THE WONDER STREET OF THE TOWN. THE NEW RETAIL DISTRICT.
"AVENUE OF THE ALLIES." THE PAGEANT STREET OF THE WORLD.
The first thing that strikes the stranger in New York is the large number of well dressed people seen on this street. And I mean by that not well dressed in the ordinary acceptance of the term, but elaborately so. It was Sir John Suckling, was it not, who wrote:
Her feet beneath her petticoat Like little mice stole in and out, As if they feared the light;
Well, if Sir John were to walk down the avenue today he would think that it was perpetual night, so fearless have the mice become.
It is not an exaggeration to say that in no other city in the world is there a street so altogether attractive as Fifth Avenue from Madison Square to Carnegie Hill. It is the one thoroughfare which by common consent has been reserved for the use of polite society.
No unsightly wagons filled with hind quarters of beef or other ill-smelling merchandise are permitted to invade its classic precincts. The most plebeian vehicle is the 'bus and even that charges double the fare of other cars and imparts a corresponding sense of superiority. All other commercial transportation is rigorously excluded.
Motor cars of the most costly type interspersed with an occasional bus, occupy the driveway exclusively and the crowds on either sidewalk are in keeping with the same standard. On one of those ravishingly beautiful days, for which New York is famous, it is hard to adequately describe the animation of the crowds or the exhilaration of a walk on this most famous show street of the town.
The fascination of the human pageant is greatly enhanced by the quiet beauty of the splendid architecture which lines both sides of the avenue. This background of imposing splendor is further enriched by the most interesting succession of alluring shop windows that ever dazzled and delighted the eyes of mortal women. This is New York's latest shopping district, and as everything is practically just from the builders' hands, every modern idea in construction and decoration has here found its full expression.
The prevailing color is white, either Indiana limestone, granite or marble, and as New York long ago adopted electricity in place of the primeval practice of burning soft, smutty, sooty coal, the result is a cheerful brightness that is deliciously stimulating. A XII Century palace, still standing on the Grand Canal in Venice, has been drawn upon to furnish the main motif in the building of a jewelry firm. Italian Renaissance is a dominant note in many other structures, nor is their beauty confined to the outside. The interiors are a revelation in decorative art. Color schemes are care-fully studied. Rare marbles, bronze work, coffered classical ceilings, are features. Woodwork of mahogany and Circassian walnut, both hand carved and plain. Shimmery curtains, rich hangings of damask, satin, silk and velvet, protect the show windows.
Few streets contain so many stores that are widely and favorably known. Quite a few have foreign branches that enable them to enjoy an international reputation. The world's leading jeweler is perhaps the most famous, although at 27th Street is a friend of the book lover the world over. Another shop is the happy habitat of the wedding gift.
There seems to be every conceivable kind of a shop along the avenue, dealing in every conceivable kind of a human want. Their advertising patter is an interesting study in the curiosities of English literature.
Amid breathless silence, so to speak, the announcement is made that orders for such and such a "model" will now be "accepted." Which always reminds one of the country weekly solemnly in-forming an expectant world that "Mr. William Smith has resigned from the Livery Stable to accept a position with the railroad." Freely translated, this means that Bill was fired out of one job and grabbed another as quickly as he could. "Corsetiere" means just a corset maker. "Togs" means clothes when the writer can't think of anything else to say. "Lingerie" or "under-things," means the shirts, drawers, nightgowns of the Victorian Age. A simple dress is a "gown." An expensive one is a "creation." "Style" is "model." A "coatee" is a short coat. Shades are "heavenly," laces are "foamy"; it's "breeches" uptown and "pants" down-town. "Artistry" is skill in design.
ISAAC ROOSEVELT, having repaired his Sugar House, is now carrying on his business of refining as formerly, and has for sale (by himself and Son) at his house, 159 Queen Street, opposite the Bank, Loaf, Lump, and strained Muscovado Sugars and Sugar House Treacle. The New Emission Money will be received in full value as payment.—N. Y. Journal, 1786.
JACOB ASTOR, No. 81 Queen Street, two doors from the Friends' Meeting House, has just imported from London, an elegant assortment of Musical Instruments, such as piano fortes, spinnits, piano forte guitars, hautboys, fifes, the best violin strings, and all other kind of strings, music books and papers, and every other article in the musical line, which he will dispose of on very low terms for Bash.—Ibid.
ARCHIBALD GRACIE has removed his Counting-Room from his dwelling-house, No. 110 Broad-way, to his new Fire Proof Store, No. 52 Pine Street, where he has for sale, a few chests very fine Hyson and half chests Souchong TEA.—Ibid.
ROBERT LENOX has for sale, remaining from the cargo of the ship Sansom, from Calcutta, an assortment of White Piece Goods; and, as usual, OLD MADEIRA WINE fit for immediate use.
PETER GOELET, at the Golden Key, No. 48 Hanover Square, has imported in the last vessels from London, a very large and general assortment of Ironmongery, Cutlery, Saddlery and Hardware.
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