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Manhattan: historic and artistic; a six day tour of New York city; online

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Stuyvesant Street leads the traveller past a


quaint church edifice which was erected in
1/93 t)y Trinity Corporation, the ground and
four thousand dollars in money having been a
gift from a great-grandson of Peter Stuyvesant.
The remains of the Dutch governor are in-
terred in a vault within the church, having
been removed from the chapel w^hich he had
previously built upon the site of the present
edifice. The original tablet on the outside of
the eastern wall indicates his place of sepul-

A graveyard surrounds St. Mark's, in which
only flat stones mark the resting-place of the
dead. From this place the remains of A. T.
Stewart were stolen.

Second Avenue. — The broad thoroughfare
which cuts off Stuyvesant Street at this point
is a portion of Second Avenue that was another
fashionable quarter of the olden time, but is
now largely occupied by medical and benevo-
lent institutions.

The New York Historical Society
Building at the southeastern corner of iith
Street and Second Avenue, is the receptacle
of a large and valuable collection of historical
curiosities. This society was organized in
1804 by prominent citizens; "For the collect-
ing and preserving of whatever might relate
to the natural, civil and ecclesiastical history


of the United States in general, and the great
and sovereign State of New York in particular."
Material with which to form a " Museum of
American Antiquities" was so rapidly secured
as to necessitate several removals, until the
present building was erected with accommoda-
tions so spacious that the society enlarged the
scope of its work and purchased valuable col-
lections of foreign art, literature, and antiquity.
These are now so numerous as to render the
present building inadequate for their accom-
modation, and it is discreditable to the city
that so many old treasures should be hidden
from the public for want of space, of cases to
protect, custodians to exhibit, or catalogues to
assist the investigator. The museum contains
a large collection of rare pamphlets and manu-
scripts relating to American history, news-
papers, maps, autograph letters, coins, medals,
a library of over two thousand volumes, the
original portraits of fourteen Inca monarchs,
with their names and the order of their
succession, and some portraits of celebrated
Indian chiefs. The original water-color pict-
ures made by Audubon for his work on natural
history are here ; also the efforts of the early
American artists. West, Allston, Stuart, Peale,
Jarvis, Cole and others ; and some specimens
from the old masters, Raphael, Van Dyke,


Titian, Rembrandt, Del Sarto, Paul Veronese,
and Murillo. The Egyptian collection contains
a fac-simile of the Rosetta Stone, mummies
of the sacred bulls, with portions of the chariot
and rope-harness found buried with them in
the tombs at Dashour, vases, agricultural and
sacrificial implements, and a great number of
other equally interesting relics from that an-
cient civilization. There are besides some
specimens of the sculpture of ancient Ni-
neveh, as well as several pieces of modern

The society includes over two thousand
members, through whose courtesy alone ad-
mittance to the building is obtained. As the
organization is unincumbered by debt, it is
confidently hoped that a new building soon
will be erected which can be utilized for the
benefit of the public.

Stuyvesant Square, through which Second
Avenue passes on its wa}^ northward, is one
of the most attractive of our city parks, the
land for which was deeded to the '' Mayor,
Aldermen, and Commonalty of the City of
New York" (this is our legal title) by Peter
G. Stuyvesant in 1836. The donor intended
that the park should be called Holland Square,
but its title was changed by request of the
recipients. As according to the terms of the


deed, businCwSS houses are not permitted to en-
croach upon this locality, it still remains a
desirable down-town place of residence. These
grounds once formed the northern portion of
the Stuyvesant farm, which extended south-
ward to 3rd Street, and from Third Avenue
eastward to the river. On a spot within this
farm, now identified by a plate at the corner
of I ith Street and Third Avenue, there flour-
ished for nearly two hundred years a pear tree
which was brought from Holland by the orig-
inal Peter Stuyvesant, and planted by him to
preserve the memory of his name.

The Friends' Meeting House and Sem-
inary are at the left of Stuyvesant Square.
The Quakers, who suffered much persecution
at the hands of Dutch governors, as well as
from Puritan authorities, could not firmly es-
tablish themselves in this city until the begin-
ning of the eighteenth century, when they
erected their first meeting-house near Maiden
Lane. Since that time they have successively
put up a number of buildings, but at present
these just referred to, belonging to the Hicks-
ite branch, and one other, belonging to the
orthodox sect, are the only meeting-houses
that remain standino^. Throuofh all the vicis-
situdes of the city's growth the Quaker element
ever has been bold, peaceful, prudent, and


practical, and our present prosperity owes
much to their discreet activity.

