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The Secrets Of The Great City by Edward Winslow Martin

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and spacious hotels of the city, stipulating for the exclusive use of
it during their stay. He bought fine horses, carriages of the most
approved pattern, and furnished a _maison de joie_, where he reveled
every night. Many Philadelphians will long remember his daily freaks of
extravagance. I will relate one as a sample of the others. One day, as
a regiment stopped in the city on its way to the West, he presented it
with one thousand baskets of champagne--one basket to each man--a piece
of liberality that cost him twenty-five thousand dollars. After
spending half a million dollars in the Quaker City, he came to New York
in search of new excitements.

Here he met with persons who aroused a new feeling in his mind--that of
pride. Those capitalists and speculators who drive their fancy teams in
Central Park, who keep racehorses, who do their best to resuscitate the
fine old times of France under the Regency, were not, he was told, as
wealthy as himself. He was bound to live in style, lest he should be
taken for a shoddy contractor, who does not know how to spend his
money. Crazy, therefore, imitated the leaders of fashion--but in the
same way European wood-cutters are imitated by Australasian savages,
who, when they cut down a tree, wait for its fall until they are
crushed by its weight. He kept as many as forty horses; bet heavily at
the races, and lost every time; and hired a theatrical troupe, whom he
provided with costly costumes, and who played only for himself and a
few friends. One night he was so delighted with the saltatory skill and
_pirouettes_ of the dancing-girls of his troupe, that he presented each
of them, with a gracefulness of manner that Buckingham himself would
have envied, pearls and diamonds worth over one hundred thousand
dollars. In short, for a year, he indulged in all conceivable
dissipations. But Providence has in store for him one of those
visitations that, from time to time, startle and instruct the world.

"Crazy believes his main income can never be impaired. Besides the one
hundred thousand dollars he has in his pocket--the last of the money
found in the Irish widow's strong-box--he fancies he possesses
inexhaustible means in the oil well. On returning, he will learn that
that source of wealth is dried up, and his only fortune consists of the
fifty-two coats he has purchased inside of the past month."



The legitimate business of New York is greater than that of any other
place in America. The city being the chief centre of our commerce,
offers the greatest advantages of any in the land to persons engaged in
trade. Merchants at a distance buy whatever they can here, because they
like to visit the place, and can thus unite business with pleasure. Two
or three millions of strangers annually visit New York, and while here
expend large amounts in purchases. People in other parts of the country
attach an additional value to an article because it was purchased in
the great city. Besides this, one is apt to find the best article in
the market here, as it is but natural that the chief centre of wealth
should draw to it the best talent in the arts and trades.

Merchants from the provinces like the liberal and enterprising spirit
which characterizes the dealings of New York merchants. They can buy
here on better terms than elsewhere, and their relations with the
merchants of this city are generally satisfactory and pleasant.

Every thing in New York gives way to business. Private neighborhoods
disappear every year, and long lines of magnificent warehouses take the
places of the comfortable old mansions of other days. There is now
scarcely a respectable neighborhood for residences below Fourth street.
The business of the community is steadily advancing up the island. The
lower part of the city is being taken up with wholesale and commission
houses and manufacturers. The retail men are constantly going up
higher. Broadway now has scarcely a residence along its entire length;
Washington Square, Waverley and Clinton Places, and even Fifth Avenue
below Twenty-third street, are being rapidly invaded by business

Enterprise, energy, and talent, distinguish the business of this city.
A man capable of acquiring a fortune can acquire it here more readily
than elsewhere, but he must have patience. The world was not made in a
day, and fortune comes slowly, but it comes surely to the man who will
work faithfully and patiently for it.


The Harpers and Appletons, who stand at the head of the book trade in
New York, began as poor boys, and worked their way up to fortune slowly
and patiently. Cornelius Vanderbilt was a poor boatman. Daniel Drew was
a drover. A. T. Stewart an humble, struggling shop-keeper. One of the
most noted bank presidents of the city began by blacking a pair of
boots. He did his work well. These are noted instances, but there are
thousands of merchants in the city doing comfortable businesses, some
of whom will be millionaires, who began poor and friendless. They have
worked faithfully and patiently, and their lives are examples to all


Many capitalists have made their fortunes by successful operations in
real estate. This must not be classed with speculations in bonds or
stocks. Of course, one may be cheated in buying real estate, as well as
in any other purchase; but as a general rule, he who invests his money
in houses or lands, gets the full value of it. The rapid growth of the
city has increased the value of property in the upper sections at an
amazing rate, and has made the fortune of every one who held land in
those sections. The Astors, A. T. Stewart, Claflin, Vanderbilt, Drew,
and hundreds of others who were wise enough to foresee and believe in
the future of New York, have made handsome fortunes on the investments
made by them a few years ago.

In 1860 a gentleman purchased a handsome house in a fashionable
neighborhood. It was a corner house, and fronted on Fifth Avenue. He
paid fifty thousand dollars for it. He spent twenty-five thousand more
in furnishing and fitting up. His friends shook their heads at his
extravagance. Since then he has resided in the house, and each year his
property has increased in value. A few months ago he was offered nearly
three hundred thousand dollars for the house and furniture, and refused
it, declaring his belief, that in ten years more the property will be
worth over half a million.

A farm near the Central Park that could not find a purchaser seven
years ago at a few thousands, sold six months since, in building lots,
for as many millions.

We might multiply these instances, but the above are sufficient to
illustrate this branch of our subject.

Rented property pays handsomely. As much as twenty per cent. on the
value, is often received as the rent of a dwelling, and some of the
best Broadway stores bring their owners one or two hundred thousand
dollars annually. As all rents are paid in advance, and security
required for the larger ones, the owner is comparatively safe in his



The fashionable shopping points are along Broadway, from Canal street
to Twenty-third street, and in some of the cross streets between these
thoroughfares. The principal are Stewart's, Lord & Taylor's, and Arnold
& Constable's.


The up-town or retail store of A. T. Stewart & Co., is located on
Broadway, between Ninth and Tenth streets. It extends back to Fourth
Avenue, and covers the entire block, with the exception of the corner
of Broadway and Ninth street, which is occupied by the famous picture
dealers, Groupil & Co. This break in the building of Mr. Stewart, gives
the whole edifice, as seen from Broadway, an awkward appearance. It is
said that the great merchant is anxious to buy the corner, but will not
pay the price asked, as he regards it as extortionate. The building is
a handsome iron structure, in the style of arcade upon arcade, and is
painted white, which causes some persons to call it a "marble palace."
It contains in its various departments everything pertaining to the dry
goods trade. It has also a department for ready-made clothing for
women and children, and persons can here purchase at a moment's warning
a complete outfit in any style their means will allow. The articles
range from simplicity to magnificence in style and quality.

The rooms are always full of purchasers. The city trade proper is
immense, and the majority of the strangers coming to the city do their
shopping here.

[Illustration: A. T. Stewart's Wholesale Store.]

No one cares to come to New York without seeing Stewart's, and all go
away satisfied that the immense establishment is one of the sights of
the metropolis.


The store of this well-known firm is located at the corner of Broadway
and Grand streets. It is one of the most beautiful in the city, is
built of white marble, and is handsomely ornamented. Its ample windows
contain the finest display of goods to be seen in America. The
interior, though not so large as Stewart's, is quite as handsome, and
the various departments are managed with as much skill and system. The
ready-made department is a feature worth examining. The establishment
has not so large a trade as Stewart's, but rivals it in the excellence
of its goods, and in the taste displayed in selecting them. Many
persons prefer this store to any in the city.


Arnold & Constable are now located at the corner of Canal and Mercer
streets, but will soon move into their elegant marble store, now in
process of erection at the corner of Broadway and Nineteenth street.
This is one of the favorite houses of New York. Its trade is large and
fashionable, and it divides the honors of the city with those already


A stranger, in entering a first-class dry goods store in this city, is
at once struck with the order and system which prevail throughout the
establishment. The door is opened for him by a small boy in entering
and departing. As he enters, he is politely accosted by a gentleman,
who inquires what he wishes to purchase. Upon stating his business, he
is shown to the department where the article he is in search of is to
be found, and the eye of his conductor is never off of him until he is
safe under the observation of the clerk from whom he makes his
purchase. This is necessary to guard against robbery. So many small
articles lie exposed in the store that a thief might easily make off
with something of value but for this watchfulness. Private detectives
are employed by the principal houses, and as soon as a professional
shop-lifter enters, he or she is warned off the premises by the
detective, whose experience enables him to recognize such persons at a
glance. A refusal to take this warning is followed by a summary arrest.

In paying for his goods, the purchaser notices that the salesman makes
a memorandum of the articles and sends it with the money to the cashier
by a small boy. If any change is due the purchaser, the boy brings it
back. The articles are also taken at the same time and are examined and
remeasured to see that the sale is correct. The purchase is then either
delivered to the buyer or sent to his residence, as he may desire.

The boys to which we have referred are called "cash boys," and are now
a necessity in any well regulated establishment. Stewart employs nearly
three hundred of these boys in his upper store, and one hundred in his
lower store. Good, steady cash boys are in demand. Intelligence is at a
premium in this department. Let a boy take a proper recommendation from
his public school, or Sunday school teacher, and if he is intelligent,
healthy, and cleanly, he will be at once taken on trial. He starts out
with a salary of $3 per week. If he shows capacity he is promoted as
rapidly as possible. The highest salary paid is $8 per week, but he may
rise to be a salesman if he will work steadily and intelligently. These
boys generally have a lively and bright look. They act as cash boys,
carry parcels out to customers, attend the doors, and do sundry other
useful acts. They are strictly watched, and any improper conduct is
punished with an instantaneous dismissal. They generally belong to
respectable families, and live at home with their parents. Many of them
attend the night schools after business hours, and thus prepare for the
great life struggle which is before them. Such boys are apt to do well
in the world. Many however, after being released from the stores,
imitate the ways of the clerks and salesmen. They affect a fastness
which is painful to see in boys so young. They sport an abundance of
flashy jewelry, patronize the cheap places of amusement, and are seen
in the low concert saloons, and other vile dens of the city. It is not
difficult to predict the future of these boys.



