NYPR Archives & Preservation
September 26, 2014 - Volume 13  Issue 37
Edition # 625


1968: Patricia Marx interviews dancer Edward Villella, one of the leading dancers at the New York City Ballet under George Balanchine. Villella discusses how he became interested in ballet as a child, and how he knew that it was a venue that he had to pursue.

1983: Chuck Wachtel talks about his third book and first novel, Joe the Engineer. The main character is a Vietnam veteran working as a water meter reader in Richmond Hill, Queens. Wachtel says the story is informed by his own working-class background on this edition of The Reader's Almanac.
Shirley Zak Hayes
By the time Shirley Zak Hayes joined WNYC in June, 1966 as the station's first full-time woman announcer, she had already distinguished herself as a community activist by leading the grass-roots fight against Robert Moses' plan for a four lane highway through Washington Square Park. This activism was duly noted in Jane Jacob's 1961 book, The Life and Death of Great American Cities.

Hayes hosted the overnight classical music program While the City Sleeps and created, produced and hosted the shows Landmark Reports and Planning Board Reports. Hayes produced and announced for WNYC for 10 years and was among earliest full-time woman radio announcers in New York City. She worked hard to break into the 'boys club' of announcing, but her efforts to obtain a management position at the station, though active, were unsuccessful. (Photo: Alfred Tropea, WNYC Archive Collections)


Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, spoke to thousands at City Hall and over WNYC following the ticker tape parade in her honor on August  27, 1926.

"City Hall was draped in bunting, thousands [of people] waved flags, and the noise upon Trudy's arrival was deafening.  She was led up spiraling stairs into the rotunda…Whalen had gone all out for the celebration…On each side she was flanked by army and navy officers and members of the mayoral committee.  On the balcony of the chamber, a band played patriotic hymns, and Miss Virginia Choate Pinner sang the national anthem.  The welcoming ceremony was broadcast by the municipal radio station WNYC, and fifty amplifiers installed especially for the occasion relayed the remarks to those outside…She told the mayor she had done it for her country and thanked both New Yorkers and German-Americans for their support…"

Source: America's Girl: The Incredible Story of How Swimmer Gertrude Ederle Changed the Nation, by Tim Dahlberg, St Martins Press, 2009, pgs. 183-184.
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8th, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

  WQXR - 'Long Reads' from WWII

Thomas Pynchon on WQXR
"The bus driver was of the normal or placid crosstown type; having fewer traffic lights and stops to cope with than the uptown-and-downtown drivers, he could afford to be genial. A portable radio hung by his steering wheel, tuned to WQXR. Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Overture flowed syrupy around him and his passengers. As the bus crossed Columbus Avenue, a faceless delinquent heaved a rock at it. Cries in Spanish ascended to it out of the darkness. A report which could have been either a backfire or a gunshot sounded a few blocks downtown. Captured in the score's black symbols, given life by vibrating air columns and strings, having taken passage through transducers, coils, capacitors and tubes to a shuddering paper cone, the eternal drama of  love and death continued to unfold entirely disconnected from this evening and place..."
Thomas Pynchon, writing in V., Harper Perennial, 1986, pgs. 95-96.


WNYC celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. We're now officially a nonagenarian radio station. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions and milestones. This week: Woody Guthrie and WNYC.

Thanks go out this week to Karl Miller for donating a copy of Jacob Weinberg's Isaiah Oratorio to our collection. The February 21, 1948 WNYC American Music Festival broadcast was the first performance of the work.

Thanks also go out this week to Marc Siegel, brother of former WNYC Director Seymour N. Siegel for donating valuable books and discs from Sy's record collection. Included is a signed limited edition LP by WNYC veteran Tony Schwartz and a set of The Ways of Mankind, the first major foundation-funded project of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB).
The WNYC Facebook page has a station timeline (1922-present) with more than 600 milestones, photos, and links to audio. (Right hand column) This week:1931.
Do your friends want to subscribe to this newsletter? Have them sign up at: NEWSLETTERS.
 Check out the @mayorlaguardia Twitter feed straight from the WNYC broadcasts! His Honor now has 543 followers.

The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 2,180 followers @wnycarchives. We tweet daily reminders of, and links to, WNYC broadcasts from that day in the past.
We’ve got a Tumblr page too! More than 9,500 followers. Check it out at:
WNYC Archives in the…
Star Ledger

WNYC fruit box label Photoshopped by Cara McCormick for the 2006 April Fool's edition of the NYPR History Notes.
Copyright © 2014 New York Public Radio, All rights reserved.
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences