out the Creek from the Bay down to its headwaters at Kew Gardens to make it passable for large ships. He began buying ashes and refuse and dumping these onto the salt meadows to lay a foundation. Unfortunately all this did for Corona was to make the town stink like garbage. When residents looked east, all they saw were ugly gray mounds on the horizon. F. Scott Fitzgerald immortalized this ‘valley of ashes‘ in The Great Gatsby.

The feds initially approved of the plan, and dredged part of the creek near its mouth. However, in 1917, the government’s focus turned to WWI and the port plan was abandoned. The dumps remained an eyesore until 1937, when Robert Moses cleaned them up in anticipation of the 1939-1940 World’s Fair at what would later be known as Flushing MeadowsCorona Park. The site was used again for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair, remnants of which are featured on FNY’s No Fair At All page.

After WWII, most Corona residents could trace their roots back to Italy, Germany, Ireland, or other parts of Europe. By the 1970’s, a new wave of immigrants of Hispanic and Asian origin had discovered the area and moved into the community in large numbers. These constitute the predominant ethnic groups living in Corona today. Paul Simon, who grew up in neighboring Forest Hills, alluded to the transition in one of his popular 1972 songs:

“Goodbye Rosie, Queen of Corona. See you, me and Julio down by the schoolyard.”

Redevelopment of this neighborhood has been slower than in surrounding areas of Queens, leaving some relics of Corona’s past untouched for more than a century.

According to NYC’s Landmark Preservation Commission, “This small two-story house (c. 1871) is one of the last intact 19th century frame houses in Queens. Designed in a vernacular Italianate style, the house is notable for its decorative porch, gable and fence.” The house is on 47th Avenue between 102nd and 104th Streets and was home to poet, essayist and political writer, Edward E. Sanford (1805-1876). He was the son of U.S. Senator Nathan Sanford (1777 – 1838), who owned most of the land in the Waldheim section of Flushing, which is described on FNY’s Flushing Remnants page. Sanford Avenue in Flushing is named after the family.

National Street

The Union Evangelical Church at National and 102nd Streets was built in 1870 and was the first church in Corona. The land for the church was donated by Charles Leverich, a wealthy area landowner, who also became instrumental in the church’s success.

Maurice Connolly (1881-1935) was Queens Borough President from 1911-1928, and made his home in Corona for part of that time. His house, pictured above, left, had to be moved for construction, and now sits behind the Union Church on 42nd Avenue. Connolly was the youngest and longest serving Queens borough president but fell from power due to a major sewer scandal.

In the picture at right the Connolly house is shown in its original position at Linden Park in the early 1900s. At the time the park contained a large pond, Linden Lake (about which q.v. below).

In 1913, the city of New York took over firefighting services in Corona and built a modern firehouse on 43rd Avenue in 1914. The Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company (above, left), the all-volunteer force that had fought Corona’s fires since 1890, was then disbanded. Their firehouse, however, continues on across the street from the Union Church, hidden in plain sight in the form of a gift shop.

With the railroad station located within walking distance, National Street was the center of town from 1854 to about 1915. The signs out front and the goods inside this strip of stores may have changed over time, but the buildings themselves haven’t been altered much. Photo beneath from 1900.

Site of the Corona rail station is seen in present-day photos at FNY’s Pride In Port, Part 1.

The National Street building with the peaked roof features a sign on the right side of the building in both the 1900 photo and the present-day. The sign, seen at left, is for the Corwin-Gutleber Agency, est. 1879 apparently, only Gutleber is in business these days.

In any case, the sign probably doesn’t date to 1900 but could very well go back to the 30s or 40s.

This building at the corner of 43rd Avenue and National Street has been standing since the late 19th century. The New York and Queens County Railway used to run trolleys along the avenue in front of it. The trolley’s path became the Q23 bus route.

[It’s indistinct but if that circular structure is a clock it’s half the size of the building! –your webmaster]

Linden Lake

These youngsters above are enjoying their recently refurbished ballfield at Linden Park. This site has always been a park, but had the kids been standing in this spot prior to 1947, they’d find themselves waist-deep in water. Linden Lake, seen on the 1873 map pictured previously (and pictured above, right, circa 1930 at P.S. 16), was deemed a health and sanitation concern after WWII. Prior to it becoming polluted and filled in, the lake served as an oasis for the community.

More Houses of Worship

Our Lady of Sorrows was the first Roman Catholic Church to minister to Corona. It opened in 1872. The original wooden structure was replaced with this brick one in 1900. The church is on 37th Avenue at 104th Street.

Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1887 (above, left). Original structure has survived, minus the steeple (above, right).

The Emanuel German Lutheran Church was founded in 1887. The new church is pictured above soon after its opening in 1902 (left) and in 2005 (right). Today’s services are performed in Korean and Spanish rather than in German.

Grace Episcopal Church was founded in 1906 (seen at left as Sunday school was letting out) this parish hall on 98th Street was built as a chapel in 1907. The modern church can be seen here.

Shaw AME Zion Church, on 34th Avenue, has been in existence since 1957. Prior to then, it housed the North Side Hebrew Congregation, which dated back to the early 1900’s.

Congregation Tifereth Israel of Corona, also known as the Home Street Synagogue, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. It was founded in 1911 on what is today 54th Avenue. Tifereth means “Glory of God.”

