- Published: August 5, 2022
- Updated: August 5, 2022
- Level: College
- Language: English
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HERE New York in 1854 Dear John, October 24, 1854 What a I just arrived to New York this morning; you cannot imagine the traffic and the people bustling all over the streets. I will be staying at Bixby’s Hotel here in the heart of the city, on Broadway. It will cost me . 50 cents a night, but that is rather affordable since breakfast is not included. I have already done some window-shopping here on Broadway, the place is covered with fashion; Tiffany & Company, Brooks Brothers, etc Fancy chandeliers, jewelry, and hand-painted china decorate the windows. Next to the hotel is the W & J Sloan Warehouse. I will be sure to take a look at their carpets, as that would be a nice gift to take back home to the family. Many of the fine ladies here wear patent leather shoes and their dresses are adorned with silk and lace. However, the workers in the shops are not as well dressed. All I see, shop after shop, are worn tired laborers, women and children included! Some of these women even offer laundry and mending services to earn extra money apart from their daily work in the shops. It is a shame. I will write more tomorrow.
Dear John, October 25, 1854
Day two in the big city! I did some exploring this afternoon and came across a neighborhood that is completely different than what I saw on Broadway. The streets have yet to be graded and the houses are shuttered. I saw a lovely church there, near Third Avenue; it is St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church. All though it appears to be relatively new, the neighborhood itself portrays a different time in New York with gas lamps lining the street and it lacks the hustle and bustle of Broadway. I have to admit it is a good break from the over-stimulation on Broadway. Yesterday evening I took a stroll east of Broadway to find myself being solicited by prostitutes, as well as vagabonds and beggars asking for anything and everything. It seemed as if they were crawling out of the cracks and crevices of every street corner. I did stop at a saloon for a quick julep, but watching the women of the streets acting as scavengers made it a difficult drink to swallow. Not to mention the noise and ruckus coming from nearby brothels. Well, time for bed, I’ll write more tomorrow.
Dear John, October 26, 1854
It is my final day in New York. I spent the whole day buying gifts for everyone back home. I went to Alfred Munroe & Company today. They had an incredible amount of ready-made-clothing in all shapes and sizes. Toddler clothes were right there in the same building as the clothing for men. You cannot imagine how quickly the textile workers can make clothing here, they act as an assembly line sewing in zippers, making button holes, hemming, mending, and on and on they work. I bought some flannel drawers, overalls, and a few calico shirts. Being that my funds were limited, and it would be difficult to rent cargo space on the train ride home at such short notice, I chose to not buy a piano for mother today. Pianos are the talk of the town, and I saw a shop right below Alfred Munroe & Co. that had a showcase of pianos. However, I did buy a little nightstand at a small store. The furniture shops are on every corner so it is easy to find a deal, as competition is fierce. In all, it has been a good trip, the bookbinders, the print shops, the hatters, the watchmakers; it is amazing all of the action on the streets. But, I am ready to go home, see you in two days.
Burroughs, Edwin G., and Mike Wallace. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898.
England: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Prevost, Victor. Alfred Munroe and Company. 1853. New York Historical Society,
New York City.
Prevost, Victor. Bixby’s Hotel. 1854. New York Historical Society, New York City.
Prevost, Victor. St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church. 1853. New York Historical Society,
New York City.
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