New York Saloon

New York Saloons

How and why did saloons become the social hub of New York's subcultures from 1845-1895?


Many Manhattan saloons make a great play of their heritage, pouring beer and mixing cocktails with ample lashings of nostalgia, particularly for those on the tourist trail. But underneath the gaze of sepia-coloured photos and illustrations of old, patrons are unlikely to be aware of the New York saloon’s tumultuous history, particularly in its formative years from 1845-1895. Indeed, if one were to take the primary sources at face value, then the saloon during this era was a den of vice, hell raising and, quelle horreur, foreigners. But dig a little deeper and a very different story of the New York saloon emerges, particularly in relation to subcultures and immigrants.

From 1845-1895, saloons boomed in numbers, keeping pace with the increased demand from a burgeoning population. It was a space where men,* often with little means, obtained sorely needed escapism. It was also an anchor point in a world that could be tough and uncaring. On the negative side, the saloon gave alcoholics the opportunity to fuel their addictions, obliterating their health under a cascade of gut-rot spirits. The criminal element could also be found on fringes of saloon culture.

*As we shall see, the world of the saloon was primarily a masculine one.


This essay will begin by briefly exploring the historiography of the saloon, highlighting just some of the many difficulties that surround the primary sources. We shall also consider the work of recent historians, noting their arguments concerning the urban working and criminal classes and the saloons. We will then discuss the role saloons held within immigrant subcultures, although space restricts us from analysing every major cultural group that arrived in New York in our chosen timeframe. However, we can at least focus on the use of saloons by the Irish, the Germans and then the Italians. We will then proceed with a discussion of the ‘sporting male’ and the aspirants to this subculture. Finally, we will explore the saloon's female subculture and contend that, far from being victimised, many women were extremely savvy at using saloons as spaces to establish their independence and, in part,  define their identities.

Historiographic holes

The historiography of the saloon from 1845-1895 is burdened by the lack of primary material produced by those who frequented the saloons. In his history of the New York’s Five Points area* Anbinder writes: ‘Of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who passed through the Five Points during the nineteenth century, precious few left written records. There are plenty of eyewitness accounts from reformers, journalists, law enforcement officials etc., but other than the occasional letter to the editor or affidavit describing a crime, working-class Five Pointers speak directly to us very rarely.’1 These are the same difficulties faced by those wishing to explore New York saloon subcultures from 1845-1895. In addition, the primary material that is available must be approached with great caution. For example, many anti-saloon tracts sacrifice details about the patrons in favour of launching into polemical condemnations of drinking. As Luc Sante points out: ‘The chroniclers of the era … [were often] so blinded by moral outrage that they failed to note physical particulars.’2 

*An intersection in lower Manhattan on which five streets converged. Long since built over, the old district is now primarily part of Chinatown.

Worse still, much of the anti-saloon literature frequently lurches into hyperbole or dark fantasy. ‘Where does the midnight assassin drown his conscience and nerve his arm to plunge the fatal dagger into the heart of his fellow man?’ L Penney rhetorically asked in 1894. ‘In the saloon,’ she answers, for ‘the saloon is the hotbed of vice and crime.’3 The style is often formulaic, the author listing the sins of a saloon’s occupants and warning about the divine retribution to come. For example, Elizabeth Thompson in her 1882 account of saloons thundered: ‘God will not hold them guiltless who continue in this awful murderous business.’4


Less common, but still influential was anti-saloon material rooted in 19th Century scientific  and pseudo-scientific theory. Dr Crothers in his 1893 paper The Drink Problem declared: ‘The moderate drinker of to-day becomes the inebriate of to-morrow, and dies the next day of acute disease, or is laid away in some asylum.’5 Alcoholics who had children were criminal degenerates of the worst kind, according to Crothers. ‘The marriage of chronic inebriates is a crime and offence against the highest laws of humanity that should be punished by the severest penalties.’6 Saloon culture and its subcultures were often viewed with this ‘scientific eye’ – the behaviour, actions and appearance of saloon regulars closely scrutinised for evidence of degeneracy. The writer George Ellington was particularly prone to making these assumptions in his account of visiting New York saloons in 1869. But despite the problems associated with anti-saloon literature, these sources can still carry important slivers of information.

