Travel Tips for Visiting New York in 1920
This weekend I unexpectedly stumbled onto Freebird Books1 on a walk along the Red Hook waterfront. Inside I came across a copy of Valentine’s City of New York Guide Book, an old illustrated manual that the city’s Common Council originally published annually throughout the mid-1800s, then later revived by Henry Collins Brown from 1916 to 1928.2
I knew instinctively that this little red volume would be money well spent, and time3 has vindicated me. I here present to you, at no additional charge, the forty most useful tips to the visitor to New York4, to utilize as you will for your own benefit.
Start at the library and head south
There is no other city in the world in which it is so easy to get around as New York. If you will get the points of the compass fixed in your mind at the start, it will help you greatly. Standing in front of the Library at Fifth Avenue, at 42nd Street, and looking toward Madison Square you face South; your back is to the North. On your right is West, and on the left is East. Traffic police are stationed at congested points. Stop until they signal you to cross. The ninety-four on horseback and the five hundred and nineteen on foot are out in all weathers, quick to see the movements of every kind of vehicle and alert to adjust every condition that arises to facilitate the travel of foot passengers as well as the saving of time of cars and carriages and all kinds of wagons on wheels.
Remember that carriage-horses have been replaced by taxi drivers. If you can’t agree on a price at the end of your ride, just ask him to drive you to the nearest cop, who will gladly settle the argument for you.
Taxis have succeeded hackmen. Charge per mile regulated by the city. Inside each taxi the rate card is prominently displayed. Each cab carries a meter which counts the mileage. There is no chance for argument with the driver, as the charge must agree with the distance travelled as shown by the meter. In case of dispute, order the driver to take you to the nearest police station.
Consider the aeroplane
The very latest and up-to-the-minute method of Seeing New York is undoubtedly by the new hourly Aeroplane route. For a genuine thrill, this is highly recommended to the tourist in New York. Do not miss this very novel experience. It does not fly in Winter. Fifty mile flight, hourly service, weather permitting.
Women and unpleasantness
New York is not perfect, but any woman who encounters unpleasant situations in our city has, to a very large extent, her own self to blame for it.
Playing the stock market is easy
Dozens of telephones with an attendant at each can be plainly seen from the sidewalk and the frantic motions of the operators trying to deliver urgent orders form one of the illuminating features of life on the Curb. The first phenomenon that piques the curiosity of the innocent wayfarer is the meaning and purpose of the finger signs. For the most part, they denote price. They do not convey the full prices. That is supposed to be known. If a stock is selling at 89 1/8, all that will be indicated by the hands will be the eighth. The hand turned up means “bid” or what somebody is willing to pay for the stock; the hand turned down means “offered,” or what somebody is willing to sell it for. The index finger, pointing up, means one-eighth of a point bid; two fingers a quarter; three fingers, three eights, and so on to more complicated signals. Pointing down, the fingers indicate the fraction of a point offered.
The multi-colored hats worn by these people are not adopted as a mark of eccentricity, but for the severely practical purpose of making recognition easy by any individual in the windows of the firm whom he represents.
Save money while impressing your chump friends back home
You can hire a furnished room in a good neighborhood for about $10 a week, dine at a cafeteria, or any one of a hundred good reasonably priced restaurants, and then walk through the big hotels afterwards. You can even go into the writing room and send a letter home on the hotel’s richly crested stationery if you wish, and no one will object.
New museum coming soon, details to follow
Announcement has just been made that the valuable Art collection made by the late Henry C. Frick has been left to the city as a public museum. This new museum is located on 5th Ave., between 72nd and 73rd Streets. At the present moment of writing it cannot be definitely stated just when this collection will be open to the public but reference to the daily papers will supply the information.
On the Grow
London is still great and so is Paris. But the huge expenditures for the late war, the immense loans raised by our own and Allied Governments were largely financed in New York and this will for some time to come make New York a tremendous factor in the world’s affairs.
Here come all the fruits
The Fruit Exchange is located in Franklin Street. Here come all the fruits, foreign and domestic. One can hardly realize that lemons in lots of twenty-five thousand boxes are frequently disposed of in a few moments. Who in the world has use for so many lemons?