Before she was known as Estée Lauder, Josephine Esther Mentzer attended this synagogue while growing up above her father’s hardware store on nearby Hillside Avenue (Van Doren Street, today). In a stable behind the house, her uncle, a chemist, mixed experimental face creams which Estée sold in Manhattan beauty salons. Over time, Estée managed to develop her one-woman cosmetics enterprise into a multi-billion dollar empire.

Tiffany Glass Works

In 1893, Louis Comfort Tiffany and his business partner, Arthur Nash, founded the Stourbridge Glass Company in Corona next to the railroad tracks. In 1902, the name of the enterprise was changed to Tiffany Furnaces. His patented “favrile” (handmade) glass was created and manufactured here. Tiffany’s works reached the height of their popularity in the years leading up to WWI and the pieces are now much sought after works of art. Business slowly declined after the war, as tastes had changed with the passage of time. In 1928, Tiffany withdrew from the company, leaving Nash’s son to run the business alone under a different name. The Great Depression brought about the end of the company. However, the factory and furnace buildings on 97th Place remain standing* and are actively used today. The Queens Museum, located in nearby Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, has a permanent Tiffany collection on display, as does the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

*The Tiffany glass works was razed in 2013 and a public school built in its place. Glass fragments found at the site were fashioned into an art installation installed in the school.

Corona’s Theatres

The Hyperion Theatre, above, left, opened in 1910 on National Street (now 103rd). Today, the same location at 103rd and 39th Avenue is a pizza place, with offices occupying the upper floor.

[Model T’s to SUV’s! –your webmaster. Yeah, I know they’re not Model T’s. But it rhymes.]

The Corona Theatre was located on Junction Boulevard just north of the Roosevelt Avenue el. [The theater opened in 1927 and survives today as a row of stores on Corona’s busiest retail strip. Let It Rain came out in 1927 it featured one of Boris Karloff‘s first screen appearances–your webmaster]

The Plaza at 103rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue is the only theater left in Corona. It was owned by Loew’s until 1952, when it became an independent movie house. Today, the auditorium floor is occupied by a Walgreen’s and other stores and only the balcony is used for showing films either in Spanish or with Spanish subtitles. A photo of the theater in its heyday can be seen here.

TOP: El Vacilon with Luis Jimenez and Moonshadow Broussard of La Mega, the Latino Opie and Anthony.

BOTTOM: your webmaster shot the Plaza in its last days with English language films in 2002 when Spider-Man Iand J-Lo’s flop of the moment, Enough, was playing.

Trainspotting

[The above shows the Junction Boulevard elevated station under construction in 1915. From the beginning, a third track was constructed to enable express service during rush hours, but the lack of a 4th track makes round-the clock express service impossible.

The origin of the name of Junction Boulevard remains a mystery, but my guess is that the road led to a confluence of other paths or perhaps horsecar lines. Roosevelt Avenue was constructed along with the elevated, and opened for traffic in 1919.–your webmaster]

A trolley line was built from Brooklyn to Flushing during 1893-1894 its route spanned the entirety of Corona Avenue. In 1917, the elevated IRT Flushing line, today’s #7 train, was completed as far east as 104th Street (then called Alburtis Avenue). People no longer relied on the railroad for transportation, as the subway and trolley were less expensive. This gave rise to two main commercial drags: Roosevelt Avenue, under the el, and Corona Avenue, along what is presently the path of the Q58 bus line. The Bridge and Tunnel Club has a nice set of shots of Roosevelt Avenue, in a predominently Hispanic section of the neighborhood. The following scenes can be found along Corona Avenue, which runs through the heart of an Italian enclave. Both collections of photos shed some light on the community’s more recent past as well as its present.

Now That’s Italian!

A 108th Street mainstay, Peter Benfaremo’s Lemon Ice King of Corona started dispensing lemon-flavored Italian ice in 1944. Today, the establishment serves either 25 or 29 varieties (depending on which of their signs you believe). Famous for their ices containing chunks of real fruit, their selection today also includes exotic flavors such as chocolate chip and peanut butter.

Memorials, birdhouses and bocce

During the summer, many enjoy their ice while watching bocce games in what locals refer to as “Spaghetti Park.” The moniker pays homage to the Italians who remain a small but tight-knit part of the community. The official name of this park is William F. Moore Memorial Park, named after a local resident who lost his life in WWI. Before being dedicated to Moore’s memory, the park had been named the Corona Heights Triangle. Memorials of all kinds have been placed in the park over the years, signifying just how important the intersection of 108th Street and Corona Avenue is to the community.

The park itself is the site of some forgotten history – the Victory Memorial Fountain, aka the Corona Heights War Memorial, by sculptor James Novelli, was installed here in 1927. A description of the memorial can be found in a biography of the artist, Novelli: A Forgotten Sculptor, by author Josephine Murphy – “The fountain consisted of a large circular granite water basin in the center of which stood a ten-foot high cylindrical granite monument supporting bronze panels which were separated by Doric columns.” The bronze panels listed the names of the sons of Corona lost in WWI. Unfortunately, the fountain fell victim to decay and vandalism over the years, and a decision was made to remove it rather than restore it when the park was redesigned.

Salumeria: A store that sells cold cuts, including salami, prosciutto, and other sliced meats. (left)
An old fire pull station repainted in the colors of the Italian flag. (right)

Many of Corona artist Richard J. Finnell’s “Queens Scenes” feature sights along Corona Avenue.

Filmmaker Martin Scorsese is a Corona native. He has been quoted as saying: “I was born in the peace and greenery of Corona, Queens in 1942. And I loved it. I loved Corona, Queens. It was two-family houses. There was a little yard in the back, a little tree.”

