New York

The City of New York is the largest and most important in America. Its corporate limits embrace the whole of Manhattan Island, on which it is situated, and which is bounded by the Hudson, the East and Harlem rivers, and by Spuyten Duyvil creek, which last connects the Harlem with the Hudson. Being almost entirely surrounded by deep water, and lying within sight of the ocean, and only sixteen miles from it, the city is naturally the greatest commercial centre of the country. The extreme length of the island is fifteen miles, and its average breadth a mile and a half.

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.

As soon as the sun sets over the Great City, Broadway, and the streets running parallel with it, become infested with numbers of young girls and women, who pass up and down the thoroughfares with a quick, mysterious air, which rarely fails to draw attention to them. These are known as street-walkers, and it would seem from outward indications that their number is steadily increasing. The best looking and the best dressed are seen on Broadway, and in parts of Fifth and Fourth Avenues. The others correspond to the localities they frequent.

Previous to the year 1865, New York suffered from all the evils of a volunteer fire department. It had three thousand eight hundred and ten firemen, with a proper force of engines. The various companies were jealous of each other, and there was scarcely a fire at which this jealousy did not lead to blows. Frequently the fire would be left to burn while the rival companies adjusted their difficulties. The firemen seemed to take a delight in the most disgraceful and lawless acts, and were more of an annoyance than a benefit to the city.

In any issue of certain city newspapers, you will see such advertisements as the following:

"Absolute divorces legally obtained, in New York, and States where desertion, drunkenness, etc., etc., are sufficient cause. No publicity; no charge until divorce obtained; advice free. M - - B - - , attorney, 56 - - street."

The persons so advertising are called divorce lawyers. They make a specialty of putting asunder "those whom God hath joined together."

The City of New York has been regularly laid out and surveyed for a distance of twelve miles from the Battery. It has over two hundred miles of paved streets. Most of the streets in the old Dutch city are crooked and narrow, but above that they are broader, and better laid on; and after passing Fulton street, they become quite regular. Above Fourteenth street, the city is laid off in regular squares. First street is located about a mile and four fifths above the Battery. From this the cross streets extend to Two hundred and twenty-eighth street.

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.

There are seventy-five concert saloons in New York, which employ seven hundred and forty-seven waiter girls. The brothels usually termed dance-halls, are included in this estimate, but, as we design referring especially to them in another chapter, we shall pass them by, for the present, and devote this chapter to the concert saloons proper.

In passing the corner of Broadway and Houston street, you will see, to the east of the great thoroughfare, an immense red and blue lantern attached to a low, dingy frame building. This is the sign of Harry Hill's dance-house. It is one of the sights, and one of the saddest sights, too, of New York. As you approach the place from Broadway, you notice a narrow door at the side of the main entrance, opening upon a flight of stairs which lead to the dancing hall. This is the private entrance for women.

The sign of the three gilt balls is very common in the Great City, and where the ancient badge of the pawnbroker is not seen, the words "Exchange Office" answer the same purpose. The law recognizes the fact that in all large communities, these dealers are a necessary evil, and while tolerating them as such, endeavors to interpose a safeguard in behalf of the community, by requiring that none but persons of good character and integrity shall exercise the calling.

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