Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Mansions Along Fifth Avenue 1882

The principal material used in the construction of the buildings on the avenue is brown stone. This gives to the street a somber look, but of late years, white marble, brick, and the lighter-colored stones have been used to a great extent, and the upper portion of the avenue presents a much lighter and more attractive appearance than the regions below it. In spite of the general uniformity of the street, however, it is a grand sight upon which the eye rests from any point of view.

The interior of the houses is in keeping with their external grandeur. They are decorated in magnificent style by artists of ability and taste, and are furnished in the most superb and costly manner. Rare and valuable works of art abound in all, and everything that luxury can devise or wealth provide is here in abundance. The softest and richest carpets cover the floors and deaden every foot fall, the windows are draped with curtains the cost of which would provide an average family with a home in other cities, and which shut out the bright daylight and give to the apartments a soft, luxurious glow; costly chandeliers shed a flood of warm light through the elegantly furnished rooms, and through the half open doors you may catch a view of the library, with its rows of daintily bound books in elaborate cases, its works of art scattered about in tasteful negligence, and its rich and cozy furniture.

The "Library" forms quite a feature in a Fifth avenue mansion. Whether the books are read or not, it is the correct thing to have. The chambers and upper rooms are furnished with equal magnificence, the cost of fitting up one of these houses sometimes exceeding the amount paid for the building. Everything is perfect in its way, each appointment being the most sumptuous that wealth can purchase. Some of these mansions are furnished with rare taste and good judgment, but many, on the other hand, are simply vast collections of flashy and costly furniture and decorations, their owners lacking the culture necessary to make a proper disposition of their riches. There is no more attractive sight to the stranger in New York than a stroll along Fifth avenue about dusk on New Year's Day. It is the custom of those who receive calls on that day to leave window curtains partly drawn, and through these openings one can see the richly furnished, brightly lighted drawing rooms, with their elegantly dressed occupants, and can thus enjoy a succession of "pictures from life" unequaled in any part of the world.

The dwellers in the Fifth avenue mansions represent all the various phases of the wealthier class of New York. You will find here many persons whose fortunes are so secure and great that they can amply afford the style in which they live; and also many who are sacrificing everything in order to shine for awhile in such splendor. Men make money very quickly in New York. A Fifth avenue mansion is either purchased or rented, and then commences a life of fashion and dissipation to which neither they nor their families are accustomed. Everything is sacrificed to maintain their newly gained position; money flows like water; the recently gotten wealth vanishes, and in a few years the family disappears from the avenue, to begin life anew in an humbler sphere. The history of the street abounds in such cases. No wonder so many men living in these palaces have weary, careworn faces, restless glances, and quick, nervous ways. The strain they are living under to keep their places in the avenue is too great. They are not able to keep pace with those whose firmly-secured millions justify them in a lavish style of living, and they know it. They dread the day that must inevitably come, when they must leave all this luxury behind them and go out into the world again to begin life anew. Even if they maintain their places, they cannot resist the conviction that their splendor has been bought at too dear a price.

The avenue mansions contain many families of wealth and culture, many whose names have been household words in New York for generations. These live elegantly, and proportion to their means, but avoid show and vulgar display. They are courtly in manner, hospitable and warm-hearted, and constitute fine specimens of the cultured American. They do not make up the majority of the dwellers in the avenue, however. These latter represent mainly the newly rich families, that have risen to affluence through the lucky ventures of the husband and father, and have come to their new honors without the refinement or culture necessary to sustain them with dignity. You may know them by their loud voices, vulgar countenances, flashy dressing, and coarse ways. They plunge headlong into the dissipations of society with a recklessness unknown to persons accustomed to such pleasures, and their fast life soon tells upon them. The men go to their business heavy and jaded in the morning, after a night of fashionable dissipation, and the women sink into an indolence from which nothing can rouse them save a renewal of the excesses which caused their lassitude.

