Rutherfurd Remembers


Thoroughly Modern Manhattan

Nineteen-o'-nine was the last full year in the life of one of the greatest chroniclers of New York who ever lived. William S. Porter, known to the world as O. Henry, was the master of the short story with the surprise ending. When I was a child, I would sometimes play a game in which I imagined that a historical figure had come back to life, and I'd take him 'round the modern world, amazing him with its wonders. Sitting in the center section of a jumbo jet the other day coming in to JFK airport, I glanced at the empty seat beside me and began to play the game again. What, I wondered, if O. Henry were here, would he think of New York today? Read Essay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did You Know?
In Manhattan in the early to mid nineteenth century, scores of pigs roamed the streets – about 20,000 of them at peak population in the early 1820’s, a ratio of roughly one pig to every five humans ! Many of them belonged to families. The city was quickly growing in the nineteenth century – in population and wealth disparity. Despite rapid urbanization, non-wealthy New Yorkers continued raising hogs as a means of surviving. A family could always slaughter one of its pigs to feed itself, or sell one of them since pork was a staple of the American diet. Why pigs? Other animals weren’t quite so compatible with urban life. People could let their pigs wander the streets, rummage through trash for the piles of spoiled food that was left out on the street during the day, and count on them to return home in the evening !




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