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22 Jan

Just the other day I was walking on West 57th Street near Carnegie Hall and I passed Steinway Hall.

Or, I should say that I passed Steinway Hall – did a quick double take – then backtracked to stare into their window.

For those of you desiring a bit of history, info and trivia:

Steinway & Sons is a premier piano manufacturing company; their handmade pianos are regarded by many to be the finest in the world.

Papa Steinway (Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg) started making pianos in his German kitchen in 1836. He and his family emigrated to the United States 1n 1850.

According to Wikipedia:

In 1853, H.E. Steinweg founded Steinway & Sons. His first workshop was in a small loft at the back of 85 Varick Street in the Manhattan district of New York City. The first piano produced by Steinway & Sons was given the number 483 because H.E. Steinweg had built 482 pianos in Germany. Number 483 was sold to a New York family for $500, and is now displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Cool, very cool! I want to go see that first American Steinway piano #483 at The Met!!

More from our friends at Wikipedia:

Steinway Hall  is the name given to buildings housing concert halls, showrooms and sales departments for Steinway pianos. In 1864 William Steinway (the son of H. E. Steinway, who is credited with establishing Steinway’s remarkable success in marketing) built a set of elegant new showrooms housing more than 100 pianos on East 14th Street in Manhattan, New York City. In 1866, William Steinway oversaw the construction of the first Steinway Hall to the rear of the showrooms.

The Steinway Hall seated more than 2,000 and quickly became an important part of New York City’s cultural life, housing the New York Philharmonic for the next 25 years until Carnegie Hall opened in 1891.

Concertgoers had to pass through the piano showrooms; this had a remarkable effect on sales, increasing demand for new pianos by four hundred in 1867 alone.”

Brilliant marketing!!

From the plaque on the 57th Street building, in part:

Steinway Hall was constructed in 1924-25… After Carnegie Hall opened in 1891, West 57th Street gradually became one of the nation’s leading cultural music centers. Steinway & Sons followed this trend, relocating to this area from East 14th Street… Steinway & Sons continues to be the city’s only remaining piano maker.”

It’s interesting to me that neither the entry in Wikipedia or the historic information on the Steinway & Sons website mention the move to West 57th Street. I wonder why??

Well, a bit of interesting Steinway/WWII trivia, again from our friends at Wikipedia:

During World War II the Steinway factory in New York City received orders from the Allied Armies to build wooden gliders to convey troops behind enemy lines. Few normal pianos could be made, but some 3,000 special models were built by Steinway, the Victory Vertical or G.I. Piano. It was a small piano, able to be lifted by four men, painted olive drab, gray or blue, designed to be carried aboard ships or dropped by parachute from an airplane, in order to bring music to the soldiers.”

Amazing, to think of pianos being parachuted out of planes, during the war!

Anyway, back to what draw my attention in the showroom window:

The John Lennon “Imagine” Series Limited Edition piano.

The sign in the window reads:

To commemorate the 70th birthday of a true creative genius – legendary musician and songwriter John Lennon – Steinway & Sons proudly introduced the “Imagine” Series Limited Edition piano. Modeled after the white Steinway that John presented to Yoko Ono on her birthday in 1971, this piano incorporates John’s drawings, signature, music and lyrics. Each piano bears a medallion indicating its uniqueness. “Imagine” was composed on a Steinway piano, and today the connection lives on through a piano that is a tribute to the man, the music and the message.”

“Excellent!” I thought. But then I thought, “John Lennon was born in 1940. He was 40 years old when he was murdered in 1980.”

I guess this sign and this piano have been here in the Steinway widow for a couple of years.

Brilliant marketing!!

Well, it made me stop and look! And who knows? If I had oodles of money (and space), maybe I’d be tempted to buy one of these Limited Edition pianos.

BUT, on the Steinway & Sons website pertaining to this series, the page is blank.

Have they have sold out of the series? Either way, they seriously need to update their website.

Anyway – before this post’s grand finale – here is one more bit of trivia about John’s white Steinway piano, again from Wikipedia:

The world’s most expensive upright piano was built by Steinway’s factory in Hamburg, Germany, in 1970. The piano was bought by John Lennon for $1,500; Lennon composed and recorded “Imagine” and other tunes on it. In 2000, it was sold at auction by a private British collector. Pop musician George Michael made the winning bid of £1.67 million.”

I don’t know what that was in 2000 conversion rates, but in today’s market, 1.67 million pounds (GBP) converts to about 2.60 million dollars (USD)!

Ponder that while you listen to this:

“Imagine” – By John Lennon, 1971

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one






A Sad Day For Photographers (And Advertising Lovers) – Kodak Files Chapter 11

19 Jan

Kodak was founded by George Eastman in 1880. The company made photography a household word.

From cameras, to film, chemicals, paper – and up to the digital age – Who could ever have guessed that Kodak could fail?

According to Wikipedia, : “As late as 1976, Kodak commanded 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the U.S.

