The Imperial Metropolis: Ancient Rome in Turn-of-the-Century New York Author(s): Margaret Malamud Source: Arion, Third Series, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Winter, 2000), pp. 64-108 Published by: Trustees of Boston University Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20163772 Accessed: 31/07/2009 10:53 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=tbu. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Trustees of Boston University is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Arion. http://www.jstor.org The ImperialMetropolis: Ancient Rome in Turn-of-the-Century New York MARGARET MALAMUD 28-30,1999, marked THE centenary of September a lavish public spectacle held inNew York City to commemorate Admiral Dewey's victory over the Spanish fleet inManila Bay, an event that transformed the United States into an imperial power. The event a century ago featured a of three-day parade ships, fireworks, speeches by the mayor of New York and Admi ral (then Commodore) Dewey, and a land parade with over thirty thousand members of the military escorting Dewey and his entourage through the streets of New York. Members of the National Sculpture Society designed a massive Roman triumphal arch through which Dewey was to pass in a celebration of the American victory in the Pacific and the emergence of an Ameri can overseas In imitation of Roman arches, empire. triumphal the Dewey Arch displayed naval heroes and territories acquired as a result of the Spanish-American War, and newspapers and the parade's souvenir booklet drew comparisons between Roman triumphs and Dewey's victory parade. The civic extravaganza was so popular that vandalism presented a threat to the Dewey Arch: many people wanted to take a piece of it home with them. In the New York of 1899, America's acquisition of an empire was an event to celebrate. How America's imagined relationship with ancient Rome was articulated in turn-of-the-century New York?in civic and com mercial architecture, public spectacle, and popular entertain ments?is a fascinating but buried moment in the history of America's identification with ancient Rome and the paradigma tic myth of its rise and decline.1 Since the Revolutionary era, the Roman Republic had served as the exemplary political model for the young nation and it was invoked in art, architecture, and Margaret Malamud 65 political oratory to help articulate and legitimate America's iden tity. The other Rome, the Rome of the Caesars, was more prob lematic. On the one hand imperial Rome stood for the political and religious tyranny of British rule, from which the States had freed themselves, but on the other it provided a monitory image of what the States might themselves become. When America became a wealthy industrial nation and an imperial power a new twist was given negative references to imperial to the usual Rome: favorable images of empire now began to be produced, especially in the built environment. In the late nineteenth and early twentiethcenturies, imperial rather than republican Rome seemed the appropriate positive model to invoke in the analogies drawn between Roman and American civilizations. Might the new American empire, like the Roman empire imagined in Virgil's Aeneid, be a beneficent one, rooted in the virtues and values of earlier Republican times but now resplen dent in material magnificence? For many Americans the answer was an yes, and a number of citizens cele emphatic unabashedly brated the parallels they perceived between the glories of impe rial Rome and America's own nascent dreams of empire. While the tradition of culling admonitory exempla from the myth of the rise and fall of Rome persisted in some media (notably in historical fiction and in the rhetoric of anti-imperialists), this was overshadowed by a showy celebratory conflation of the ancient Roman and modern American empires in architecture, and entertainments. In short, new public spectacles, popular constructions of America's metaphorical relationship to imperial Rome helped articulate and legitimate America's new imperial identities. TO FROM PLASTER MARBLE: FABRICATINGTHE IMPERIAL CITY The architecture and popular entertainments at the 1893 Colum bian Exposition at Chicago and at subsequent World's Fairs had elaborated visions of an American empire and dreams of impe rial abundance, and many of them dressed imperial ambitions and desires in Roman garb. The influence of the World's Fairs 66 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS and Expositions, particularly the 1893 Columbian Exposition in on American architecture and urban was tre Chicago, design mendous and has been amply documented. In effect, the Chi cago Exposition launched an architectural revival of classicism, a movement some architectural historians have called the "Amer ican Renaissance."2 In the realm of urban design itwas called the City Beautiful movement and it transformed urban spaces and architecture in a host of major American cities.3 The key archi tects involved in the planning of the 1893 Chicago Exposition were active in designing new urban spaces and buildings for met ropolitan areas throughout the country, and they were joined by others interested in adapting classical architecture for the needs of late nineteenth and early twentieth century cities.4 There was a need at the turn of the century for harmonious and coherent civic symbols: waves of immigration of non-north ern European peoples and migrations of African-Americans to urban centers in the wake of the Civil War swelled urban popu lations; rapid