Saint George's Church, (Episcopalian) at
the 1 6th Street corner, is in its architectural
style a transition from the Romanesque to the
Gothic. Two spires of such beautiful pro-
portions that they challenged general admira-
tion, recently have been taken down because
they were considered unsafe. Fortunately
they are to be rebuilt. This church originally
was one of three chapels belonging to Trinity
Corporation, but it became a distinct charge
in 1811. Its first edifice was erected, in 1752,
on ground near Beekman Street, called " Chapel
Hill." The present structure was built in
1849. For many years this parish was pre-
sided over by the celebrated Dr. Stephen H.
Tyng, whose remarkable insight and energy
organized a work which is now ably continued
and enlarged by the present rector, Dr. W. S.
Rainsford. The presence of thirty women in
the vested choir is an innovation and improve-
ment in the service. The building at the rear
is a sort of church club-house, where members
have the advantages of reception and class
rooms and a fine gymnasium.

Sixteenth Street extends westward from
Saint George's to Irving Place, and Irving
Place leads southward to East 14th Street.


A picturesque little theatre called the "Am-
berg," — formerly Irving Hall, — at the corner
of Irving Place and 15th Street, is appropriated
to German plays.

The Academy of Music, at the 14th Street
corner, was built in 1854 and rebuilt in 1866.
Although the exterior of this edifice is very
plain, the interior is renowned for its perfect
appointments. Italian opera long found a
home in this building, during which time its
walls echoed to the world's most perfect voices.
Great dramatic stars, among them Rachel,
Ristori, Booth, Salvini, and Janauschek, also
have appeared upon its stage. Until the erec-
tion of the Metropolitan Opera House the Acad-
emy was the popular place for balls and pub-
lic meetings, but it is now entirely used for
dramatic presentations.

Tammany Hall, which is situated east of
the Academy in 14th Street, is headquarters
for the Tammany Society, or Columbian Order,
— an organization founded in 1789 for the pur-
pose of perpetuating a true love of country.
In order to propitiate the Indians the society
adopted aboriginal forms and christened itself
with the name of an Indian chieftain. At first
a national society, based upon general princi-
ples of patriotism and benevolence, it became
partisan when the administration proclaimed


neutrality during the French Revolution. It
is now the most thoroughly organized political
body in the country, polling about half of the
entire city vote. Every district has its com-
mittee, which is under the direction of a gen-
eral committee of eleven hundred members,
who are in turn controlled by a " Grand Sa-
chem," or "boss." It was this order which
inaugurated the perpetual commemoration of
Washington's birthday. The first Tammany
Hall, or "Wigwam," stood on the site now
occupied by the Sun Building. The present
edifice was built in 1867.

Steinway Hall, once made classical by the
best concert music, but now converted into
piano warerooms, was in the Steinway Build-
ing, at the west of the Academy in 14th

Union Square. — A few^ steps eastward and
an open park is reached, which affords a
breathing space to the public in the very
heart of the city. Business has so engrossed
this locality that but very few of the old resi-
dences remain. A flag-stone in the sidewalk
at the east side, upon the surface of which is
cut, "Union Square, founded in 1832," identi-
fies the former home of the person who was
most active in securing the early improvements
for this place, Mr. Samuel Ruggles.


The College of Social Economics, which
occupies the southeastern corner of i6th Street
and Union Square, represents a new departure
in educational lines, its object being to found
a School of Economics that shall be distinctly
American, thus giving to students a broader
basis upon which to form a judgment of new
social conditions than is made possible by ap-
plication of the doctrines of the Manchester
School. A business college forms a part of
the institution, and free lectures on themes of
popular interest are delivered Wednesday

The Bronze Equestrian Statue of Wash-
ington, of heroic size, which stands near 14th
Street, was the first public work of art ever set
up out-of-doors in this city. It was erected
in 1856 by enterprising merchants. H. K.
Brown was the sculptor.

