Speaking of “White Christmas,” which we almost had this year before a windy rainstorm washed away last week’s snow accumulation, here’s the house on Beekman Place and East 50th Street where the composer lived.
#17 Beekman Place, on the corner of East 50th, is home to the permanent UN mission of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the third of the so-called Benelux European states: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It is a small country of a little more than a half million population, bordered by Belgium, France and Germany, and is the last remaining world government ruled by a grand duke. Luxembourg is the world’s second largest investment fund center (after the United States), the most important private banking center in the eurozone and Europe’s leading center for reinsurance companies, according to wikipedia.
French, German and the native Luxembourgish are spoken there.
#17 was home to one of the grand old names in pop music, Irving Berlin, from 1947 until his death at age 101 in 1989. Berlin wrote countless classics of the American songbook, including the “unofficial” national anthem, “God Bless America,” as well as “White Christmas,” Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Always,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and hundreds of instantly recognizable others. “White Christmas” even returned Bing to the Billboard chart in December 2020.