Beloved NCAA basketball coach and commentator Jimmy Valvano also grew up in Corona.

Lefrak City

After WWII, affordable housing in Queens was in high demand. The Lefrak Organization stepped up to the plate in 1960 and built a huge complex in the southernmost reaches of Corona, just north of the Long Island Expressway and east of Junction Boulevard. Five thousand apartments make up this “city within a city.” The top of the complex’s office building can be seen for miles.

The Jazzmen of Corona

Music legend Louis Armstrong moved into working-class Corona in 1943. He had spent so much time on the road that he never owned a house until his wife, Lucille, found this one. He lived the last three decades of his life here and died here in 1971. His final resting place is in Flushing Cemetery. Satchmo’s house on 107th Street is now a museum. Daily tours are offered of his modest yet fascinating home. Here are some sneak peeks of Pops’ living room and his kitchen.

Armstrong participated in frequent jam sessions with his friend and neighbor, trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie, who lived around the corner on 37th Avenue (above, left) from 1952-1966. Dizzy passed away in 1993 and his grave is also in Flushing Cemetery, however, his family’s plot is unmarked.

The Dorie Miller Houses co-op (above, right) is where saxophonists Cannonball Adderly and Jimmy Heath and trumpetistClark Terry resided Heath still lives there. The street is also named after Pearl Harbor and WWII hero Dorie Miller.

Pianist Cecil Taylor was born in Corona, and the title of one of his more recent albums contains the town’s name.

Your webmaster here. Before we leave Corona I thought I’d stick in my two cents, from a walk I did here in the summer of 2005…

This Victorian-era relic on 37th Avenue and 104th, across the street from Our Lady of Sorrows (see above) was sacrificed in 2005 to the clutches of greedy development, which moved swiftly to erect multi-family dwelings. Much more stringent landmarking and preservation laws are necessary to stop the demolition of our heritage. Increasingly, this is the face Corona presents to the world:

37th Avenue. The one on the left is almost presentable, but the one on the right is drab, functional, and almost prison-like.

We get the architecture we deserve, said a NYTimes editorial when Penn Station came down. Perhaps, this is all we deserve…

Special thanks to: Charles Witek of the Coastal Conservation Association of New York, Judith Ackerman, Antonette Ancona, and Kevin Burgess for their assistance with this page.

Corona: From Farmland to City Suburb (1650-1935) aka The Story of Corona (Queens Community Series), Vincent Seyfried, Edgian Press, Inc. 1986
[available from Greater Astoria Historical Society]
all pictures of old Corona on this page are from this book

Novelli: A Forgotten Sculptor, Josephine Murphy, Branden Publishing Company, 2003
BUY this book at Amazon.COM

All About Jazz
Cinema Treasures
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
New York Newsday
New York Times
Orthodox Research Institute
Queens Chronicle
Queens Tribune
Special Broadcasting Service
V Foundation

These photos were taken on November 13th, 20th and 28th, 2005, and this page was completed on snowy December 4th, 2005, by Forgotten NY correspondent, Christina Wilkinson.


Entertainment & Arts

Even with cord-cutting, the WarnerMedia-owned channel remains a favorite for fans and filmmakers.

Bravo’s glittery reality franchise has always encouraged competitive consumption. But cast members’ financial “smoke and mirrors” can lead to trouble.

“I thought I failed miserably on that scene. . The irony is not lost [on me] that people like that scene so much,” he says of playing drunk.

We asked 10 of our favorite artists to each choose one track from Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ and describe what makes the song and artist so indelible.

The actors get back together seven months after their hit crime series and the conversation bounces from Kidman’s connection to “Notting Hill” to Stanley Kubrick and dishwashers.

Village Well Books & Coffee opened in L.A.'s worst pandemic month, on a famously doomed corner. For owner Jennifer Caspar, it was all a lucky break.

After a brutal year of economic uncertainty, booksellers in L.A. are expecting a full recovery. But the June 15 reopening is reigniting safety concerns.

Family Books is latest L.A. seller to fall victim to the pandemic

The two comedians join Jane Krakowski, Robin Thede, Anna Konkle and Michiel Huisman for the Envelope Emmy Roundtables comedy edition. Good luck keeping up with them.

Along with “Genius: Aretha,” Cynthia Erivo now has a debut album and a children’s book releasing in the fall, a role in the upcoming “Pinocchio” and a Hollywood Bowl concert scheduled.

Our panel of veteran TV journalists read the early signs on the road to the 2021 Emmys

Reopening lessons: Leave time to park. Don’t talk at the movies. Plus 10 other important things Angelenos may have forgotten during the pandemic shutdown.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside Agoura Hills’ Canyon Club concert venue, where Foo Fighters held a full-capacity show only for vaccinated fans.

Warning: Justin Chang’s “return to the movies” essay is a tear-jerker. But you’ll laugh too as he revisits cinematic memories and ponders post-pandemic moviegoing.

The new Orange County Museum of Art designed by Morphosis is three-quarters built. New director Heidi Zuckerman gives us a glimpse at what’s ahead.

Amanda Kloots publicly chronicled the COVID ordeal of her actor husband, Nick Cordero. Now she has a memoir, “Live Your Life,” about optimism and its limits.

Call it the ‘pandemic dividend’: A rising stock market helped endowments rise as much as 40%, yet museums are still selling pieces of their collections.

