Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “Grand Central Station

Photo of the day: CAN YOU SPOT THE TOURIST?

On the #7 train, Grand Central Station stop.

On the #7 train, Grand Central Station stop.

Photo of the day: CAN YOU SPOT THE TOURIST?

Photo of the day: AS THE WORLD still TURNS with EILEEN FULTON

Neal Hetherington (Habitat for Humanity), Colleen Zenk, Eileen Fulton, Richard Skipper

Neal Hetherington (Habitat for Humanity), Colleen Zenk, Eileen Fulton, Richard Skipper

Photo of the day: AS THE WORLD still TURNS with EILEEN FULTON – Sometimes being a bitch pays off, just ask Eileen Fulton! – Before there was Erica Kane/Susan Lucci on All My Children, Amanda Woodward/Heather Locklear on Melrose Place, Abby Ewing/Donna Mills on Knotts Landing and certainly Alexis Carrington/Joan Collins on Dynasty – – there was Lisa Grimaldi/Eileen Fulton in 1960 on the classic TV soap opera “As The World Turns“. Being a bitch certainly offers job security, Eileen played the roll for fifty, yes fifty years!

Soap classic

Soap classic

On February 16, 2014 Sunday night, Richard Skipper: entertainer, charity fundraiser, Carol Channing’s champion and a well loved friend and historian of the entertainment community, hosted an evening’s conversation with soap opera legend Eileen Fulton at New York’s Metropolitan Room. One of many celebrity interviews in the ‘Richard Skipper Celebrates…’ series. A charity event with all proceeds going to president Jimmy Carter’s ‘Habitat for Humanity’ at the request of Eileen herself.

Host Richard Skipper

Host Richard Skipper

Richard’s warm and listening manner lets his guests free flow with the room and the audience loves it. Eileen’s zesty charm took over the room immediately. She looked absolutely stunning with her blonde curls tossed on top of her head, wearing black feathers and diamonds just as a soap opera queen should! So how do you get a job that lasts 50 years? You bang down doors. No…I mean that literally.

On a hot summer’s day in 1960, Eileen was treading the pavement going from agents office to agents office. After her bluff did not work at the William Morris agency that “I have an appointment with Mr. William Morris”, she went on to the next name on her list, William McCaffrey. When knocking on the door yielded no results, she knocked/pounded a little harder therefore knocking the door off it’s hinges (well…it WAS being repaired and so therefore loose). That accidental stunt landed Eileen her first agent. Shortly thereafter she  landed the role of Lisa Grimaldi ‘for just a few episodes’ on ATWT. Her Asheville, North Carolina sweetness connected with the viewers but not with Eileen. Eileen didn’t like being the ‘good girl’ Lisa Grimaldi – too boring. So she schemed to spice things up. When not allowed to change the plots or staging directions, she changed her character simply by using her voice. She said the same sweet dialog “but as I said it, I thought the nastiest dirtiest thoughts and the words just came out differently – with a whole new meaning. It was live television, what could they do?” she recounted to Richard with a sly grin. The rest is television history.

Eileen Fulton speaks her mind

Eileen Fulton speaks her mind

Eileen’s determination is also show business legend. At one point Eileen held down three acting rolls at once. ATWT soap filming live, then 3 matinees of “Whose Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” and then evening performances of “The Fantastiks”. She had a speed record of getting from the CBS Grand Central Broadcasting studio to the Billy Rose Theater (now the Nederlander) on West 41st street in five minutes. Talk about determination! It’s a feat of determination that Elaine Stritch still talks about in her act today. Why did she stop? “I was exhausted!”.

Die hard fan Kevin Campbell meets Colleen Zenk

Die hard fan Kevin Campbell meets Colleen Zenk

Over the decades CBS tried to replace Eileen’s character of Lisa with another actress,  but the viewers would not have it. “You can’t lie to the audience” Eileen passionately insists.  Lisa/Eileen’s audience was so wrapped up in the nastiness of the character, Eileen was slapped by a Chanel wearing patron at SAKS Fifth Avenue and she also had to hire body guards because people simply couldn’t separate real life from fiction as they would try to slug her in the street. Well, Eileen slugged herself all the way to the banks with 5 lp recordings and two autobiographies under her belt, night club acts, movie rolls as well as many murder mystery novels to her credit as well.

