Paper of the December Critic
The Old Critic Visits the Gotham Club
by John W. Smith
THE Gotham Press Club was scheduled to hold a meeting on December 29th, at the home of its President and Mr. Crosby over on Long Island and as “The Old Critic” was in a time-killing mood, he eagerly accepted my invitation to “take the affair in” and get a glimpse at the doin’s and personnel of the much-famed, much criticised, much maligned and most active of amateur press clubs.
The trip from Hudson Heights was uneventful; a terry boat from Weehawken brought us to Desbrosses Street and a short walk took us to Brooklyn Bridge, where an elevated train was to bring us to our destination as per instructions previously issued. In due time and without noteworthy adventures we arrived at the meeting place and the “Old Critic” immediately began to notice things and people. After he was properly introduced to the Gothamites and presented with the familiar cigar by the host, he addressed three demure and bashful appearing young men, who later proved to be Adler, Pratt and Singer and in sotto voce requested to have pointed out to him the “boss of amateur journalism” whom he understood to infest the Gotham Club.
Instantly all three young men got up and proceeded to a rear room where a smoking festival was in progress between Dr. Swift, Charley Heins, and Jim Morton. Each young man went up to a smoker, and informed him that honors were awaiting him in the parlor. Needless to say the “Three of Us,” Swift, Heins and Morton accepted the hint with the utmost accelerity.
Arriving in the parlor each young man strove for first place in placarding his victim as the “boss of amateur journalism” and the “Old Critic” was visibly perturbed over the multiplicity of bosses, while the three principals looked daggers at each other, neither one venturing to imitate the “You first my dear Alphonso” stunt, when luckily I severed the strained relations by informing the “Old Critic” that the word “Boss” had no place in Gotham Club vernacular, but had its inception through the jealousies of less active clubs and less resourceful amateurs. Had he asked ten members of the club to be shown the “boss” they would probably have dragged ten other members to the altar of fame in their enthusiasm to demonstrate that each member of the Gotham Club was a boss in his own realm and to which fact is largely due the harmony and concert that marks the work of the club.
The “Old Critic” seemed satisfied with this explanation and our stately and genial hostess gave us several selections on a Victor Talking Machine including “Tammany,” “Harrigan” and an up-to-date version of “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep.” The meeting now commenced. Presidentess Crosby took the chair while Adams, with a smile that was more expansive than ever looked to the bookkeeping work. Nothing praiseworthy happened until a committee of fraternal delegates to the Atlantic Coast was appointed and one of them made a motion that an appropriation of $10 be made to the committee in order to erect suitable fortifications on New Year’s day.
The “Old Critic’s” eye beamed with joy for he expected to attend the Atlantic coast affair when someone inquired whether the Gothamites expected to be attacked in Philadelphia and the nature of the foe. “Yes!” was the unexpected answer, “we do expect to be attacked and so will delegates from other cities and as the Gotham Club is always willing to aid the suffering amateurs, I think $10 is little enough to be fortified with. I expect an attack from indigestion, Jim Morton, W. R. Murphy and Edwin Hadley Smith to say nothing of the general attack of thirst that may overtake all visiting delegates and to which the Gotham Club should at least have an “antidote.”
Generous applause greeted this speech by some, but Jim Morton got up and said he would attack then and there to save $10. The club then voted that no fortifications were to be erected in Philadelphia on New Year’s day.
The literary program was then carried out at the end of which an order was given for all hands to repair the dining room. I and the “Old Critic” lingered in the rear of the procession when the old fellow nudged me in the side and asked, “Who is that bewitching little lady whom Dr. Swift addressed as ‘Katie,’ a little while ago?”
“Sh! That is Mrs. Swift, the official editress of the club and a coming star in the amateuristic firmament,” I replied and the old fellow seemed duly impressed. But what was to come should not be published only for the fact that the writer has no alternative but to give a truthful account of the meeting from sunset to sunrise.
Arriving in the dining room the most promiscuous object was a huge “stein” with about “sixtel” (trade term) capacity surrounded by numerous small steins. Those amateur that cared for refreshments were served from this mother stein through the smaller steins, and those that did not care for refreshments had a pitcher of lemonade at their disposal. And then there were eatable, then smiles and more refreshments.