The great War Meeting of 1861, called
in response to Lincoln's appeal for troops "to
sustain the Federal Government in the present
crisis," was held under this fac-simile of the
benign face of our first President.

The park contains about three and one-half
acres of ground that are kept in excellent
order. The fountain pond is filled with exot-
ics similar to those already observed in other
parks, and bordered with brilliant foliage


plants. From the balcony of the cottage north
of the fountain officials review the parades that
frequently take place on the 1 7th Street Plaza,
banners and a row of gas-jets making the place
brilliant on special occasions. A drinking
fountain stands at the western edge. The
bronze statue of Lincoln, erected by popular
subscription shortly after his assassination, and
modeled by H. K. Brown, is at the southwest-
ern corner. A statue of Lafayette, facing
toward the south, was modelled by Bartholdi,
and erected in 1876 by French residents in
token of gratitude for the sympathy for France
shown by America during the Franco-Prussian

Union Square Theatre faces the park at the
14th Street side. The pavement in front of
this theatre is popularly known as the " Slave
Market," from the fact that actors make this
their lounging place while waiting for engage-

West Fourteenth Street, which well
may be called "Vanity Fair," is the great
shopping centre of New York, as the perpetual
crowd, the bargain announcements in the shop
windows, and the street venders of every
description of goods, from choice roses to
stove-blacking, will testify.

Macy's, at the corner of 14th Street and


Sixth Avenue, represents a small world of traf-
fic in itself. At first but an insignificant shop
in an out-of-the-way quarter, it afterward suc-
ceeded in forcing trade to its own locality and
became the nucleus of the present business of
the street. Within this great mart may be
found every variety of dry-goods and notions ;
also confectionery, drugs, books, magazines,
stationery, toys, shoes; a fine restaurant, a
glove department, a saddlery-hardware depart-
ment, and a department of ceramics, bronzes,
silverware, etc. In short, nearly everything,
down to the simplest of household utensils,
and all at moderate prices. Like Whitely
of London, Macy has aimed to be an "uni-
versal provider," and it will be seen that he
has practically succeeded.

It is a curious sight to watch the purchasers
who often stand three and four deep around
the counters. Women of wealth and simply-
dfessed country dames jostle each other in
their efforts to secure the attention of the ever
busy clerks. Children clap their hands at
sight of a beneficent Santa Claus dispensing
beautiful toys, or wail from the nervous fatigue
of so much excitement, while cash girls in
bright red aprons run hither and thither with
their package baskets, endeavoring with all
their might to expedite matters for the crowd


that seems never to diminish and never to
cease buying. It was Macy who originated
prices in odd numbers, and also the Christmas
window, — a moving panorama which annually
proves so attractive that during the holiday
season it becomes necessary to stretch a canvas
across the stairway at the elevated-railway sta-
tion in order to prevent spectators from using
the stairs as a platform from which to view
the windows.

The Salvation Army Quarters are in
14th Street, west of Sixth Avenue.

The New York Hospital, which now oc-
cupies a building in 15th Street, between
Sixth and Fifth Avenues, was chartered by
George the Third in 1771, and was the second
organization of its kind in this city. The
original edifice in Duane Street, was destroyed
by fire before patients could be admitted, and
having been rebuilt, was occupied by American
and British soldiers until the close of the war;
so that it was 1791 before the real work of the
institution could begin. Since that time, how-
ever, the hospital has been almost unrivalled
as a School of Medicine and Surgery. The
present building, which is modern French
Renaissance in design, was opened in 1887
with very perfect appointments, the upper
Story having been converted into a glass-roofed


hall where patients may have the advantage
of a sun bath. The first hospital on the Island,
etablished by the Dutch near the old fort, was
demolished by the British.