New York is the paradise of impostors. They thrive here. They practice
all manner of tricks upon the unwary, and are off before one can lay
hands on them. Sometimes they are caught, tried, and sentenced to the


Several months ago, a foreigner, calling himself a Russian Count, and
pretending to be Colonel of Engineers in the Russian Imperial service,
made his appearance in this city, and announced himself as the agent of
his Government to make contracts with certain engineering firms in this
country. He hired an office down town, and would occasionally show, to
those whose acquaintance he had made, plans of the work that was being
executed under his supervision. He brought with him letters of
introduction from many of the leading men of Europe, and these, united
to an easy bearing and good address, sufficed to gain him admittance
into the most refined and exclusive society in this and neighboring
cities. At Washington, he was treated with marked consideration, was
shown through the public buildings, and was allowed to inspect the Navy
Yards at Washington and Brooklyn, and the fortifications in this city
and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the expected remittance from Russia
failed, from some unknown reason, to arrive, and the Baron was forced
to appeal to his American friends for loans, and he borrowed, from
various persons, sums ranging from $500 to $2,000, and amounting in the
aggregate to $25,000 or $30,000. To one gentleman, who had loaned him
at various times $1,500, the Baron said, recently, that his long-
expected remittance had arrived, and he made an appointment with his
creditor to meet him on a certain day and go with him to a broker's to
procure currency for his Russian gold. In calling at the office of the
Baron on the day named, the gentleman found him busily engaged in
explaining some of the plans to a stranger, and as it would be
impossible for him to go to the broker's on that day he begged the
indulgence of his friend and named another day. Before that day arrived
the Baron had disappeared, and the police, on being informed of the
circumstance, made inquiry, and ascertained that a man answering the
description of him sought for had taken passage in a steamer for


Men and women are always to be found in the City, seeking aid for some
charitable institution. They carry books and pencils, in which each
donor is requested to inscribe his name and the amount given. Small
favors are thankfully received, and they depart, assuring you in the
most humble and sanctified manner that "the Lord loveth a cheerful
giver." If you cannot give to-day, they are willing to call to-morrow,
next week--any time that may suit your convenience. You cannot insult
them, for like Uriah Heep, they are always "so 'umble." You find it
hard to suspect them, but in truth, they are the most genuine impostors
to be met with in the City. They are soliciting money for themselves
alone, and have no connection with any charitable institution whatever.


One-armed, or one-legged beggars, whose missing member, sound as your
own, is strapped to their bodies so as to be safely out of sight, women
wishing to bury their husbands or children, women with borrowed or
hired babies, and sundry other objects calculated to excite your pity,
meet you at every step. They are vagabonds. God knows there is misery
enough in this great City, but nine out of ten of these people are
impostors. If you give them money it will go for drink.


A well known banker, who acted as agent for one of the numerous
charitable associations of this city, was called upon one day by a lady
of great elegance, who said she had come at the instance of Mrs.----,
naming one of the lady managers of the association, to ask for one
hundred dollars, for which she had immediate need. As the lady referred
to had never drawn on him for money, except by means of a regular
cheque, the banker suspected that something was wrong, and informed his
visitor that it would not be convenient for him to let her have the
amount just then, and asked her to call the next day. She departed, and
the next morning was punctual to her engagement. Meanwhile, the banker
had ascertained from the lady manager that the request made of him was
an imposture. He was not in when his visitor called the second time,
but his son met the lady, and, as he knew her, expressed his surprise
at seeing her there. Overwhelmed with confusion, she took her
departure, saying she would come back when the banker returned. She did
not make her appearance, and the son, in mentioning her visit to his
father, was informed of its object. It was agreed to pass the matter
over in silence, and a note to that effect was dispatched by the young
man to the lady--she replied, thanking him for his silence, she said
she was in need of money, and did not wish her husband to know it, and
hoped to raise it in such a manner, and return it before the imposture
should be discovered. She was a woman of good social position, and the
wife of a wealthy citizen.



Strangers have observed with surprise the quietness which reigns within
the city limits on the Sabbath day. The streets have a cleaner, fresher
look, and with the exception of the Bowery and Chatham street, are
closed to trade. The wharves are hushed and still, and the river and
bay lie calm and subdued in the light of the Sabbath sun. Everybody
seems trying to look as neat and as clean as possible. The cars run on
Sunday, as in the week. This is necessary in so large a city, as
without them many persons would be unable to attend church, their
houses being miles away from their places of worship.


In the morning, the various churches are well filled, for New Yorkers
consider it a matter of principle to attend morning service. The
streets are filled with persons hastening to church, the cars are
crowded, and handsome carriages dash by, conveying their wealthy owners
to their only hour of prayer.

The churches are nearly all above Bleecker street. Trinity, St. Paul's,
the old Dutch Church in Fulton street, and a few seamen's bethels along
the river, are the only places of worship left to the dwellers in the
lower part of the city, who are chiefly the poor and needy. Little or
no care is taken of this part of the population, and yet it would seem
good missionary ground. Trinity tries hard to draw them into its fold,
but no one else seems to care for them.

The up-town churches are well filled in the morning. The music, the
fame of the preacher, the rank of the church in the fashionable world,
all these things help to swell the congregation. They are generally
magnificent edifices, erected with great taste, and at a great cost.
They crowd into fashionable neighborhoods, being often located so close
to each other that the music of one will disturb the prayers of the
congregation of the other. The plea for this is that the old down town
locations were out of the way for the majority of the congregations.
Many of the new sites, however, are quite as hard to reach. The pews
rent for sums far beyond the purses of persons of moderate means, so
that the majority of New Yorkers are compelled to roam about, from
church to church, in order to hear the gospel at all. At the majority
of the churches, strangers are welcome, and are received with courtesy,
but at others they are treated with the utmost rudeness if they happen
to get into some upstart's pew, and are not unfrequently asked to give
up their seats.

There are intellectual giants in the New York pulpit, but they are very
few. The majority of the clergy are men of little intellect, and less
oratorical power. They are popular, though, with their own cures, and
the most of them are well provided for. They doubtless understand how

"Preach to please the sinners,
And fill the vacant pews."


Morning service over, an early dinner follows. Then everybody thinks of
enjoying himself if the weather is fine, or of sleeping the afternoon
away if the day is too wet to go out. The cars are filled with persons
_en route_ for the Park to pass a pleasant afternoon--the drives of
that beautiful resort are filled with the elegant equipages of the
fashionables, and the churches are comparatively deserted. Almost every
livery hack, buggy, or other vehicle in the city, is engaged for
Sunday, several days beforehand, and the poor horses have no mercy
shown them on that day.

The low class theatres and places of amusement in the Bowery and
adjacent streets are opened toward sunset, and vice reigns there
triumphant. The Bowery beer gardens sell lemonade and soda water, and
such beverages as are not prohibited by the excise law, and the
orchestra and orchestrions play music from the ritual of the Roman
Catholic church.

The excise law forbids the sale of spirituous or malt liquors on the
Sabbath, and the bar rooms are closed from midnight on Saturday until
Monday morning. The police have orders to arrest all persons violating
this law. There is no doubt, however, that liquor can be obtained by
those who are willing to incur the risk necessary to get it; but as the
majority do not care to take this trouble, the North river ferries are
thronged on Sunday, by persons going over to New Jersey for their beer,
wine, and stronger drinks. There is no Sunday law in that State, and
Jersey City and Hoboken are only five minutes distant from New York.

At night the churches are better attended than in the afternoon, but
not so well as in the morning. Many ministers will not open their
churches for afternoon service, because they know they cannot fill a
dozen pews at that time. Their congregations are driving in the Park--
the young men, perhaps, in Hoboken, after lager.

Sunday concerts are now becoming a feature in New York life. These are
given at the principal halls of the city, and the music consists of
selections of sacred gems from the master pieces of the great
composers. The performers are known all over the land for their musical
skill, and the audiences are large and fashionable. No one seems to
think it sinful thus to desecrate God's holy day, and it must be
confessed that these concerts are the least objectionable Sunday
amusements known to our people.

The reason of all this dissipation on the Sabbath is plain. People are
so much engrossed in the pursuit of wealth, that they take no time in
the week for rest or amusement. They wait for Sunday to do this, and
grudge the few hours in the morning that decency requires them to pass
in church.


Scarcely a Sunday passes without numerous arrests being made for
violations of the excise law. These cases are tried before the Board of
Excise Commissioners, who, if the offence be sufficiently gross, take
away the license of the accused party, or punish him according to the
terms of the law. Some queer pictures of humanity are exhibited at
these trials.



The Detective Corps of New York consists of twenty-five men, in change
of Captain Young. They are men of experience, intelligence, and energy.
They are well skilled in the art of ferreting out crimes, and generally
succeed in the objects which engage their attention. They have a
distinct organization from the Metropolitan Police, though they are
subject to the orders of the Commissioners.

It requires an unusual amount of intelligence to make a good detective.
The man must be honest, determined, brave, and complete master over
every feeling of his nature. He must also be capable of great
endurance, of great fertility of resource, and possessed of no little
ingenuity. He has to adopt all kinds of disguises, and is often subject
to temptations which only an honest man can resist. Any act, savoring
in the least of dishonesty, is punished by immediate expulsion from the


The men are always to be found at the police headquarters in Mulberry
street, where they have a separate apartment, when not on duty. They
are constantly engaged. Strangers coming to the city get drunk
overnight in places of bad repute and are robbed. Next morning they
come to ask the aid of the police in discovering their property. If
their statement of the circumstances of the case is true, they can
generally recover the lost articles through the aid of the detectives,
if they can be recovered at all. The force is in constant telegraphic
communication with other cities, and is always giving or receiving
intelligence of criminal matters and movements, so that if a crime is
committed in any city, the police force of the whole Union is on the
alert for the apprehension of the criminal.

The individuality of crime is remarkable. Each burglar has a distinct
method of conducting his operations, and the experience of the
detective enables him to recognize these marks or characteristics, in
an instant. Thanks to this experience, which is the result of long and
patient study, he is rarely at a loss to name the perpetrator of a
crime, if that person is a "professional." Appearances which have no
significance for the mere outsider are pregnant with meaning to him. He
can determine with absolute certainty whether the mischief has been
done by skilled or unskilled hands; whether it has been done hurriedly
or leisurely; and can in a few minutes decide upon the course which
ought to be pursued for the apprehension of the thief and the recovery
of the property.

