John L. Stoddard (1850-1931) was an American writer and intrepid traveller. His globetrotting experiences were recounted in a series of lectures throughout America and were later published – eventually adding up to ten volumes.
The band leader at one of Gatsby's parties refers to this 'sensation' at the Carnegie Hall. However, little 'real' jazz of the era is mentioned in the book, rather it's the pop[ular] songs of the time that take prominence: 'The Sheik of Araby', 'Ain't We Got Fun?' and 'Three O'Clock in the Morning'.
The busiest train station in North America, New York's Pennsylvania Station (commonly known as 'Penn Station') was completed in 1910.
It was a sparkling architectural example of the Beaux-Arts style. To great public outcry, it was demolished in 1963 to make way for the construction of Madison Square Garden, an indoor sporting arena. The railway terminal was rebuilt underground.
Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.
- "Farewell to Penn Station," New York Times editorial, October 30, 1963
Prohibition (1919-1933). The name stemmed from the hiding of full hipflasks in the legs of boots.
In 1919, the Volstead Act was passed in America, prohibiting the sale, purchase, production and consumption of all alcohol. It was subverted from the second it went into effect, and America consumed an ocean of booze througout the 1920s.
Prohibition led to an unparallelled rise in organised crime, and the act had a significant effect on mortality rates – not simply through crime but also poisoned 'hooch' brewed in dirty, makeshift bathroom distilleries by bootleggers.
Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934) was a German statesman, World War One field marshal and the second President of Germany (from 1925 to 1934).
The infamous Hindenburg zeppelin that crashed in 1937 was named in his honour.