“Knocking around” Manhattan with O. Henry

Short story master (and convicted embezzler) William Sidney Porter, aka O. Henry, arrived in New York City in 1902 like so many other writers—to be near the publishing business and really make it big.

And like struggling writers still do, he spent time walking around, laying low in odd corners and quarters of the city.

“When I first came to New York I spent a great deal of time knocking around the streets,” he told The New York Times in 1909.

“I used to walk at all hours of the day and night along the river fronts, through Hell’s Kitchen, down the Bowery, dropping into all manner of places, and talking to anyone who would hold converse with me.”

And though he’s most closely associated with Pete’s Tavern, the 146-year-old bar on Irving Place down the street from his apartment at the time, he credits his “knocking around” with providing great story material:

“If you have the right kind of eye—the kind that can disregard high hats, cutaway coats, and trolley cars—you can see all the characters in Arabian Nights parading up and down Broadway at midday,” he said.

Yes, the awning on the side of Pete’s Tavern, above, really does say “The Tavern O. Henry Made Famous.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to ““Knocking around” Manhattan with O. Henry”

  1. Literary Drinks | MRU: micro readers united Says:

    […] I first came to New York I spent a great deal of time knocking around the streets,” O. Henry (born William Sydney Porter) told The New York Times in 1909. In the The Voice of […]

  2. A Third Avenue beer hall inspired by a castle | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] patrons have included a number of leading politicians and writers, notably O. Henry who used Scheffel Hall as the setting for a short story in 1909,” states a Landmarks […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: