The Manhattan Essential, 1899

Broadway, 1899.
Broadway, 1899.

As our blessed city sails majestically toward a promising new century of scientific innovation, cultural enrichment, and economic prosperity, your humble editors at The Manhattan Essential (rights reserved, accept no substitutes) bring a sampling of everything the glorious City of the Isle has to offer.

The Lower East Side

churchandstate_gratesVenture south of 14th Street and the bold visitor can enjoy the multicultural bounty that makes fair Manhattan great. A dozen languages can be heard here, amid colorful neighborhoods that would not seem out of place in Constantinople or Kingstown or even socialistic Chicago. Visit the local grocer, shop along newly-renovated Mulberry Street and take in an afternoon show at the Magnus Theater. Business and pleasure for the adventurous await at either end of each and every street!

Marvel at local ingenuity as the East Side inhabitants gather fire escapes and overarching pipe systems into skyways, dead useful for the busy traveler. Walk without risk of stepping in offensive offal, as the bright-eyed lads of the city’s sanitation crews wage unceasing war against disorder. Tip your cap to the gallant and incorruptible men of the Metropolitan Police; each would lay down their life to protect the least of your parcels.

Jonathan "Groat" Barnes. Is this the face of a lord of crime, dear reader? Hardly! (TEM thanks our friends in the Metropolitan Police for providing the photograph)
Jonathan “Groat” Barnes. Is this the face of a lord of crime, dear reader? Hardly! (TEM thanks the Metro Police for the photograph)

Conduct your commerce with utter confidence, as each and every sewer grate has been locked and warded behind cages of blessed steel. Your city and church stand by with prayer and pistol should the troubled realities of our time rear their ugly heads.

Pay no attention to hysterical claims of organized crime–the syrup of the pulp and dagger of the anarchist, we assure you. Jonathan Barnes is no murderous peddler of Larcanum acid (the supposed witch-kissed opiate that exists purely in the minds of lamentably-imaginative newspaper editors) but a humble businessman, as forthright as you and yours, humble Reader.

It is recommended that those venturing south of 14th Street after dark travel in groups and be alert. While the district remains safe, it can be easy to get lost amidst the urban splendor. Those that wander into the Bowery are advised to seek high ground and shriek for assistance until the Army arrives.

The New Exposition Building

Those claiming our fair city has forsaken innovation before the bleakness of our times need only travel along Broadway, 5th Avenue, or 22nd Street–the busy sinew that ties our beloved Manhattan together–and cast their eyes upward. There they shall find a breathtaking renunciation.

Constructed for the 1896 New York Exposition Fair, this modern-day palace boasts twenty-three stories, advanced elevators, a forced-water fire suppression system and impenetrable foundations to hold safe its many inhabitants. Councilman Charles Taffy (may his wisdom persist!)jeffersonsays_waxwell paid for many of the improvements out of his own pocket; loathsome anarchists and the ever-envious agents of Philadelphia shall find no chinks in the New Exposition Building’s modern armor.

Its glittering flanks are guarded by nothing less than the divine: a total of six-hundred-and-fifty-four copper angels, each shaped by the artistes of Fohrmann Inc. in poses of unearthly beauty. Many of these cling to manfully to gigantic, glass globes set with electric lamps provided by the marvelous workshops of the New Edison Company. As the poet Ginn Wing-Holland wrote from Blackwell’s Lunatic Asylum: “The night sky itself envies the Teapot.”

In mentioning this incredible edifice’s charming nickname, we arrive at the most marvelous of its accouterments: the Exposition Elephant. No tawdry torchbearer or dull flagpole for this, our avatar of Flow Deco and the modern style, nothing less than a vast, rearing elephant shall serve. For upon the sixteenth floor stands that wise yet fierce lord of Lost Africa, his mighty bulk reaching well past the airship dock to trumpet the greatness of Manhattan to the vassal states and beyond. The gold foil that covers the Teapot’s incredible crown would feed Manhattan for two weeks, and its shining trunk can be seen clear past unfortunate Bronx on a clear morning.

antiphillyThe interior of the Teapot is no less impressive than the exterior. The visitor that steps within the vaulted doors must take care–women and gentler men have fainted clear away. Above the gleaming marble is a lobby that stretches five stories above the astonished head; cased in burnished metal, pneumatic elevators and ornate walkways, this space forms the City Sideways. All of the commerce of Mulberry Street, hundreds of feet in the air. Now that’s something to tell your grandchildren about!

Above all of this grandeur flows the blood that sustains this, our great city’s gilded heart. All seventeen of the largest financial firms call the New Exposition Building home, as do a number of prestigious lawyers, shipping magnates and industrial boards. These good citizens provide for the bread that nourishes our stomachs, the truncheon that protects and corrects with equal vigor, and the concrete that shields our very step from the horrors that lie beneath the City of the Isle.

Thankfully, these paragons of capitalistic virtue do so from the comfort of the New Exposition Building–the true heart of Manhattan!


More Coming Soon!