Soap aficionado  Peggy Eason and husband meet their idol

Soap aficionado Peggy Eason and husband meet their idol

Sunday night under Richard’s loving guidance, two passions in acting came to light. Eileen strongly feels you can’t fake emotions and don’t glorify violence against women even in jest. When a scene came up that her character was to be taken across her husband’s knee and spanked, she refused to play the scene insisting to her directors “that’s abuse whether you realize it or not.” Eileen got her way and kept a high standard on the show for a long time.

ATWT 2001 cast

ATWT 2001 cast

Any ironies in her life? Yes. As a child she was fascinated that ivory soap bars would float on the water in the tub, “just like a piece of wedding cake.” Being left alone in the tub one afternoon as a child, her mother returned to find little Eileen had bitten away the edges of the tasting looking soap bar as she ‘foamed from the mouth.’ “Isn’t it ironic that for fifty years I had Procter and Gamble/Ivory Soap as my sponsor?!” she laughed.

Any grudges or unhappy memories? Yes, one. Eileen is not a great fan of Carol Burnett. There’s a grudge there. Seems Eileen came up with the idea of the comedic take-off on Carol’s show “As the Stomach Turns” yet she was never once asked to appear. But when Carol did the comedic take-off of “Sunset Boulevard/Norma Desmond”, Gloria Swanson was asked to appear. “I think it was jealousy” Eileen still quickly insists.

"As The Stomach Turns"

“As The Stomach Turns”

Eileen has played through fifty years of history, fashion fads, political turmoils and every heinous plot you can think of on TV soaps but on September 17, 2010, the “World” no longer turned to the heartbreak of the legions of fans of “As The World Turns.” All the more reason this rare intimate night with this TV icon was such a treat thanks to Richard Skipper.

'As The World Turns' stars Colleen Zenk and Eileen Fulton with Richard Skipper

‘As The World Turns’ stars Colleen Zenk and Eileen Fulton with Richard Skipper

Richard doesn’t just “read the book” as some interviewers may do, he gets to really know his guests and hence the magic of the evening is born. Many of her fans and also former cast member Colleen Zenk who played Barbara Ryan from 1978 till 2010 where in the audience. When asked during the question and answer part of the show if she still recalled her full legal show name, Eileen shouted: “Of course! I was married eight times, divorced three times and widowed four times. I’m Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Shea Colman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi Chedwyn!” (Take that Alexis Carrington!)

I had the surreal pleasure of having dinner with Eileen! (Thats me seated right next to her.)

I had the surreal pleasure of having dinner with Eileen! (Thats me seated right next to her.)

Richard Skipper’s web site: http://www.richardskipper.com/index.html



Photo of the day: “GREY GARDENS” BIG AND LITTLE EDIE ARE BACK IN GRAND CENTRAL – One of the most riveting, entertaining and yet sadly disturbing documentaries in the last 50 years is the story of Little and Big Edie in “Grey Gardens”
Grey Gardens film scene

Grey Gardens film scene

Grey Gardens 1975 film program

Grey Gardens 1975 film program

Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (1895–1977), known as “Big Edie”, and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (1917–2002), known as “Little Edie”, were the aunt and the first cousin, respectively, of former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The two women lived together at Grey Gardens for decades with limited funds in increasing squalor and isolation. The house was designed in 1897 by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe and purchased in 1923 by “Big Edie” and her husband Phelan Beale. After Phelan left his wife, “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” lived there for more than 50 years. The house was called Grey Gardens because of the color of the dunes, the cement garden walls, and the sea mist

Little and Big Edie

Little and Big Edie

In the fall of 1971 and throughout 1972, their living conditions—their house was infested by fleas, inhabited by numerous cats and raccoons, deprived of running water, and filled with garbage and decay—were exposed as the result of an article in the National Enquirer and a cover story in New York Magazine after a series of inspections (which the Beales called “raids”) by the Suffolk County Health Department. With the Beale women facing eviction and the razing of their home, in the summer of 1972 Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill provided the necessary funds to stabilize and repair the dilapidated house so that it would meet village codes.

