Harlem Chit-Chat 1870

Harlem's New Market

The new Harlem Market and Hall, to be thrown open to the public on Saturday next, is an enterprise that deserves an especial notice. It is situated centrally on One Hundred and Twenty-fifth-street, between Third and Fourth avenues, and covers an area of about 13,000 square feet, or nearly six full city lots. It has a frontage of 100 feet on One Hundred and Twenty-fifth-street, and is carried through to One Hundred and Twenty-sixth street, where it has a face of 34 feet. It is built wholly of Maine granite and iron, and capped with a steep-pitched slated roof, flanked by two towers, and has a total height of 86 feet above the curb. The ridge and towers are crowned with picturesque crating of ornamented iron-work gilded, the whole structure exhibiting uncommon taste and boldness of design, and from its great height and size becomes a landmark as seen from every direction. The main floor is designed wholly for market purposes, and contains twenty-seven large stalls fitted up in the most complete manner. The wood-work is of Georgia pine, black-walnut and ash, the counters being uniformly of white marble throughout. The stalls have each an area of about 250 square feet, in some cases covering nearly 400 square feet, thus giving the fullest opportunity for every market man to exhibit his stock to the best advantage. Unusual space is given to the aisles, which are 13 and 15 feet wide.

Over the Market floor a fine hall, capable of seating 1,400 persons, has been arranged, with a large supper-room adjoining, with dressing-rooms, and every necessary appliance. A stage has also been provided, suitable for concerts or light dramatic entertainments. An exterior corridor surrounds it, giving agreeable promenade space, and serving to assist in the rapid emptying of the house. The Hall proper has three entrances, two from One hundred and Twenty-fifth-street and one from One Hundred and Twenty-sixth-street, all ample and wide, and sufficient to allow the full 1,400 persons to retire in one minute and three-quarters. There is probably no place of a similar size in New York designed on so generous and admirable a plan as this. Its decorations are in the hands of the most accomplished artists, and no expense will be spared in furnishing and fitting it. The projector of the enterprise is Mr. Wm. T. Blodgett, to whom all credit is due. (1)

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Festivals in Harlem

The strawberry season is at its height away up in Harlem. Last week the West Harlem Methodist Episcopal church enjoyed a very agreeable two days festival, which left a satisfactory result in the society's exchequer. On Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and evenings the Baptist Society, on Fifth-avenue, near One Hundred and Twenty-fifth-street, spread a most attractive feast of strawberries, ice-creams, &c., before hundreds who thronged their lecture-room. On Friday afternoon and evening, the ladies of Trinity Chapel (Rev. W.T. Clarke) had their annual strawberry feast, which was gotten up in a tasteful and liberal manner, and was highly enjoyed by a large number of visitors. Several other treats of this kind are not to come off; so that, on the whole, the citizens of Harlem cannot be said to be very much below their friends down town in their practical appreciation of the good gifts of Providence. (2)

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Surprise to Rev. Dr. Draper, of St. Andrew's Parish, Harlem.

On Wednesday evening last the parishioners of Rev. Geo. B. Draper, D.D., rector of St. Andrew's Church, Harlem, gave that gentleman and his wife a surprise, it being the twentieth anniversary of their wedding-day. About 150 people were present, and many brought handsome and tasteful presents. During the evening tan elegant book-case was brought in the parlor, and presented to the doctor, with a letter requesting the acceptance of the gift, and expressing the high esteem in which he was held by the donors. A liberal supper-which, with a band of music, had preceded the company was partaken of, and the assemblage dispersed about 12 o'clock. The affair was apparently greatly enjoyed by host and guests alike, and must have been very gratifying to the former, who is well worthy of the attention shown him by his congregation. (3)

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Highway Robbery in Harlem

About ten days ago, as James McLaughlin, residing in Harlem, was going home, late at night, he was assaulted and robbed of his gold watch by an unknown man, who made his escape. He went to the Twelfth Precinct and gave as close a description of the highwayman as he could under the circumstances. On Monday John Rhan was arrested on a charge of petty assault, and the Captain, fancying that he bore a striking resemblance to the description which McLaughlin had given of the man who robbed him, sent for McLaughlin, when he recognized Rhan fully as the man. Rhan was, yesterday, committed without bail by Justice McQuade, in the Harlem Police Court. (4)