Kodak failed to anticipate how fast digital cameras would become commodities, with low profit margins, as more companies entered the market in the mid-2000s. Also, an ever-smaller percentage of digital pictures were being taken on digital cameras, being gradually displaced in the late 2000s by cellphones and tablets’ cameras.”

According to Kodak’s website:

On January 19, 2012, Eastman Kodak Company and its U.S. subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 business reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The business reorganization will enable Kodak to bolster liquidity in the U.S. and abroad, monetize non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities, and enable the Company to focus on its most valuable business lines.

Kodak and its U.S. subsidiaries intend to continue normal business operations during the reorganization…Kodak aims to build company that will be successful in the marketplace – and a positive force in the communities we call home.”

I grew up with Kodak, and I always loved the Kodak advertising.

Vintage Kodak ads had a warm feel – family, friends, fun! And of course, travel.

Here are some Kodak ads throughout the century. 100 years of Kodak!

No date, but obviously a very early ad:

From 1917:

1922 (from Canada):



During WWII in the 1940’s:

After the war, in 1949:




And in the 70’s, with spokesmen like Michael Landon:

and Dick Van Dyke:

Up to current times, with Rihanna in 2010:

Good luck, Kodak!

Wikipedia says: “From the $90 range in 1997, Kodak shares closed at 76 cents on January 3, 2012.”

It’s an uphill climb!!!



1960’s Advertising – See It All In The March Issue Of Newsweek

13 Jan

I read in Ad Age that the upcoming March issue of Newsweek is going to be 1960’s-themed throughout – the cover, the content, even the ads!

Form the article:

Newsweek is planning an issue marking the return of “Mad Men” this March by adopting the magazine’s 1960s design throughout — all the way, it hopes, to the ads.

The “Mad Men”-themed issue, which will be dated March 19, will include a cover story on the series and a feature on the role of advertising in U.S. culture.”

As someone who works in advertising (and Hubby as well), I can’t wait to see this issue. It will be very interesting to see if advertisers (and the agencies producing the ads) come up with true 60’s style ads – and if they will be a one-off, or if they will run in other publications as well.

Of course, a major advertiser in the 1960’s – the cigarette industry – will be missing from this retro issue of Newsweek.

But, who will be in?

We’ve challenged agencies and clients to do ’60s-inspired creative, but for modern messages and products,” said Rob Gregory, president at Newsweek Daily Beast.”

I love ads from the past. They are always much more interesting to me than ads of today. There is a wonderful series of books called “All American Ads” by Jim Heimann – there is a different book in the series for each decade.

Because of my family research (which harks back to the 20’s) and my general fascination of the 1920’s, I have the book “All American Ads Of The 1920’s”.

Its Amazon review says in part:

It’s gripping to watch sex and status try to outdo each other in selling 1920s cars: the snooty Pierce Arrow associates itself with wealthy Century Club types, while the Ford Fordor stresses the populist $660 price and the flapper struggling to keep the wind from whipping her perilously brief hem over her head.”

I also have the 1960’s issue.

I mean – can I just live in that room?? I LOVE everything about it – well, maybe not the small TV – give me that room with my current TV and I’ll be a happy camper!

I love these books of the advertising world of the past, and I hope that the March issue of Newsweek captures some of this 60’s charm without crossing into cheesiness.

Another quote from the Ad Age article:

The design team is examining back issues for guidance. “From ’64 to ’69, Newsweek had this super-slick, dead-simple modern look to it,” said Dirk Barnett, creative director at Newsweek Daily Beast. “The ads were in color. For the most part, everything else was in black and white with thin, red lines.”

And, after Newsweek whets our 1960’s whistle, the ultra-popular TV show “Mad Men” finally returns – season 5 premiers on March 25.

I hear it’s the first episode directed by Jon Hamm.

Welcome to 1966!





Vintage Subway Signs – See More At The NYC Transit Museum

20 Dec

I recently blogged about attending the Swingin’ Vintage Tea Party on a vintage NYC subway train.

The ads and posters within the cars fascinated me.

Here’s a photo that was in my car, of the trains as originally in use:

And here are some of the original ads that are displayed in the cars:

These depict the iconic Rude Subway Rider:

And, this one is particularly interesting – I can’t see a current ad being this graphic:

A child in a pool of blood after being hit by a car while running family errands – yikes!

I wish I could have photographed more ads – but the cars were so crowded it was difficult moving around.

But there’s always the NYC Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn!

Hours Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Phone (718) 694-1600
Admission Adults $7
Children 2 – 17 years of age $5
Senior Citizens (62+) $5
Seniors Free Wednesdays
Museum members: Free

130 Livingston Street, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Subway: 2 3 4 5 to Borough Hall,

R to Court Street,

A C G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street,

A C F R to Jay Street/MetroTech.

*Weekdays rush hours only (check out the MTA website to confirm service status of the lines.)

