Did I tell you about the time I had dinner with OJ?

20155878_10154667819107541_3257643844984361583_nSo OJ Simpson will be back on the streets October 1, he received parole from the Nevada prison where he has been incarcerated for the past nine years. This reminds me of the time I had dinner with OJ.

Well, it wasn’t really dinner, but we sat at the same table at a bar/restaurant in Miami many years ago. It was a neighborhood place and very crowded,  there was a big football playoff game on and I guess that is what drew the crowd.

There were the usual tables around the place and the bar and at the back, there was one very large table, which consisted of a bunch of tables pushed together. There’s were we sat together. I was with a friend or two and we ate and drank and sort of across from me, maybe one person over, was OJ.

He just acted as if everything was normal. This was of course, after the murders, so I’m not sure how he would show himself in public, but there he was, cheering his team on. I wanted to talk with him, I never spoke to an alleged murderer before.

At one point, they turned to the weather channel, so I asked OJ why they changed to that from the game. He said, “We want to see what the weather is in Philadelphia, that’s where the next game is.” Then he explained some things about the current game that was going on.

20245465_10160282648890206_8744458707930521646_nThat’s the extent to our conversation. At one point he got up, I guess to go to the bathroom and all these fools in the restaurant were falling all over themselves to get to him, he shook hands as he slowly walked to the bathroom, with is head up. No guilt, no shame. Just another OJ day.

The next day, my friend Victor who was with me said, “That was smart of you to agree with what OJ was saying, he knows what he’s talking about.” I looked at Victor and said, “Did you think I was going to disagree with him?”

I had seen him off and on a few more times when he lived in Miami. I saw him driving out of a school once, his kids went there and another time I saw him at the post office. After he left, the clerk at the counter said, “People are so excited. I guess they like seeing a murderer!”

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

In defense of printed newspapers

It’s $2.00 for a slice of pizza and 50 cents for the Tribune. This is something someone says in a documentary on the death of the Tampa Tribune. I read about this in The Tampa Bay Times, which bought and killed the Tampa Tribune. It’s quite sad what is happening to daily newspapers.

Tampa Bay used to have the Tampa Tribune and Tampa Times. Across the bay was the St. Petersburg Times and one other I am not remembering now. The St. Petersburg Times became the Tampa Bay Times in 2012, they won the right in a lawsuit. This is sort of a dubious thing as it sort of was the writing on the wall for the end of the Tampa Tribune and reminiscent of the Tampa Times. But again, daily newspapers are going the way of the dinosaurs and that’s sad.

Ironically, The Tampa Bay Times is featuring the documentary about their own killing off of the Tampa Tribune in a story in their own publication along with a movie trailer
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I still read the daily newspaper – holding in my hands the old fashioned way. I read the Miami Herald daily and sometimes the Sun-Sentinel which is the Ft. Lauderdale newspaper.

When I was a kid, I could read seven dailies in two counties – The Miami Herald, The Miami News, The Ft. Lauderdale News, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the South Dade News-Leader and the Hollywood Sun-Tattler. Loved the name of that one – the Sun-Tattler. That building is now a Holiday Inn, I believe. I also want to mention the Key West Citizen, which is still published daily. Love them.

My parents subscribed to the Herald and the South Dade-News Leader and I would occasionally buy the others. In New York, I used to read the four dailies – the Times, Daily News, Post and Newsday. I sometimes still do. When I was a kid, I delivered the now defunct Long Island Press.

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It’s shocking how small the Miami Herald is these days in size. In height and width, but also in content. When we were kids and we took road trips around the country, small towns in Tennessee and Georgia had tiny newspapers – at least they had newspapers. Now the Miami Herald is very small. But it still is delivered seven days a week and I read it, holding it in my hands, like the old days.

I do read many publications online that I normally would not if there wasn’t an online way to do it. I don’t read the whole newspaper, but I follow so many news organizations online that I read stories here in there from various newspapers around the country. So that is a great thing. But there is something about holding the actual newspaper in your hands, smelling the paper and ink, having it on your doorstep each morning. There’s something special in that.

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Newsies

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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.

Things that make you go hmmm

iphoneThere is a new app called Text to Ticket which pays you to snitch on people who are texting while driving.

So far it only works in California. The tattle tale gets $5 for reporting the offending driver.

Question: How much do you get for video taping the person who is video taping and tattle taling while driving?

Now here is an interesting new app called Wag. It’s dog walking on demand, sort of like Uber for dogs. It’s only in a few major cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and LA.

A 30 minute walk is $20, a longer walk is $30 and you can add another dog to the walk for $5.