By contrast, well-written and well-argued anti-saloon literature can provide immense food for thought and highlight the serious health and societal problems attendant with heavy drinking. For example, the journalist and progressive campaigner Jacob Riis was often critical of the saloon. But  at least Riis knew whereof he spoke, having arrived in New York as a poor immigrant. In his seminal 1890 work How the Other Half Lives, Riis recognised the saloon was the ‘poor man’s club, his forum and his haven of rest when wearied and disgusted with the crowding, the quarrelling, and the wretchedness at home.’7


In their analysis of saloon culture, most historians have paid close attention to its role as a space for the working and criminal classes. Powers, in particular, explores the New York saloon as an institution in direct opposition to mainstream middle- and upper-class values of the age. She writes: ‘The working-class saloon straddled the line between public and private, order and anarchy, convention and freedom.’8 Importantly, Powers cautions against over-analysing the physicality of the saloon. It was, she reminds us, ‘the saloongoers themselves’, not the ‘types of saloons [that] formed the basis of saloon culture.’9 To understand the centrality of the saloon among New York’s subcultures between 1845 and 1895, we must follow her lead and maintain focus on the patrons and proprietors rather than the saloon’s fixtures and fittings.


Meanwhile, those like Herbert Asbury* and Luc Sante in their explorations of the 19th Century New York underworld have emphasised the connections between saloons and the criminal element. While this makes for an interesting read, it can veer towards sensationalism, something Asbury is particularly guilty of. Anbinder says of him: ‘[Asbury is a] usually careful, if somewhat overly dramatic chronicler of old New York.’10 Nonetheless, if the historian makes a diligent and careful appraisal of the sources – keeping the thoughts and theories of others firmly in mind – it is possible to start constructing a viable model of the saloon and how various subcultures made them their hubs.

*Asbury’s book The Gangs of New York was published in 1928. It had a new lease of life in recent years following the release of Martin Scorcese’s 2002 blockbuster movie of the same name.


Immigrants and alcohol

Saloons from 1845-1895 were predominantly, but by no means exclusively, working class. The range could stretch from a squalid dive, patronised by the lowest sort of thug, to the high-end saloon that was acceptable even to the middle and upper classes. Many of these establishments made their names as a combination of saloon/restaurant/gentleman’s club. Hybrid concert saloons also developed during this era, accommodating hundreds and staging musicals, variety acts and dance nights. They catered for a range of cliental, including many dandified sporting men. In addition, numerous saloons were renowned for being on the periphery of the sex-trade.


As the second half of the 19th Century progressed a greater deal of standardisation occurred as saloons were acquired by breweries or became franchise operations. Improved manufacturing efficiencies led to more fixtures and fittings, while a civic drive to impose health and safety standards ensured greater cleanliness. There was also a crackdown on the adulteration of drinks and a concerted effort by brewers and distilleries to ensure the quality of their beverages was maintained. The development of bottling and cask technology was particularly important in this regard.

The saloon was rather basic at the start of our chosen period, particularly those frequented by Irish immigrants. The bulk of New York’s Irish would arrive poor and malnourished, and most could only afford to live in the cheapest slum areas. From the 1830s and into the 1870s this was predominantly around the waterfronts and in the Five Points district. Anbinder ably describes the earlier type of saloon, writing: ‘[It] was a long, narrow space, with a long bar running down one wall and an empty floor opposite it to accommodate those that might visit at lunchtime and in the evening.’ The floor was covered with sawdust to ‘sop up tobacco juice and spilt beer’.11 The saloon was usually devoid of tables and chairs, with the patrons jostling for a spot at the bar. It was also normal to have a round of drinks in one establishment and then move on to the next, where more drinks would be consumed.