"A man came into the Fourth Police Precinct, some time ago, and
complained that his house had been robbed. The thief had been pursued
without effect, but while running, he was observed to drop a chisel,
and to tear up a piece of paper, which he also threw away. Captain
Thorn, and a detective who was present, carefully examined the man
respecting the mode by which the entrance had been effected, the marks
left by the tools, the kind of property taken, and the action and
bearing of the thief while running away. After eliciting all the facts
that they could obtain, they both agreed that it had been done by a
certain gang. When this had been ascertained to their satisfaction, the
next thing to be done was to identify the individual or individuals
belonging to the said gang, who had committed the robbery. Captain
Thorn proceeded to gum over a piece of paper, on which he fitted
together the small bits of paper which the thief had thrown away. This
at once disclosed the name of the robber, who was well known to the
police as a member of the gang which Captain Thorn and the detective
had, from the indications afforded, judged to be the depredators. The
detective then said that the thief would certainly be found at one of
three places which he named. Three policemen were accordingly sent
after him, one to each of the places named; and the captain assured us
that the sun was not more certain to rise the next morning, than that
the man would be at the station-house. Now, how were the police enabled
to fix so readily on the depredators in this case? Simply by their
intimate knowledge of their style of working. They knew their marks
just as a man knows the handwriting of his correspondent. When they had
fixed upon the man who committed the robbery, their knowledge of all
his habits enabled them to predict with certainty where he would be
found, and to give such exact description of his person as would enable
any one who had never seen him to recognize him at a glance."


The necessary expenses of the detection of crime are often
considerable. Information must be obtained, even if it has to be paid
for liberally. Officers must be in concealment for weeks, and sometimes
for months. Long journeys must not unfrequently be made; and in a
hundred ways large expenditures will be called for. We were told of a
case where a treasury note of the government was counterfeited with
consummate skill, and it became a matter of vital importance to obtain
the plate from which the counterfeit was printed. One of the most
successful detectives was employed to work up the case, who soon found
that the cost of securing it would be so great that there was little
probability that the treasurer would audit his accounts. He therefore
told the government that the cost would be so great that he declined to
undertake it; but the possession of the plate, and the information that
its capture would give, were so exceedingly important, that the
detective was authorized to go on with it. He did so; the plate was
obtained; all the information sought for was procured, and the
counterfeiters and their abettors were captured. But it cost the
government one hundred and twenty thousand dollars to accomplish this
result. There were regular vouchers for every payment, and each was
carefully scrutinized and verified. There was no doubt whatever that
all the expenditures had been made in good faith, and with the utmost
economy. Doubtless the government felt that the possession of that
plate, and the knowledge gained, were worth all they had cost.


The following case, which occurred a few years ago, in a sister city,
will show how the detectives track and secure their game:

A terrible murder had been committed. The sods were scarcely heaped
upon the coffin of the murdered man when one of his murderers was
securely confined in the cells of the central station. The arrest was
one of unusual difficulty. When the detectives visited the scene of the
murder, the only clue to the perpetrators was a blood stained
handkerchief and the gag used in strangling their victim. With these
faint traces there was little hope of ferreting out the murderer, but
Detective Joshua Taggart assumed the task. Returning to the store, he
reconnoitered the premises with new diligence. A new trace was then
discovered. A new mortise chisel, wrapped in a piece of brown paper,
lay on a shelf in the room. The chisel was not the property of the
proprietors of the dental depot. It had plainly been brought there by
the burglars. To trace it then became the task of the detective. Upon
it depended his only hope of tracing the murder from the dead porter to
the burglars who had killed the unoffending warden.

There were none of the usual evidences of crime in the robbery of the
store. A skilled detective knows every thief within his jurisdiction,
and their operations are to him familiar and easily recognized. The
appearance of a forced door will indicate the man who burst it open. An
experienced detective will trace a burglar by the manner of opening a
door as readily as a bank teller will recognize the hand writing of one
of his depositors. The size of the jemmy used, the manner in which it
is applied, the place at which a house is entered, whether at the door,
the window, the roof, or the cellar grating, are all so many unerring
indications to the detectives of the burglars whose operations he
traces. But in this case there was no burglary committed. It was simply
murder and robbery. The murdered man had either opened the door of the
wareroom, or the murderers opened the door with the keys taken from the
gagged or insensible porter. The removal of the goods betokened the
robbery. Gold, silver and platina to the value of three thousand
dollars were taken away, but there were no traces or evidence of the
burglars. A murdered man lay dead in the entry, a number of shelves
stood empty against the wall, but neither clue nor trace, footprint nor
finger mark, existed to aid or direct the detective's sagacity in his
search. Detective Taggart knew this. He felt the difficulty of his
situation, and he preserved the chisel as the first link of the
evidence he was to forge and fasten into a chain of convicting proof.
He took the chisel home. The trade mark could not guide him. Hundreds
of the firm's chisels were weekly sold in the city, and the clue seemed
losing its power, when a few figures on the back of the wrapping paper
inclosing the chisel arrested Taggart's attention. These figures were
evidently a calculation by a hardware dealer of the price of the tool,
the reduction by a slow hand of the business trade mark into the simple
value of the digits. To find the man who had made the memorandum on the
back of the paper was the first step in detecting the murderer.

Mr. Taggart visited the hardware dealers one by one until he despaired
of finding the one who sold the chisel. There was no evidence that the
tool had been purchased in Philadelphia. New York, Pittsburg, Baltimore
and Boston retail such chisels, and the probability of its purchase in
St. Louis was as strong as the idea of its purchase here. But Taggart
found the man who sold the chisel. A hardware dealer recognized the
calculation on the wrapper, and remembered the man who had bought it.
Two men, he said, came to the store. One was slender and tall, the
other was short and stout, with a heavy black moustache and black hair.
The latter bought the chisel. The pal stood in the background and said

This was the commencement of the case. Who the stout man was Taggart
could not surmise. It might be one of a score of thieves, and for four
days he could form no conception of the murderer's identity, until one
night, waking from a restless slumber, Huey Donnelly flashed like
thought across his mind, and running his memory back for the past few
weeks, he remembered that at the time the murder was committed Donnelly
was in the city. The great difficulty in tracing the case was passed.

Donnelly was at once watched. Who the second man was Taggart well
surmised. He followed Huey to every quarter of the city to see if he
communicated with his pal, who was with him when the chisel was
purchased--who was with him when the porter was murdered. But the
second murderer had fled. Taggart himself followed Donnelly night after
night, dogged him into every rum-mill and thieves' brothel, where he
tarried briefly or long, watching him at night until he went to bed,
but never found his pal, who is the associate criminal in the tragedy.
A week after Donnelly was spotted, Taggart found his pal had left the
city, and unless Donnelly was arrested he would also leave. Following
up the trail, he met Huey in Washington Square. Donnelly was leisurely
crossing when a hand was laid heavily on his shoulder. He turned and
faced the detective, who simply said:

'I want you, Donnelly.'

'What for?'


"When at the station, the salesman was sent for. Donnelly's black
moustache was gone. His face was shaved clean. He was placed in the
rogue's gallery. A number of men of similar build, both moustached and
clean face, were placed in the same room. The salesman was conducted to
the gallery. 'Point out the man who purchased the chisel,' was the
detective's command. Without hesitation or doubt, the salesman placed
his hand on Donnelly's shoulder. Then Taggart followed the second
murderer. He went to Baltimore, but he could get no further. All clue
was lost in that city, and the present lurking place of the confederate
of Donnelly is undiscovered. The necessity for keeping the arrest quiet
was removed, and now the detective calls to his aid the far reaching
influence of the press and the telegraph, that police authorities of
other cities may complete the work begun here, and render to justice
the other murderer, who is at liberty in spite of her laws."

It would require a volume to narrate all of the exploits of the
detectives, and so we shall content ourselves with the incidents
already given.

If, as we have said, persons seeking the aid of the police, would tell
the truth in their statements, the aid rendered them would be much more
efficacious and speedy; and, after all, it is useless to try to deceive
these keen students of human nature. The detective can tell from the
nature of the loss whether the statement of the circumstances is true
or false, for he knows that certain robberies take place only in
certain localities.

Persons are often indignant that those who have robbed them are not
arrested and held for trial. Undoubtedly this would be a very desirable
thing, but it is not always possible. Frequently no evidence can be
obtained against the guilty party, whose arrest would be a useless
expense to the city, and the detective in such cases is compelled to
content himself with the recovery of the property. The stolen goods
thus recovered and restored to their owners is stated on good authority
at two millions annually. [Footnote: Prison Association Report. 1866.]

In many cases the detective is very loth to arrest the culprit. It may
be the first offence of some youth, or the victim may have been forced
on by circumstances which an experienced officer can understand and
appreciate. In such cases he generally leans to the side of mercy, for
the men of the New York force are kind and humane. Their advice to the
party against whom the offence has been committed, is not to resort to
the law, but to try the offender again. In this way they have saved
many a soul from the ruin which an exposure and punishment would have
caused, and have brought back many an erring one to the paths of virtue
and integrity. There are men of tried honesty in this city to-day, men
holding responsible positions, whose lives,

"Could their story but be told,"

would verify this assertion.



Leave Broadway opposite the New York Hospital, and pass down Pearl
street in an easterly direction. Five minutes walking will bring you to
the abode of poverty and suffering, a locality which contrasts
strangely with the elegant thoroughfare we have just left. Cross Centre
street, and continue your eastward course, and a few minutes will bring
you to Park street. Turn short to the left, follow the line of Park
street, and in a few minutes you will see that blessed beacon light in
this great sea of human misery and sin, the "Five Points Mission." You
are now fairly in the heart of the Five Points district. It is a
horrible place, and you shudder as you look at it. The streets are dark
and narrow, the dwellings are foul and gloomy, and seem filled with
mystery and crime. It is the worst quarter of the city, and from here,
over to East River, you will scarcely find it any better.

Yet, bad as it is, it is infinitely better than the Five Points of
fifteen or even ten years ago. Then the place was notorious for its
crimes. Murders, robberies, outrages of all kinds, were of daily
occurrence. The officers of the law dared not enter the district for
the purpose of suppressing crime, and fugitives from justice found a
safe refuge here. A man who entered the district carried his life in
his hand, and unless he was either in secret or open league with the
denizens of the quarter, was tolerably sure of losing it. Now there is
vice and crime enough there, Heaven knows, but the neighborhood has
vastly improved. The steady advance of business and trade up the island
has broken up many of the vilest dens of the quarter, and has made
travel through its streets more constant. Besides this, the new police
system has made the neighborhood safe, except at certain hours of the
night, by thoroughly patrolling it, and promptly punishing disorder and
violence. The character of the inhabitants has also improved, and the
district now contains thousands who are poor without being criminal.
The disreputable classes have been scattered, too, and no longer herd
together around the "Old Brewery," which was once the chosen
headquarters of crime. The Mission now occupies that locality, and the
work of the Lord is going on where the Devil once reigned supreme.


Still, as we have said, crime and want are plentiful at the Five
Points. The Fourth, and Sixth wards, which constitute this district,
are known as the most wretched and criminal in the City. They are also
the most densely populated--one of them containing more people than the
entire State of Delaware.

