II. On The Town


Then, as now, everyone came to New York sooner or later. One 1929 guide explained that “the equivalent in numbers of the entire population of the United States visits the City in less than three years. ” Guidebooks, magazines, and newspapers helped the throngs sort it all out. On the next dozen pages the editors have assembled a good deal of raw information from these guides, and marshaled it to let you move easily through Manhattan in its most glamorous era. Even though you can’t go there, we hope that this anthology may succeed in imparting something of the shimmering, elusive essence of the place.




Stop in at the U.S. Assay office…and exchange your gold in any form valued at not less than $100, for money.

There is no safer city in the world than New York. Newspaper headlines to the contrary are largely sensationalism, playing up crimes and accidents of the day generally out of all proportion to their number or real importance. Women alone, or accompanied by young children, may be assured of safety and comfort in New York.…

In small towns like “Gopher Prairie,” the visitor is spotted at once, either by speech or dress or manner, or by mere “newness,” as he steps from the train, as he treads the quiet streets.…In New York the most unfamiliar type is the New Yorker —that almost unknown, practically nonexistent specimen, the native born Manhattanite. It is he, rather than the visitor, who is curious; yet he, poor dear, claims no special distinction, moves in no separate aura, nor ventures criticism of the hordes of aliens which possess his city — looks askance at none, accepts all.

— How to Enjoy New York, Official Membership Publication of the New York Visitors’ Association Inc., 1925

New York may not be America but it is New York. And New York stands outside comparison. It is without doubt one of the most remarkable places existent now, and one of the most remarkable in history. It is a portent of this and the coming time, the towering apex of a growing pyramid of civilisation. At the same time it is not natural. In some respects it is grander than Nature, for there is more to marvel at in a skyscraper than in a mountain, and there is the illusion of more light flashing off its dynamos than from the revolving sun itself. It is a monument of human artifice.…

New York stands outside comparison. It is a portent of this and the coming time, the towering apex of a growing civilisation. At the same time it is not natural.

I walked the streets of New York a long while before I found poetry. There was majestic and glittering prose, but no glamour, no softness, no tenderness, no emotional relief even in the secret aftermidnight hours, sanctified by the sleeping, by the invincible stars and the quietude of the rivers.


Subway and elevated ride. 5 cents.

Taxicab. 50 cents first mile or fraction thereof; 20 cents each additional half mile.

Rental car. $2.50 per hour; $15.00 per day.

Garage parking. $1.00 per day; 50 cents to a dollar for cleaning and polishing.

“Large and Expensive Hotels of the Very First Rank”

AMBASSADOR. Single, $8.00 per night; suite, $16.00.

RTTZ-CARLTON. Single, $8.00; double, $10.00; suite, $20.00.

WALDORF-ASTORlA. Single, $6.00; double, $9.00; suite, $20.00.

BILTMORE. Single, $8.00; double, $12.00; suite, $25.00.

PLAZA. Single, $6.00; double, $8.00; suite, $15.00.

ASTOR. Single, $4.50; double, $7.00; suite, $15.00. Typical Midtown Hotel. Single with bath, $3.00; double with bath, $5.00.

Typical Downtown Hotel. Single with bath, $2.50; double with bath, $3.50.

Theater Tickets. Gallery, 50 cents to $1.00; orchestra, $3.50 to $4.00 (not including 10% War Tax).

Metropolitan Opera. $2.00 to $7.00.

Baseball tickets at Polo Grounds or Ebbets Field. Bleachers, 25 to 50 cents; grandstand, $1.00; box seats, $2.00.

Movies. Daytime, 15 to 25 cents; evenings, 25 to 40 cents.

Morning newspaper. 2 cents.

Evening newspaper. 3 cents.

Sunday newspaper. 5 cents.

Messenger. 30 cents per hour plus car fare.

Private room in St. Luke’s Hospital. $3.50 to $12.00 per day.