In 1843, Richard Henry Dana Jr visited the Five Points and noted in his diaries an abundance of ‘grog shops, oyster cellars and close, obscure and suspicious places of every description.’12 When Joel H Ross visited Five Points in 1851, the high level of alcoholism among the poor struck him. He wrote: ‘The number of human beings annually sacrificed upon the altar of rum, in this single city, I will not attempt to enumerate.’13 In 1872, McCabe visited the poorer districts of New York that were still dominated by Irish immigrants and their descendants. He recorded that ‘day after day you see men and women reeling along the streets, or falling helpless.’14


Anbinder has shown a statistical validity concerning excessive drinking and the Five Points, particularly among the Irish poor. Exploring the number of alcohol-related deaths, he noted that they had a far higher per-capita rate than other immigrant communities living in similar circumstances and locales. There were, Anbinder concludes, ‘cultural and genetic factors at work’.15 Drinking habits are often passed on from one generation to another and this situation was no different: ‘Youngsters growing up in Five Points (especially in Irish families) were constantly surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of drinking and drunkenness.’16 The Irish preference for whiskey can hardly have helped. According to McCabe, the liquors sold in the saloons of Irish-dominated districts ‘[are] simply abominable. Whiskey commands the largest sale, and in the majority of instances [is] a vile compound.’17


Positive places

Few commentators of the era took the time to explore the saloon as a force for good, particularly for immigrant subcultures. But for many immigrants, the saloon was – as noted by Riis – an anchorage in a sea of mainstream hostility. It was a space to talk freely without fear of censorship or scrutiny. The saloon also allowed customers to speak in their native dialects or language, discuss wider job prospects and debate the news from their mother countries.18

For Italian immigrants arriving later in the 19th Century, the saloon was almost certainly the first port of call to find work or hire out their services to a gang master. But like the Irish saloons before them, Italian establishments were  viewed by many in the mainstream as hothouses of dissolution and criminality. Frank Moss was especially scathing of the Italian saloons on Mulberry Street and the Mulberry Bend. ‘In the saloons are crowds of men engaged in card playing. Here are the vermin-laden beggars and banditti of Southern Italy, incrusted with dirt, crawling with vermin, given to hard drinking, idling, gaming and fighting.’19


Saloons were a place where immigrants could relax and have fun. Writing in 1872 Charles Loring Brace noted that the ‘liquor shop’* was a workingman’s ‘picture-gallery, his reading room and his social salon all at once. His glass is the magic transmuter of care to cheerfulness, of penury to plenty, of a low, ignorant, worried life, to an existence for the moment buoyant, contented, and hopeful.’20 This would have been doubly true for the poorest immigrants. The saloon was also something of a citizens’ advice bureau, offering them a welcome place of ‘familiarity and assistance’.21 And it was here that the saloonkeeper came into his own, giving advice to his patrons about girlfriends and wives, or even stumping up bail money if one of his regular customers had fallen foul of the law. In the words of Luc Sante: ‘[The bartender] would be their confessor, business adviser, political mentor, gossipmonger.’22

*It should be noted that the terminology for defining a saloon was still quite loose in the mid-19th century. Saloons were also labelled as drinking houses, barrooms, restaurant saloons, gin mills, liquor shops and liquor houses etc.


Many saloons offered the famous ‘free lunch’, which a patron would receive if he purchased one or two drinks, something that was a lifeline for an immigrant living in poverty. Saloons were a theatre of politics too, with local bigwigs, particularly the Tammany Hall Democrats, relying on the immigrant vote to maintain power. In return for a saloon’s bloc support, a politician would, according to Powers, ‘[assist] the bar trade by helping saloonkeepers evade temperance laws and [keep] customers happy with personal favours’.23 Despite the political corruption, the system was still a cause for celebration among many immigrants – back in their old countries most had been disenfranchised from having any say whatsoever in politics.24