Tremendous singing propels L.A. Opera’s return to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Stravinsky’s tough, timely “Oedipus Rex.”

A lottery is helping California get vaccinated. But the COVID-19 pandemic has been a game show all along.

TNT takes top network spot in Nielsen ratings for June 14-20, 2021, thanks to basketball. ABC’s “Celebrity Family Feud” wins among entertainment shows.

Even with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, ‘The Music Man’ celebrates a scheming white man in a sanitized America.

‘no i am not bleaching my skin for the role,’ tweeted ‘West Side Story’ breakout Rachel Zegler after being cast as Snow White in Disney’s remake.

Joni Mitchell’s peers, progeny, admirers and Mitchell herself reflect upon on her classic 1971 album ‘Blue,’ released 50 years ago today.

Viewers watched an average of nine episodes of former Quibi shows in two weeks on Roku’s free, ad-supported streaming service the Roku Channel, the company said. More people watched than during shows’ entire lives on Quibi.

From the Emmys to the Oscars.

Get our revamped Envelope newsletter for exclusive awards season coverage, behind-the-scenes insights and columnist Glenn Whipp’s commentary.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.

The L.A. Phil roars back with Gustavo Dudamel’s Pan-American Music Initiative, a revived Power to the People! festival and a new Gen X festival.

The experimental opera company behind ‘Sweet Land,’ ‘Hopscotch’ and ‘Invisible Cities’ turns the artistic director position into a cooperative.

Misogyny is a root cause of homophobia, but a famously LGBTQ-friendly city has just raised a monument to it. The cognitive dissonance of #MeTooMarilyn

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ celebrated ‘An Octoroon’ has its Los Angeles premiere at the Fountain Theatre’s new outdoor stage.

Why composer Derrick Senam Eugene Skye changed his name from Derrick Spiva Jr. Also, a modern museum rises in Orange County, why white shows shouldn’t be rebooted with Latino casts, and more in this week’s arts newsletter.

‘Battle of the Vaccinated Bitches,’ Wild Up, Lynn Nottage’s ‘Sweat’ and an acclaimed solo show about the DACA experience: Plan your weekend here.

Off-black walls, African-inspired murals and comfortable vintage furnishings make Adrien Beard’s DTLA loft an inspiring place to hang. That’s the point. They call this fresh, unique style Neo Afro Eclectic.

Amid all the Picasso, Matisse and Giacometti, savvy pieces by lesser-known artists await. Our critic’s guide to three discoveries.

Forget musicals. The time is now for the American play, and ‘An Octoroon’ is just one of many groundbreaking works by women and writers of color.

The FTC’s antitrust investigation of the Amazon-MGM deal will be shepherded by a prominent advocate of aggressive enforcement against Big Tech.

After the Justice Department raised antitrust concerns, Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel and Mark Shapiro quit Live Nation’s board.

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and Netflix announced a partnership that will include multiple new feature films a year.

With the latest elections, the academy’s board of governors becomes majority female for the first time in the group’s history.

The Oakland-raised creators of Starz’s new series, based on the 2018 film, know residents are liable to argue over its “validity.” They’re ready.


The composer’s wife

On November 29, 1924, aged 65, the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini died of a heart attack as a result of radiation treatment he was undergoing for throat cancer at the Institut de la Couronne in Belgium. He left a fortune equivalent to 200 million euro in today’s money, making him one of the richest musicians of his era. His estate included the villa he had built on the shores of Lake Massaciuccoli in Torre del Lago on the Tuscan coast. Now a museum, Puccini loved the house where he lived from 1889 until 1921. He composed nine of his twelve operas there and it is where he wanted to be buried.

Portrait of Elvira Puccini, Giacomo Puccini, Antonio Puccini. Photo by unknown, Torre del Lago, 1900. Archivo Storico Ricordi

The maestro also loved fast cars and was one of the few people in Italy to own an automobile when he bought his first one in 1901. This almost cost him his life in 1903 after he was involved in a serious road accident, which required months of convalescence and left him with a limp. Other costly hobbies were his rowing and speed boats, one christened “Cio Cio San” after his heroine in Madame Butterfly , as well as yachts, one named after Minnie of La Fanciulla del West . But his greatest passions he revealed in his description of himself as “a mighty hunter of wildfowl, operatic librettos, and attractive women.” The last of these pursuits went beyond his daily work or a mere sport.

Giacomo Puccini was six years old in 1864, when his father, Michele Puccini, organist and director of music at Lucca’s San Martino cathedral, died. From then on, women would have an important influence on his life and work. One of nine children, his strong-willed mother, Albina Magi Puccini, oversaw his education and guided him as he took his first steps in what would become a brilliant career. He had seven sisters, Otilia, Tomaide, Temi (Zemi), Iginia (who became a nun, Sister Giulia Enricchetta), Nitteti, Ramelde (his favourite) and Macrina, and a much younger brother named Domenico Michele, who died of yellow fever in 1899, aged 35, in Rio de Janeiro where he had emigrated and taught music.