The “Old Critic” waxed fairly eloquent over the great stimulant to pure literature that he found the Gotham Club devoting its energy to and by the time the stein was emptied we felt fully convinced that the “Old Critic” was the most discerning and truthful amateur that had ever enjoyed Gotham Club hospitality. “Happy New Year to the ‘Old Critic,’ and many of them!” they shouted as the social part of the night came to an end.
On the way home the old fellow observed that Miss Edith Kreiner, my compatriot from New Jersey, had the privilege of delving in Jim Morton’s coat pocket and extracting peanuts therefrom with which to treat the boys. Lucky Jim!
News Note – Miss Kreiner found five cents in the car.
Over and Under
by James F. Morton, Jr.
UNDER existing social and economic conditions and tendencies, the more conspicuous activities of human beings tend more and more to be concentrated in the larger cities. Year by year, the congestion is becoming more pronounced. Of the main problem caused by such a state of facts, I have not now to speak. As the sense of a pressing need customarily stimulates inventive enterprise, however, we see as never before most strenuous efforts on the part of man to extend his conquests into the air and under the earth. Navigation of the air is all but an accomplished fact; and a majority of those now living are probably destined to see air ships at least as thick as automobiles now are. What ultimate consequences will result, forms an interesting speculation. At all events, it may safely be predicted that many readjustments will be necessitated, of which few even dream.
Putting aside aerial travel as an affair of the future, however near at hand, the movement away from the surface of the earth is already showing itself to a striking extent in our largest and most crowded cities. New York, in particular, is astonishing the world by the number and height of her prodigious skyscrapers. The record of one year is left far behind within a few months; and no brain can carry all the statistics of these giant structures.
Constructors have met and solved problems of almost inconceivable difficulty. Whether a limit to the height and size of these huge edifices will be found, is a debatable question. The famous Eiffel Tower of Paris is some thousand feet high; but this, comparatively speaking, is a mere shell, and not a practicable model for a building in which human beings are to congregate in large numbers, to carry on the activities of life. Next to this tower, and far loftier than any other structures in the world, are two skyscrapers now under construction in New York City. In each instance, the main building is from two to three hundred feet in height; but a central tower, of such large dimensions as to accommodate several offices on each floor, more than doubles the distance from the earth, and makes the whole building about twice as high as the highest office building previously existing in any city.
The Singer Building, on lower Broadway, thrusts its already completed skeleton 612 feet into the air, to the unceasing admiration of a continuous crowd of observers: while the great Metropolitan Life Building is destined to reach the tremendous height of 680 feet, towering conspicuously over the entire region of Madison Square. What will come next, no one would venture to prophecy. The completion of the promised Friede Globe Tower, at Coney Island, seems to be somewhat in doubt. If accomplished, this will be an amusement resort without a parallel. As planned, it is to be 700 feet high, and full of attractions of every description. This represents the utmost thus far announced; but who shall say that another two or three years may not produce monsters, which will dwarf even these giants into insignificance? Some fears have been expressed as to the results of fire or panic in those high buildings; but such alarms, however well founded, prove as impotent as engineering difficulties to arrest the upward tendency.
None the less marked and interesting are the various subsoil activities. Already New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston have more or less extensive subway transportation lines; while much greater ones are being planned, including galleries branching out in every direction, and in some cases, subways below subways. Rivers are being tunneled, bringing cities closer together; and almost superhuman obstacles are being calmly and steadily brushed aside.
Already New York, in particular, is preparing for enormous underground activities. Store basements may be entered directly from the subway; and facilities for all sorts of trade are rapidly being afforded below the surface. A few years of the present tendency; and the out-of-town shopper will never need set foot on New York streets, nor see the upper earth during an entire day’s visit to the great city. All possible wants will be met in basement stores; restaurants will spring up for the accommodation of underground travelers; and in time we shall have theatres and other places of amusement located beneath the surface.