Another positive space was found within the German saloon subculture, which, in contrast to its Irish and Italian counterparts, found greater recognition in mainstream New York society. Like the Irish, Germans arrived in New York in great numbers from the 1840s and into the 1870s. And, as surprising as it might seem today, their taste in food and drink was seen as quite exotic among many mid-19th century commentators. The greatest collection of German watering holes was along the Bowery, the central working-class entertainment district of New York after the Civil War and labelled by Sante the ‘people’s delirium, the Republic of the Bowery’.25


German establishments supplied tables and chairs to their customers and socialising, not skylarking, was the order of the day. This might explain why the mainstream affixed notions of respectability to German drinking culture in a way that was never quite afforded to the Irish. The most popular German establishments of the age were the Atlantic Garden and the Volks Garden. Both faced each other between Bayard and Canal Streets and both were housed in buildings a number of stories high. They were extremely popular, with the Atlantic Garden catering up to 2,000 people and comprising several bars, a shooting gallery, billiard tables, bowling alleys and, for good measure, an orchestra pit. Beers cost a nickel.26 During drinking hours and for some time afterwards there was a constant supply of beer being delivered from the breweries.27

Henry Williams, author of New York After Dark published in 1866, is at ease in the world of saloons and, importantly, breaks from the norm by using tempered language when describing the sights and sounds he witnesses. Finding a German establishment near to the offices of the Herald newspaper, Williams and his friends start an evening’s entertainment sipping drinks ‘between bites of a briny britzel’*.28 Interestingly, the author admits to being able to speak some German and one suspects he made enough attachments with the immigrant community to interact with the subculture on scale that others in the mainstream would have found impractical.

*He means Bretzel or Brezel, the German spelling of Pretzel. 


But despite his conversational knowledge of the German language, Williams and his friends are unaccustomed to the beverages on offer. Making a saloon crawl up Chatham Street they try some Weiss Beer. ‘That “don’t work”,’ says Williams and so ‘to get the taste out of our mouth, we try the Rhine wine, which so affects our tongue that we must go lager again before making our sortie.’29 Reaching the head of the Bowery, just beyond the Old Bowery Theatre, the group find a ‘lager bier garden’ where they note five men and a women serving as waiters, while a ‘rotund Falstaff’ runs the bar.30 Williams had more than passing knowledge of the saloonkeeper, for he is able to recount the German’s pre-immigration army career in some detail.

*He appears confused about wheat beer and lager, while the wine was most probably a Riesling. The mistakes are illustrative of the new nomenclature for those experiencing German saloons as an unusual and fun experience.


Other commentators, writing from an anti-saloon stance, predictably condemned German establishments. In 1869, Ellington rather imaginatively labelled the German saloons on Canal Street, West Broadway, Chatham and William streets as ‘German women dungeons’.31 We are told that women are not only present but can ‘can curse as loud as the men, and drink spirits with equal freedom and zest. Almost each of these dens has a tradition of murder or bloodshed done within their painted walls.’32

In direct contrast to Ellington, Henry Williams argued that the German drinking subculture was fashionable and being emulated across the city. ‘Do you notice how the Americans have taken up with this Berlin style of enjoying oneself? Why, only a little while since, if anybody had told a New Yorker that the time would come when he would find pleasure in sitting at a table for an hour, smoking, and drinking … he would have been laughed at.’33 Williams states that beer gardens are thoroughly respectable. Unlike lower-class saloons, there are ‘no “bummers” from groggeries or liquor-saloons here’.34 So who do we believe? Ellington, who claims German saloons were deplorable, low-end establishments? Or Williams, who argues German saloons were places of respectable mainstream leisure, albeit with odd-tasting drinks?


Sporting life

Known for his flash clothes, the ease at which he traversed the urban landscape and his ability to live of the proceeds of gambling or prostitution, the sporting man’s life invariably revolved around the saloon. At first glance, ‘sports’ were an eclectic subculture made up of boxers, ex-boxers, thugs, pimps and dandies who circled the peripheries of mainstream society and the underworld. Sporting males were often called ‘fancy’ men. Gilfoyle writes: ‘Leisure activities, not work, defined the fancy. In the boxing ring, gambling den, and saloon, a “rough” egalitarianism reigned.’35 When their gambling funds dried up, the sport could often be found working as a bouncer or as a ‘political representative’, making sure voters made the right choice at the polls.

