The NY newspaper strike of 1945

I came across this YouTube film about the New York City newspapers strike of 1945. It was a 17-day event. It’s quite interesting to see how people coped, or didn’t cope.

There were an amazing eight daily newspapers in New York at that time and people devoured the papers morning and night. This was before tv and apparently before radio news. Everyone got their news and a lot of their entertainment from daily newspapers and they were addicted to them.

After awhile, people realized during the strike that you could actually get your daily newspaper fix by simply going to the actual newspapers and purchasing the newspaper there. The truckers and delivery people were on strike, so the papers were being printed, just not delivered to the thousands of newsstands and homes. This was the era that Mayor Fiorello Laguardia read the comics to everyone over the radio, describing the goings on in the funny pages.

I find it amazing how many millions of newspapers were published and purchased daily. The New York Daily News alone was selling over 900,000 copies to people who came by the newspaper on foot. People would wait for hours to purchase the daily newspapers. That is 900,000 plus people stepping into the Daily News building to purchase the paper. They figured it was 30,000 people per hour!

Cops waited down in the subway and they told people to get off at the 33rd Street station rather than 42nd Street, where the NY Daily News building was, because the line went all the way from 42nd Street to 33rd Street!

The newspapers were: The Sun, The World-Telegram, the Journal American, The Daily News, The Post, The New York Times, the Herald Tribune and the Mirror. Eight dailies.

So many of the scenes in these films are still there – the Sun building was just restored, it sits near City Hall downtown, and while the Daily News has moved, their building on 42nd Street is still there.

Listen to the numbers as you watch these — the circulation numbers. Amazing. This was the period when the New York Daily News usually sold 2 million copies a day and over 4 million copies on Sundays.

The 1966 newspaper strike killed so many newspapers in New York City, but at least in 1945, the 17-day strike didn’t cause much harm and just proved how addicted people were to their newspapers – the social media of the time.

Park Row – Newspaper Row


I saw this photo at the Stuff Nobody Cares About blog, which is a really great blog. To see a very large version of this photo, where you can almost see in the windows, click here.

I don’t know why, but I am fascinated by newspapers, especially the ones from the early days, when the news basically only came from newspapers. New York City had 14 dailies at one time. Amazing.

Above, you can see three newspaper buildings on Park Row, across from New York City Hall, I don’t know why year this photo was taken, probably early 1900s.

The tall building at the left with the dome is Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World Building which was razed in 1955 for a car ramp entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. I have recently stood there looking at the car ramp imagining the World Building being in that space.

Tammany Hall building is the small building next to that to the right.  In 1867, The New York Sun purchased the building. The Sun then moved to Broadway, a few blocks away. I have a story and photo on that building here.

The building with the clock tower was designed by famed architect Richard Morris Hunt in 1875 and was the home of the New York Tribune. The building was demolished in 1966. Finally, The New York Times, built in 1889 can be seen to the right. In 1904, the Times moved to their Times Square location and now they are at 620 8th Avenue in a beautiful modern glass building.  Pace University now occupies the old Park Row Times building today. The only remaining newspaper building on Park Row. That and the Sun building at 280 Broadway are the two vestiges of a great New York newspaper period.

Back in the day, New York City had these newspapers – The World; The Times; The Herald; The Evening Post; The Globe and Commercial Advertiser; The Tribune; The Morning Telegraph; The Sun; The Call; The Press; The American; The Evening Journal; the New York Daily News and New York Mirror. They were not all around the same time, but most were!

The Sun – it shines for all


I saw this photo on Very Old Images of NY page on Facebook. It’s a great page with so many great historical photos.

It is 1896 on Park Row.  This milk wagon arrived to offer “Pure Ice Cold Orange County Milk, Fresh churned buttermilk” and malted milk offered for a nickel.

I love the photo because you can see the New York Sun and the New York Journal in the background. Not the newspapers – the actual buildings.

I’m always passing the Sun building in NYC, which is behind City Hall, away from newspapers row on Park Row and I had always thought it was the original Sun building, but I looked it up and the Sun moved to the 280 Broadway building behind City Hall in 1917. It was fist built for the A. T. Stewart Department store in 1846.


The “new” building on Broadway is large and just went through an extensive renovation. In each corner, there is a big clock sticking out that says, “The Sun. It Shines For All.” Still there – 100 years later.


