Thursday, September 1, 2005

Houdini's NYC boyhood home today

Site of the Weiss home today.

A modern condo now stands at the site of 305 East 69th Street where the Weiss family lived while Houdini was a teen. How ironic that this neighborhood which was once a refuge for poor Jewish immigrates is today among the most expensive places to live in New York City. Oh to be a slum lord with foresight in 1880!

Just up the street is the site of Mrs. Leffler's boarding house at East 79th Street where the Weiss family first stayed upon their arrival in New York. Incredibly, the building still stands and would be recognizable to Houdini today.

Mrs. Leffler's boarding house.

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Hotel Shelton pool is no more

The Hotel Shelton in New York City is now the Marriott, but it still looks much as it did in Houdini's day. Even the hotel restaurant still bares the name "Shelton Grill."

However, I was disappointed to learn that the famous swimming pool -- where Houdini performed the remarkable feat of remaining submerged in a coffin with only minutes of air for over an hour -- is no longer there. Hotel staff told me the pool had been filled in about 2 or 3 years ago.

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