These are the things that are happening right at the present time. And still the swift increase of population goes on. In fact, the more that is done to relieve the congestion, the more people are attracted to a city where so many advantages are provided. The struggle of an increasing population with natural conditions is one of perennial interest. Inventiveness, as has been seen, is doing wonders; but yet vaster problems grow out of the same conditions; and these it is the province of sociology to solve. The world of human relations can no more stand still than the world of material activities. Unquestionably, the enormous physical changes which the brain and the hand of man are bringing about in our cities will be fully matched by equally tremendous changes in social, economic and political arrangements. Already our ears are deafened and our minds bewildered with the vigorous propagandas of the different partisans of reform or reaction. And still, the veil of the future remains unlifted; and we can but strive for that which to each of us seems best and highest. Whatever may be the form society is to take, the path of evolution is ever onward and upward; and we may face the unknown days to come with confidence that the race will meet and solve its every problem.
by A. M. Adams
Jan. 14, 1908
The next meeting of the Gotham Press Club, will be pulled – or pushed – off on Sunday Evening, January 26th, at the home of Harold Pratt, No. 326 Decatur Street, at 6:30 P. M. Take Fulton Street “L” at Bridge, get off Utica Avenue, walk back Fulton Street to Stuyvesant Avenue, which ends opposite 1726 Fulton Street. If you have gotten thus far safely drop in at the store on the corner and take some refreshments, then proceed down Stuyvesant to Decatur. Turn to the right and walk half way up the block – 4-story stone front, first of three. Ring the bell and await developments. To return, read this notice backward.
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THE editor of The Gothamite is pleased to add the name of Harold B. Pratt to the list of members who have assisted in the furnishing of “copy.” His clever sketch will appear in next month’s paper. There are a few members too busy to contribute.
Official Organ of the Gotham Press Club
Katherine C. Swift – Official Editor
Sadie E. Crosby, President
Wm. F. Schubert, Vice-President
A. M. Adams, Secretary
Alice M. Heins, Treasurer
Katherine C. Swift, Official Editor
Gladys Heins, Mascot
James F. Morton, Jr., Chairman
C. Fred Crosby
E. B. Swift
Chas. W. Heins
A. M. Adams
Ways and Means Committee
E. B. Swift, Chairman
W. R. Moscow
Chas. W. Heins
James F. Morton, Jr.
W. B. Stoddard
Mrs. E. B. Swift, Chairman
Alice M. Heins
A. M. Adams
George J. Houtain
W. F. Shubert
Alice M. Heins, Chairman
C. Fred Crosby
Mrs. E. B. Swift
Edith V. Kreiner
A. M. Adams
Adams, A. M., 382 Third Street, Brooklyn.
Adler, Bertram 939 East 156th Street.
Ayres, Franklin M., General Delivery, New York.
Bromberger, Edgar, c. o. House, Grossman & Vorhaus, 115 Broadway, New York.
Crosby, C. Fred., 472 62nd Street, Brooklyn.
Dietle, Matthew, 325 East 78th Street, New York.
Gordon, Francis R., c. o. House, Grossman & Vorhaus, 115 Broadway, New York.
Heins, Chas. W., 1920 Lexington Avenue, New York.
Houtain, Geo. J., 383 Jay Street, Brooklyn.
Kreiner, Miss Edith, 11 Crescent Ave., Jersey City, N. J.
Keating, Miss Eleanor, 557 West 249th St., New York.
Morton, James F., Jr., 244 West 143rd St., New York.
Moscow, W. R., 77 Lander Street, Newburgh, N. Y.
Pratt, Harold, 326 Decatur Street, Brooklyn.
Swift, Dr. E. B., 2257 Third Avenue, New York.
Swift, Mrs. E. B., 236 East 123rd Street, New York.
Smith, John W., Hudson Heights, N. J.
Schubert, Wm. F., 210 Washington St., Mt. Vernon.
Mrs. Wm. R. Moscow, Newburgh, N. Y.
W. R. Murphy, Philadelphia, Pa.
Mrs. Mabel Oechsle, Philadelphia, Pa.
Arthur J. Ebert, Milwaukee, Wis.