The sporting subculture, with its social networking, obsession with the form of a horse or a baseball team, overt machismo, and casual attitude towards sex and the sex trade was prominent enough to incur mainstream condemnation. But perhaps the biggest concern was the sporting subculture's appeal among many non-sporting men who frequently mimicked or aspired to join the growing ranks of this fraternity.36 Dandified sports were an interesting sub-group in that they eschewed violence, focussing instead on their attire. Gilfoyle writes: ‘They were known for their flashy outfits, finger rings, watch chains, leather boots, and “fashionable” behaviour.’ He adds: ‘They aspired to be part of the “upper crust” and the “bon ton”.’37 Nonetheless, these dandified sports were never fully accepted by the mainstream. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say they were unwilling to enter mainstream and leave the sporting lifestyle and saloons behind.


While a sport would enter a lower-end saloon if ‘business’ demanded it, he undoubtedly preferred an establishment that had the veneer of respectability. Henry Williams, it seems, had leanings towards the sporting life. Apart from recounting visits to German saloons, he also records a trip to a concert-saloon called Jollities and his account is riddled with wry humour and bawdy talk, all typical of the sporting type. Williams tells us that Jollities holds a dance ‘with a French or Spanish name, always spelt wrong on the bills, and always having the de before the vowel as, for instance, Pas de Afric, which would be more truthfully styled “a grand display of leg”.’38 At Jollities he notes: ‘each man [is] bent on his own gratification, regardless of all others, the drunken ones being equally disturbing and full of deviltry, vented in trying to trip up the waiter girls … pulling them by their ribbons, giving false orders and funny ones.’39


Ellington’s take on sporting subculture is a great deal darker. Visiting the Louvre near Madison Square, he describes its almost palatial layout, writing ‘that room to the left is the billiard-room; this middle apartment the grand drinking hall; and under the alcoves, there at the end, on the right, are more retired tippling places.’40 He adds: ‘The walls are frescoed and painted in with the rarest of artistic skill… The great bar is very rich with varied cut-glass and silverware, and numerous mirrors reflecting the bright lights.’41 Amid opulence and splendour, the decadent world of high-end sporting life is recounted. At the ‘great bar’ around ‘two hundred thirsty and loving bacchanalians [are] enjoying themselves, or pretending to do so, beneath the charms and smiles of some thirty “pretty waitresses”.’42


Ellington then informs us ‘pretty is a misnomer’ as most of the waitresses are ‘very coarse, fat and prodigiously ugly’.43 For Ellington, the woman catering to the demands of the sports are ‘as much of a commodity as the liquor you are imbibing’.44 And, as much as we might recoil at this, it perhaps best sums up what many sports believed. The sporting male and his tastes were influential well into the 20th century but then faded into obscurity as other fashions and behavioural norms ascended. Anbinder writes: ‘Although forgotten today, the “old sports” of New York formed a subculture as colourful and well known as the Bowery B’hoy.’45


Women and the saloon

Ellington’s views on women in the saloons were not uncommon. Indeed, it is striking to note that both anti-saloon activists and regular saloon goers often viewed a female presence with deep suspicion or censure. But before exploring the saloon as a subcultural hub for women, we must again recall the pitfalls of the sources available – they are often written with the express purpose of emphasising the salacious and shocking to both enthral and outrage their readership.

