Lessons From A 1916 NYC Tourist Guidebook

A handbook published nearly one hundred years ago describes what it was like in the city at that time.

Marc Cenedella recently discovered a New York City tourist guidebook from 1916 on Google Books and wrote about the highlights and what he learned about the city of the past. By reading Rider’s New York City and vicinity, including Newark, Yonkers and Jersey City: a guide-book for travelers, you can discover what the city was like when the book was published almost one hundred years ago. These excerpts show that there are some things that haven’t changed much, like the hustle and bustle of the city and the attitude of its inhabitants:

The first characteristic of New York which impresses the stranger from abroad, and in a less degree from other American cities, is its atmosphere of breathless haste, its pervading sense of life keyed to an abnormal tension.

One direct consequence of this unending hurry, which the visitor is quick to feel, is a certain brusqueness and lack of civility as compared with other cities.  Not that the great, motley, democratic middle class is deliberately rude to strangers; it simply lacks time for the little courtesies of life, and grudges two words where one can be made to answer.

Rider’s New York City: A Guide-Book for Travelers

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