The streets of this section of the city are generally narrow and
crooked, and the intense squalor and filth which disfigure them, cause
them to seem much darker than they really are. Every house is packed to
its utmost capacity. In some of these houses are to be found merely the
poor. In others the character of the inmates is such, that no policeman
will enter them alone, and not even in parties unless well armed.

These buildings seem overflowing with human beings. Half a million of
people are crowded into this and the adjacent quarters of the City. One
block of this district is said to contain three hundred and eighty-two
families. Dirt and filth of all kinds prevail.

[Illustration: A den in Baxter street.]

Few of the people can read or write, and the only education the
children receive is in crime. The houses are almost all entirely out of
repair. The stairways are ricketty, and seem on the point of giving way
beneath one's feet. The entries are dark and foul. As many as a dozen
people are crowded into a single room. Morality and decency are never
heard of. The cellars, so dark that one unaccustomed to them cannot see
a foot before him, without a bright light, are filled with wretched
inmates. Some of these have secret passages connecting them with other
buildings, and are used for purposes of crime, or they have hiding
places known only to the initiated, where the offender against the law
may hide from the police, or where a ruffian may conceal or imprison
his victim, without fear of detection. Rum, gin, whisky, and other
liquors of the vilest kind, are used in profusion here. Some of these
wretches never leave their dens, but remain in them "the year round,"
stupefied with liquor, to procure which their wives, children, or
husbands, will beg or steal. Thousands of children are born in these
foul places every year. They never see the light of day, until they are
able to crawl into the streets. They die at a fearful, but happy rate,
for they draw in with the air they breathe, disease of every

It is said that there are forty thousand vagrant and destitute children
in this section of the great city. These are chiefly of foreign
parentage. They do not attend the public schools, for they have not the
clothes necessary to enable them to do so, and are too dirty and full
of vermin to render them safe companions for the other children. The
poor little wretches have no friends, but the pious and hard-working
_attaches_ of the Missions which have been located in their midst. In
the morning those who have charge of them drive them out of their
dreadful homes to pick rags, bones, cinders, or any thing that can be
used or sold, or to beg, or steal, for they are carefully trained in
dishonesty. They are disgustingly dirty, and all but the missionaries
shrink from contact with them. Some of them have the fatal gift of
beauty, but the majority are old looking and ugly. From the time they
are capable of noticing any thing they are familiar with vice and crime,
for they see them all around them. They grow up surely and steadily to
acquire the ways of their elders. The boys recruit the ranks of the
pick-pockets, thieves, murderers, and "thugs" of the City; the girls
become waiters in the concert saloons, or street walkers, and sink
thence down to the lowest depths of infamy. Water street alone can show
a thousand proofs of this assertion.


A few years ago, there lived in the great city a little girl, so small
that no one would ever have thought her nine years old. Yet she had
passed nine sad years on earth. She lived with a couple who had a
cellar of their own at the Five Points. They were coarse, brutal
people, and spent the greater part of their time in drinking and
fighting. Little Nellie, for so we shall call her, went in rags, and
was frequently beaten with severity by those who called themselves her
parents, though no one knew whether she was their child or not. In the
long winters she almost perished with the cold, and was nearly half
famished with hunger. It was a wonder how she managed to live; for in
the coldest weather she was sent back and forth, through the freezing
streets, by her so-called parents, her only protection being a ragged
shawl, which she wrapped tightly around her head. Her little feet and
legs were bare and frost-bitten, and often left red tracks on the pure
white snow. At night her bed was a piece of old carpeting in a dark
corner of the cellar, where she cried herself to sleep, and wished she
could die. Young as she was, death was not terrible to her, for she
regarded it as a release from her sufferings. Had she known how to
pray, she would have prayed for it; but, in her ignorance she merely
wished to die.

Do not be shocked, reader, when we say she never prayed. The truth is
that, with the exception of the constant blasphemy of the people with
whom she lived, and of this she heard too much, she rarely heard of
God. Once she went into a church, and heard a man talk about Him in a
way she could not understand. When she heard the organ it sounded so
sweet that she thought God must be up there, and tried to see him; but
a great rough man put her out of the church, and told her it was no
place for such as her, (alas! God's house no place for the poor!) and
that if she ever came there again he would hand her over to the police.
She went away feeling shocked and hurt, and fully convinced that God
did not like beggars. Then she remembered how nice and warm the church
was, and how fine the people were dressed, and she began to wonder why
she had been made so poor and helpless.

"Ah! me," she sighed, "I'm not God's child. He wouldn't notice me, I'm
so poor, and dirty, and my feet are so frost-bitten."

She had no one to tell her how much God cares for the poor, how he
watches over them, and notes every good and bad deed done to them. She
thought he was careless of her; and when some one told her he could do
every thing, she wondered why he did not make her more comfortable, and
give her nice warm clothes to wear. Finally, little Nellie began to
think him a cruel, harsh God, and at last she came to hate him.
Terribly depraved, you will say, dear reader; but, alack, was she to
blame? God help us! there are many more like her in the great city.

When Nellie was eight years old, the husband of the woman with whom she
lived died, and the woman took to drinking harder than ever. This made
Nellie's lot worse than before the man's death. Then she had had some
brief respite from persecution; for, though the man had often beaten
her, he had sometimes saved her from the fury of his drunken wife. Now
there was no one to befriend her. The woman was rarely free from the
influence of liquor, and blows were showered upon the child more
frequently than ever. Poor little Nellie! her troubles increased every
day, and her desire to die became more eager. Sometimes she would go
down to the piers, and gaze on the dark waters that swept beneath them,
and would wonder if she would be at peace if she drowned herself. But,
though not afraid of death, the waters looked so fierce and angry that
they frightened her, and she would go away shuddering with a dread that
she could not understand. But for this, she would have sought in the
cool waves the rest for which she longed.

Matters went on from bad to worse, but at last they came to an end, but
not in the way Nellie wished. The woman with whom she lived began to
think that the child was old enough to be of some use to her, for she
was now nine years old. Alas! the use she made of her. There was
nothing honest which so young a child could do, so she resolved to try
her at dishonesty. It was a fearfully cold winter, and the woman's
intemperate habits had prevented her from earning a living. To remedy
this, she sent Nellie out with a basket, and told her to go to a
certain street where she had seen a number of bales of cotton, partly
opened, lying before a store. She bade the child watch her opportunity,
and, when no one was looking, to fill the basket, and run away with it
to her as rapidly as possible. Nellie did not like the undertaking, and
begged that she might not be sent; but the woman brutally told her if
she did not go and return in an hour, she would kill her.

Nellie started out with a heavy heart, for she had a vague foreboding
that something terrible was about to happen to her. She reached the
place, found the cotton, and, as no one was looking, soon filled her
basket. She was turning away, when a heavy hand was laid upon her
shoulder, and a rough voice exclaimed:

"You little thief! I've caught you, have I?"

Nellie glanced up in terror. A richly dressed man had hold of her, and
was shaking her roughly.

"Please, sir, let me go, and I'll put the cotton back."

"No you will not," he said coldly. "I'll teach you a lesson."

As he spoke, he beckoned a policeman from across the street, and told
him to arrest the child for stealing a dollar's worth of cotton. Nellie
was taken before a magistrate, and, the theft being proved, was sent on
for trial at the next term of the Court, and the merchant went away
satisfied. There was no one to "go bail" for her, and she was remanded
to the Tombs until the session of the court.

It made the jailer's heart ache to see that little child enter the cell
in which his duty compelled him to place her. He wondered why she had
not been sent to one of the numerous reformatory establishments, where
she might be saved from a life of crime. But no, the child had been
charged with theft, and the law required her to be tried for the crime,
and if convicted, to be sent to prison, to share the company of felons,
and sink, perhaps into infamy. God Help us, if this is always to be the
character of New York justice.

Nellie's life in prison was both pleasant and terrible. It was
pleasant, inasmuch as it freed her from the brutal woman with whom she
had lived, and terrible, because it left her alone all night in a cold,
dark cell.

At last, however, the end came. It was a terribly cold night, and the
prisoners in their cells suffered intensely. Some heard low sobs in
little Nellie's cell, but no attention was paid to them. The next
morning the turnkey went to visit her on his morning rounds, and he
found her lying stiff and cold. She had frozen to death during the
night, and her wish had been granted. The little thief had gone to the
bar of a judge who tempers justice with mercy, and who cares for those
who are helpless and oppressed.

There are some in the great city who will remember this incident, as it
has not been very long since its occurrence.


Seventeen years ago the "Old Brewery," on Park street, was the centre
of crime in New York. The attention of the humane had been frequently
called to the amount of suffering and vice surrounding it, but all
seemed agreed that nothing could be done with the Five Points. Few had
the courage to venture there, and those who knew the place smiled
incredulously at the idea of reforming it. The "Old Brewery" was used
as a tenement house, and contained one thousand inmates, and a viler,
and more wretched set of people was not to be found in the great city.

A number of Christian women of position and means, who knew the
locality only by reputation, determined, with a courage peculiar to
their sex, to break up this den, and make it a stronghold of religion
and virtue. Their plan was regarded as chimerical; but undismayed by
the difficulties against them, they went to work, trusting in the help
of Him in whose cause they were laboring. A school was opened in Park
street, immediately facing the "Old Brewery," and placed in charge of
the Rev. Mr. L. M. Pease, of the Methodist Church. This school at once
gathered in the ragged, dirty children of the neighborhood, and at
first it seemed up-hill work to do any thing with them. Patience and
energy triumphed at last, however. The school became a success. Then
the ladies who had projected it, resolved to enlarge it. They purchased
the "Old Brewery," pulled it down, and built the present "Mission,"
which is now in charge of the Rev. Mr. Shaffer.

The Mission is dependent upon voluntary contributions for its support.
Food, clothing, money, and every thing that can be useful in such an
establishment, are given to it. They come in from all parts of the
country, for the Mission is widely known, and thousands of Christians
are working for it. The railroad and express companies send all
packages for it over their lines without charge.

Children are the chief care of the Mission. Those in charge of it
believe that first impressions are the strongest and most lasting. They
take young children away from the haunts of vice and crime, and clothe
and care for them. They are regularly and carefully instructed in the
rudiments of an English education, and are trained to serve the Lord,
who has raised up such kind friends to them. At a proper age they are
provided, with homes, or respectable employment, and placed in the way
to become Christian men and women. Hundreds, nay, thousands of good and
useful men and women have been reared by the institution since its
establishment. They were snatched from the haunts of crime when
children, and owe their present positions to the Mission. Year after
year the work goes on. Children are taken in every day as far as the
accommodations will permit, and are carefully trained in virtue and
intelligence, and every year the "Home," as its inmates love to call
it, sends out a band of bright, brave, useful young hearts into the
world, which but for its blessed aid would have been so many more
wretches added to the criminal class of the country.

