Palladium-Item/October 1, 1926
NEW YORK. Oct 1.–The prince of today is the pauper of tomorrow and vice versa, along Broadway’s meandering mile.
An obscure cabaret performer of a few years ago has just purchased a seaside mansion with a front yard yacht dock and private beach. It is filled with rare hangings, round-shouldered Persian vases and richly woven carpets. It was purchased from a comedian who was elevated for a fleeting moment and wound up in a sanitarium to begin a fight for health and a footllght “comeback.”
The other day a policeman found a woman kneeling in prayer in the rain near Union Square. At a hospital, she was identified as a leading lady of ten years ago. She had been of the laughing crowd that was still laughing and gay a few miles north.
Broadway is not consciously cruel—it often merely forgets. Life has been keyed up. Its dazzling lights have no effulgence for those eddied into backwaters. And as dancers drop out, the dance goes on. Spenders scatter their gold with infinite indifference and often wind up with their outstretched tincups along side streets.
It is not fiction that several Broadway beggars once had favorite tables at old Rector’s and Delmonico’s. It was Diamond Jim Brady who said “Being a sucker is a lot of fun if you can afford it.” But few can afford it, and thus Broadway careers so often become spectacular and brief. And those who can become so surfeited they usually move to the country.
Certain New York streets attract certain people, business and professions. Park Avenue attracts high-priced surgeons. William Street is called Lawyers Row. Maiden Lane is the great jewelry district. Nearly all the hardware stores are on Chambers Street, and Duane Street is filled with retail shoe stores. Most all the Syrians in New York live on Rector street.
Romance flowers quickly on this crowded little island. A sudden shower and a group was pocketed under a Broadway awning for ten minutes. He and she talked impersonally as strangers in a city will, and as the skies cleared she gave him her name and telephone number. Two days later they were married.
Not all of these hurry-up marriages end unhappily. A New Yorker who has acquired much wealth in building operations sat next to a strange lady at a matinee. She accepted his invitation to dinner, and the next day they were married. That was 19 years ago and they are still happy.
It seems to me women drive more carefully than men in crowded centers. They are not given to rounding the corner on one wheel and they sound their horn at the least provocation. While there are few women driving taxis today, I am told that not one has ever had an accident.
I once attempted to pilot a car through heavy New York traffic. At the first corner I tangled up all around me in a snarl. A traffic officer called out: “What’s the idea, young squirrel?” A discerning gentleman. He instantly spotted my nuttiness.
A druggist reports he increased his business 25 percent by establishing a six-hour kodak film finishing service. The service itself was not profit-making, but the extra business came from those who bought other articles while getting their films.