industrialism and the rise of corporate monopolies had created vast economic, social, and cultural cleavages between workers and urban elites and fragmented public life.5 E Pluribus Unum was an ideal but the reality was pluralism. How best to create a homogenous whole out of diversity? Architects involved in the City Beautiful movement inNew York (and else where) took on the task of fabricating a grand and unifying civic architectureand creating architectural spaces for the acting out of America's new roles and identities. Architects like Stanford White and Daniel helped create and choreograph sets Burnham for civic activities, pageants, and spectacles commemorating shared triumphal acts and heroic deeds.6 Many architects and their patrons were captivated by the monumentality, scale, and accomplishments of imperial Rome, and by its adaptations and uses in Renaissance and European neo-classicism. Roman archi tectural seemed particularly forms suited to the militarism, materialism, and cosmopolitanism of the era, and Beaux-Arts Roman buildings and monuments quickly came to dominate the urban landscape of New York. Margaret Malamud 67 BUILDING POWER Charles Lamb and other members of the National Sculpture Society designed the Dewey Arch after Roman triumphal arches, and it was placed in one of the city's most prominent intersec tions, where Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Twenty-fourth Street meet at Madison Square (fig. 1). The official program for the event hailed the erection of a Roman triumphal arch with approval: "Nothing could have been more appropriate. The Romans were masters in their temporary and permanent com memoration of triumphs; other nations have only followed their example."7 Fifth Avenue was termed the "Appian Way" of New York, and "the fit approach for triumphal processions."8 The Arch was the architectural frame for the parade and it served as a symbolic gateway through which the military units were to pass. Lamb modeled his triumphal arch on the Arch of Titus in Rome, which commemorated the sack of Jerusalem by Titus, and the Dewey Arch shared the connotation of colonial appro priation. "The intention of the Arch is to symbolize the power of the U.S. as a maritime nation," the souvenir booklet announced.9 Roman triumphal arches displayed images of the conquerors and conquered on their walls, and the sculpture of the Dewey Arch depicted eight prominent naval heroes and territories acquired as a result of the Spanish-American War.10 Shortly before the Dewey Victory Parade the new supercity of Greater New York had been ushered in with great ceremony on New Year's Eve, 1897. Thereafter Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx were incorporated into a new megalopolis. Moses King had classified New York as a cos mopolis, the peer of any city ancient or modern. According to King, New York was "the great mother-city of money" and "the paramount city of theWestern World, and the center of its com mercial and financial activity."11 And Andrew Haswell Green, president of the Greater New York Commission, argued for incorporation, insisting that New York must recognize and accept its imperial destiny and status as a cosmopolis: "Cities are the crowns, the signs, the factors of empire," he said, and the 68 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS imperial city "wins honorable renown throughout the world which all her colonies may proudly inherit."12 As a "cosmopolis" and the capital of American commerce and finance, New York's railroad stations and banks were worthy of special attention and many dramatized their functions through a celebratory and majestic Roman architecture. McKim, Mead and White'sBowery Savings Bank (1894) enshrined commercial banking in monumental Roman splendor; its temple front was framed with Corinthian columns, and it housed a grand 'Roman' room, ringed with marble columns, its walls modeled with tabernacles and swags, that served as the main banking floor.13 Other banks imitated the Bowery Bank's classicism though none matched its lavishness and splendor. New York train stations were considered grand ceremonial gateways, signaling arrival in the city, and their monumental architecture expressed an imperialistic urbanism. Railroads were the vital arteries of commerce and the railroad tracks that rap idly spread across the nation were the visible signs of economic conquest. New York's train stations reflected the city's impor tance as the commercial capital of the nation and a suitably bombastic rhetoric accompanied the opening of the new Grand Central Terminal in 1913. The promotional literature located its site as "the center of the city of New York, Metropolis of the Western Hemisphere, and in many respects the 'First City of the World.'"14 The firms of Reed and Stem, and Warren and Wet more, the Terminal's and architects, created an eclectic engineers Roman style, one influenced by the ornate French neo-classicism popular at the time, but one that also drew directly on imperial Roman buildings for its inspiration.15 The influence of imperial Roman baths is evident both in the main facade of the terminal station, which contains great arched windows flanked with Roman Doric columns, and in the barrel-vaulted ceiling of the main waiting room. Grand Central Terminal suggested the gran deur of imperial Rome; as one passenger put it, while in it "the traveler instinctively looks for white-robed priests and vestal vir flowers."16 Its architecture was deemed gins scattering magnifi cent, utilitarian, and inspirational?worthy of the great