As we have already seen, Ellington describes women in saloons as ugly, corpulent and coarse. For him, all women connected to the saloon are on a downward journey that ends on the ‘lower rounds of the ladder of vice.’46 According to Ellington, the prostitutes were almost always drunken harlots of the lowest order: ‘[They] patronize the same bar-rooms that the men go to… Gin is their favourite drink, and they drink as long as they have money to pay for it, and until they have become completely drunk.’47 He adds: ‘They have no thought for the future and no thought for the past. They taste vice in its lowest forms and spend their time in dissipation.’48 Meanwhile, those waiting outside the saloons for male clients were lucky that ‘the gas light is a good friend of theirs [because] it hides so many defects.’49


Among many other historians, Gilfoyle and Anbinder have ably shown that prostitution levels from 1845-1895 were highly visible and seemingly exponential in growth. However, rather than suffering from moral degeneracy – the reason given for prostitution by numerous commentators of the time – many were driven into the sex trade by poverty and a need to stay above the breadline. Others were lured into prostitution by the machinations of madams and pimps. Some were simply addicted to alcohol and needed to feed their habit.50 With so many already at rock bottom, the saloon was not the institution that finally corrupted the prostitute or saw them destroyed; as a masculine space away from the domestic realm, and with drinks flowing, it was simply where the market was.


More difficult for the historian to assess is the position of waitresses. These women were often viewed by the mainstream as little more than sex workers, also lacking in moral standards. But it is worth remembering the commission system through which many  waitresses earned their pay as today’s tipping culture did not then exist. They received a small percentage on the drinks ordered with them, thus it was in their interest to persuade patrons to select the most expensive brands and to get them to keep on ordering. The flirtatious approach, especially with sports, was one way to do this. Often waitresses built up a working friendship with patrons and were keen to retain their loyalties. However, it was a competitive business and waitresses often tried to hustle customers away from each other. Henry Williams recounts one such incident at Jollities, where a waitress tries to steal the customers of another:

“You let that gentleman alone, Fan, he’s a steady customer of mine.”

“Lord help him, then!”

“What do you mean, sassy?”

“Call me sassy again and I’ll open your squint eyes.”


The waitresses then start fighting, much to the patrons' amusement. They are eventually separated ‘with much trouble’.51 In the meantime, other men  attempt to get the waitresses to leave with them. Or it might be the other way around as the owner is busy attempting ‘to keep his birds from flying away too early with their ensnared mates.’52 In this example, the waitresses are indeed using sex to make money but it is they, and not the patrons, who appear to be the controlling force. Indeed, Williams has revealed a very different side to the New York saloon and its waitresses. Through his account, the saloon’s female subculture can be viewed, not as a collective of victims, but as confident protagonists, often advancing their positions and boosting their incomes by manipulating customers.


Despite the moral outrage they incurred, prostitutes and waitresses were an accepted presence in the New York saloon. More unnerving to the mainstream and many men within saloon subcultures was the presence of respectable working- and middle-class women in the saloon’s back room. But  it had become increasingly acceptable for women to use a ladies’ entrance around the sides of most saloons as the 19th Century progressed. Here they could then enter and use the back room to drink and socialise in, turning what was once an all-male space into one that was now partly shared.

Several saloons made reactionary attempts to halt this development, often using the excuse that respectable women needed to be barred for their own moral safety. McSorley’s Old Ale House was a notable example of this. Established in 1854 it ran for an impressive 88 years under four different owners, the first one being Old John who ran the saloon until his death in 1910. Old John, according to Mitchell, ‘believed it impossible for men to drink with tranquillity in the presence of women.’53 The saloon had a notice nailed on the street door declaring that there was ‘No Back Room in Here for Ladies’54 and Mitchell tells us that Old John would bow whenever a woman entered the saloon and then usher her out saying ‘Madam, I’m sorry we don’t serve ladies.’55

*McSorley's refused entry to women until 1970. A stubborn survivor, the establishment is still open for business.


During this essay we have noted that the historiography of the New York saloon from 1845-1895 is both potted and problematic due to the lack of primary sources. We then discussed the vital role the saloon played for the immigrant; it was his clubhouse and place of refuge in the stormy world of mid- to late-19th century New York. The saloon enabled the Irishman or Italian to find his feet and maybe discover his next job. If money was tight, it might also offer him an essential free lunch, so long as he purchased a cheap drink or two. In addition, the saloon was an immigrant’s political station and the saloonkeeper his spokesman and guide.


