The Bowery B’hoy

Today’s reading for vWNY is Benjamin Baker’s 1848 play A Glance at New York, best known for introducing NYC’s homegrown folk hero, Mose the Bowery B’hoy, to the American stage. The full text doesn’t seem to be available online, but you...

19th-century Theater Round-up

Monday morning we’re wrapping up the opening unit of our Writing New York lecture, which starts us off with the early New York stage. From last week’s discussion of Royall Tyler’s The Contrast in the post-Revolutionary city, we’ll turn to the...

Prostitution exposed! (1839)

This morning in lecture I spent some time talking about Horatio Alger’s 1868 novel Ragged Dick as belonging, in part, to the genre of the urban tourbook, offering armchair tourists an introduction to several of the city’s important civic landmarks and...

Paul Bunyan in Billyburg

Did I call this one in lecture the other day or what? This week’s New York Magazine contains the late-breaking news that — imagine! — plaid flannel shirts are back. (Thank God they’re fitted this time around, is all I have to say: if this...

No dainty kid glove affair

I wound up today’s lecture on the varieties of 19th-century NYC theater with a long quote from one critic’s recollection of the opening of A Glance at New York, the play that made Mose the Bowery B’hoy a household name, made b’hoy red-flannel...