OLD 23RD STREET HOME OF CLEMENT MOORE, AUTHOR OF "THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS." JAMES FISKE, ED STOKES, LOUISE MANSFIELD, ,LILY LANGTRY, ALL RESIDENTS OF THIS STREET. ST. PETER'S CHURCH, THE PAULIST FATHERS, SLOANE MATERNITY, VANDERBILT CLINICS.
Leaving Greenwich Village the next interesting section of New York extends from 19th to 24th and from Eighth Avenue to the river. It was formerly a region of highly respectable homes and is locally known as "Chelsea Village," so named by Captain Clarke, after the famous old soldiers' home near London. Clarke was a veteran of the early Colonial wars and settled here about 1750, on the land that is now between Ninth Avenue, 22nd and 23rd Streets and the river.
There are still quite a number of residences in this neighborhood, but to a very great extent business has practically wiped out the old social atmosphere. The grounds of the General Theological Seminary, covering the block between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, 20th and 21st Streets, still connects it with scholastic days of the past. Clement C. Moore, whose home was on the corner of Ninth Avenue and 23rd Street, has brought fame to this village by his little poem familiar to children the world over—"The Night Before Christmas."
Mr. Moore was famous as a theologian and a scholar of great attainments, but his great achievements in the realm of higher thought have been practically forgotten in the fame which came to him as the author of these simple lines. They were first published anonymously in an obscure country paper at Troy, N. Y., in 1822.
St. Peter's Church, in this neighborhood, celebrated its 80th Anniversary not long ago and has some interesting historical associations. It stands on land donated by Mr. Moore, as does also the Theological Seminary.
On the block between Ninth and Tenth Avenues on 23rd Street, the visitor is still pointed out the house built for Josie Mansfield, a notorious woman, by "Jim" Fiske, one time President of the Erie, whose partner Stokes killed him in the Broadway Hotel in a quarrel over her favor. His residence was on the same street. Lily Langtry also sojourned here during her first visit to New York. Her home is now occupied by the Pasteur Institute. Edwin Forrest lived at 436.
On Eighth Avenue, between 23rd and 26th Streets, occurred the famous Orange riots in 1873, in which over 200 lives were lost. It was the last clash between the Protestant and Catholic factions in the Irish population of New York.
In older days this region was much given over to tar-get companies and parades of exempt firemen. The custom of parading on Thanksgiving Day in grotesque costumes was also more prevalent in Chelsea Village than in most other parts of town. Generally speaking, how-ever, there is little of interest for the visitor from out-of-town, although the old New Yorkers still find interest in London Terrace, Scotch Row, Inspector William's Residence, Pike's Old Opera House and recollections of the Erie Railroad.
A purely local celebrity was the Rev. Dr. Campbell, whose successors now conduct an institution peculiar to New York, known as the Funeral Church. Strange as it may seem, very little attention is paid by the modern apartment house builder to the fact that we must all pass away, whether we live in flats or not. Consequently, from lack of accommodations, the custom of resorting to an institution like this Funeral Church has become quite general. The latter is nicely equipped with all accessories for a decorous and well managed funeral, and it is a decided convenience to life in a great city—or, more strictly speaking, death.
The further up we go on the West Side the more families we encounter. Business has not yet driven the home builder wholly out of this region, yet it must be confessed that the number of single house dwellers grows fewer each year. Some are still left, but apartment houses are the rule.
At 59th Street is the Church of St. Paul, the Apostle, seat of the Paulist Fathers. It is a very important church and from the number of art works it contains is well worth a visit. Saint-Gaudens, Stanford White and John La Farge, were intimately connected with its artistic development. Some of White's best work is seen here. MacMonnies, Martigny, Harris, Pratt, Kelly, Wentwood and others are well represented. In many respects artistically, it is the most noted church in the city.
Other well known institutions close by are the Roosevelt Hospital, Sloane Maternity, College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Vanderbilt Clinic. With the exception of the Roosevelt, this splendid group of buildings is the joint gift of W. H. Vanderbilt and his children.
Fifty-Ninth Street seems a natural dividing line between upper and lower New York. Central Park begins here. It extends from Fifth Avenue on the East to Eighth Avenue on the West. Sixth and Seventh Avenues, therefore, come to a temporary halt. At the north end of the park they resume their northward march, the former, however, changing its name to Lenox Avenue. Other avenues also drop their numerical names at 59th Street.
Eighth Avenue becomes Central Park West but resumes the old title north of the park. Ninth Avenue becomes Columbus; Tenth Avenue, Amsterdam; Eleventh, West End Avenue. The character of these streets also change for the better and the new names are in harmony with improved conditions.
Between 42nd and 59th Streets the population is of a migratory professional character. The theatre, musical companies, the movies and vaudeville all combine to at-tract a large contingent, who reside here for a shorter or longer period, as circumstances demand. The business of providing entertainment for the public in New York is on a very large scale and from it is drawn the major patronage for the rooming and boarding houses which lie west of Broadway, in what is called the theatrical district.
In this short run from 23rd to 59th Street we have touched only upon the far streets of the West Side. It rightly includes part of the theatrical section, but that is treated separately in another chapter.
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