Best of Manhattan 1903

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Best Women of “Loose” Character

Women of “Loose” Character

Those of Coney Island

be the harlots. Feed the naysayers penny candies so that their sour countenances
may be correctively sweetened! Many

a blustery
windbag has proclaimed Coney Island the home to women of chaste and demure demeanor.
They say the ladies who walk the promenades of the entertainment complexes that
grace the pristine shores of the Brooklyn neighborhood (so newly incorporated
into our Christian Metropolis) are so virtuous to the point of being stingy
with their physical affections. Not so! Lay your eyes southward for proof that
bawdiness still runs rampant. Note the utter and complete lack of effort toward
the purpose of concealing their arms. Were these sirens any less clad, their
ankles would show!

New Police Department Initiative Upon Which to Cast Aspersions

“The Bomb Squad”

Who to arm
next? The Chinaman? Lt. Petrosino is among the finest and bravest of all public
servants. However we cannot help but believe that his latest expression of monomania
has led him down a treacherous path.

We are no
great friend of the Italian immigrant. This is why we keep them where we do.
However, we cannot deny that the use of black powder devices by the fiendish
Black Hand in an effort to extort meager funds from these unkempt oil merchants
steps beyond the pale. Of that there is no doubt. We are, to a degree, a civilized
city, and one which will not abide the random use of explosive devices, especially
when a well-swung chain or well-aimed shovel would accomplish the same task.

This is
why we were flabbergasted at the news that the police department’s own
Lt. Petrosino, charged with the task of putting an end to the foul dealings
of the foreign Black Hand, has himself resorted to the same techniques. His
formation this year of a unit of officers he has termed “the bomb squad” nearly
gave us fits.

Lt. Petrosino
assured the populace, as if this were a good thing, that each member of his
“bomb squad” was well-trained in the design and operation of explosive devices.
No such unit has ever existed before in the nation, and that we can believe,
for what sane government would sanction a gang of bomb-throwing anarchists?

That the
Black Hand would detonate explosives amongst the innocent public is despicable
enough. That our own guardians of the public order would begin doing the same
is an unfathomable affront!

Are we here
at New York Press alone in considering the possibility that perhaps Lt. Petrosino
is himself a member of the Black Hand? He is, after all, a man of swarthy characteristic.

Transit Lines to Avoid

The Paris Metro!

Our future
lies under the ground. Perhaps it is unfair, even cruel of us to make light
of the French tragedy of the past month. But is it not true our hubris is well-earned?
Though still quite new, our much-anticipated subway system is sure to prove
itself unsurpassed in the world. Not only will our trains not burn, they will
be clean, free from thuggery, ample and efficient, offering unheard-of convenience
for those citizens wealthy and poor alike who wish to travel in comfort from
City Hall to Grand Central in a mere hour, and sometimes even less. There are
rumors at City Hall that, should it prove its mettle, the subway might even
extend as far as New Harlem.

With the
imminent completion of the 2nd Avenue line in the coming years, we are quite
certain the present motorcar fad will soon pass the way of ping-pong, to be
remembered as little more than a rich man’s folly.

Reason to Recall Mayor Seth Low

His damnable “reformist” tendencies

Call this
gentle man a carriage! Speaking before a crowd of malcontents in 1901, sharing
the stage with no-talent confabulator of tales and social critic Mark Twain,
Seth Low told the assembled rabble, “If I am elected Mayor I shall interpret
the city ordinances in a liberal spirit and in a just one.”

Hold your
churlish laughter, gentle reader. We knew then that the man’s bluster was
a sign of his unique unfitness for the assuming mayoral duties. Sadly, the wool
was pulled over the eyes of the people of this city as he attained the post
of Mayor this most recent election-term. And his tenure has seen an end to the
efficient cronyism and honest graft that has made New York the noted Christian
City of today. With his trademarked strident tone and shrill brand of reform,
he has ground the place to a halt.

Under Low,
our tax-dollars are wasted on frivolities such as street cleaning and tenement
improvement. Those crocodile tears shed for the immigrant? Save them please,
sir. Were it their wish to live outside the supposedly wretched hovels of their
tenements should they not adopt the industrious attitude of one of Mister Alger’s
cherubic newspaper boys and by their own bootstraps be upwardly pulled? Were
the respectable property-owning class of New York polled on the issue, surely
they would, to a man, demonstrate no love for the immigrant.