The Young Women's Christian Associ-
ation Building, between Fifth Avenue and
Union Square, was founded in 1870 for the
purpose of assisting young women who are
dependent on their own exertions. Classes
are here instructed in sewing, book-keeping,
etc. ; and an employment bureau assists women
to find positions. The system also includes a
circulating library and reading-room, supplied
with current periodicals; a gymnasium, a
board directory, an exchange for woman's
work, concerts, lectures, and Sunday Bible
instruction. An addition, called the Margaret
Louisa Home, which accommodates working
women with lodging and board, recently has
been erected in i6th Street. The building
was the gift of Mrs. E.F.Shepard; the Asso-
ciation is supported by voluntary contribu-

Tiffany's. — The great building at the cor-
ner of 15 th Street and Union Square is the
far-famed jewelry store of Tiffany and Com-
pany, an establishment which stands alone in
the world because it is so great of its kind.
Of course, as changes constantly are taking


place, a description of what is displayed at
any one time only will serve to convey an idea
of the general characteristics of this institu-

Upon the first floor there is a bewildering as-
sortment of diamonds and other jewels, silver-
ware, fans, etc. In the northwestern corner,
devoted to Russian manufactures, a silver vase
testifies to the remarkable degree of excellence
arrived at by Russian artificers.

The second floor displays a varied and most
interesting collection of artistic work. Among
the marble and bronze statuary placed in a
little room near the elevator, is Edward Thax-
ter's "First Dream of Love," — a life-size
marble figure which challenges criticism as to
the conception, — for a maiden asleep in an up-
right position, her limbs bound with a net, her
feet unsupported by the ground, and trailing
through bushes, is a confusing thought. The
work, however, is good, and the infant
"Love," who whispers in the maiden's ear, is
skilfully modelled. A much more effective
piece of work by the same artist is the bust of
"Meg Merrilies," which occupies a pedestal in
the same room.

Specimens of agatized wood from Arizona
and Dakota, in which startlingly beautiful
mineral colors have been produced by the


wash of waters containing quartz in large
quantities, are next shown. Near these curi-
osities are antiques in wrought brass, armor,
etc. ; while everywhere are clocks that make
the air musical with the chimes of Grace,
Trinity, or Old World cathedrals.

Under a canopy in an apartment at the
north side of the building, stands a time-
stained statuette of Diana, which was found
in a sarcophagus near Athens, and is supposed
to be two thousand five hundred years old.
This figure is rather sturdy for the modern
ideal of beauty, but its pose is calm and digni-
fied. A bas-relief of a woman's head and
shoulders, in which the workmanship is so
delicate and the elevation so slight as to sug-
gest the possibility of a sketch in marble,
occupies a place on the wall near by. William
Cooper is the creator of this last mentioned
thing of beauty.

The collection in this apartment also con-
tains an electrotype copy of the Bryant Vase,
manufactured by Tiffany, and exhibited by
him at Philadelphia in 1876.

A group of Russian bronzes at the left of
the elevator should not be overlooked, as the
quality of the material, the detail of the work,
and above all, the consummate skill with which
spirited action is portrayed in every object,


make this exhibit a special feature of the

On the floor above ceramics from all the
great factories of the world are displayed.



"Milton's Visit to Galileo" is the sub-
ject of a painting by Professor Gatti, of Flor-
ence, which is exhibited in the art room of
J.H.Johnston an,d Company's jewelry store,
No. 17 Union Square. The poet, who is gaz-
ing at the stars through a telescope, and the
astronomer, who stands near him surrounded
by his family, form a most interesting group,
especially so when it is understood that each
face is said to be an authentic portrait. The
light from a candle in the hands of the maid,
the rays from a lamp which is burning on the
table, and the moonlight seen through the
archway from which astronomical observations
are being taken, form three luminous centres
in which the proportionate relationships are
maintained with a fidelity which attests great
skill on the part of the artist. Extreme deli-
cacy of drawing also is displayed in a chart
of the heavens which stands on the table.

This art room also contains several excellent


Specimens of the French and Spanish schools,
and American art is well represented. An
admirable likeness of Thomas Paine, said to
be the only portrait of that celebrated individ-
ual which was painted from life, is one of the
most noticeable features of this collection.

An Old Majolica Inkstand. — Among the
ceramics exhibited in this establishment is a
curious old inkstand which bears the signifi-
cant date of 1492. Extremely clumsy in form,
it is agreeable to look upon because of its har-
monious coloring. The inscription on the
cartouche, " I. H. S. ," with cross and nails, and
the device of the Medici family, — the six pills,
— on a shield in the lower division, testify to
the correctness of the supposition that this relic
was manufactured in the Caffagiolo factory
near Florence, for use in a monastery, thus
relegating the formation of the quaint struc-
ture to a time only twenty-six years later than
the Heraldic Shield which was exhibited with
the Castellani collection at Philadelphia, in
1876. The Cluny Museum in Paris, and the
Museum at Sevres, possess other pieces of the
same school.