One could argue  the German saloon subculture advanced several steps further than its Irish and Italian counterparts as it quickly attracted custom from both inside and outside the German community. By the mid-19th Century, it was influencing notions among New York’s mainstream and other subcultures about what a saloon should be, how customers should behave, and what kinds of fixtures and fittings should be expected. At the very least, any drinking establishment worth its salt needed tables, chairs and, if the space allowed it, a beer garden.

During 1845-1895 the sporting male’s subculture grew in popularity. Sports used the saloon as a platform to express their desires and sexuality, creating unease among many in the mainstream and stoking many of the fears expressed about the sporting lifestyle in general. Setting aside the salacious and indignant language, the mainstream may have had some justification in condemning the sporting male: he could indeed be licentious, lecherous and, on occasion, violent. That being said, the sport was also something of a cash cow for the prostitute or waitress, although they had to be savvy enough to manipulate him into parting with his money.


For many commentators, this display of female independence was hard to swallow and spurred the labelling of any women in a saloon environment as either fast or fallen. Poverty or other extenuating circumstances were conveniently jettisoned when making their arguments. Later on in our chosen period, women from the working- and middle-classes increasingly made the back room their own recreational preserve. While reactionary establishments like McSorley’s attempted to halt their entrance, the female presence in saloons by the end of the era was a growing and accepted one. Overall, we need to be wary of painting too rosy a picture of the saloon’s development as a hub for New York subcultures in 1845-1895. For the alcoholic, it was undoubtedly a dangerous place, where a person's health could be destroyed one drop at time. But most patrons used the saloon as a space to forget their woes and enjoy the friendship and company of others. In that sense, the New Saloon was a place of empowerment. 



1) Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points (Plume, 2002), p.106

2) Sante, Luc, Low Life (Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2003), p.113

3) Penney, L, How to Fight the Drink or The Saloon Must Go! (National Temperance Society, 1894), p.25

4) Thompson, Elizabeth The Figures of Hell or the Temples of Bacchus (Oahspe Publishing, 1882), p.29

5) Crothers, T D, The Drink Problem, in Factors in American Civilization (D Appleton, 1893) Evolution Series No.35-48, p.281

6) Idem, p.285

7) Riis, Jacob A., How the Other Half Lives (Penguin Classics, 1993), p.159

8) Powers, Madelon, Faces along the Bar: Lore and Order in the Workingman’s Saloon, 1870-1920 (University of Chicago Press, 1998), p.19

9) Ibid

10) Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points, p.68

11) Idem, p.193

12) Idem, p.214

13) Ross, Joel H, What I saw in New York or a bird’s eye view of city life (Auburn, 1851), p.134

14) McCabe, James D., Lights and Shadows of New York Life (National Publishing, 1872), p.706

15) Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points, p.232

16) Ibid

17) McCabe, James D., Lights and Shadows of New York Life, p.706

18) Powers, Madelon, Lore of the Brotherhood: Continuity and change in Urban American Saloon

Culture, 1870-1920, in Holt, Mack P, A Social and Cultural History of Alcohol (Berg, 2006) p.151

19) Moss, Frank, The American Metropolis Vol.3 (The Author’s Syndicate, 1897), p.30

20) Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points, p.194

21) Powers, Madelon, Lore of the Brotherhood: Continuity and change in Urban American Saloon Culture, 1870-1920, p.151

22) Sante, Luc, Low Life, p.113

23) Powers, Madelon, Lore of the Brotherhood: Continuity and change in Urban American Saloon Culture, 1870-1920, p.151

24) Discovery Channel, Uncovering the Real Gangs of New York, in Scorcese, M, Gangs of New York(Miramax, 2002) Disc 2

25) Sante, Luc, Low Life, p.105

26) Idem, p.106

27) Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points, p.177

28) Williams, Henry, New York after dark, or gleams and shadows of city life! (De Witt, 1866), p.98

29) Ibid

30) Ibid

31) Ellington, George, The Women of New York, or the Under-World of the GreatCity(1869), p.472