They greatly err who imagine that the possessor of a Fifth avenue mansion is, as a matter of course, to be envied. These splendid palaces hide many aching hearts, and could tell many a tale of sorrow, and even of shame, could they speak. The master of the house goes often to his business in the morning with knit brows and a tragedy lurking in his heart, and returns with reluctant steps to his splendid palace in the evening; and Madame, for all her gorgeous surroundings, fails to wear a happy or contented look, and sighs as she thinks of the price she has paid for such luxury. Generally the skeleton is kept securely within the closet, but sometimes it will break forth, and then Fifth avenue is startled for a moment by its revelations. Sometimes the scandal is hushed up, but frequently the divorce courts are called in to straighten matters out.

One does not see home life in its truest sense in the avenue. The demands of fashion are too exacting to permit an indulgence in this richest of pleasures. Day and night are spent in a ceaseless whirl of gayety, and in many cases the only times husband and wife are really in their home for more than a few hours at a time, is when their parlors are crowded with guests in attendance upon some grand entertainment given by them. Thus it happens that they lead different lives, with but little common interest between them. The husband has his "affinity," and seeks in her society the pleasures his wife will not share with him; and Madame has her "lovers," who are as much of a grief as a happiness to her, as she lives in constant terror of being compromised. Fortunately, children are scarce in the avenue; the necessities of fashion forbid large families.

Such as come receive little of a mother's care until they are old enough to be put on exhibition, to accompany "mamma" in a drive through the Park, or to occupy the front seats of the opera-box, when they should be soundly sleeping in their beds. They are dressed to death, are always in charge of a maid when out for a walk, and know little of the pure, free joys of childhood. So they grow up to be premature men and women, fitted only to imitate the follies, and, alas, too often to repeat the bitter experience of their parents.

After all, in spite of its splendor, in spite of its wealth, and its mad round of pleasures, Fifth avenue does not hold the happiest homes in New York. You can see the glare and the glitter of the false metal all around you; but if you would find the pure gold of domestic happiness, you must seek it in more modest sections of the great city.
Article Name: The Mansions Along Fifth Avenue 1882
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina
Source:New York by Sunlight and Gaslight James D. McCabe, Jr. Philadelphia, Pa: Hubbard Brothers, 1882


Lenox, Mass. June 11-The wedding of Mr. George Evans Turnure and Miss Elizabeth L. Gardner Lanier took place today at high noon at Trinity Church. Nearly 1,000 invitations were issued to leading society people of New York Boston, and other cities, and so many were accepted that all the cottages and hotels were taxed to their utmost capacity for the accommodation of the wedding guests.

The marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. Dr. Grosvenor, rector of Trinity Church. The floral decorations of the church were most elaborate. The altar rail was trimmed with sprays of stephanotis, and the memorial windows of the church were banked with hundreds of varieties of roses and other cut flowers in great profusion. Palms and exotic plants filled the chancel.

The bride is the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lanier, and is the last of the three daughters to be married. The groom is well known in society circles, and the young couple have for several Summers been among the most popular of Lenox young society people.

The bride passed up the broad aisle of the church leaning on her father's arm. She was attired in a gown of white satin, en train, cut with high neck and long sleeves and trimmed with chiffon. She wore a lace veil and carried a bouquet of bride's roses. The bridesmaids were Misses Gandy, Greenleaf, Mary Turnure, and Catherine Sands. They were dressed in white chiffon, with pink ribbons, and carried immense bunches of pink roses. They all wore large leghorn hats trimmed with pink ostrich tips.