Grey Gardens  film scene

Grey Gardens film scene

Albert and David Maysles became interested in their story and received permission to film a documentary about the women, which was released in 1976 to wide critical acclaim. Their direct cinema technique left the women to tell their own stories. The film went on to become an award wining Broadway Musical staring Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson; and then award wining film with  Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

After Big Edie died in 1977, Little Edie was forced to put Grey Gardens on the market. Edie was distraught when she found that most of the prospective buyers wanted nothing more than to demolish the home and build a brand new one on the beachfront lot; never one to waiver, Little Edie refused to sell the home to anyone that did not promise to restore the mansion to its former glory. Ben Bradlee, the former executive editor of The Washington Post, and his wife, the writer Sally Quinn, made that promise and bought Grey Gardens from Little Edie in 1979.

The home was fully restored, the gorgeous gardens were brought back to life, and a swimming pool was added. The home now hosts many parties and charity events yearly and has been featured in several architectural and home décor magazines. In the June 2003 issue of Town and Country, Sally Quinn says that her real estate agent initially tried to discourage her from buying the home; however, Little Edie was the ultimate salesman declaring, “All it needs is a coat of paint!”

So, it was to my great delight and surprise that perhaps “Big” and “Little Edie” aren’t really gone, they are just living in a grander home – Grand Central Terminal! I spotted the pair while rushing home and immediately was fascinated at the resemblance and fell in love with them.

The 'Edies' in discussion

The ‘Edies’ in discussion

Mother and daughter luggage

Mother and daughter luggage

Details/similarities to observe: They are homeless, the doubled Duane Reade bags are always a clue. They are enjoying some drinks people had left behind on other tables. Their luggage/belongings closely guarded nearby. Despite their homeless situation they are in good spirits and ‘impeccably’ dressed, oddly similar to the Beales. ‘Big Edie’ has the scarf over her head, matching all in black, the black nylons hide the swollen bandaged ankles, the diamond studded shoes make her feel pretty. ‘Little Edie’ matches mom in all black, with head band to match. Daughter dotes on mom looking lovingly into her over made face. Their desperate situation hasn’t robbed them of their grande style and their elegance, they are in their own world. I only wish that I had the time to sit nearby and overhear their conversation. I will look for them on my next visit to Grand Central ‘Gardens’…


The documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE7E4Flp8p4

The musical  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdh8EoYoAoM


Grey Gardens today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqwuSFj7wMg

Grey Gardens 2013 Manhattan Mini Storage's subway ad

Grey Gardens 2013 Manhattan Mini Storage’s subway ad

Photos of the day: ♫♪ ON THE 20th CENTURY LIMITED TRAIN ♫♪

20th CENTURY LIMITED collage

Photos of the day: ♫♪ ON THE 20th CENTURY LIMITED ♫♪ – The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 to 1967, during which time it would become known as a “National Institution” and the “Most Famous Train in the World”. In the year of its last run,The New York Times said that it “…was known to railroad buffs for 65 years as the world’s greatest train”. The train traveled between Grand Central Terminal in New York City and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago along the railroad’s famed “Water Level Route”.
From February 1978 to March 1979, “On The Twentieth Century” was a big, splashy art deco Broadway musical starring none other than Imogene Coca, John Cullum and Madeline Kahn. Imogene stopped the show as Letitia Primrose with her rousing song “Repent!”.
"On The Twentieth Century" 1978 Broadway cast lp

“On The Twentieth Century” 1978 Broadway cast lp

Last weekend May 11-12, 2013, the extravagant 20th Century Limited made a much sought after reappearance at the Centennial Grand Central Terminal Train Show. The crowds were twice what the police expected. It was a two to three hour wait to see the ‘Limited’ alone, but it was worth it! The New York police made the very unpopular decision to shut the show down early to handle the overflow crowds. I was literally the last person to make it in line to see the famed art deco train at 1:00pm. Phew! The upside of that was, since I was the last, the Grand Central volunteers were so happy to see I was the last one – I got a private tour! I was dizzy with euphoria as prying eyes outside were looking in wondering ‘who is that guy?!”.
In the stainless steel operational kitchen.

In the stainless steel operational kitchen.