32) Ibid

33) Williams, Henry, New York after dark, or gleams and shadows of city life!, p.99

34) Ibid

35) Gilfoyle, Timothy J, City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920 (W.W. Norton, 1992), p.104

36) Idem, p.236

37) Idem, p.105

38) Williams, Henry, New York after dark, or gleams and shadows of city life!, p.41

39) Ibid

40) Ellington, George, The Women of New York, or the Under-World of the GreatCity, p.464

41) Idem, p.465

42) Ibid

43) Ibid

44) Idem, p.463

45) Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points, p.182

46) Ellington, George, The Women of New York, or the Under-World of the GreatCity, p.297

47) Idem, p.220

48) Idem, p.298

49) Idem, p.299

50) Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points, p.214

51) Williams, Henry,New York after dark, or gleams and shadows of city life!, p.41

52) Idem, p42

53) Mitchell, Joseph, McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon in Botkin, B.A. New York City Folklore (Random House, 1956), p.114

54) Ibid

55) Ibid


Primary sources:

Buckley, James M (editor of the New York Christian Advocate), Social Necessity of the Saloon in

Cherrington, Ernest Hurst (editor), The Anti-Saloon League Year Book: 1909 (The Anti-Saloon League of America, 1909)

Cherrington, Ernest Hurst (editor), The Anti-Saloon League Year Book: 1909 (The Anti-Saloon League of America, 1909)

Idem, The Anti-Saloon League Year Book: 1911 (The American Issue Publishing Company, 1911)

Idem, The Anti-Saloon League Year Book: 1912 (The American Issue Press, 1912)

Crothers, T D, The Drink Problem, in Factors in American Civilization (D Appleton, 1893) Evolution Series No.35-48

Ellington, George, The Women of New York, or the Under-World of the Great City(1869)

Hadley, Samuel H, Down in Water Street(Fleming H Revell, 1902)

McCabe, James D., Lights and Shadows of New York Life (National Publishing, 1872)

McCabe, James D, New York by Sunlight and Gaslight (Douglass Brothers, 1882)

Moss, Frank, The American Metropolis Vol. 1-3 (The Author’s Syndicate, 1897)

Penney, L, How to Fight the Drink or The Saloon Must Go! (National Temperance Society, 1894)

Riis, Jacob A., How the Other Half Lives (Penguin Classics, 1993)

Ross, Joel H, What I saw in New York or a bird’s eye view of city life (Auburn, 1851)

Thompson, Elizabeth,The Figures of Hell or the Temples of Bacchus (Oahspe Publishing, 1882)

Williams, Henry, New York after dark, or gleams and shadows of city life! (De Witt, 1866)


Secondary sources:, Historical Travel US: New York a Century Ago (, 2005) Discs 1 & 2

Asbury, Herbert, The Gangs of New York(Arrow Books, 2006)

Asbury, Herbert, All Around the Town (Thunder’s Mouth, 2003)

Anbinder, Tyler, Five Points (Plume, 2002)

Burrows, Edwin G., Gotham: A History of New York to 1898 (Oxford University Press, 1999)

Botkin, B.A., New York City Folklore (Random House, 1956)

Gilfoyle, Timothy J, City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920 (W.W. Norton, 1992)

Holmgren, Chuck, It's the Booze Talkin’: Prohibition and the Gangster Film, (15/06/07)

McNamara, Brooks, The New York Concert Saloon: The Devil’s own nights (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Powers, Madelon, Lore of the Brotherhood: Continuity and change in Urban American Saloon Culture, 1870-1920, in Holt, Mack P, A Social and Cultural History of Alcohol (Berg, 2006) pp.145-160

Powers, Madelon, Faces along the Bar: Lore and Order in the Workingman’s Saloon, 1870-1920 (University of Chicago Press, 1998)

Sante, Luc, Low Life (Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2003)

Scorcese, Martin, The Gangs of New York: Special Edition (Miramax, 2002) Discs 1 & 2

Weil, Francois, A History of New York (Columbia University Press) 2004