Posts Tagged ‘New York in 1875’

A Memorial Day parade marches down Broadway

May 28, 2012

This stereoscopic card shows the city’s Memorial Day parade in 1875, as it winds its way down Broadway at Bond Street.

In 1875, it was called Decoration Day—taken from the practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers.

The holiday was only a handful of years old at the time, but already the parade tradition had taken hold.

A prostitution scandal hits 1870s New York

June 14, 2010

Houses of ill repute thrived in post–Civil War New York. The city’s population was exploding, and poverty bred a criminal underclass mostly ignored by the police.

That’s where Red Light Lizzie and Jane the Grabber come in.

These two madams led rival gangs of “grabbers” or procurers—recruiting young women new to the city with promises of a well-paying job.

Instead, the girls, many from wealthy backgrounds, were put to work in the hundreds of brothels all over the city.

(Above, what a refined young lady of the day looked like.)

Lizzie and Jane were real pros. They had business offices and even sent out monthly circulars to clients advertising the newest girls they’d procured.

But after so many girls from upper-class families disappeared into the city’s underworld, the public became outraged. This “grabber scandal” of 1875 resulted in Jane getting arrested.

It’s not clear what happened to Lizzie. Whether she went to prison or left New York in the wake of the scandal, surely another madam took her place.