Reader, if you can do any thing for this noble institution, do not hold
back your hand, but do it. Your help is needed.


Besides the "Home" to which we have referred, the "City Mission Home
for Little Wanderers," and the "Five Points House of Industry," are all
working hard for the purpose of bettering the condition of the poor and
wretched of the City. They are employing a band of energetic, hard-
working Christian men and women, and are doing good daily. There is no
doubt, however, that they succeed best with children. After the devil
has set his mark on men and women, it is very difficult to efface it;
but with children the case is different. They are too young to be
utterly abandoned or depraved, and they can, by care and patience, in
nine cases out of ten, be won over to the side of right.

Not only are persons drawn away from crime and vice by the active
efforts of the missionaries, but the Missions themselves do good. They
are well known, and they are constant reminders to the fallen that they
have a chance to rise. Some few avail themselves of the chance. Men and
women, especially young ones, frequently come in and appeal to the
missionaries to help them to reform. They want advice, assistance, or
protection. Whatever is needed is given, if it be within the means of
the institution. If it is not, the missionary seeks it elsewhere, and
rarely fails to find it. Few who are ignorant of the workings of these
institutions, can rightly estimate the amount of good done by them.
They are indeed "Cities of Refuge," to which no one ever goes in vain.

A part of the work of the "City Mission" is to distribute tracts and
simple religious instruction. These are simple little documents, but
they do a deal of good. They have reformed drunkards, converted the
irreligious, shut the mouth of the swearer, and have brought peace to
more than one heart. The work is done so silently and unpretendingly
that few but those engaged in it know how great are its effects. They
are encouraged by the evidences which they have, and continue their
work gladly.

Again, these Missionaries are constantly going into sections of the
City, from which the "popular preachers" shrink in dismay, and but for
their devotion there are thousands of our poor who would never have the
Gospel preached to them. They watch beside the bedside of the sick and
dying, administer the last rites of religion to the repentant pauper,
and offer to the Great Judge the only appeal for mercy that is ever
made in behalf of many a soul that departs in its sins. They shrink
from no trouble, no sacrifice. They are a hard-working, self-denying,
noble band.


This institution is situated on the Bowery, near Pearl street, and is
in charge of the Rev. Mr. Van Meter. It is also called the "Howard
Mission." While striving to relieve all who call upon it for aid, its
care is chiefly given to children. Its object is to rescue the little
ones from want and suffering, and make them comfortable. They are
educated, and taught their duty as children of the Lord, and at a
certain age are provided with homes or trades. Little ones, starving or
freezing in the streets, are picked up constantly and brought in here.
The police often bring in such guests. All are welcomed and made as
comfortable as possible. You may see them warmly and neatly clad, or
tucked away in a snug bed, little children, even babies, who but the
night before were almost dying with cold in the streets.

Like the "Ladies' Home," the "Little Wanderers' Home" is entirely
dependent on voluntary contributions for its support.

[Illustration: Fifth Avenue Hotel.]



As we have said before, the majority of the better classes of New York
prefer to board rather than keep house. Of these, a large number board
at the hotels, the rest in private boarding-houses.

The principal hotels of the City are the Astor, St. Nicholas,
Metropolitan, New York, Fifth Avenue, and the Hoffman, Albemarle,
Clarendon, Everett, and Coleman Houses. These head the list, but there
are scores of first class houses, some of which are elegant in every
respect. The transient custom of the hotels of the City is enormous,
but the permanent boarders of these establishments are very profitable.
The rates are high, and the majority of these houses pay their
proprietors well. There are two classes known in the City--those which
are conducted on the old American style, or those known as "European
houses." The former provide the guests with lodgings and full board at
so much per day, or week, while the others furnish merely the room and
attendance, and are either without the means of supplying meals to
their guests, or charge for each article of food separately. It is hard
to say which system is the more popular, though it would seem that the
European is growing in favor.


The proprietors of the city hotels are very active in their efforts to
exclude improper characters from their houses, but with all their
vigilance do not succeed in doing so. One is ever certain as to the
respectability of his neighbor at the table, and it is well never to be
in a hurry to form acquaintanceships at such places. Fallen women of
the higher classes, and gamblers, abound at the hotels. The proprietor
cannot turn them out until they commit some overt act, for fear of
getting himself into trouble. As soon, however, as his attention is
called to any improper conduct on their part, they are turned into the
street, no matter at what hour of the day or night, and left to shift
for themselves.


Quite a number of persons in this city make a regular business of
staying at hotels, and absconding without paying their board. This
class consists of both males and females, and is much larger than most
people suppose. We take the following descriptions of some of the best
known from the daily journals of the City. They will show also their
mode of operations:

A man by the name of D----, or R----, purporting to hail from St.
Louis, has enjoyed many years' experience as a hotel 'beat.' He is a
tall, not ill-looking fellow, of tolerable address, and generally
travels accompanied by his wife and three children, and by a large
trunk; his wife sometimes contrives to smuggle in the third child
secretly, and to hide it in the room allotted to them, so that only two
children appear on the bill. At any rate the bill is never paid
whenever settlement is demanded. Mr. D--, or R--, is always found in
his apartment seated at the table, busy with an elaborate assortment of
manuscripts, and so busy that really at present he cannot be disturbed.
To-morrow he will attend to every thing. But to-morrow the birds have
flown, or walked out, one by one, from the hotel, and when the trunk,
is opened, there is a beggarly array of brickbats, old boxes, old rags,
and carpets, the former having served to render the trunk weighty, the
latter to prevent any noise or rolling that might excite suspicion.

Another adventurer, a bachelor, by the name of M----, affects the
eccentric, and, as the day approaches for the handing in of his bill,
his eccentricity verges upon madness, till at last, when the document
is really tendered, he becomes absolutely crazy--shouts, sings,
performs in an antic manner, and declares himself to be the king of the
Jews, the President of the United States, or something of that sort. He
has sufficient method in his madness, however, to gain the advantage of
the hotel proprietors, having on one occasion beaten the Fifth Avenue
Hotel out of one hundred and seventy-one dollars in board and lodging.
He sometimes is to be seen on Broadway in the guise of a military

One of the most cunning and successful of adventurers is known by the
name of W----, _alias_ Jones, _alias_ several other titles. This fellow
is an undersized man, blind of one eye, but of very genteel and
prepossessing address, and is generally accompanied by his wife. The
two practice the bundle game, which is a very adroit performance. Their
_modus operandi_ is as follows: They travel with a large Saratoga
trunk, which is really well stocked with linen and clothing. Of this
fact they contrive to render the detective and officials of the house
aware, so as to quiet any suspicion. Having thus tolerably opened the
ball they keep it rolling as long as possible, till within two days or
so of the period of final settlement. Suddenly Mrs. W----, or Jones,
appears to be seized with a mania for going up and down stairs, and in
and out of the hotel, carrying little parcels in her hand to and fro to
the milliners and dressmakers, etc. Her husband also discovers that his
clothes need revision, and sends them to tailors. Messengers also come
to their rooms for bundles, etc., and at last Mr. Jones, or W----,
announces at the office that he is about to leave the next day, and
would like his bill made out up 'till to-morrow night.' Meanwhile he
goes on to state as his trunk requires some repairs he has removed his
wardrobe into the bureau drawers, etc., and has sent for a trunkman to
convey it to the nearest establishment, will they allow him a servant
to assist the trunkman with it down stairs. The servant is sent to the
room, sees that nothing is taken away but the empty trunk, and all is
well. The adventurer and his female confederate eat with gusto, walk
out arm in arm from the hotel, and are seen no more, neither their
trunk, neither their wardrobe, which examination shows has not been
removed into the bureau drawers; in short, the clothes of the worthy
pair have been taken away bundle by bundle, parcel by parcel, and left
at convenient places in the neighborhood, to be called for, while the
trunk has been deposited at a friend's till further notice.

By this system of operations the St. Nicholas, Lafarge New York, and
Howard Hotels were victimized. Their triumphant career was checked,
however, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, by efforts of the special detective
of the house, who discovered one day a piece of paper containing W----
Jones' private memorandum of the places at which he and his wife had
left their different bundles. By confronting Jones, accusing him of his
dishonesty, presenting the paper and accompanying him _nolens volens_
to these various places, the detective contrived to recover the bill
due to his hotel.

There are many adventurers hanging round a hotel, who are not enrolled,
however, among its regular lodgers. There are numerous 'beats' who
merely direct their energies to obtaining meals gratis, taking
advantage of the rush to the tables during meal hours. As many as
thirty-four of this class were detected at the Fifth Avenue Hotel in a
single month. These adventurers often practice the hat game,
depositing, when they enter the dining-room, a worthless chapeau, and
taking up, when they pass out, a valuable one--by inadvertence, of
course. The Metropolitan Hotel has a colored man in its employ
stationed at the door of the dining-rooms, who has proved thus far too
much for the efforts of any of these gentry, consequently this hotel
has been, in this respect, peculiarly fortunate.

A man named W----, lately gained the advantage of a hotel detective in
a rather amusing manner. He was in the habit of stealing his meals, and
was detected so doing, but as he was one day also seen to draw from his
pocket a gold watch, attached to a heavy chain, it was determined to
give him a little longer indulgence. At last his time was up, and the
officer, advancing to him, told him that he had been waited for; that
he had taken just so many meals, and must just pay so much money. "But
I have no money." "Then I will seize your watch." When, lo! the watch
had disappeared, and all the detective could find, in its place was but
a bunch of keys--the watch itself having been originally borrowed for a
purpose which it had fulfilled.


All the first-class hotels employ private detectives and watchmen. The
business of these men is to keep a watch over the upper part of the
house, to prevent thieves from entering and robbing the rooms of the
guests. Suspicious persons are at once apprehended, and required to
give account of themselves.

A friend of the writer once called on an acquaintance at the St.
Nicholas, and, being on intimate terms with the gentleman, went
immediately to his room, without making the customary inquiries at the
office. Although he knew the house very well, he missed his way in the
long corridor, and failed to find the stairway. While endeavoring to
"get his bearing," he was accosted by a quiet-looking individual, who
told him he must go with him to the office and give an account of
himself. The man was the private detective of the house, and seeing
that the gentleman had lost his way, supposed at once that he was a
hotel thief who had become bewildered in trying to make off from the
house. Fortunately, the gentleman was well known at the office, where
the mistake was at once discovered and apologized for.