The groom met the bride at the altar accompanied by his best man, Percy Turnure, a younger brother. The ushers were James Arden Harriman, Frank P. Magoun, B.C. Wilson, Jr., J. Woodward Haven, Frank N. Bacon, and William Travers Gray. Prof. Way of Pittsfield presided at the organ and played a wedding march as the bridal party entered the church, while Mendelssohn's wedding march was played as the newly-wedded couple passed down the aisle after the ceremony.
A wedding breakfast was served at Allen Winden, the Laniers' cottage, to over three hundred guests. The floral decorations were on a scale of magnificence never seen in Lenox before. Over 1,000 varieties of roses were used and 700 sprays pf Stephanotis. The bridal couple received the congratulations of their friends in the south end of the music room under a floral veil composed entirely of orchids. This was the first orchid bell ever seen here and so far as known is the first used in this country. The fireplaces in the music room, dining room, and library were banked with the rarest roses and exotic plants of every description. Sprays of stephanolis reached from the electric chandeliers to the corners of the rooms.

The wedding breakfast was served in both the music room and dining room by Delmonico. Lander's orchestra furnished the Music. The presents were magnificent and of great number. Among the many guests were Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Lawrence, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Frank Appleton, Mr. and Mrs. D.S. Eggleston, Mr. and Mrs. J.F.D. Lanier, Mrs. William H. Vanderbilt, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Turnure, Mrs. H.P. Eggleston, Mrs. Evans, Miss Turnure, Mr. and Mrs. Morris K. Jesup, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Ellis, Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Scheng. Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Sloane, Mr. and Mrs. Elliot F. Shepard, Dr. and Mrs. Greenleaf, Mr. and Mrs. William Robeson, Miss Irene Bigelow, Mrs. H.P. Denny, Mrs. J. K. Cravens, Mrs. Davidson, Mrs. John Howard Latham, Mr. and Mrs. John E. Parsons, Mr. and Mrs. Brayton Ives, and Charles E. Butler.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

Historical Images from New York City (6)

Title: "Photographing New York City - on a slender support 18 stories above pavement of Fifth Avenue" One half of a stereocard photo, showing a man with a stereoscope camera above Fifth Avenue in New York City, looking north.
Credited to Underwood & Underwood - The New York Times photo archive, via their online store, here

Historical Images From New York City (5)

Trolleys in Union SquareNew York City, 1906.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Young Misses of Society Dancing Class Tid-Bits

The Young Ladies were sent to the finest boarding and finishing schools, taught etiquette, music and dance lessons, to be properly trained in widening their acquaintance with the New York Society. 

The dancing classes have made the week a field one. They opened it with a dance at Mrs. John D. Jones's house on Monday, where a dance was given for Mrs. Jones's niece. Miss Louise Floyd-Jones, and where the young guests all came with powdered hair and patches on their faces. The sight was a very pretty one, as may well be imagined. Among those who took part in the cotillion, which was led by Mr. Alexander Hadden, were Miss Zerega, Miss Lentilhon, Miss Coudert. Mrs. Pelham Clinton, and others of the same set. The favors were exceptionally tasteful and varied.

On Monday evening, also there met at Mrs. Isaac Townsend's, in West Twenty-fifth street, what is known as the Rosebud Dancing Class, composed of young girls not yet out. This dance was given for young Miss Bend, a granddaughter of Mrs. Townsend. The Orthopedic Ball of Wednesday night, for the success of which Miss Furniss and Mrs. Whitney labored so assiduously to keep exclusive, was, as last year, more or less of a success. The atmosphere of the ball was very much like a usual Delmonico one, and one person present in summing it up described it as a cross between a Junior Patriarch's and a cotillion. 

There were comparatively few girls of the younger set present, but an abundance of men, which somehow gave the impression that some wealthy patroness had purchased a cartload of tickets and distributed them wholesale at the clubs. The larger part of this masculine contingent effectually blocked up the main doorway and narrowed the dancing space, made its presence felt at supper, and was missing in the cotillion.

 Mr. Thomas Howard led the cotillion and Lander the orchestra, and so all the requirements of a Delmonico ball were met. The favors were composed of bunches of red roses, which, before their use in the cotillion, formed parts of huge bouquets that hung between the mirrors, thus combining economy with utility and beauty.

