No. 584
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
December 8, 2022

Sparking in Tompkins Square

Cupid in Tompkins Square
June 28, 2011
...
...

Not George Talkington, but there must have been a strong resemblance.Many people could be called “accident prone,” but, fortunately, few take it to the level of the subject of today’s post.  From the “Bath Chronicle,” November 21, 1833 (via Newspapers.com):George Talkington, once a celebrated horse-dealer at Uttoxeter, who died on the 8th of April, 1826, at Cheadle, Cheshire, in his eighty-third
More...
Strange Company - 12/7/2022
`
Wishing you a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving Day! Lizzie is thankful for turkey and all the trimmings – and no mutton broth in sight!
More...
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 11/22/2022
CAME NEAR LOSING HIS MONEYSan Francisco ChronicleMay 6, 1893(Click image to enlarge)  San Francisco Man Taken in by Denver Card Sharks "First time I ever got caught" (Soapy Smith) This post was originally supposed to be about a new "victim" (Charles Anderson) swindled by the soap gang that I recently uncovered during a search through newspaper archives, but in looking through my files I found
More...
Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 12/6/2022
On this date in 2002, Pakistani Mir Aimal Kansi, Kasi, or Qazi was executed by lethal injection in Virginia, U.S.A. “Real angry with the policy of the U.S. government in the Middle East, particularly toward the Palestinian people,”* Qazi on January 25, 1993 revenged himself on Central Intelligence Agency commuters queued for a left turn […]
More...
Executed Today - 11/14/2022
 When tried for the 1840 murder of Catherine Merry, Charles Cook pled innocent by reason of insanity. Despite a history of medical treatment for extreme melancholy, and strange behavior such as running through the streets of Schenectady, wearing nothing but a blanket, proclaiming himself to be the Savior of the world, the jury rejected his plea and found him guilty.Before his execution, Cook
More...
Murder By Gaslight - 12/3/2022
For years I’ve walked by the delightfully shabby Joe’s Tavern sign at the corner of Tenth Avenue and 25th Street. I’ve never seen the vintage vertical beauty lit up, unfortunately. Even stranger, I’ve never seen any sign of life inside 258 Tenth Avenue, which once housed what I imagine to have been an old-school neighborhood […]
More...
Ephemeral New York - 12/5/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
More...
Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
Did the Naughty Midway Dance | Spectacular Scenes & Sights Down on the Jersey Coast

Sparking in Tompkins Square

Cupid-Tompkins-Park

New York, New York, 1888 - Sparking in Tompkins Square, a place which Cupid has made his favorite stomping ground, and where the stern paterfamilias is wont to appear. 

Cupid has had great sport in Tompkins Park, this city, on pleasant evenings of a Sunday for some time past. Recently the interesting spectacle of forty couples breathing tales of love was witnessed at this charming rendezvous for "spooney" young men and women. Near the circular structure in the center of the park sat a maiden of sixteen or thereabouts, clad in a maroon dress, which just reached to the tops of her buttoned boots, a lavender jacket, and a jaunty hat matching her dress, with a raven's wing in the band.

Close beside her sat a youth of equal age, who was gazing into her eye. He held her hand in his, and in an undertone told her many pretty secrets.

Changing her hand to his other one, his arm gently stole round her waist. She seemed unconscious of it. He whispered something and she shyly looked at him, presumably the better to understand his whisper. He inclined his face to hers and "just one" he pleaded-and hastily took one, two, three. He paused a few seconds in admiration of her and then resumed talking, and she talked, too, in a bashful way.

But presently a very substantial vision intruded itself upon their happiness-a tall, ponderous Dutchman in trousers of ample volume, a jean jumper and a velveteen cap similar to those worn by the drivers of brewery wagons.

"You vas here, eh?" he queried of the girl. "You vas coom home."

She coomed.

Another young couple plumped down. The Fellow manifested his affection by pulling his sweetheart's hair and pinching her ears. She tee-hee-hee'd, slapped him playfully, and twittered, "Now, Jamesie, you stop." But just the same she didn't seem pleased when Jamesie did stop. She slapped him some more; whereat Jumesie pushed hack her head and gave her a loud kiss.

With all the couples the time was fraught with happiness and sweetness and most of them didn't leave the park until the broad-faced clock in the steeple of St. Bridget's Church nearby tolled the hour of ten.

 


The National Police Gazette, November 3, 1888