Some time ago, a man entered the St. Nicholas and robbed the occupant
of one of the rooms, during his sleep, of a gold watch and chain, worth
about one hundred and fifty dollars, a small amount of money, and a
gold shirt-stud, with which he escaped to the hall-way. Succeeding so
well, he concluded to try again, and proceeded to room 175, occupied by
the cashier of the hotel, lifted that gentleman's clothing from a
table, and stole some money from the pockets. As the thief was in the
act of leaving the room, the cashier awoke, and, seeing a stranger,
asked, "Who's there?" To which the robber replied, "I beg your pardon,
sir; I have made a slight mistake." Upon which he hastily left,
followed by the cashier, who cried, "Stop thief!" At that moment,
detective Golden, employed in the hotel, appeared on the scene of
action, and pursued the fugitive. The latter, in his haste, leaped down
a whole flight of stairs, when detective Golden cried out to the men
below to stop him; and accordingly he was seized and held till the
detective ran down and took charge of the prisoner. On searching him,
the gold watch and chain were found in his possession; also five
different parcels of moneys, doubtless stolen from as many different

[Illustration: St. Nicholas Hotel.]



Thousands of persons, sometimes entire families, live in rooms, and
either take their meals at restaurants, or have them sent to them. This
has become so common now that it ceases to attract attention in the
city, but strangers are struck with it, and are quick to notice the bad
effects of it.

Living at restaurants begets irregularity in the meal hours, and thus
promotes bad health; and the absence of the restraints which the table
of a family at home, or even the public board of a hotel, imposes, is
the beginning of a looseness of manners, which is generally sure to be
followed by a similar defect in morals. The cooking, at the majority of
restaurants, is unhealthy, and intoxicating liquors are sold, to an
extraordinary extent, as a part of the bill of fare.

The principal up-town restaurants are largely patronized by the
disreputable classes. Women of the town go there to pick up custom, and
men to find such companions. Women of good social position do not
hesitate to meet their lovers at such places, for there is a great deal
of truth in the old adage which tells us "there's no place so private
as a crowded hall." A quiet, but close observer will frequently see a
nod, or a smile, or a meaning glance pass between most respectable-
looking persons of opposite sexes, and will sometimes see a note slyly
sent by a waiter, or dropped adroitly into the hand of the woman as the
man passes out. Some of these nominally respectable places are so
largely patronized by this class, that a virtuous woman is in constant
danger of being insulted should she chance to enter one of them.


Restaurants, like hotels, are the object of the constant attention of
swindlers, though the operations are conducted on a smaller scale. Some
of these persons are nominally respectable.

A bank clerk, with a fair salary and respectable connections, was in
the habit of patronizing a fashionable restaurant, partaking of
sumptuous lunches and dinners, and evading _full_ payment, under
pretence that he had forgotten his pocket-book, or had omitted, in the
hurry of business, to provide himself with small change, etc. Thus, if
his check called for one dollar he would pay sixty cents, but
invariably forgot upon the next, or any succeeding day, to 'settle' the
balance due of forty cents. This 'little game,' so profitable to
himself, was carried on for some time triumphantly, but retribution
came at last, and unexpectedly and very cleverly. The clerk, seeing how
matters stood, commenced to keep an account on a piece of paper of the
sums due and sums _paid_ on each successive day at his establishment by
this ingenious customer, and on one occasion, when the bank clerk had
deposited his check for one dollar and a quarter and a ten dollar note
in payment upon the counter (as he wished on this particular occasion
to procure some small change for his own purposes), the clerk quietly
took the note and then handed out two dollars and twenty cents in
change. 'There must be some mistake,' said the bank clerk. 'Oh! none at
all.' said the cashier. 'Did I not hand you a ten dollar note?' 'You
did, sir.' 'And did not my check call for one dollar and a quarter?'
'It did, sir.' 'Then where is my change?' asked the bank clerk. 'It is
_there_, sir' replied the cashier, pointing to a piece of paper which
he handed to the astonished bank clerk. 'What is this paper?' 'It is
your account.' '_My_ account!' 'Yes, sir, you will find it correct in
every particular,' said the cashier; 'I will go over the items with
you. On such and such a day your check called for such and such a sum;
you paid only so and so, leaving such and such balance. The next day
you ordered so and so, only paid so much, and left, of course, you see,
this balance. Altogether, sir, you owe the establishment, as back
balances due for food and liquors, up to date, just seven dollars and a
half. I have taken out this amount, and you will find the change

"Words were useless--the bank clerk was outwitted, and left in disgust,
and from that day to this has never set foot inside of that restaurant



As we have said elsewhere, it has been remarked that New York is a vast
boarding-house. If any one doubts this, he has only to turn to the
columns of the _Herald_, and see the long rows of advertisements on the
subject. The better class houses of the city are equal to any in the
world, but there are scores here within the pale of respectability
which are a trial to the fortitude and philosophy of any man. A really
desirable house is a rarity here, as elsewhere, and very hard to find.
He who is so lucky as to be domesticated in one of these is wise if he
remains there.


Some years ago there appeared a work on the subject of boarding houses,
from which we extract the following description of the experience of a
person looking for board in New York.

He either inserts in the _Herald_, _Tribune_, or _Times_, an
advertisement specifying his particular requirements, or consults those
addressed to humanity in general through the medium of their columns--
perhaps adopts both measures. In the former case, the next morning puts
him in possession of a vast amount of correspondence, from the
daintily-penned and delicately-enveloped _billets_ of up-towndom to the
ill-spelled, pencil-scrawled, uncovered notes of Greenwich and Hudson
streets. It matters not that he has indicated any definite locality;
sanguine householders in remote Brooklyn districts clutch at him,
Hoboken residents yearn toward him, and the writer of a stray
Williamsburg epistle is 'confident that an arrangement can be made,' if
he will favor _her_ with a visit. After laying aside as ineligible as
many letters as there are _Smiths_ in a New York Directory, he devotes
a morning to the purposes of inspection and selection.

He becomes acquainted with strange localities and bell-handles. He
scrutinizes informatory scraps of paper wafered up beside doorways. He
endures tedious waiting at thresholds--it being a curious fact in
connection with boarding-houses that a single application for
admission through the usual medium never procures it. And according as
his quest be high or low, so will his experience vary.

If the former, he may expect to be ushered into spacious and
luxuriously-furnished parlors, where, seated in comfortably-padded
rocking-chairs, and contemplating marble tables, on which gorgeously-
bound volumes are artistically arranged; thousand-dollar piano-fortes,
and mirrors capable of abashing a modest man to utter speechlessness,
he will tarry the advent of stately dames, whose dresses rustle as with
conscious opulence. He will precede them--they being scrupulous as to
exposure of ankles--up broad staircases to handsome apartments, and
listen with bland satisfaction to the enumeration of 'all the modern
improvements' which their mansions comprise; nor, perhaps, be startled
at the 'figure' for which they may be enjoyed. If 'money be no object,'
he will not have to seek far, or fare badly.

"But the researches of him whose aspirations are circumscribed by a
shallow purse will produce different results. By Irish girls, with
unkempt hair and uncleanly physiognomy, he will be inducted into
sitting-rooms where the Venetian blinds are kept scrupulously closed,
for the double purpose of excluding flies and preventing a too close
scrutiny of the upholstery. He will have interviews with landladies of
various appearances, ages and characteristics--landladies dubious and
dingy, landladies severe and suspicious, (inflexible as to 'references
or payments in advance,') landladies calm and confiding, landladies
chatty and conciliatory,--the majority being widows. He will survey
innumerable rooms--generally under that peculiarly cheerful aspect
attendant on unmade beds and unemptied washing-basins--and, if of
sanatory principles, examine the construction of windows in order to
ascertain whether they be asphyxiative or moveable. He will find
occasion to admire how apartments may be indifferently ventilated by
half-windows, and attics constructed so that standing erect within them
is only practicable in one spot. How a three-feet-by-sixteen inches
strip of threadbare carpet, a twelve-and-a-half-cents-Chatham-square
mirror, and a disjointed chair may, in the lively imagination of
boardinghouse proprietresses, be considered _furniture_. How double,
triple, and even quintuple beds in single rooms, and closets into which
he only succeeds in effecting entrance by dint of violent compression
between the 'cot' and wall, are esteemed highly eligible accommodations
for single gentlemen. How partitions (of a purely nominal character)
may in no wise prevent the occupants of adjoining rooms from holding
conversation one with the other, becoming cognizant of neighboring
snores, or turnings in bed. He will observe that lavatory arrangements
are mostly of an imperfect description, generally comprising a frail
and rickety washing-stand--which has apparently existed for ages in a
Niagara of soapsuds, a ewer and basin of limited capacity, and a
cottony, weblike towel, about as well calculated for its purpose as a
similar sized sheet of blotting paper would be. In rooms which have not
recently submitted to the purifying brush of the white-washer, he will
notice the mortal remains of mosquitoes (not to mention more
odoriferous and objectionable insects) ornamenting ceilings and walls,
where they have encountered Destiny in the shape of slippers or boot-
soles of former occupants."


All boarding houses begin to fill up for the winter about the first of
October. Few of the proprietors have any trouble in filling their
establishments, as there is generally a rush of strangers to the City
during the winter season. A few of the best houses retain their guests
for years, but the occupants of the majority change their quarters
every fall. At the first, the table is bountifully supplied with the
best the markets afford, the attendance is excellent, and the
proprietor is as obliging and pleasant as one could wish. This
continues for a month or two until good board becomes scarcer in the
City. Then the attendance becomes inferior. The proprietor cannot
afford to keep so many servants, and the very best in the house are
discharged. The fare becomes poor and scanty, and the proprietor, sure
that few will care to change quarters so late in the season, answers
all complaints with a gruff intimation that you can leave the house if
you are dissatisfied. You feel like taking his advice, and would do so
but for the knowledge that you will fare as bad or worse if you do so.
You make up your mind to submit, and endure all the discomforts of the
house until May with her smiling face calls you into the country, or
offers you an opportunity to better your condition.

All houses are more liberal to their boarders in the summer than in the
winter--the City is then comparatively deserted, and most of the
"highly respectable establishments" are very much in want of guests.
They then offer unusual inducements, and are forced by their
necessities to atone in some measure for their winter barbarity.