Some handsome gowns were worn, notably by Mrs. George Merritt, Miss Constance Schack, Miss Zerega, Miss Julia Van Duzer, and Miss Fannie Tailer. The supper arrangements were on the most lavish scale, and champagne flowed more freely than at an Assembly. It is understood that the ball cost about $4.80 per head for those present, which will leave a pleasant percentage for the charity for which it was given.

 Article Name: Young Misses of Society Dancing Class Tid-Bits
Researcher/Transcriber: Miriam Medina
Source: New York Times : April 17, 1887

The Bradley Martins: Their Start and Career in New York Society


On the night of Jan. 26, 1885, which was the coldest of an exceptionally bitter Winter, Mrs. Bradley Martin gave, at her double residence, 20 and 22 West Twentieth Street, what was considered as having been, up to that time, with the exception of the Vanderbilt "fancy dress ball of 1883, " the most unique and beautiful entertainment ever enjoyed by the members of New York society. About 400 guests were invited, and the event created comparatively as much anticipatory interest and excitement as the coming ball has aroused this season.

No better evidence of the marked changes which even the comparatively short period of twelve years can effect in the society and journalistic worlds, can be afforded than a study of the story of this ball as related in two of the morning newspapers of Jan. 27, 1885. Strange as it may seem in this era of the full publication of society doings and events, only two of the New York morning newspapers of that date even alluded to this ball, and these two gave only a brief account of it. A perusal of the list of guests is almost startling, as it shows that of the 400 people who attended Mrs. Martin's ball of twelve Winters ago, scarcely one-half are likely to attend her coming ball of Feb. 10 of this year. The divorce court, the vicissitudes of fortune, and particularly death, have removed from participation in society life what seems a remarkable number of persons in so short a time.

Harry Cannon, who was one of the leaders of the cotillion at the Martin ball of 1885, is dead. Ward McAllister, Mrs. Paran Stevens, her son, Harry Stevens; George Henry Warren, Mrs. George L. Rives the first, Miss Marie, afterward Mrs. Frank Pendleton, and others of the guests of 1885 almost as prominent, have passed away. It will also be recalled that during the ball one of the invited guests, and one of the belles of the day, Miss Ruth Baylies, who had been taken ill only a few days previous, died, and the ball was almost forgotten in the general sorrow when the news of her death became known the next day.

The Huge Temporary Supper Room

The feature of the Martin ball of 1885 was the huge temporary supper room, built of wood, which was erected over the rear yards of the Martin residence. This was 68 feet long by 25 feet wide, and after it had been erected the insurance companies compelled Mrs. Martin to pay a heavy premium for its use for one night, on account of the risk to the adjoining property. This building, or room, was arranged so that access to it was gained by a flight of broad steps leading down from the billiard room, which occupies the entire width of the Martin houses in the rear, and whose three windows were transformed into temporary doorways for the occasion. It was heated by steam and lighted by three enormous chandeliers and many side lights. The ceiling was decorated by Marcotte to resemble the starry sky. The walls were hung with turkey red, and antique armor was used to decorate them. A massive old sideboard was placed against one side of the room, and a long supper table was arranged in the centre. The effect of this room, as the guests walked out from the billiard room and stood on the top of the stairway, was striking and beautiful. Unfortunately the bitter cold of the night, on which the thermometer fell to zero, made the room of little use, as the steam pipes could not keep the temporary structure warm.

The guests when they entered were received by Mrs. Martin, who stood in the reception room at the right of the main hall, and from there they passed on through the library and dining-room into the billiard room in the rear. After viewing the supper room, they returned through a small room on the left of the main hall, where two bands were stationed, which played continuously through the evening. Beyond this small room, in the front of the house, was a room arranged as a large hallway, and decorated with deers' heads and other trophies of the chase from Bal Macaan, Mr. Martin's leased estate in Scotland.

