For the fifteenth consecutive year, the Riverside Oval Association (ROA) has produced a calendar featuring “Views of the Heights,” including fourteen historic images, with seven contemporary insets showing “how it looks now.”
To order contact ROA co-chair Vivian Ducat
text or call: 917.301.1120 /
email firstname.lastname@example.org /
790 Riverside Drive, Apt. 12A, New York, NY 10032
The calendars are still only $12 each
(postage $3.00 each if mailed).
The cover features Broadway in 1911, shortly after the nearby Grinnell and Riviera opened their doors to new residents. At the left in the background is the Sutherland, only a year old at the time, and just left of center, the Church of the Intercession in its last days at its second location at 158th Street and Broadway—minus the top of its narthex tower. Surrounding roadwork in the foreground are advertisments for the Aborn Opera Company‘s production of “The Bohemian Girl,” a work that was part of the standard repertoire in the early 20th century, but it now rarely performed. Although the Aborn brothers focused most of their attention on sending troupes out to tour the United States, they did open their seasons with a New York City preview, in this case to a very satisfactory New York Times review. Evidently aware of a new uptown audience, with access to the Majestic Theater via the subway, they sent their PR man to northern Manhattan to paper the streets with advertisements.
Among the historic images are members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters at a 1979 press conference in the 157th Street subway station, campaigning for an upgrade and renaming of the station (January); President Woodrow Wilson visiting Audubon Terrace in 1918 (February); a 1940 photograph of the western facade of 857 Riverside Drive, now under threat of demolition (August); and the interior of the Costello Theatre in 1917, now the Paradise Baptist Church (September).
Of particular interest is photograph of Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller on the Audubon Terrace in 1959 for the annual Academy of Arts and Letters awards ceremony (May). The event did not go unnoticed in the neighborhood. As Charles Neil Finley remembered six decades later:
My friend Bobby Rivera and I were playing ball on 155th street, Audubon Terrace. Suddenly, Bobby shouted out, “Hey, there’s Marilyn Monroe!” Miller and Monroe stood on the northwest corner of 155th street, awaiting a cab. While they waited, a man walked up to her with pen and paper, and she gave him an autograph. Bobby and I stood a few feet away from her, speechless! There were no reporters or bodyguards . . . just Miller and Monroe. It was a warm day, and she had a summer dress on, but there was no subway grate breeze to elevate that skirt as it did in ‘The Seven Year Itch.’
(Quoted from The Neighborhood Manhattan Forgot: Audubon Park and the Families Who Shaped It, p. 295.)
The Riverside Oval Association uses funds from calendar sales for its many neighborhood projects, including care of the Riverside Oval, the annual John James Audubon birthday party, and tree-pit enclosures throughout the Audubon Park neighborhood.