Persons seeking board in New York frequently complain of being annoyed
by a demand on the part of the landlady (for the proprietor, is, in
most cases, a woman) for reference. This may not be pleasant to the
over-sensitive, but it is absolutely necessary. Nearly every boarder is
at first a stranger to his landlady. She does not know whether a man is
a gentleman or a thief, or whether a female is a saint or a fallen
woman. She naturally desires to keep her house free from improper
characters, and to secure as guests those who will pay her promptly and

In spite of these efforts, however, it may be safely affirmed that
there are not ten boarding houses in the city, which do not contain
improper characters. Observers have been struck with the number of
handsome young widows who frequent these places. Sometimes these women
claim to be the wives of men absent in the distant Territories, or in
Europe, and pretend to receive letters and remittances from them. In
nine cases out of ten such women make their living in a manner they do
not care to have known. They conduct themselves with the utmost
propriety towards all persons living in the house with them, and are
considered ladies by even acute judges. These same judges are sometimes
a little startled to meet these virtuous dames in places where _ladies_
are never seen. Of course the secret is kept, and the woman continues
to deceive her other companions.

Landladies are the object of the especial attentions of swindlers, and
suffer very much from them. All sorts of expedients are resorted to by
the unprincipled to live without paying their board.


Last winter a "gentleman" called upon a lady who presides over a
fashionable boarding-house in Lexington avenue, and introducing himself
as William Aspinwall, of the "Howland and Aspinwall branch," obtained a
room on the second floor. This apartment he occupied for three weeks,
constantly "promising" the lady of the house money, but as constantly
"being disappointed in his remittances from his friends, but if the
lady would wait but a day or two longer he would apply, if his
remittances did not arrive, in person to Mr. Aspinwall and obtain a
thousand or two." At last, one day this pretended scion of the
Aspinwalls vanished, leaving his trunk behind him, which, upon
examination, was found to be very full and very heavy indeed, but with
bricks and rags only. All Mr. Aspinwall's wardrobe being carried on his
precious person. A letter was found, however, which proved that his
real name was Charles H, or at least that he had been known at times by
that title.


A man calling himself Doctor Thorne is frequently seen in the city
boarding houses. He is a married man, which fact, of course, makes him
all the more dangerous to his victims, as he contrives to support at
their expense not only himself, but his wife and children. The Doctor
is a burly, heavily-bearded gentleman (at least in manner); his wife, a
more accomplished Jeremy Diddler than himself, is one of the softest-
spoken and most amiably-seeming of her sex. The Doctor plays his little
game as follows: He obtains first-class rooms at first class prices,
pledging as security for the payment of these prices a large assortment
of really valuable baggage in the line of clothes and linens. Having
taken possession of his rooms he is, after a week's time, suddenly
called by business to Chicago or St. Louis; he will settle the little
balance due on his return. He accordingly departs, but not to St.
Louis, or Chicago--oh, dear, no. He understands a trick worth two of
that. He simply hires a little room in a retired street at the lowest
possible rent, and there resides. His wife and children--two boys, one
aged ten, the other twelve, and both very "smart"--take him his meals
daily, in a basket, in their pocket, or by other means, as the case may
be, the meals being furnished unwittingly by the victimized landlady
with whom his family are sojourning. But more than meals are taken from
the boarding house. The baggage is also taken away, piece after piece,
secretly, and conveyed to the little room where the "head and father"
of this interesting family resides. So one day, after an unaccountable
absence of Dr. Thorne from home, and after the receipt by his wife of
daily letters from her husband, but no money, though money is always
expected by the next mail, the whole family disappear, one by one, and
never return. The landlady congratulates herself upon the fact that she
retains at least the baggage--but alas, upon an examination she finds
that nothing is left her in lieu of the month's board for three people
and a week's board for the fourth, saving some empty trunks. For a few
days subsequent to this denouement, Dr. Thorne and family live in
retirement. Then they boldly emerge and repeat the same series of
operations in other localities of this much beswindled city.


About twelve-month since, an old widow lady opened a boarding-house on
University place, investing in the establishment and furniture all her
capital. She experienced no difficulty in obtaining boarders, and among
her guests she numbered a small-sized, full-faced, but keen-eyed woman
by the name of Agnes S. who rented a large room on the second floor.
This Mrs. S. exhausted all her wiles to gain the friendship of the
landlady, and succeeded in so doing. In a short time, she became the
inseparable companion and intimate of the old widow, who never took any
step of importance without first consulting her dear Agnes. The "dear
Agnes" improved her intimacy and played her cards so well, that
although she never paid her board, she was never requested to do so,
and thus enjoyed the unenviable advantage of being enabled to live rent
free. Having accomplished her first object, she now undertook to
achieve her second. One day she sought the widow, and in a fit of
gushingly-tender confidence revealed to her sympathizing friend her
heart history; she told the widow that although passing for a maiden,
she was in reality a married woman--but that her husband had been
obliged to conceal himself from the gaze of the public owing to some
'unfortunate' business transactions in which he had been involved,
solely for the sake of his brother out West.

Would she (the widow) not receive that husband, for her sake into the
house? Would she not consent to harbor the poor unfortunate partner of
her bosom beneath her roof until the matter had blown over? The doting
widow agreed to this proposal, and thus Agnes S. and her 'husband' (who
was in reality no more her husband than any man who reads this) were
united, and lived for several weeks in luxury at the widow's expense;
although great scandal arose among her boarders concerning the matter,
and several of her 'best paying lodgers' left in consequence of these
'developments.' At last the widow was taken sick, and then 'having cast
her bread upon the waters, she found it after many days,' and found it
'toasted.' From the hour of her taking to her bed, 'Agnes S. and
husband' ruled the house. The worthy pair run the establishment, hired
and discharged the servants, acted as steward and stewardess, and not
only so, but absolutely made out the weekly bills and collected them;
and not only collected them, but put the money into their own pockets.

"Last Thursday week the matter culminated by the sudden departure of
Agnes S. and husband from the house in University place to unknown
localities. Their 'little game' was effectually 'played out,' and the
landlady at last recovered her health and common sense. But the
adventurous birds had feathered their nests, and have only subsided for
a while, to resume, in all probability, their 'genteel swindles' in
some other city, or perhaps only in another portion of this very

"The second of these worthies we shall call Mrs. Adelle Garnier. She is
a stout creature, but endowed with a large share of good looks and
dignity of manner. She has for years past resided in fashionable
hotels, and has contrived to live on her 'face' in more senses than
one. She is specially noticeable for three facts which have been
abundantly exemplified in her career. First, she is a remarkably well
educated woman, an accomplished linguist, speaking fluently, French,
German and Italian, a skilled performer on the piano, and thoroughly
versed in the literature of the day. Second, she has always exhibited a
dislike, amounting almost to horror, of matrimony; and although she
has, during her eventful history, received several advantageous offers
of marriage, has declined them all, objecting decidedly to having her
personal movements restrained in any degree by the will of any being on
earth, not even a husband. Third, and last, and most remarkable of all,
spite of her education and talent, spite of her matrimonial chances,
she has steadily persisted in a course of life which has subjected her
constantly to a long series of indignities, apparently preferring a
wild, careless, lawless and scandalous Bohemianism to the sober routine
and conventional demands of a modern lady's _ordinary_ existence. Her
last 'adventure' occurred some few weeks since at a Broadway hotel,
from which she was expelled at a very short notice by the proprietors
in presence of a number of the guests. It is presumed that at present
she is almost penniless, though no one can safely predicate at what
place or in what guise she may appear hereafter. For an adventurer,
like a cat, has nine lives."

"The third, Miss Alice Mauley, is a petite blonde of fascinating
manners, with large blue eyes, and a luxuriant wealth of hair. Alice
has been a 'pilgrim and a stranger' in the cities of Philadelphia,
Boston, Baltimore and St. Louis, since her sixteenth year, and has
'enjoyed' the privilege of a large circle of acquaintance--the police
of these cities included. Her mode of life verges on the 'sentimental,'
and her peculiar _forte_ is entrapping the affections of 'young
bloods.' She cares not for 'love,' so-called, and is, in herself,
chaste and irreproachable in _morale_; but she devotes her energies to
procuring all the money, jewelry, diamonds and presents she can obtain
from her 'enamored ones' prior to their 'proposals for her hand.' She,
then, 'astonished at their mistaken presumption,' leaves them to regret
their folly, but never by any chance returns their presents. She
recently and seriously 'compromised' the prospects of the only son and
heir of a wealthy merchant of the metropolis, from whom she obtained
some ten thousand dollars worth of 'tokens' and 'souvenirs.' But, owing
to the exertions and worldly acumen of the young fool's papa, she has
been obliged to leave New York, and has within the last few days been
heard of from Cincinnati."



Trinity Parish was laid off in 1697. The first church was a plain,
square edifice, with an ugly steeple, in which were conducted the first
services of the Church of England in New York. The site is now occupied
by a magnificent Cathedral, the most beautiful church edifice in the

The parish extends over a large part of New York. It includes the
following churches, or chapels, as they are called: St. Paul's, St.
John's, Trinity Chapel, and Trinity Church. It is in charge of a
Rector, who is a sort of small bishop in this little diocese. He has
eight assistants. Each church or chapel has its pastor, who is subject
to the supervision of the Rector. The Rev. Morgan Dix, D. D., a son of
the American Minister to France, is the present Rector.

Trinity takes good care of its clergy. The salaries are amply
sufficient to insure a comfortable support, and a well-furnished house
is provided for each one who has a family. Should a clergyman become
superannuated in the service of the Parish, he is liberally maintained
during his life; and should he die in his ministry, provision is made
for his family.

The wealth of the parish is immense. It is variously stated at from
sixty to one hundred millions of dollars. It is chiefly in real estate,
the leases of which yield an immense revenue.


[Illustration: Trinity Church.]

Trinity Church, the Cathedral, is situated on Broadway, at
the head of Wall street. It is built of brown stone, and is the most
beautiful and magnificent church building in America. It is very large,
and is capable of containing an immense throng. Its services are very
beautiful and attractive. They resemble those of the Church of England,
as they are almost entirely choral. The music is the best in the city,
and hundreds are drawn into the church by it. At Christmas and Easter
it is grand. On Christmas Eve, at midnight, the chimes of the church
ring in the blessed morning, thus continuing an old custom which is
observed now only in some parts of Europe.

The church is kept open from early morning until sunset. In the winter
season it is always well heated, and hundreds of the poor find warmth
and shelter within its holy walls. It is the only church in New York in
which there is no distinction made between the rich and the poor. The
writer has frequently seen beggars in tatters conducted, by the sexton
and his assistants, to the best seats in the church.

The rector and his assistants are alive to the fact that this is one of
the few churches now left to the lower part of the city, and they
strive to make it a great missionary centre. Their best efforts are for
the poor. Those who sneer at the wealth of the parish, would do well to
trouble themselves to see what a good use is made of it.

The ultra fashionable element of the congregation attend Trinity
Chapel, or "Up-town Trinity," in Twenty-fifth street, near Broadway.
This is a handsome church, and has a large and wealthy congregation.