Leaders of the Cotillions

After supper, which was served about midnight, two cotillions were danced. Lispenard Stewart led one, in the dining-room, and Harry Cannon another, in the large entrance hall. The favors were exceptionally beautiful. Those for the women were mother-of-pearl fans and silver and gold ornaments, and for the men scarf-pins with pearl heads and broad satin sashes covered with gilt and silver imitations of foreign orders. In the flower figure, clusters of pink roses tied with satin ribbons were given to the women, and boutonnieres of lilies of the valley were given tot he men. The women's bouquets had each a small stuffed sparrow suspended above it by a vibrating wire. Mrs. Martin wore a superb dress of white satin, made, as was then the fashion, with a long train, and she carried seven or eight large bouquets.

The men, matrons, and maidens, who are middle-aged or are approaching middle age, in New York society, well remember this beautiful and unique ball, now only a tradition to the younger generation.


Mrs. Martin's Brilliant Party in February, 1890, When There Was a Dinner and Dancing.

On the night of Feb 8, 1890, Mrs. Bradley Martin entertained about 300 of her friends at dinner at Delmonico's, the dinner being followed by a cotillion. The decorations of the reception, dining, and ball rooms were on a somewhat novel plan and exceedingly rich in character. Gloire de Paris roses were used chiefly in the adornment of the tables, of which there were six, each set for 46 persons. The walls of the main dining hall were hung with blue silk brocade and adorned with small gilt mirrors, from which hung baskets of lilies of the valley. A notable feature of the decoration was a Roman chandelier of orchids that swung in place of the usual circle of lights.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin received their guests in the small red room, in which many graceful palms and ferns were grouped. Coffee was served in both the red room and the blue room to both ladies and gentlemen after dinner. In the blue room, as well as in the main corridor, banks of palms and roses were placed, also a number of choice tapestries, pictures, and bits of bric-a-brac from the Martin residence.

Lander's Orchestra and the Hungarian Band played throughout the dinner and during the cotillion which George H. Bend led, dancing with Mrs. Martin. There were two figure favors, the men receiving jeweled diggers and fac similes of the Orders of the Golden Fleece, and the ladies were presented with small satin bonnets and oxidized silver chatelaines. The guests included all persons prominent in New York's exclusive society, and one of the most charming features of the occasion was the presence of an unusually large number of debutantes, for whom a special table was reserved and appropriately adorned with rosebuds.
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rticle Name:The Bradley Martins: Their Start and Career in New York Society
Researcher/Transcriber:Miriam Medina
New York Times Feb 7, 1897. p.10 (1 page)

Mimi's History Box

Over the last several decades , there has been a growing interest in matters pertaining to Genealogy which from the earliest of times, has formed the basis of true history. That natural instinct which prompts one to love the place of his or her birth, to know the history of the origin and descent of a family or race, and the circumstances in the lives of our progenitors is attracting the attention of the intellectual public, in their never ending pursuit for answers.
History reveals the story of man's past and the progressive development of human society. The human evidence of how man had a determined influence upon history , is found in their expressions of thought, art, culture and politics. History depends on human evidence, not only in annals and chronicles , but in all sorts of forms (monuments, buildings, artifacts, business papers, newspapers, laws, traditions, vital statistics, literature expressing man's philosophy, science and religion.) In the ancient records of the great nations and peoples of the past, preservation of lineages occupied an important place . All historical evidence can be extremely helpful in shedding light upon man's civilization and deeds.
Thanks to many established organizations and historical societies, within the towns of each state, of this country that have taken great steps in securing and preserving historical documents, newspapers and vital records on microfilm and placing them in climate controlled facilities, a project which has been quite costly, for the benefit of future generations. America's sacred symbols that have been vulnerable to the ravages of time, are also being restored to their original forms.. Many libraries even have a genealogical department where lineages may be inspected. Scholars are resurrecting older resources and are beginning to rewrite selected histories in the light of new research on that particular subject matter.
In the process of my own genealogical research I have now come to the realization that the more I familiarize myself with the social and economic conditions of peoples, their racial affinities and the physical environment in which my ancestors lived, a better comprehension as to Who, What, Where, Why and When will be established.
I am convinced that history is an essential factor in assisting a genealogist to achieve a somewhat successful result from its diligent search efforts.I
The History was created and is maintained by Miriam Medina, researcher and transcriber. Mimi's History Box, educational intent is to provide information of historical interest that is relevant to the people of New York State, New York City and American history, and direct them to the sources that it has utilized which are available to the public. The contents of this site are derived from extensive research of public records, newspapers, books and web links. I myself, with over eight years of experience transcribing for historical societies, and other organizations have vetted the articles, personally ensuring that they are from reliable, credible sources, as I scrutinized them for historical accuracy. It is a source of quality information for researchers, historians, literary scholars, writers, historical societies and academic institutions.
As a native New Yorker, from Manhattan, the area of interest on which I will focus, will be New York City. New York City is noted for its enormous cultural and educational resources, its theaters, art galleries, museums, its rich historical background, a major tourist attraction where millions come each year to witness and partake of man's creative power. It is the center of advertising, fashion, publishing and radio broadcasting in the United States. In other words It is a dynamic expression of American civilization. Although it has had its share of growing pains, political, social and economic upheavals, there exists a profound spirit of courage, strength and perseverance among its citizens. Through we will share in those moments of the past. So welcome aboard, sit back , get comfortable , and enjoy the trip, as we travel through time.