Puccini family tree in the Puccini Museum, Lucca / ph. Helen Farrell

Puccini’s longest, although turbulent, love story was with Elvira Gemignani (née Bonturi), who became his companion and, after 20 years, his wife. Born in Lucca on June 13, 1860, Elvira was two years younger than Puccini. She had married Narciso Gemignani in 1880 and had a daughter, Fosca, and a son, Renato, by him. A wealthy grocer in Lucca, Gemignani was a dilettante baritone and an inveterate womanizer. He was also a friend of Puccini and had secured the musician’s services to give his wife piano lessons. By 1884, Puccini and Elvira were in love. When Elvira discovered she was pregnant, in an effort to avoid a scandal (unsuccessfully, as it turned out), the lovers left Lucca for Monza, where their son Antonio Ferdinando Maria, known as Tonio, was born on December 23, 1886. In agreement with Gemignani, Elvira’s daughter soon joined the new family, while her son remained with his father. On February 26, 1903, the day after Puccini’s near-fatal crash, Gemignani died after a beating at the hands of the husband of a woman with whom he’d had an affair. After his recovery, Puccini was finally able to marry Elvira on January 3, 1904, legitimizing Tonio.

Being married did not stop Puccini from straying. Handsome, charming and successful, women were easily attracted to him. One of his earliest “little gardens”, as he called these dalliances, was in 1900 with a woman he called Corrina. Some say she was a young lawyer from Turin he met on a train, others claim she was a seamstress. This affair caused issues with Elvira and only ended after Giuseppe Ricordi, his publisher and agent, and one of his sisters intervened. Puccini’s next affair was with Sybil Seligman, the wife of a wealthy London banker, who, after a brief sexual encounter, broke off the liaison, fearing disgrace if it were discovered. Nonetheless, she remained Puccini’s staunch friend and confident until his death. Other stories followed with Blanke Lendvai, sister of Hungarian composer Ervin Lendvai German aristocrat Josephine von Stengel, whom he built a villa for in Viareggio in 1915 and German opera singer Rose Ader, whom he met in 1921.

Statue of Giacomo Puccini in piazza Cittadella, Lucca / ph. Helen Farrell

4. Black Oak Grill

Located in Branson Landing, the Black Oak Grill is a relaxed yet refined restaurant that serves New American cuisine in an urban-chic atmosphere. Boasting a spacious dining room with high ceilings, modern décor, an island-style bar and a charming outdoor deck for alfresco dining in the summer, the restaurant serves a menu of casual American fare such as burgers, steaks, fresh fish, salads, and vegetarian options. The food is prepared from scratch using locally sourced ingredients, and signature dishes include a classic Reuben sandwich, grilled meatloaf with mashed potatoes, smoked almond-crusted iron-skillet trout, and the Over-the-Top burger with bacon and house-pickled jalapenos. The bar serves a range of handcrafted cocktails, easy-drinking wines from around the world, and premium beers, which can be enjoyed with the food for lunch and dinner daily.

601 Branson Landing Blvd #2089, Branson, MO 65616, Phone: 417-239-0063

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Amnesty International Stokes Syrian War

The West’s vast propaganda machine has pulled in many formerly respectable groups, such as Amnesty International, which just released a dubious “human rights” report aimed at stoking the war in Syria, reports Rick Sterling.

Amnesty International (AI) has done some good investigations and reports over the years, which has won the group widespread support. However, less well recognized, Amnesty International has also carried out faulty investigations with bloody and disastrous consequences.

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

A more recent example is from 2011 where false accusations were being made about Libya and Muammar Gaddafi as Western and Gulf powers sought to overthrow his government. AI leaders joined the campaign claiming that Gaddafi was using “mercenaries” to threaten and kill peacefully protesting civilians. The propaganda was successful in muting criticism of what became an invasion and “regime change.”

Going far beyond a United Nations Security Council resolution to “protect civilians,” NATO launched sustained air attacks and toppled the Libyan government leading to chaos, violence and a flood of refugees. AI later refuted the “mercenary” accusations but the damage was done.

Now, on Feb. 7, Amnesty International released a new report titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison,” which accuses the Syrian government of executing thousands of political prisoners, a set of accusations that has received uncritical treatment in the mainstream news media.

Like the Iraq/Kuwait incubator story and the Libyan “mercenary” story, the “Human Slaughterhouse” report is coming at a critical time. It accuses and convicts the Syrian government of horrible atrocities against civilians – and AI explicitly calls for the international community to take “action.” But the AI report is deeply biased and amounts to a kangaroo-court conviction of the Syrian government.

AI’s Standards Ignored

The Amnesty International report violates the organization’s own research standards. As documented by Professor Tim Hayward here, the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, claims that Amnesty does its research in a very systematic, primary, way where we collect evidence with our own staff on the ground. And every aspect of our data collection is based on corroboration and cross-checking from all parties, even if there are, you know, many parties in any situation because of all of the issues we deal with are quite contested. So it’s very important to get different points of view and constantly cross check and verify the facts.”

A heart-rending propaganda image designed to justify a major U.S. military operation inside Syria against the Syrian military.

But the Amnesty report fails on all counts: it relies on third parties, it did not gather its information from different points of view, and it did not cross-check with all parties. The report’s conclusions are not based on primary sources, material evidence or AI’s own staff the findings are solely based on the claims of anonymous individuals, mostly in southern Turkey from where the war on Syria is coordinated.

Amnesty gathered witnesses and testimonies from only one side of the conflict: the Western- and Gulf-supported opposition. For example, AI consulted with the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is known to seek NATO intervention in Syria. AI “liased” with the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, an organization funded by the West to press criminal charges against the Syrian leadership. These are obviously not neutral, independent or nonpartisan organizations.