A long iron railing separates the churchyard of Old Trinity from
Broadway, and the thick rows of old gravestones, all crumbling and
stained with age, present a strange contrast to the bustle, vitality,
and splendor with, which, they are surrounded. They stare solemnly down
into Wall street, and offer a bitter commentary upon the struggles and
anxiety of the money kings.

The place has an air of peace that is pleasant in the midst of so much
noise and confusion, and is well worth visiting.

Near the south door of the church, you will see a plain brownstone
slab, bearing this inscription: _"The vault of Walter and Robert O.
Livingston, sons of Robert Livingston, of the Manor of Livingston"_
This is one of the Meccas of the world of science, for the mortal part
of _Robert Fulton_ sleeps in the vault below, in sight of the mighty
steam fleets which his genius has called forth. A plain obelisk at the
extreme southern end of the church yard marks the grave of Alexander
Hamilton; and James Lawrence, the heroic commander of the Chesapeake,
sleeps by the south door, his sarcophagus being the most prominent
object in that part of the churchyard.

At the northern extremity of the yard, and facing Pine street, is the
handsome monument erected to the memory of those patriotic men who died
from the effects of British cruelty in the "Old Sugar-house," and in
the prison ships in Wallabout Bay, the site of the present Brooklyn
Navy Yard.



New York is very careful to observe the holidays, of the year. The
mixture of the old Dutch, the orthodox English, and the Puritan
elements has tended to preserve, in all its purity, each of the
festivals which were so dear to our fathers. The New Yorker celebrates
his Thanksgiving with all the fervor of a New Englander, and at the
same time keeps his Christmas feast as heartily as his forefathers did,
while the New Year is honored by a special observance.


New Year's day is one of the institutions of New York. Its observance
was instituted by the Dutch, who made it a point never to enter upon
the new season with any but the most cheerful spirits. They made it a
time for renewing old friendships, and for wishing each other well.
Each family was then sure to be at home, and social mirth and enjoyment
ruled the hour. Old feuds were forgotten, family breaches were healed,
and no one thought of harboring any but kindly feelings for his
relatives or friends. The jolly old Knickerbocker sat in the warm light
of his huge hearth, and smoked his long pipe in happiness and peace,
while his children and children's children made merry round about him.

Subsequent generations have continued to observe the custom, and to-day
it is as vigorous and fresh as it was when New Amsterdam was in its
primitive glory.


For weeks before the New Year dawns, nearly every house in the city is
in a state of confusion. The whole establishment is thoroughly
overhauled and cleaned, and neither mistress nor maid have any rest
from their labors. The men folks are nuisances at such times, and
gradually keep themselves out of the way, lest they should interfere
with the cleaning. Persons who contemplate refurnishing their houses,
generally wait until near the close of the year before doing so, in
order that everything may be new on the great day. Those who cannot
refurnish, endeavor to make their establishments look as fresh and new
as possible. A general baking, brewing, stewing, broiling, and frying
is begun, and the pantries are loaded with good things to eat and to

All the family must have new outfits for the occasion, and tailors and
_modistes_ find this a profitable season. To be seen in a dress that
has ever been worn before, is considered the height of vulgarity.

The table is set in magnificent style. Elegant china and glassware, and
splendid plate, adorn it. It is loaded down with dainties of every
description. Wines, lemonades, coffee, brandy, whiskey and punch, are
in abundance. Punch is seen in all its glory on this day, and each
householder strives to have the best of this article. There are regular
punch-makers in the city, who reap a harvest at this time. Their
services are engaged long beforehand, and they are kept busy all the
morning going from house to house, to make this beverage which is
nowhere so palatable as in this city.

Hairdressers, or "artistes in hair," as they call themselves, are also
in demand at New Year, for each lady then wishes to have her _coiffure_
as magnificent as possible. This is a day of hard work to these
_artistes_, and in order to meet all their engagements, they begin
their rounds at midnight. They are punctual to the moment, and from
that time until noon on New Year's day are busily engaged. Of course
those whose heads are dressed at such unseasonable hours cannot think
of lying down to sleep, as their "head gear" would be ruined by such a
procedure. They are compelled to rest sitting bolt upright, or with
their heads resting on a table or the back of a chair.

Sometimes a family desiring to "shine" on such occasions find
themselves unable, after meeting the other expenses, to provide the
clothing and jewels necessary. These are then hired from _modistes_ and
jewelers, proper security being given for their return.


All New York is stirring by eight o'clock. By nine, the streets are
filled with gayly dressed persons on their way to make their annual
calls. Private carriages, hacks and other vehicles soon appear, filled
with persons bent upon similar expeditions. Business is entirely
suspended in the city, the day is a legal holiday, and is faithfully
observed by all classes. Hack hire is enormous--forty or fifty dollars
being the price of a carriage for the day. The cars are crowded, and,
if the weather is fine, everybody is in the highest spirits. A stranger
is struck with the fact that the crowd in the streets consists almost
entirely of men. Women rarely venture out on this day. It is not
considered respectable, and, the truth is, it is not safe to do so.

The earliest hour at which a call can be paid, is ten o'clock. The
ultra fashionables do not begin to "receive" until twelve. At the
proper time, the lady of the house, attended by her daughters, if she
has any, takes her stand in the drawing room by the hospitable board.
In a little while, the door bell rings, and the first visitor is
introduced. He salutes his hostess, and after a few pleasant words, is
invited to partake of the refreshments. A few eatables are swallowed in
haste--the visitor talking away all the while with his mouth full--a
glass of wine or of punch is "gulped" down, and the gentleman bows
himself out. He has no time to lose, for he has dozens of similar calls
to make. This goes on until late at night.

A gentleman in starting out, provides himself with a written list of
the calls he intends making, and "checks" each one off with his pencil,
when made. This list is necessary, as few sober men can remember all
their friends on such occasions, and after the first dozen visits are
over, such a list is greatly needed. Each man tries to make as many
calls as possible, so that he may boast of the feat afterwards. At the
outset, of course, everything is conducted with the utmost propriety,
but, as the day wears on, the generous liquors they have imbibed begin
to "tell" upon the callers, and many eccentricities, to use no harsher
term, are the result. Towards the close of the day, everything is in
confusion--the door bell is never silent. Crowds of young men in
various stages of intoxication rush into the lighted parlors, leer at
the hostess in the vain effort to offer their respects, call for
liquor, drink it, and stagger out, to repeat the scene at some other
house. Frequently, they are unable to recognize the residences of their
friends, and stagger into the wrong house. Some fall early in the day,
and are put to bed by their friends; others sink down helpless at the
feet of their hostess, and are sent home; and a few manage to get
through the day. Strange as it may seem, it is no disgrace to get drunk
on New Year's day. These indiscretions are expected at such times; and
it not unfrequently happens that the ladies, themselves, succumb to the
seductive influences of "punch" towards the close of the evening, and
are put to bed by the servants. Those who do retire sober, are
thoroughly worn out.


The next day one half of New York is sick. Doctors are in demand.
Headaches and various other ailments caused by "punch" are frequent.
Business men have a weary, sleepless look, and it requires one or two
nights' rest to restore mind and body to their proper condition. Should
you call on a lady friend, you will probably find her indisposed--the
cause of her sickness you can easily imagine. The Police Courts are
busy on the Second of January. Disorder, drunkenness, and fighting are
frequent on New Year's night.


The Fourth of July is simply a nuisance in New York. The weather is
generally very warm. There is an early parade of the First Division of
the National Guard, and at night there are fine displays of fireworks
in various parts of the city. The greater part of the day, however, is
devoted to drinking and acts of lawlessness. Fire-crackers, Roman
candles, pin-wheels, and the like, abound. The police try to stop them,
but without success. The city resounds with the discharges, the air is
filled with sulphurous vapors, which irritate the throat and eyes, and
the ears are stunned with the explosions. Young America is in his
glory, and quiet, orderly people are driven nearly frantic.


On the 25th of November, 1783, the British troops evacuated the City of
New York, and embarked on board their ships, and the American army,
under the personal command of General Washington, occupied the city and
its defences. This was a proud day for the city, and the whole country,
and the people of New York have always commemorated it by a grand
military display. It is honored by a parade of the First Division, and
the troops are reviewed upon this occasion by the Governor of the
State. The parade is the finest to be seen in America, twelve or
thirteen thousand men, with cavalry and artillery, being under arms at
the time.


This is a "home festival," and the observance of it was introduced by
the New England element of the population. It is commemorated by
morning service in all the churches. The rest of the day is given to
rest and social enjoyment, and a bountiful dinner, for which all the
members of a family assemble at some particular house, affords the
occasion for many a friendly and domestic reunion. In the evening the
theatres and places of amusement offer additional attractions to


When the bell of old Trinity ceases to strike the hour of midnight, on
the 24th of December, there is a brief pause, and then the full, rich
chimes of the old church strike up a joyous peal. The sweet tones echo
and re-echo through the dark and silent streets, bidding the great city
rejoice, for the merry Christmas time has come.

For weeks before the holiday you will see a brighter, smarter look
about the markets and the shops. The toy shops, especially, do a brisk
trade, as well as those in which articles intended for presents are
sold. Residents of the city are busy laying in dainties for the season,
and purchasing gifts for their children, relatives and friends.

On Christmas day the festivities are much the same as those in other
places. They are hearty and merry here, as elsewhere, and the season is
one of happiness. The poor are not forgotten. Those who give nothing at
other times, will subscribe for dinners or clothing for the unfortunate
at Christmas. The various charitable institutions are kept busy
receiving and delivering the presents sent them. Their inmates are
provided with plentiful, substantial dinners, and have abundant means
of sharing in the happiness which seems to pervade the whole city.



For many years the rapid growth of the city has made it desirable that
the people should be provided with public grounds, within easy reach;
to which they could resort for rest and recreation. The natural
features of the island made it plain that such a place of resort would
have to be constructed by artificial means, and it was for some time
doubted whether any site within the city limits could be made to serve
the purpose.

On the 5th of April, 1851, Mayor Kingsland, in a special message to the
Common Council, called attention to the importance of a public park,
sufficiently ample to meet the growing wants of the city population.
The message was referred to a select committee, who reported in favor
of purchasing a tract of one hundred and fifty acres, known as Jones'
Wood, lying between Sixty-sixth and Seventy-fifth streets, and Third
Avenue and East River. This location came near being decided upon and
purchased, but a quarrel with reference to it, between two members of
the Legislature from New York City, called the attention of the public
and the State authorities to it, and happily defeated the whole scheme.
On the 5th of August, 1851, a Committee was appointed to examine
whether another more suitable site for a park could not be found, and

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