Ward McAllister

Ward McAllister was a native of Savannah, Ga., where he was born about sixty years ago. His grandfather, Matthew McAllister, was Chief Justice of the State, and his father, Matthew Hall McAllister, was a justice of the Circuit Court of the United States in California.

The family was distinguished for its legal ability. A brother of Ward McAllister stood at the head of the San Francisco bar for many years. On his mother's side, Ward McAllister was connected with some of the most distinguished families of the East. His maternal grandmother, Mrs. B.C. Cutler, was a daughter of Hester Marion, sister of Gen. Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox" of the Revolution.

When Ward McAllister was in a reminiscent mood, he liked to tell of the admiration that George Washington used to have for his handsome grandmother. Through the Cutlers, Mr. McAllister was able to claim relationship with ex-Mayor Prince, the Appletons, and many other distinguished families of Boston. He was cousin-german to the late "Sam" Ward, to Julia Ward Howe, and to Mrs. Luther Terry, mother of Marion Crawford. He was also connected by marriage with the Astors, the Chanlers, and other well-known families in this city.

Mrs. McAllister, mother of Ward McAllister, was a remarkably beautiful woman, full of energy, vitality, and social talent. She showed plain traces of her French descent, the Marions being Huguenots, driven to this country by religious persecution. She was thought to bear a striking likeness to the portraits of Charlotte Corday, to whose family she was related.

Ward McAllister was said to resemble her very strongly, not only in appearance, but in peculiar personal characteristics.

Ward McAllister was a genial, charming man to people who knew him. His manner was invariably modest and unassuming. His dress was extremely modest and even careless at times. Despite a funny habit of constantly saying, "Don't you know? Don't you see? Don't you understand?" which reporters who interviewed him constantly made fun of, Ward McAllister was an interesting and intelligent talker. He was never afraid to say candidly exactly what he thought. Latterly he had acquired the habit of writing what he thought, and his social set had punished him somewhat severely for it.

Ward McAllister's talents as a gourmet were developed at an early age. When he was a lad it was customary in the South to go to market at an early hour, so as to avoid the heat of the day. Ward used to get up earlier than his brothers and do the buying for the family, so as to get his parents the best that the market afforded. All his life he made a study of gastronomy. When he went to Europe he was not satisfied with partaking of banquets in the company of distinguished people. He wanted to find out how the best culinary effects were produced. he made the acquaintance of the costly cooks at Buckingham Palace, at Marlborough House, and in some of the best public restaurants in London and Paris. He cultivated the society of wine merchants and prodded into the secrets of some of the famous cellars of Europe. Much of the material he gathered then was afterward worked into his remarkable and interesting book, "Society As I have Found It," which he published in 1890.