Bus: B25, B26, B38, B41, B45, B52, B54, B57, B61, B62, B63, B65, B67, B103 all stop within 1 to 2 blocks of the museum.

Car: From Manhattan: take the Brooklyn Bridge, proceed straight on to Adams Street. Adams will become Boerum Place. Go two blocks to Schermerhorn Street. For more detailed directions and for directions from other boroughs, Long Island or New Jersey please call 1-718-694-1873.

I have not yet attended the Transit Museum in Brooklyn, but after my fabulous adventure on the vintage cars, I look forward to making the visit soon!



Lady Gaga’s Holiday Windows At Barneys

20 Nov

I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I heard about it during the summer.

It will be unveiled (as I understand) just before midnight on Monday 11/21/11.

I’m talking about the Barneys Holiday Windows in New York City.

Always a treat, this year – the windows (and the store’s entire 5th floor) are designed by Lady Gaga and her team, which includes her Mom!

From this news report, I read that:

“In a release, Barneys outlines how visitors to the workshop will walk through a giant facade at store’s 60th street entrance that will “create the illusion of walking into the mouth of a giant monster-like Lady Gaga.”

Once inside, shoppers will have their pick of eight different “stations” — from a candy shop to a gallery to a library — including a jewelry shop that was, according to the release, “created out of an oversized Lady Gaga-turned-spider and a boudoir in the shape of a giant wig.”

The store’s wares are an curated selection of finds from hundreds of different vendors, all edited by Gaga in collaboration with Nicola Formichetti and artists Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide Pierson. A whopping 25 percent of the sales from the workshop will go to the Born This Way Foundation, which was founded by Gaga and her mother in an effort to build confidence and fight bullying.

Gaga’s mandate, according to Formichetti, was to make the workshop “amazing and fun, for kids and for adults. She was very much involved in coming up with the ideas and overseeing the whole process, but I also got her mom, Cynthia, involved,” he said. “She knew Gaga’s favorite chocolates or her favorite books when she was little. We really wanted this experience to be like going through her memories, in a very surreal way. For that, I needed the help of Mrs. Germanotta.”

This awesome, official website tells much, MUCH more! It’s pretty cool; check it out!



I love to photograph the store Holiday windows. It can almost be like a fashion shoot!

Here are some pictures from Christmases past:

This year I have a feeling that some of the windows are going to be spectacular!

I just cannot wait to see what Lady Gaga and her team do with the Barneys windows.

And – I wonder – how many Little Monsters will be roaming through Barneys for the first time.

Of course, the merchandise will likely be outrageously expensive.

But the windows – FREE to all – for viewing and photographing!

And it’s just around the corner…



High Line Reflections

8 Oct

Yesterday afternoon I found myself at the Apple store downtown on 14th Street.

I had meant to just walk along The High Line and back; I hadn’t even thought of that store. But somehow my feet led me down the stairs and suddenly, there I was – viewing another poignant memorial to Steve Jobs.

Who knew that a bunch of post-it notes could feel so heart-breaking?

I wondered yet again, what else might Steve Jobs have accomplished if he had had another 30 years on this planet?

The High Line, especially during “The Golden Hour”, is a fine place for reflections. Both the inner kind and the outer kind.

I watched as the moon begin to rise

and the darkening sky pulled its cover over the city

and the very last bit of the day’s golden glow reflected in the panes around me.

I thought of what someone can maybe accomplish, during their very short time here.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Thank you, you misfit, you rebel, you genius…



Mad Men + Banana Republic = Heart

22 Aug

Hubby and I love the TV show Mad Men.

We’re currently watching the past seasons, and all of the commentaries and extras on DVD.

Does this show have mighty appeal to us because we’re both in advertising?

Or is it the show’s superb writing, acting, wardrobe, set designs… I could go on and on and on.

I was slightly amused the other day to see this outdoor ad for Banana Republic’s new line of clothing – “The Mad Men Collection”:

But then I checked out Banana Republic’s website.

The women’s site says:

Designed exclusively in collaboration with Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, our collection is inspired by the feminine silhouettes of 1960s style.”

What do you think?



You GO, Miss Janie Bryant! (Who, by the way, went to Georgia State University before moving to Paris and NYC. Just a bit of GA. trivia for you!)

On the men’s site, it says:

Designed exclusively in collaboration with Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, our collection is inspired by the razor-sharp tailoring of 1960s style.”



Pretty mod, man.

Will you be embracing the Mad Men style?

Speaking of the 1960s fashion style, here’s my Grandmother and her work associates in 1960:

I’m not quite convinced that the Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant drew inspiration from the 1960s Georgia Department of Revenue Gasoline Tax Refund Unit.

Despite the fact that my Grandmother looks quite fetching. (Bottom row, 2nd from left.)

Here are my Mom and Dad in 1961:

Now we’re getting somewhere!

And me, in 1961?

Now we’re talkin’!!

I am TOTALLY ROCKING the Mad Men style!!

I do believe that Midge and her friend wore a combo of my outfit in Season 1…




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