city it served: "It is the introduction to the great city whose strangers' Margaret Malamud 69 heart-throbs are felt all over the civilized world, and this is a pic ture worthy of the frame that has been given to it."17 The jewel of the new railroad complexes which sprang up across the nation was McKim, Mead and White's stunning Pennsylvania Station which was formally dedicated on August 1, 191o.18 The great buildings of imperial Rome inspired Charles McKim's design; McKim had visited Rome in 1901 and photo graphed the Baths of Caracalla and the Colosseum. The external proportions of the Colosseum with its three storeys and a high attic were translated into the facade of the station and, like the Colosseum, the station had separate entrances and exits at dif ferent levels. The general waiting room was modeled on the tepi darium of the Roman Baths of Caracalla and like those Baths (and other imperial Roman buildings) it was sheathed in Traver tine marble quarried from the Campagna district in Italy where Romans had obtained marble for their buildings (figs. 2 and 3).19 McKim put a magnificent steel and glazed concourse shell next to the grand waiting room (fig. 4), and the juxtaposition of the two spaces, one ancient and the other seemingly monumental, modern and utilitarian, highlighted the continuity of the classi cal form and its new uses in America.20 The adaptation of Roman monumental architecture served both a practical and symbolic purpose: practically, the Roman Baths provided one of the greatest examples of large roofed-in areas adapted to the movements of large groups of people and provided a model for urban train stations which also had to accommodate mass movements of Their people. magnificent architectural design and monumental spaces gave the act of or a train an elevated As one enthusias meeting taking meaning. tic admirer put it: "In catching or a train at Penn Station meeting one became of a and movements part pageant?actions gained significance while processing through such grand spaces."21 W. Symmes Richardson, who worked at McKim, Mead and White, commented on the appropriateness of Roman forms for Ameri can life at the turn of the century: "The conditions of modern American life, in which undertakings of great magnitude and scale are carried through, involving interests in all of the parts 70 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS world, are more nearly akin to the life of the Roman Empire than that of any other civilization."22 FROM VULGAR CAPITALTO CULTURALCAPITAL Many of the Gilded Age rich in New York and elsewhere made grand philanthropic use of some of their wealth and became patrons of the arts and learning. A number of America's wealthi est families endowed universities, orchestras, museums, libraries, and operas inNew York and in other metropolitan areas. Many of these new cultural institutions utilized the architectural lan guage of Rome filtered through the Beaux-Arts movement to sig nify solidity, imperial splendor, and civic grandeur. Roman influence is evident in the architecture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, the New York Public Library, and the New York Historical Society. McKim, Mead and White's pantheonic designs for the Low Library at Columbia University (1894) and the Gould Memorial Library at the Bronx Campus of New York University (1895 1902) are particularly noteworthy examples of the influence of Roman models on New York's architecture. The architecture was both a gesture taste for Roman-inspired back to colonial and early Republican uses of Rome in American architecture and part of a wave of progressive and nationalist fervor that viewed America as the heir to the great civilizations of antiquity and Europe. The metaphorical power of architecture as a symbolic system helped bestow upon American culture a at the pinnacle of a trajec genealogy and a legitimacy, placing it tory that reached back through the more recent European cul tures to the Renaissance and ultimately to the Greco-Roman world. As Lawrence Levine has pointed out, this cultural identi fication with Europe marked a significant shift in American views of its cultural relationship to the Old World. For much of the nineteenth century, "Americans did not think of themselves as participants in a common Western civilization," but by the end of the century American architecture and art had incorpo Margaret Malamud 71 rated images, symbols, and artefacts of other earlier cultures to assert that.23 precisely An appropriation of and identification with classical and European cultures also aided urban elites in fashioning an iden tity that differentiated them from the waves of immigrants whose teeming presence in New York had upset old hierarchies and lifestyles. One elite response to the fragmentation and disor der of a changed world was "an escape into culture, which became one of the mechanisms that made it possible to identify, distinguish, and order this new universe."24 The "escape into culture" involved, among other things, the emergence of new cultural hierarchies; and a number of historians have traced the development of categorical and hierarchical differences between 'high' and 'low' in the field of cultural production.25 Levine has catalogued the wide popularity of Shakespearean drama, opera, and the fine arts among Americans in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The "sacralization" of these entertain ments began during the second half of the nineteenth century, as the institutions and criteria for high culture were developed. Arts that had