To experience this treasure from the past all alone is incredible. The sleek art deco fluid designs, the wonderful mint green art deco colors, the big deco furniture, the sheer elegance of every detail is exquisite. It was sensory overload. These were the days when travel was a luxury and an exciting experience you got dressed in your best for. Ladies with hat boxes, men with top hats and ties, children with their nannies in tow. I saw the whole train. The private dining room, the main dining room, the art deco bar, the sitting room, the sleeping quarters for the crew, the luxurious suites, the deco bathrooms, the all stainless steel kitchen-still operational. The best feature of all is the elegant high style art deco observation car in the back, shaped like a bullet. Wandering through the train James Bond’s intrigue with the adjoining rooms in “From Russia With Love” came to mind. Marilyn Monroe in her upper sleeping berth of “Some Like It Hot”, the romantic and thrilling memories were everywhere. I was told the most oft asked question asked upon seeing the sleeping berths was “Where’s Marilyn?”. The train is privately owned and you can rent it for $14,000 a weekend to travel the scenic rails of America. Get 20 of your best friends together, dress in your vintage best and it’s worth it! ALL ABOARD !
The owner, way in the back of  'Star Trak Inc.', finally taking a rest in his domain.

The owner, way in the back of ‘Star Trak Inc.’, finally taking a rest in his domain.

YouTube documentary to the glamorous red carpet train: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjKHW8XkU9w



Photo of the day: GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL IS 100 YEARS AND 100 DAYS OLD TODAY – In the 1968 the city wanted to tear it down. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis stepped in and fought for it’s protection: 
“Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but for short term gain they ignore it and tear down everything that matters. Maybe… this is the time to take a stand, to reverse the tide, so that we won’t all end up in a uniform world of steel and glass boxes.”
Sadly enough, her statement is even more true today in the Mayor Bloomberg/Councilwoman Christine Quinn administration than it ever has been. One half million people a day wonder at the awe of this magnificent saved building. With the greed that is so prevalent in our city today, with buildings being torn down left and right in favor of monsterous soul-less glass boxes – how many buildings are we to loose?…
Visit Grant Central’s web site for their calendar of centennial events: http://www.grandcentralterminal.com/events
Marilyn Grand Central



New York Transit Museum’s 11th Annual Holiday Train Show at Grand Central


My sweet friend from Finland Nana Kautto and I were doing our own little tour of NYC and found this amazing train display. We were instantly turned into little children with our mouths agape and eyes huge with wonderment. This is so awesome! Funny thing is now…NYC has a mountain range with a ski chalet (well…a pass-through mountain is kinda required with a model train set).  Grand Central Terminal turns 100 in 2013 and they’re starting the party early with their 11th annual Holiday Train Show! In a brand new layout by Lionel Trains, model Metro-North and New York Central trains depart from a miniature Grand Central on their way North on a 34′ long, two-level “O” gauge layout. Vintage model trains from the Museum’s collection are on display joined by stunning New York Central railroad posters harkening back to the Terminal’s heyday as the nexus of long distance and commuter train travel. Presented by the New York Transit Museum.


New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store Grand Central Terminal, Shuttle Passage, next to Station Master’s Office Monday – Friday 8 am to 8 pm Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day FREE ADMISSION Visit or shop online at www.mta.info/museum


COUNTING THE DAY’S RECEIPTS: “I could just die without my Starbucks coffee in the morning.” “I always get the giant popcorn at the movies.” “I could just die for a pair of Louboutin shoes!” “I got great seats to see the game.” “Cigarettes are so expensive.” “Do you have a dishwasher in your apartment?” “Time for a mani and pedi.” “Let’s order Chinese.”
There but for the grace of God go I.

Photo of the day: THE LONG GOODBYE

THE LONG GOODBYE: It’s 1:12 am, he doesn’t want to go, she doesn’t want to go. The afterglow of the day is too great. His train leaves at 1:16 am. They have four more minutes to nuzzle and hold onto each other, not realizing they are experiencing the rare moment of being completely alone in Grand Central Station.

Photo of the day: GUMBY

GUMBY!: Black leather vest in a heat wave, black work-out gloves, greased down black hair, pierced ears, gun tattoo, torpedoes tattoo, voodoo tattoo, skull tattoo, chains, black harem-like pants over black leggings and . . . 

a Gumby bag – of course!

(Grand Central 7 train subway station, 11:30pm.)

From the gallery: ‘WHERE IS MY MAN?’

WHERE IS MY MAN?: It’s thirty-seven minutes after twelve noon, lunch was to be at twelve. ‘Where is my man? Should I have told him it’s his? Is it his? Who was that guy?? What was his name? Should I have worn this top? Do I want a burger or a pizza? How much longer should I wait? Why doesn’t he answer his phone? Fries or a salad? Where is my man?’