Here are the two buildings in 1914. In the old days, they used to post the news and sports scores right outside the buildings. No digital banners. It was chalk and or ink on paper posted to boards out front. Here the crowd is looking at baseball scores.


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I changed the nameplate at top. They are newsboys from the early 20th century – newsies. You may have seen the play or movie “Newsies,” which is about the newsboy strike of 1899.

In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, newsboys sold newspapers on the streets of New York. They worked grueling hours and didn’t make much, many were homeless.

In 1899, Joseph Pulitzer who owned the New York World and William Randolph Hearst, who owned the New York Evening Journal, raised the amount of money they newsboys paid for the newspapers.

In 1898, due to the Spanish-American War, newspapers sold a lot of issues, this was the only means of news and people bought them up, wanting to know the daily status of the war. Newspapers raised the price from 50 cents to 60 cents per bundle of 100 newspapers. After the war, all newspapers dropped the prices back down, except for the World and Evening Journal.

I looked up the newspaper front pages from back then, you can see them here. They were one cent. So the 60 cents per bundle of 100, really didn’t leave much of a profit. You can read about the strike and get details here. The main outcome is still used to this day – the newspapers will buy back unsold copies of the papers. So if the papers don’t sell, the news seller is not responsible for them.

Graphic design in the ‘old days’

A few friends shared this video on Facebook. It shows what graphic design was like before Adobe Illustrator was around. I remember the press down letters, but this wasn’t that long ago, was it? They make it sound like ancient history.

I remember using the letters for a bag company I worked for, I think I told the story before, I used to do the graphics for a paper bag company. At times I didn’t have the typeface I needed on our Compugraphic or Varityper machines so I would purchase the type on sheets and press them onto the graphic I was working on.


Compugraphic and Varityper, I haven’t thought of those names for years. They were huge machines where type came out sort of on reverse film, black on white. Then we waxed the back using a “waxer.” There was a machine with a roller, called a “waxer,” and it waxed the back of the film and it then was placed down where needed. And of course xacto knives and razor blades were in our hands at every moment. I preferred razor blades to xacto knives.

It was all “pasted-up” to make a complete page, image, advertisement . . .

It was all to get the work “camera-ready.” Yes, the stuff was all then shot with cameras and plates and negatives were made from that. Now camera ready means Kendall Jenner posing for Instagram.

I remember I could look at any typeface and know the name of it and the point size it was, just by eyeing it.

I remember in the 1980s when one of my bosses told me that “pagination” was coming in the future. This is where the whole page would come out as one piece. At that time we did the headlines as one piece, the text in columns as another, the photos  were stripped in later in the camera room and there were so many steps to getting just one newspaper page done. I remember thinking that he was kidding, how could it all come out as one piece?

I also remember asking my brother Chris one time if it would be possible to typeset on computers and have different typefaces for different jobs. He said it was probably possible but something would have to be programmed into the computer to get that effect as it wasn’t something that was done at the time. I remember standing in his kitchen in the 1980s having that conversation with him like it was yesterday.

Am I dating myself?

Harold Lloyd, Master Comedian

I bought this book on Harold Lloyd called “Master Comedian.” Harold was one of the top three comedians in the silent film era along with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. The book has such great stories of his life, his time in the movies and there are so many great pictures. The cover has a still of the famous clock scene, which I’m sure you have seen some time in your life.

I always read that Harold did his own stunts, there is another famous scene where the front facade of a house falls on him and he’s standing there and the windows go through his body, protecting him from the fall. (Correction – that was Buster Keaton). When I saw that the clock scene from the 1923 film, “Safety Last,” was “not real” in that he wasn’t hanging from a building as shown, that was only partially true, check it out here. He was hanging from a building, in Los Angeles, just not the way I had always thought. So this iconic scene that’s stuck in my head was sort of real and all done by Harold himself.



This 1923 story from the Boston Post explains the stunt.

lloyd4Harold Lloyd was an excellent comedian and filmmaker. The book explains how he came up with gags for the films and explains what a great businessman he was.

Also, his famous 44-room estate, “Green Acres,” is a part of the book. The house is part of Hollywood legend. And his eye glasses, the book explains why he started wearing them, which ended up becoming his famous trademark.