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Riot Among Workingmen at Harlem

Considerable excitement was caused yesterday afternoon among the loungers, in the usually quiet Police Court at Harlem, by the appearance of a number of policemen bringing in as prisoners nine sturdy, horny-handed sons of toil, whose battered faces, torn and mud-spattered clothes and generally dismantled air showed that they had been engaged in a rough-and-tumble fight, at no distant period. When order was at length restored, the myrmidons of the law made their complaint against their prisoners, and as far as could be gathered from the rather confused statements of the knights of the club, the disturbance originated in this wise: The members of the Stone-cutter's Union have recently struck for higher wages, and they deem it of vital importance to them to prevent men from working with their employers, in order that the latter may be compelled to employ them at their own terms. When, then, they learned that Mr. Westervelt, who employs a large number of hands at his yard in One Hundred and Twenty-=ninth-street, between Third and Fourth avenues, had declined to give them the wages they demanded, and had engaged the services of several non-society men, they were much incensed, and determined to use every means to prevent them from working. Accordingly the strikers assembled in numbers about Mr. Westervelt's yard yesterday, and endeavored to persuade or frighten the men there employed to stop working. Finding their efforts useless, they made an attack in a body on the workmen and tried to force them from the yard. A general fight was the result, which was continued with great determination on both sides, until the Police appeared upon the scene and arrested nine of the assailants. When Justice McQuade had heard the charge, he dismissed three of the men, and bound the remaining six to keep the peace for six months. (5)

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Renewal of the Harlem Riot__Arrest of the Ringleaders.

The gang of stone-cutters who on Thursday evening created a disturbance in Harlem by an attack upon the men at work in Westervelt's stone-yard, in One Hundred and Twenty-ninth-street, between Third and Fourth avenues, returned again last evening and renewed the riot. The men in the yard were obnoxious because they were working as it was claimed , under rates, and also because they were not members of the protective Union, and the assailants, therefore, displayed the rancor usual in such feuds. They were unsuccessful, however, in the attempt to force the men to quit work, because of the prompt arrival of a large force of the Twelfth Precinct Police, under Capt. Slott. But they were only overawed for the time and lurking in squads about the locality, attacked the men as they came from work. The Police came instantly to the rescue, and with no other casualty than slight injuries to Sargeant Osborn, who was knocked down, the rioters were driven off, and six of those most prominent in the affair arrested and locked up to await arraignment before Justice McQuade this morning.(6)

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Extensive Fire in Harlem__Aggregate Loss $165,000.

At 9 o'clock last night a fire broke out in the upper part of the large six-story brick building in Ninetieth-street, near Fourth-avenue, occupied as a manufactory. The building was entirely destroyed. The basement and first floor were occupied by W. Weisker & Brother as a ribbon manufactory, and they estimate their loss on stock and machinery at $70,000, upon which there is an insurance of $30,000 in City companies. The five upper floors of the building were occupied by Bernard Berisch, paper manufacturer, who loses $25,000 on material and machinery, having an insurance of $10,000. The building was owned by Julius Desaw, whose loss is $70,000, and his insurance thereon is only $7,000. The fire caused a brilliant light, and attracted a large crowd of people. (7)

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Probable Murder in Harlem

Patrick Cummins was arraigned in the Harlem Police Court, yesterday, on a charge of feloniously assaulting Daniel Clifford by stabbing him in the abdomen with a large dirk knife. It appears there has existed an old grudge between the parties, and both meeting on the corner of One Hundred and Eighteenth-street and Fourth avenue, on Sunday morning, some angry words passed, when Cummins drew the knife and committed the felonious assault complained of. Justice McQuade committed Cummins to await the result of Clifford's injuries.(8)


Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Harlem Chit-Chat 1870
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


(1) The New York Times December 29, 1870; (2) June 12, 1870; (3) The New York Times December 2, 1870; (4) The New York Times August 25, 1870; (5) The New York Times  April 1, 1870; (6) The New York Times April 2, 1870; (7)The New York Times April 25, 1870; (8)The New York Times December 6, 1870
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