December 6, 1997


Last week we visited the stages, nickleodeons and World Expositions that attracted novelty lovers back in 1904. We'll continue our survey today, looking at the opera houses, the playing fields and race courses, the buildings and rolling mills, the emerging modes of transportation. Even print technology was changing. The London Daily Illustrated News published the world's first color newspaper photograph in 1904.

Music lovers were not deprived of hummable melodies, as they left the opera houses and concert halls. In Brno, Czechoslovakia, Leos Janacek's opera Jenufa premiered; Maurice Ravel's Scheherazade had its debut in Paris; Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly first fluttered to earth at Milan's La Scala. Those who preferred less lofty music were also humming-a new song, about the fun-loving Johnny and the 44-toting Frankie, as they done each other wrong.

There were also novelties better suited for the sporting set. In New York, the Polo Grounds opened on April 21st. Further up the Hudson River, the first known motorboat race was held on June 23rd. The boat Standard covered the 32-mile course in the shortest time, averaging a wave-busting speed of 19.67 nautical miles an hour, to win the gold cup. October 8th was the occassion for the first running of the Vanderbilt Cup auto race, on Long Island. George Heath drove his Panhard to victory; his average speed - 52.2 miles an hour.

In the industrial world a number of small iron and steel companies combined and were incorporated, in New Jersey, as Bethlehem Steel. New structures came on the scene as well - Daniel Hudson Burnham's Traction Terminal railroad station in Indianapolis; Clinton & Russell's Hotel Astor; Louis Comfort Tiffany's Long Island mansion at Oyster Bay.

Near the opposite end of the state, the first Rochester & Eastern Rapid Railway interurban cars reached Geneva. They may not have rivaled George Heath's 52 miles per-hour, but one of the Auburn branch trains did beat a horse in a staged race.

In New York City upper Manhattan continued its growth spurt when the city's Interborough Rapid Transit Company opened a subway running up the eastern side of the island from City Hall to 145th Street. And lawyer William Gibbs McAdoo oversaw construction of the first tunnel under the Hudson River, and founded the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad. The railroad broke more than physical ground. It took an novel step - paying female ticket sellers the same rate as it paid males.

For Classical ninety-one five, this is David Minor.