If AI were doing what its Secretary General claims the organization always does, AI would have consulted with organizations within or outside Syria to hear different accounts of life at Saydnaya Prison. Since the AI report has been released, the AngryArab has published the account of a Syrian dissident, Nizar Nayyouf, who was imprisoned at Saydnaya. He contradicts many statements in the Amnesty International report, the type of cross-checking that AI failed to do for this important study.

Amnesty’s accusation that executions were “extrajudicial” is exaggerated or false. By Amnesty’s own description, each prisoner appeared briefly before a judge and each execution was authorized by a high government leader. We do not know if the judge looked at documentation or other information regarding each prisoner. One could argue that the process as described was superficial, but it’s clear that even if AI’s allegations are true, there was some kind of judicial process.

Amnesty’s suggestion that all Saydnaya prisoners are convicted is false. Amnesty quotes one witness who says about the court: “The judge will ask the name of the detainee and whether he committed the crime. Whether the answer is yes or no, he will be convicted.” But this assertion is contradicted by a former Saydnaya prisoner who is now a refugee in Sweden. In this news report, the former prisoner says the judge “asked him how many soldiers he had killed. When he said none, the judge spared him.” This is evidence that there is a judicial process of some sort and there are acquittals.

The Amnesty report includes satellite photographs with captions which are meaningless or erroneous. For example, as pointed out by Syrian dissident Nizar Nayyouf, the photo on page 30 showing a Martyrs Cemetery is “silly beyond silly.” The photo and caption show that the cemetery doubled in size. However, this does not prove hangings of prisoners who would never be buried in a “martyrs cemetery” reserved for Syrian army soldiers. On the contrary, it confirms the fact which Amnesty International otherwise ignores: Syrian soldiers have died in large numbers.

The Amnesty report falsely claims — based on data provided by one of the groups seeking NATO intervention — “The victims are overwhelmingly ordinary civilians who are thought to oppose the government.” While it’s surely true that innocent civilians are sometimes wrongly arrested, as happens in all countries, the suggestion that Saydnaya prison is filled with 95 percent “ordinary civilians” is preposterous. Amnesty International can only make this claim without facing ridicule because AI and other Western organizations have effectively “disappeared” the reality of Syria.

Missing Facts

Other essential facts, which are completely missing from the Amnesty report, include:

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

–Western powers and Gulf monarchies have spent billions of dollars annually since 2011 to recruit, fund, train, arm and support with sophisticated propaganda a violent campaign to overthrow the Syrian government

–As part of this operation, tens of thousands of foreign fanatics have invaded Syria and tens of thousands of Syrians have been radicalized and paid by Wahhabi monarchies in the Gulf to overthrow the government

–More than 100,000 Syrian Army and National Defense soldiers have been killed defending their country. Most of this is public information yet ignored by Amnesty International and other mainstream media in the West. This “regime change” operation has been accompanied by a massive distortion and cover-up of reality.

–Without providing evidence, Amnesty International accuses the highest Sunni religious leader in Syria, Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, of authorizing the execution of “ordinary civilians.” While the Grand Mufti is a personal victim of the war’s violence – his son was murdered by terrorists near Aleppo – he has consistently called for reconciliation. Following the assassination of his son, Grand Mufti Hassoun gave an eloquent speech expressing forgiveness for the murderers and calling for an end to the violence.

What does it say about Amnesty International that it makes specific personal accusations, against people who have personally suffered, yet provides no evidence of guilt?

In the report, Amnesty uses sensational and emotional accusations in place of factual evidence. The title of the report is “Human Slaughterhouse.” And what goes with a “slaughterhouse”? A “meat fridge.” So, the report uses the expression “meat fridge” seven separate times, presumably in an attempt to strengthen the central metaphor of a slaughterhouse.

Even the report’s opening quotation is hyperbolic: “Saydnaya is the end of life – the end of humanity.” The report is in sharp contrast with fact-based objective research and investigation it appears designed to manipulate emotions and thus create new public support in the West for another escalation of the war.

Yet, Amnesty International’s accusations that the Syrian government is carrying out a policy of “extermination” are contradicted by the fact that the vast majority of Syrians prefer to live in government-controlled areas. When the “rebels” were finally driven out of East Aleppo in December 2016, 90 percent of civilians rushed into areas under government control.

In recent days, civilians from Latakia province who had been imprisoned by terrorists for the past three years have been liberated in a prisoner exchange. [This video shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife meeting with some of the civilians.]

The Amnesty report is accompanied by a three-minute propaganda cartoon that reinforces the narrative that Syrian civilians who protest peacefully are imprisoned and executed. Echoing the theme of the report, the animation is titled “Saydnaya Prison: Human Slaughterhouse.” Amnesty International appears to be in denial that there are tens of thousands of violent extremists in Syria, setting off car bombs, launching mortars and otherwise attacking civilian areas every day.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014 somewhere in Syria.

Given the national crisis – with so many violent jihadists to confront – it makes little sense that Syrian security or prison authorities would waste resources on non-violent civilians although that does not mean that the Syrian government has clean hands either. Mistakes and abuses surely happen in this war like all wars.

But the AI report is more like the propaganda that has surrounded the Syrian conflict from the beginning, lacking in balance and reminiscent of the “perception management” used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the West’s assault on Libya in 2011. AI’s hyperbole is also contradicted by the fact that Syria has many opposition parties that compete for seats in the National Assembly and campaign openly for public support from both the right and left of the Baath Party.

