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 All this while of course there had been much talk as to the character of those we met, the wealth and fashion that purchased at Tiffany’s or at Brentano’s, those who loafed at the Fifth Avenue, the Hoffman House, the Gilsey, the Normandie. My brother had friends in many of these hotels and bars. A friend of his was the editor of the Standard, Roland Burke Hennessy, and he would take me up and introduce me. Another was the political or sporting man of the Sun or World or . Here came one who was the manager of the Casino or the Gilsey! One was a writer, a , a song-writer or a poet! A man of facile friendships, my brother! As we passed Twenty-third Street he made it plain that here was a street which had recently begun to replace the older and more Sixth Avenue, some of the newer and much smarter stores—Best’s, Le Boutillier’s, McCreery’s, Stern Brothers’—having built here.  
“This is really the smart street now, Thee, this and a part of Fifth Avenue about Twenty-third. The really exclusive stores are coming in here. If you ever work in New York, as you will, you’ll want to know about these things. You’ll see more smart women in here than in any other shopping street,” and he called my attention to the lines of lacquered and be-furred and beplushed carriages, the harness of the horses aglitter with nickel and .
Passing Daly’s he said: “Now here, my boy, is a manager. He makes actors, he don’t hire them. He takes ’em and trains ’em. All these young fellows and girls who are making a stir,” and he named a dozen, among whom I such names as those of Maude Adams, Willie Collier, Drew and Faversham, “worked for him. And he don’t allow any nonsense. There’s none of that upstage stuff with him, you bet. When you work for him you’re just an ordinary employee and you do what he tells you, not the way you think you ought to do. I’ve watched him rehearse, and I know, and all these fellows tell the same story about him. But he’s a gentleman, my boy, and a manager. Everybody knows that when he finishes with a man or a woman they can act.”
At Thirty-third Street he waved his hand in the direction of the Waldorf, which was then but the half of its later size.
“Down there’s the Waldorf. That’s the place. That’s the last word for the rich. That’s where they give the biggest balls and dinners, there and at Delmonico’s and the Netherland.” And after a pause he continued: “Some time you ought to write about these things, Thee. They’re the limit for extravagance and show. The people out West don’t know yet what’s going on, but the rich are getting control. They’ll own the country pretty soon. A writer like you could make ’em see that. You ought to show up some of these things so they’d know.”
Youthful, inexperienced, unlettered, the whole of this earthly wallow a guess, I accepted that as an important challenge. Maybe it ought to be shown up.... As though picturing or indicating life has ever yet changed it! But he, the and hopeful, always fancied that it might be so—and I with him.
When he left me this day at three or four, his interest ended because the wonders of Broadway had been , I found myself with all the great strange city still to be explored. Making as to directions and distances, I soon found myself in Fifth Avenue at Forty-second Street. Here, represented by at least, was that of wealth which, as I then imagined, solved all earthly ills. Beauty was here, of course, and ease and dignity and security, that most wonderful and thing in life. I saw, I admired, and I resented, being myself poor and seeking.
Fifth Avenue then lacked a few of the buildings which since have added somewhat to its impressiveness—the Public Library, the Museum façade at Eighty-second Street, as well as most of the great houses which now face Central Park north of Fifty-ninth Street. But in their place was something that has since been lost and never will be again: a line of quiet and unpretentious brownstone residences which, crowded together on spaces of land no wider than twenty-five feet, still had about them an air of exclusiveness which caused one to hesitate and take note. Between Forty-second and Fifty-ninth Street there was scarcely a suggestion of that coming invasion of trade which subsequently, in a period of less than twenty years, changed its character completely. Instead there were clubs, residences, huge quiet and hotels such as the old and the Windsor, long since destroyed, and the very graceful Cathedral of St. Patrick. All the cross streets in this area were lined uniformly with brownstone or red brick houses of the same height and general appearance, a high flight of steps leading to the front door, a side gate and door for servants under the steps. Nearly all of these houses were closely boarded up for the summer. There was scarcely a trace of life anywhere save here or there where a servant lounged idly at a side gate or on the front steps talking to a policeman or a cabman.
At Fiftieth Street the great church on its platform was as empty as a drum. At Fifty-ninth, where stood the Savoy, the Plaza, and the Netherland, as well as the great home of Cornelius Vanderbilt, it was all bare as a desert. Lonely handsome cabs plupped to and fro, and the father or mother of the present Fifth Avenue bus, an overgrown closed carriage, rolled lonesomely between Washington Square and One Hundred and Tenth Street. Central Park had most of the lovely walks and lakes which grace it today, but no distant skyline. Central Park West as such had not even appeared. That huge wall that breaks the western sky now was wanting. Along this thoroughfare there trundled a dismal yellow horse-car trailing up a cobble-paved street bare of anything save a hotel or two and some on rocks, with their attendant goats.
But for all that, keeping on as far north as the Museum, I was more and more impressed. It was not beautiful, but perhaps, as I thought, it did not need to be. The of the great city and the power of a number of great names were sufficient to excuse it. And ever and anon would come a ............
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