From Union Square to Twenty-third
Street, Broadway is occupied by large retail
dry-goods houses, and carpet and jewelry es-
tablishments; as well as by florists, caterers,


dealers in ceramics, etc., all of whom draw
their patronage from among the wealthy class.

"Choosing the Bride," by Makoffsky. —
This elaborate painting, which is a companion
piece to the "Russian Wedding Feast," is ex-
hibited in Schumann's uptown jewelry store,
at the corner of Broadway and 22d Street.
The critical moment when a Russian prince
selects his consort from a group of radiant
beauties is the subject here portrayed. The
dramatic action is not so fine in this as in the
first-named picture, but the costumes and
jewels of the noble damsels are quite as elabo-
rate, and the scheme of color is harmonious
and brilliant. An admission fee of twenty-
five cents, which is appropriated to charity, is

The Residence Built for Samuel J.
TiLDEN is in Gramercy Park, two blocks east
of Broadway, at Nos. 14 and 15 East 20th
Street. The stone carvings on the exterior of
this edifice are of great artistic excellence, the
entire fa9ade being enriched with divisional
bands of beautifully sculptured foliage, and
bas-relief figures cut in sunken disks, while
the delicately chiselled heads of Shakespeare,
Milton, Franklin, Goethe, and Dante, appear
on a panel near the eastern entrance.

The Players' Club House, at No. 16 East


20th Street, is a gift to actors from the
founder and president of the chib, Edwin
Booth. The building contains the libraries of
Mr. Booth and Lawrence Barrett, and also the
play bills collected by Augustin Daly. A
general rendezvous of players takes place in
these apartments every Saturday night.

Gramercy Park is open to residents in the
immediate neighborhood only, Cyrus W.
Field, David Dudley Field, John Bigelow, and
other well-known persons, occupy houses in
this attractive locality.

Lexington Avenue, which extends north-
ward from Gramercy Park, contains the former
home of Peter Cooper. The residence of the
philanthropist was at No. 9.

The College of the City of New York
stands at the southeastern corner of Lexington
Avenue and 23d Street. Each year nearly
one thousand young men here receive tuition
in a classical, scientific, or mechanical course.
A post-graduate course in engineering occu-
pies two additional years. The college con-
tains a fine library, a cabinet of natural history,
and apparatus for the use of the scientific
department. The institution is maintained at
an annual cost to the city of about one hundred
and fifty-three thousand dollars.

Bellevue Hospital Medical College, and


Training School for Nurses are at the foot of
East 26th Street. This hospital was founded
in 1826, and is under the control of the city
government; but the college, an independent
institution, was not organized until 1861.

The Associated Artists occupy premises
at No. 115 West 23d Street. This is a stock-
company of women, who are placing a com-
mercial value on the talents of women, and
who expect eventually to make of their or-
ganization a School of Design which shall be
distinctly American. Embroidering and dec-
orative drawing and designing for wall paper,
tapestries, and fabrics, are taught to the pupils
of this establishment, w^ho become a part of
the institution after a three years' course. To
those persons who are investigating the prog-
ress of decorative art nothing can be more
delightful than a few moments spent in exam-
ining the products of this fairy workshop.
Silks, soft and fine as any woven in Oriental
looms, and with colors so perfectly combined
that artists frequently suppose the material
to have been treated with the brush, delight
the eye, while the patriotic sense is gratified
with the knowledge that only American flora
and fauna form the basis of the designs for
these exquisite fabrics. Many color studies in
textiles and tapestries are displayed, in which


the workmanship seems little short of marvel-
lous. A characteristic feature of the tapes-
try-work is the poetic thought woven in
with the threads. At the present time deft
fingers are producing a series of curtains that
portray the heroines of Hawthorne's novels
with such unmistakable originality of design
that the artist, Dora Wheeler, is immediately
recognized. Visitors are welcome at the show-

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Online LibraryCorolyn Faville OberManhattan: historic and artistic; a six day tour of New York city; → online text (page 4 of 12)