AI’s claim that Syrian authorities brutally repress peaceful protests further ignores the Syrian reconciliation process. For the past several years, armed opposition militants have been encouraged to lay down their weapons and peacefully rejoin society, a program largely unreported in Western media because it contradicts the “black hat” narrative of the Syrian government. [A recent example is reported here.]

The Amnesty report cites the “Caesar” photographs as supporting evidence for its “slaughterhouse” accusations but ignores the fact that nearly half those photographs show the opposite of what was claimed. The widely publicized “Caesar photographs” was a Qatari-funded hoax designed to sabotage the 2014 Geneva negotiations as documented here.

While the Amnesty report makes many accusations against the Syrian government, AI ignores the violation of Syrian sovereignty being committed by Western and Gulf countries. It is a curious fact that big NGOs such as Amnesty International focus on violations of “human rights law” and “humanitarian law” but ignore the crime of aggression, also called the crime against peace.

According to the Nuremberg Tribunal, aggression is “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and former President of the U.N. General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, is someone who should know. He says, “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.” Amnesty International ignores this reality.

Background and Context

The co-author of this Amnesty International report is Nicolette Waldman (Boehland), who was uncritically interviewed on DemocracyNow on Feb. 9. The background and previous work of Waldman shows the inter-connections between influential Washington “think tanks” and the billionaires’ foundations that fund “non-governmental organizations” – NGOs – that claim to be independent but are clearly not.

Waldman previously worked for the “Center for Civilians in Conflict,” which is directed by leaders from George Soros’s Open Society, the Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, Blackrock Solutions and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

Billionaire currency speculator George Soros. (Photo credit: georgesoros.com)

CNAS may be the most significant indication of political orientation since it is led by Michele Flournoy, who was expected to become Secretary of Defense if Hillary Clinton had won the election. CNAS has been a leading force behind neoconservative and liberal-interventionist plans to escalate the war in Syria. While past work or associations do not always define new or future work, in this case the sensational and dubious accusations seem to align with those political goals. [Soros’s Open Society has also provided funds to Amnesty International.]

So what to make of Amnesty International’s new report? The once widely respected human rights organization has, in the recent past, let itself be used as a propaganda tool to justify Western aggression against Iraq and Libya, which seems to be the role that AI is playing now in Syria.

The Amnesty International report is a mix of hearsay accusations and sensationalism that tracks with the Western propaganda themes that have surrounded the Syrian war from the start. Because of Amnesty’s undeserved reputation for independence and accuracy, the report has been picked up and broadcast widely. Liberal and supposedly progressive media outlets have joined in dutifully echoing the questionable accusations.

Little or no skepticism is applied when the target is the Syrian government, which has faced years of foreign-sponsored aggression. If this report justifies another escalation of the conflict, as Amnesty International seems to want, the group will again be serving as a rationalizer for Western aggression against Syria, just like it did in Iraq and Libya.


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The gold rush was short-lived, and by the early 1900s the town was pretty much abandoned. It is the only surviving remote-area historic mining settlement in Tasmania.

Today only three of the original buildings remain: the old pub, the butcher's shop and a cottage, and all three are available as accommodation. The 14 new cottages, called "wilderness retreats", have been built to blend in with the originals, complete with rusty tin roofs and rough-hewn timber exteriors. Inside, they are much more comfortable than they look from the outside, with a small kitchen, gas fireplaces, en suite, queen-size beds and verandahs that open out into the rainforest.

There is a network of walking trails that start just metres from your cabin door. One of the best is the hour-long Whyte River walk, which loops around from the cabins through a magical forest of myrtle, sassafras, huon pine and fairy-tale fungi. It's a beautiful way to start the day – the river is like glass, the trees are sheathed in tendrils of mist, and fat pademelons are still too sleepy to get out of your way.

We spend a day on the Pieman River aboard the Arcadia II, a handsome boat built entirely from huon pine in 1939. There's just six of us, and we slowly cruise the 18 kilometres to the wave-racked mouth of the river, where we grab a packed picnic lunch and explore the wild and empty beach covered in hundreds of massive driftwood logs.

Unlike the area around the Gordon and Franklin rivers near Strahan, the Tarkine is not World Heritage-listed. But it could be. It meets several of the cultural and environmental criteria for World Heritage status – you only need to meet one to qualify. Given that the federal government has approved exploratory mining leases in the area and several large open-cut mines have been proposed, maybe it should be.

The next day we kayak down the Savage River, the mirror-like reflections so perfect it's almost impossible to tell where the water ends and the rainforest begins. The tannin-stained water is dark, but we can clearly make out the remains of the SS Croydon, sunk in 1919. Rumour has it that it was sunk on purpose as the skipper and crew were too scared to face the river mouth again on the way back, preferring instead to walk back to Launceston. Having seen the roiling waves from the beach the day before, I can't say I blame them.

We tie up our kayaks at a landing platform (staff at Corinna will pick them up later) and walk back, another delightful amble through rainforest, although the first half-hour is a rather challenging uphill haul. We encounter only one other couple on the two-hour hike, and most of the time it's easy to believe we are the only ones who have discovered this forgotten, enchanted place.

Call me antisocial if you like, but I really do like having the wilderness to myself.

Lee Atkinson was a guest of the Corinna Wilderness Experience.

