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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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[newspaper clipping: first column]
	 Evening Post  Articles.
THE NEW YORK CONCERT SALOONS
		             
THEIR PECULIARITIES AND CHARACTER
		             
  SCENES IN BRODWAY HOUSES.
		             
  From the days of the  Dog and Duck  and
 Finish,  Londn has had her night houses;
Paris, whether monarchical, republican or imperi-
al, rejoices in her caf s chantants; and for the last 
two years, our cosmopolitan city of New York,
emulous alike in good and evil, has produced as
vicious and popular a perversion of the two as
can well be imagined.   In this thrice favored 
island,  which, according to the truthful Diedrich
Knickerbocker,  is like a munificent dung-hill,
where every foreign weed finds kindly nourish-
ment,  what in England and France is a compara-
tively harmless blending of public entertainments,
has assumed the truly diabolic form of shameless
and avowed Bacchus and Phallus worship, every
block in a certain portion of our principal thor-
oughfare having its two or three temples where
the obscene rites are nocturnally practised.  That,
in spite of the recent closing of a few of these
places in anticipation of the enforcement of the
dramatic license law, the evil is yet flourishing in
rank luxuriance, everybody knows.  What its
nightly aspect is the present article may inform
our readers.
	 THE CANTERBURY MUSIC HALL.
  This, the pioneer establishment of its class,
and the most pretentious on our list, is named
after a London place of entertainment.  Its New
York predecessor, on Broadway, between Bleecker
and Amity streets, was happily destroyed by fire
nearly two years ago.  The present edifice, adver-
tised as  the most costly fitted up place of
amusement in the world,  (!) occupies the site of
the former French theatre, between Houston and
Prince streets.  It is, indeed, the same building,
altered and debased to its present purpose.  Pub-
lishing its attractions by huge pictorial posters,
by long advertisements in the newspapers, by a
weekly bill of entertainment, it challenges prece-
dence over its many rivals, and thus claims our
first attention.
  We enter it by a long passage, ornamented by
posters, at the end of which is a ticket-office,

[newspaper clipping: second column]
similar to those attached to theatres, where a gen-
tleman of  b hoy  aspect retails the indispensable
preliminaries to admission.  The prices range as
follows: Parquette, 35 cents; Promenade, 25;
Gallery, 13; Stage Private Boxes, 75 cents a seat.
What these divisions consist of will appear pre-
sently; we shall first pay our respects to the so-
called Promenade.
  Emerging from the pay-place by an ascent into
the body of the house, we behold a spacious and
handsome bar, stretching across the near end, or-
namented with more than the usual profusion of
glitter and with globular lamps of ground glass,
respectively inscribed with the imposing title
 Canterbury Palace.   Behind this counter are
half a dozen bar-men actively engaged in the exer-
cise of their vocation.  Before it is an open pro-
menade or dais, raised three or four feet above 
the parquette or pit proper, affording a good
view of the stage over the heads of its occupants
to whose level access is obtained by a central
descent of a few steps.  Leaning on the handsome
brass rail bordering this dais, we, in conjunction
with a score or so of spectators, from that favor-
able point of view survey the spectacle.
  There are mirrors to the right and left, covering
the walls of the building and doubly duplicating 
the audience, performers and attendants; mirrors
fronting the galleries, rows of chairs alternating
with little round tables in the body of the house
(where the scarcely perceptible distinction of par-
quette and promenade is indicated by the red vel-
vet top of a seat stretching across it) an orchestra
and a stage, with the inevitable American eagle
surmounting it, all appurtenances having a bright
light look, creditable to the designer.  There is
dancing or singing in progress on the stage, at
audience, and perhaps a dozen or more waiter
girls.  These young ladies being one of the recog-
nised attractions of the establishment, merit a
paragraph of description.
  When not employed in fetching drinks from the
bar to customers, or talking with them, they gene-
rally stand in a little group beyond the velvet-
topped seat, probably according to instructions, in
order that the fascinations of their propinquity
may induce the expenditure of the additional ten
cents authorizing the passing of that nominal
barier, for the due exaction of which a young man
akin in physiognomy to him of the ticket-office
lies in waiting on an adjacent bench.  Their age
may range from fifteen to five-and-thirty.  They
are dressed, some plainly, some showily, ordinarily
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Eighteen: page one hundred and twenty-six
Description:Newspaper clipping written by Gunn regarding various concert saloons in New York.
Subject:Canterbury Hall (New York, N.Y.); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; New York evening post.; Theater; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, [New York]; London, England; Paris, France
Coverage (Street):Amity Street; Bleecker Street; Broadway; Houston Street; Prince Street
Scan Date:2010-06-14

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Eighteen
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of the scene in New York at the commencement of the Civil War, his visits to military camps in and around New York City as a reporter for ""The New York Evening Post,"" boarding house life, the shooting of Sergeant Davenport by Captain Fitz James O'Brien for insubordination, and Frank Bellew's marital troubles.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marriage; Military; Publishers and publishing; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.