Bother us
not with reform! Save your mocking eulogies for Tammany Hall, Mister Twain.
We have seen your “reforms.” We’ll take twenty score Crokers over even
a single Low.

“Progressive Law”

The Elkins Act

be gone! Thank the heavens above that our young and robust president Teddy Roosevelt
still has the courage to face down the mighty trusts. In yet another bold strike
for the integrity and rational operation of our fair republic, the Roughest
Rider in Washington has applied his black ink to the Elkins Act, thereby putting
a quick end to the endemic extortion that heretofore has sullied the business
conducted along our mighty railroad lines. Alas, no more will the barons extort
shippers into using their rails. Now if only the President can get around to
signing that Meat Inspection Act. Our tapeworms are becoming damn intolerable.
How about it, TR?

Young Politician

Alfred E. Smith, Democrat

Give them
hell, Al. No longer issuing protestations against Tammany, young Al Smith has
gotten himself elected to the State Assembly. We could not be more hopeful for
this bright young Irishman with a fever for helping the poor and working people
of his native Lower East Side. It is hard to see Mister Smith at work in Albany—bowler
hat tilted to the side, cigar clamped in his busy workaday mouth—and not
think to yourself, by Golly, but this is a man with a future the size of U.S.
Steel. That he has a lot to learn there can be no doubt, but in drive and intensity,
young Al Smith lacks nothing a few weeks with the books can’t fix. One to watch
in ought-four.

Architectural Abomination

The “Sky-Scraper”

Take heed
of Babel, good architects! In only the most recent of years, the once-prim sky-line
of our fair city has been torn asunder by jagged intrusions. The men who build
these violations term them “sky-scrapers,” a moniker that strikes us as properly

Some of
these monoliths rise two hundred feet or more from ground level. And to what
purpose? Centrally, we must assume, these eyesores are erected for the sole
purpose of blocking our view of the Harbor. Even were we to stand atop our very
roofs, the walls of these architectural leviathans would remain insurmountable.

What egregiousness!
Espy that hideous “Flat Iron” building constructed last year. It fills an entire
city block—and such an odd and ghastly shape to it as well. We must assume
that some Indian worker sat upon the plans in the midst of its erection.

more, do not the men who design and construct these “sky-scrapers” realize that
the human body cannot withstand the pressures and the thin air that are present
once such a height is assumed? And once there, what will we be expected to do
under such wretched conditions? Toil?

These expressions
of human arrogance are disasters waiting to be enacted! Consider: Should those
alleged Wright “brothers” bring that contraption of theirs to our city for an
exhibition, what would happen? Confronted with walls of such great elevation,
it would surely collide with one of these “sky-scrapers”—and no doubt with
the most injurious results! It sounds ridiculous, of course, but we feel all
such risks, regardless how fantastic, must be considered before this plague
is allowed to spread any further.

New Volume Concerning the “Race Question”

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois

No Booker
T. Washington, this man. “Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience
may show the strange meaning of being black here in the dawning of the Twentieth
Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the
problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.”

Thus begins
the young Harvard Negro scholar W.E.B. DuBois in his burning tract on the future
of the races. Spurious? Hardly! The racial injustice in our southern states
is a scandal that acts as a stain upon the moral fabric of the republic, one
that threatens to tear it asunder if not addressed and rectified in haste. In
the North, the condition is hardly better, with the avenues of advancement and
professional development closed to even the brightest of the Negro race. Why,
even here in New York, the rougher elements of our Society continue to show
a marked degree of antipathy toward the Negro. DuBois’ clarion call for
the education and spiritual uplifting of his people should be heeded by all
who subscribe to the most basic definitions of Civic Decency.

Would the kind
reader please be obliged to turn to the next pages for more “Best Of Manhattan”
(and its incorporated “boroughs”) listings, including:

Best Miracle
elixir (morphine-based)

Best Miracle
elixir (alcohol-based)

Best Phosphate

Best 15-cent
Regular Dinner

Best New
York World Columnist

Best New
York Sun Columnist

Best Midweek
Vaudeville Review

Best New
Memorial to President McKinley

Best Penny

Best Rockefeller