Getting there

Corinna is 267 kilometres west of Launceston, about a four-hour drive. The last hour or so is via unsealed road, but fine for conventional two-wheel-drive cars. You can also drive from Stanley to Corinna, a scenic drive from one end of the Tarkine to the other, via the unsealed Western Explorer Road (rather poetically known as the Road to Nowhere allow two to three hours). Jetstar (www.jetstar.com) and Virgin Australia (www.virginaustralia.com) have daily flights to Launceston from Sydney and Melbourne starting at about $150 return.

Staying there

One-bedroom wilderness retreats are $200 a night, two-bedroom $250. A night in Pete's Place, one of the three original houses, costs $150. See http://corinna.com.au.

Eating there

Cabins all feature small kitchens, but you'll need to bring your own supplies — the Tarkine Hotel only sells the basics, although you can buy barbecue packs. The hotel serves lunch and dinner daily.

Touring there

Pieman River cruises on the Arcadia II cost $90 an adult, $51 a child, and includes a picnic lunch. Savage River cruises on the Sweetwater $50 an adult, $25 for children. Kayak hire is $40 for a half-day (same price for single or double kayaks), $70 for a full day.


Anne Morgan of New York found her calling in war relief

The United States was finally in “the war to end all wars.” France had been ravaged since the summer of 1914. Villages and towns were obliterated. Women and children went hungry and homeless as the armies wrestled in futile combat in mud, blood and indescribable filth and disease. The British lost 20,000 dead in a single day at the Battle of the Somme.

“Somme,” said a grim German officer at the end of the battle. “The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word.”

But when the American doughboys got to France in the summer of 1917, thousands of Americans were already there, as volunteer soldiers, nurses, ambulance drivers and aviators, including the celebrated Lafayette Escadrille. Among them was a rich socialite, Anne Tracy Morgan, youngest child of the Wall Street baron John Pierpont Morgan. Alan Govenar and Mary Niles Maack recount in their lavishly illustrated biography, “Anne Morgan: Photography, Philanthropy and Advocacy,” that as a little girl Miss Morgan told her father that when she grew up she would be “something better than a rich fool.” Something very much better she turned out to be.

A New Yorker profile in 1927 described her as someone whose “entrance seems to quicken the air of the room … her energetic presence charges the atmosphere like an electrical disturbance … She knows what she wants done and is concerned only with results.” She was tall with a commanding presence and bright dark eyes. She raised money for relief in the ballrooms of New York, and she went to the Western front to taste German shot and shell to make sure the money would be well spent.

Miss Morgan — she never married — is far better known in France than in the United States, though The New York Times included her in a list of the 12 greatest American women in 1922. She credited Elizabeth (“Bessie”) Marbury, a high-society theatrical agent, as nurturing her sense of social obligation. She was a founding member of the Colony Club, the first private social club for women in New York City, which, reflecting the era, admitted no blacks or Jews and few Catholics. But she marched with union workers during the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory strike in 1909, and joined the suffragettes working to win the vote for women.

She sailed to Europe with her parents when she was a four-year-old, and fell in love with France. She later accompanied her father to Europe, and spent summers in France, joining Bessie Marbury and her companion, actress and interior designer Elsie de Wolfe, at their Villa Trianon in Versailles. The three became the “Versailles Triumvirate.”

When the war broke out in 1914, Anne and Elsie de Wolfe offered the villa to the French for a convalescent home for wounded soldiers. She returned to New York to raise money for French war relief and became the treasurer of the American Fund for French Wounded. She eventually visited the battlefields at Verdun and the Somme region to make sure the hospitals got the money she raised.

She sailed to France again when America went to war, together with Anne Murray Dike, a Canadian doctor, and eight women volunteers to care for the wounded and to begin their relief work in earnest. They were sent to the ruined village of Blerancourt northeast of Paris, which had been liberated after three years of German occupation and destruction. They organized a community center for 25 regional villages, planting trees, seeding the land, restoring the battered houses, even opening a dairy. This was the phenomenon of the American volunteer that had so impressed Alexis de Tocqueville when he visited America 85 years earlier.

Following the German offensive in March 1918, the women used their relief trucks to evacuate civilians, feed refugees and care for the wounded. Battlefields were not so organized for relief as they are now. With Dr. Dike, she founded the American Committee for Devastated France to provide housing, food, clothing, and child care, and stayed behind after the armistice in November to establish schools, libraries, public health centers and physical education programs. Once more, she raised the money to pay for it.

A year later she bought the heavily damaged 17th-century Blerancourt chateau as a place to call home, and she and Dr. Dike restored it as a museum of French-American history, to thank France for supporting the American Revolution. She gave the chateau and museum and its beautiful garden to the town. After years of renovations, the National Museum of Franco-American Co-operation, now known as the Franco-American Museum, will reopen next Sunday. The museum has an extensive collection of paintings by French artists working in America and American painters in France.

Anne Morgan continued to raise money for French relief, persuading her rich friends to rent their mansions to movie producers and give half the money to relieve civilian suffering in France, and even persuaded the two boxers fighting for the lightweight championship in 1921 to send part of their purses to France. She bought the ringside seats and auctioned them to the rich and famous and sent the proceeds to French relief.

Volunteer duty called again with the outbreak of World War II, and she was back to France to set up relief stations for refugees. She and a small group of volunteers kept calm and carried on under bombing and before the advancing German army. She barely escaped capture, and subsequently persuaded German authorities that her work evacuating and feeding refugees was in their interests, too. She was eventually forced home for good, and died in New York in 1952 at age 78, at the end of an extraordinary life well lived.


Watch the video: Παλιοί Σιδηροδρομικοί Σταθμοί (May 2022).