When Ward McAllister was about twenty years old he came North to study at Yale. A maiden aunt left him some money, and after leaving college he returned to Savannah, where he was admitted to the bar. In 1852 he went to California. he saw some pretty wild life in the far West, of which he wrote very interestingly in his book. He returned to this city and married Miss Sarah Gibbons, whose father held a steamboat grant from Robert Fulton, and who derived a very good income from wharf property here which her father had acquired. For some years after his marriage Mr. McAllister lived altogether in Newport, which was largely settled by Southerners, but eventually, as he rose in social prominence, he established a home in this city, also.

It was not until Mr. McAllister arbitrarily condensed the swell society set of New York into "the 400" that he achieved what might be called a national reputation. He was then at the head of the Patriarchs, an organization of fifty men, who contributed most of the funds for the great society entertainments of every season. Ward McAllister made it a rule never to dine at his club. It was an axiom of his that there was no society without ladies. He had no business that came in contact with his self-imposed social duties, and those he never shirked. His habits were very regular. It was his custom to rise about 8 o'clock, take a light breakfast and devote from 9:30 to 11:320 to business. This usually consisted of giving his advice to those who came to seek it about entertainments. To people not schooled in matters of this kind he was a public benefactor. At noon he used to visit his butcher. This he considered one of the important bits of business of the day. He usually lunched at the Union Club, and devoted the afternoon to a "constitutional" walk, which he never neglected, rain or shine, and to making calls. Never was man more scrupulous in fulfilling all the obligations imposed upon him as the leader of select society.

A few years ago Mr. McAllister was in great demand as a dinner guest. he was full of good spirits and news, and was constantly inventing something that pleased his social cronies. He knew all the gossip about everybody, and did not hesitate to tell it in the most charming manner. it is said of him that he never was known to say a malicious thing. He was considered the essence of good breeding as well as of good-fellowship.

Mrs. McAllister is an invalid. She never appeared in society, nor did she preside at her husband's dinner table when he entertained. Her place was usually taken by her daughter, Louise. These "home" dinners, as Mr. McAllister used to call them, were his pride. He used to give about one a week, and never laid covers for more than eight.

Naturally, when he created the famous "400," Ward McAllister came in for a severe tongue-lashing from the people left off his list. There was a revolt against him at once. Some people said hard things about him. Ladies with 1,000 or 1,500 names on their visiting lists were angry. But his friends stuck to him. For a Southerner, Mr. McAllister stood the severe criticisms he received with remarkable composure. IN fact, he seemed to enjoy it.

Another innovation that added to Mr. McAllister's social fame was his series of picnics, which for twenty-five years were a recognized feature of Newport Summer life. He had a good deal to say about them in his book. He usually gave them on his farm.

"I did not hesitate," he wrote, "to ask the very crème de la crème of New York society. My little farm dinners gained such a reputation that my friends would say to me: "Now, remember, leave me out of your ceremonious dinners as you choose; but always include me in those given at your farm, or I'll never forgive you.'"

Mr. McAllister wrote as follows about the reasons for founding the Patriarchs: " The object we had in view was to make these (the Patriarchs) balls thoroughly representative; to embrace the old colonial New Yorkers, our adopted citizens, and men whose ability and integrity had won the esteem of the community, who formed an important element in society. We wanted the money power, but not in any way to be controlled by it."

Website:The History
Article Name:Society Leader Ward McAllister: Biographical Sketch
Researcher/Transcriber:Miriam Medina
 New York Times Feb. 1, 1895. p. 1 (1 page)
Time & Date Stamp: Sun Apr 15 2018 07:43:09 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time).

Saturday, March 10, 2018


Broome Street, Nos. 504-506, Manhattan.

 Broadway near Broome Street, Manhattan. 1935 (nypl)


Palisade Avenue No. 2505, Spuyten Duyvil, Bronx.

