Celina De Dio and Her Dog and Pony Show

Kensico Vaudeville Project #14 Name: Celina De Dio Act: Animal Trainer Born: About 1872, Germany Died: 12 November 1935, Wards Island, Manhattan A dog and pony show is such a common colloquial term today. But this was the act of German-born performer Celina De Dio. After a short career in London variety halls as a dancer, De Dio became an animal trainer. She was always on the bottom tier of vaudeville. For ten years she Continue Reading →

A Life Lost Too Soon, Comedian Richy Craig, Jr.

Kensico Vaudeville Project #11 Name: Richy W. Craig, Jr. Act: Comedian, Dancer, Singer Born: November 17, 1902, Manhattan Died: November 28, 1933, Manhattan What could be worse for a performer: suffering through tuberculosis for seven years, or watching Milton Berle steal your act? To Richy W. Craig, Jr., both happened. When he was buried in the NVA burial ground he was only thirty-one years old. The New York Post called Craig “a vaudevillian of dry Continue Reading →

Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates

The Kensico Vaudeville Project was launched in 2015. After a break it will return with updates in 2017-2018. This project is to document the vaudeville performers who are interred in the National Vaudeville Association burial grounds in Kensico Cemetery in Westchester County. These are individuals who have biographies written so far. More will be added to this list. Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates: Nettie Kelley Adams – Singer Charles Ahearn – Cyclist Anna Bylund Anderson – Continue Reading →

Return of the Babe Ruth Slept Here Tours

I am going to be offering my Upper West Side walking tour weekly in July and August. If you love the Jazz Age celebrities, this is the walk for you. I am having it on Wednesdays at 12:00 Noon: July 6, July 13, July 20, July 20, August 3, August 10, August 17, August 24, and August 31. Come along on a walking tour of the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights with a focus Continue Reading →

Veterans Day Walking Tour at Cypress Hills National Cemetery

Veterans Day is on Wednesday, Nov. 11, but I am holding a walking tour on Sunday, Nov. 8, Noon, to honor the holiday. Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills National Cemetery is the only National Cemetery in New York City. I started going there in 2010 when I was researching my Governors Island book. In 1886, the U.S. Army closed the post cemetery that served Fort Columbus (today Fort Jay), and moved all of the graves to Cypress Continue Reading →

Jazz Age Lawn Party

It was the 10th anniversary of the Jazz Age Lawn Party, and I don’t see how it could get any more perfect. Once more, Michael Arenella has pulled off another fantastic weekend on Governors Island. The Brooklyn bandleader and his team produced a fantastic event that had a wonderful turnout. The weather cooperated and it was a warm and sunny weekend for live jazz, shows, cocktails, and special events. Read more at my Governors Island Explorer’s Guide.

Rudolph Carpos, the Clown of Vaudeville Days

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 10 Name: Rudolph Carpos Act: Clown Born: 9 Sept 1875, Vienna, Austria Died: 4 Nov 1935, New York City There are two different gravestones for Rudolph Carpos, a professional clown who was beloved by vaudeville audiences. He was born Rudolph Karp on 9 September 1875 in Vienna, Austria. In 1914 he toured Sydney and Newcastle, Australia, before sailing to Hawaii aboard the Ventura. During World War I he registered for the Continue Reading →

Follies Girl and Sister Act, Showgirl Victorinne Coscia

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 9 Name: Victorinne Coscia Act: Dancer Born: 18 April 1898, Pennsylvania Died: 8 May 1961, New York City This is the grave of a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl who was in two of the greatest casts ever assembled, the back-to-back legendary Follies of 1922 and 1923. Dancer Victorine Voltaire was a teenager when Flo Ziegfeld cast her; her two younger sisters, Jeanne and Rita, were also dancers. (Sister acts were a particular Continue Reading →

Sig Mealey: From the Follies to Babe La Tour’s Bed

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 8 Name: Sig Mealey Act: Acrobat Born: 20 June 1881, possibly Sweden Died: 1951 Sig Mealey was an accomplished acrobat who appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1909, on the same bill with headliners Nora Bayes and Eva Tanguay, at the Grand Opera House. He was briefly married to burlesque and vaudeville star Babe La Tour. He’s buried in the National Vaudeville Association burial ground with his real and stage name. Continue Reading →

The Kid Acrobat James Bird

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 7 Name: James Bird Act: Acrobat Born: About 1875 Died: 21 August 1935, New York City In 1890 James Bird’s name appeared in the New York Times, and it wasn’t in the theater department. The headline says it all: “Minors in the Law’s Eyes” and tells: “The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children… cited Marcus Jacobs and Robert Nelson, managers, respectively, of H. R. Jacobs’s Third Avenue Theatre and Continue Reading →