 Newsstand, 32nd Street and Third Avenue, Manhattan.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Step Back Into New York City History #1

The elevated train is described from a passenger's point of view in the following manner:" the fleeting intimacy you formed with people in second-and third-floor interiors, while all the usual street life went on underneath, had a domestic intensity mixed with a perfect repose that was the last effect of good society with all its security and exclusiveness. He said it was better than the theater, of which reminded him, to see those people through their windows: a family party of work-folk at a late tea, some of the men in their short-sleeves; a woman sewing by a lamp; a mother laying her child in it's cradle; a man with his head fallen on his hands upon a table; a girl and her lover leaning over the window sill together. What suggestion! What drama! What infinite interest! "

As for rapid transit New York City built the first elevated railway in 1867, but it wasn't until the early 1880's that it was called "the elevated" and not until the late 80's that it was called the "El". From the 1920s on, the Third avenue El and the Sixth avenue El were familiar names heard throughout Manhattan, typifying the big city's hustle, bustle, dirt, and noise .

RAPID TRANSIT WAS A NECESSITY in the expanding city. The populace of New York were in a great hullabaloo for more speedy and convenient means of getting to and from work than the horse cars, omnibuses, street cars and stages afforded. So on July 3, 1868, the first elevated railroad train sped along at fifteen m.p.h. from New York's Battery up Greenwich Street to Cortlandt. Within a few years two elevated lines were under construction on either side of the city. On the flip side, the presence of the El generated some negative reactions from the public and horse-car drivers. Citizens complained about how close the el was almost touching the buildings , the thunderous sounds from the train of cars whizzing by, the horrible shriek and squeak of metal on metal, sparks falling upon the pedestrians and igniting store awnings, scaring and causing the horses to buck and madly run away crashing their vehicles against the columns of the El and most of all the lack of privacy and exposure to the dirt floating into their windows for those who lived in the upper tenement floors, as well as darkening the streets and lower apartments of the dwellings.

The Third Avenue Line, or Third Avenue El, was an elevated railway in Manhattan, and the Bronx, New York City. It passed into the ownership of the Inter-borough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and eventually the New York City Subway.The El in Manhattan came down in the early 1950s and Third Avenue became a business center with high-rise office and residential buildings.

New York raised railway 1895
During the 1800's Harlem was undergoing all sorts of transportation projects to encourage northward expansion. In 1831 the New York and Harlem Railroad Company was incorporated for the purpose of constructing a railroad from the central part of the city to Harlem. This encouraged the residents of lower Manhattan to move northward to Harlem. The Third Avenue Horse Railroad was built in 1870; the Third Avenue elevated railway was built in 1878 and the Second Avenue elevated railway was built in 1880, the First Avenue Trolley in the 1880s, the elevated rail lines that extended north along the eighth and Ninth avenues were built during the 1880s and finally the IRT Lexington Avenue Subway, which opened in 1903. "But it wasn't until 1879, when the third and second avenue elevated train lines were built that the population of Harlem began to rapidly increase. "With the construction of the "els," urbanized development occurred very rapidly, precipitating the construction of apartment buildings and brownstones. This availability of reasonable housing and faster transportation allowed the working class to be able to live in East Harlem and travel to their places of employment downtown.

These construction projects attracted many immigrant wage laborers mostly during the 1880s and 1890s. The steady flow of cheap labor gave the ruthless entrepreneurs a superb opportunity to reap profits. The first group were the German and Irish workers who laid down the trolley tracks and dug the subway tunnels. Because of East Harlem's cheap tenement rent and convenience of public transportation, many central and eastern European factory workers were able to commute from lower Manhattans sweatshops. As a result of this construction East Harlem became highly populated with the Irish and Italian community.

America faced one of its greatest tests of mass accommodation and tolerance with the immigration wave of the 1840s and 1850s, the Irish and Germans the largest ethnic groups represented.

Saturday, January 27, 2018