been part of a shared public culture were removed from public enjoyment and the marketplace and put in newly built opera houses, museums, and concert halls built in neo-clas sical splendor to be enjoyed by the initiated: those who had the leisure, funds, and knowledge to appreciate them. The fragmen tation of audiences, the segregation of performers and of perfor mance spaces, the adoption of the phrenological terms "highbrowed" and "lowbrowed" to the categorization of culture and the classification of tastes, all provided new cultural strate gies for social control. The taste for Roman references and mod els in the arts and in the civic and private architecture of New York is emblematic of this new mapping of culture?it added the symbolic weight of authority, tradition, order, and imperial splendor to new cultural hierarchies. The flamboyant life and career of architect Stanford White is representative of the imperialist mood and the tastes and prac tices of the era. White designed numerous public buildings in Roman or Renaissance style, and he also designed homes and clubs for the Gilded Age rich, helping to translate vulgar capital 72 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS into cultural capital. He shamelessly looted Europe to design palaces for the robber barons "stripping Italian palazzi not only of their objects but their ceilings, their mosaics, their very door jambs and window frames."26 White saw nothing wrong with this imperial process; like many ancient Romans, he believed that it was the right of an ascendant nation to appropriate the treasures of civilization. "In the he said, "dominant past," nations had always plundered works of art from their predeces sors . . .America was a nations and taking leading place among had, therefore, the to obtain art wherever she could."27 right White's acquisitive objects was echoed in desire for beautiful his desire to possess and consume women. His most notorious affair was with Evelyn Nesbit, a dancer and actress, who was sixteen when they first met. According to White's great-grand daughter, Suzannah Lessard, White enjoyed acting out fantasies of Roman debauchery: "Sometimes when she and Stanford were in the loft withthe red velvet swing Stanford would dress up in a toga and put Evelyn naked on his shoulder, pick up a big bunch of grapes, and then, looking at their image in the mirrors, march around the loft, singing at the top of his lungs."28 White's obsession with collecting and incorporating the arte facts of other cultures in his architectural creations reflected the tastes of the age of empire, and a fascination with the luxurious material details of the imperial Roman world was part of the cosmopolitanism of the era. Catharine Edwards has pointed out that in late nineteenth century British representations of Rome there is a new interest in the "recreations of the material texture of a vanished world."29 There was a fascination on both sides of the Atlantic with the material culture of empires and their colo nies, with the textures, fabrics, furniture, and interiors of impe rial life. One of the era's favorite painters was Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema paintings dwelt in luxurious and meticu whose lous detail on the material splendor and domestic life of ancient Rome.30 Alma-Tadema's work had transatlantic appeal, and the Carnegies and other newly rich American fami and Vanderbilts lies paid huge sums for his paintings. As technologies of repro duction increased in sophistication, reproductions of art and luxury objects became available for purchase to the middle Margaret Malamud 73 classes. Admirers paintings could enjoy them of Alma-Tadema's in lithographic, chromolith, or photogravure reproductions, and Henry Erkins, the designer of Murray's Roman Gardens restau rant, had a studio that specialized in the reproduction of classi cal columns, Roman-styled chairs and lamps, fountains and other domestic paraphernalia for the consumption of the middle classes. availability of reproductions The allowed the middle classes to imitate the practices of wealthy elites and acquire and decorate their homes with the artefacts of empire. OF THE PLEASURES EMPIRE New Yorkers gave Roman shape and form to a number of public facilities, including public baths. Beginning in 1906, increasingly magnificent and lavish public baths were constructed for New York's citizens. Indoor plumbing was a rarity for much of city's population and public bathing facilities were a hygienic neces sity.31 These baths offered more than just bathing facilities: they included swimming pools, open and enclosed areas for games, meeting rooms, and steam rooms. Like ancient Roman baths, a number of New York public baths were designed as social as well as hygiene centers.32 William Aiken and Arnold Brunner's Public Baths (1906), for example, occupied a full block site and contained a swimming pool, plunges, Turkish baths, and meet ing rooms.33 The twin arches of the portals framed by paired Corinthian columns that marked the separate entrances for men and women alluded to the Roman prototype of the modern facility. The Fleischman Baths (1908), located near the New York Pub lic Library at Forty-second Street and Sixth Avenue, was the most opulent and lavish of all the public baths inNew York, and its design and decoration explicitly invoked the great imperial Roman baths (fig. 5). Fleischman's recreated the luxury and magnificence of ancient Roman baths for the enjoyment of well to-do New Yorkers, and its publicity material cited the Baths of Diocletian as the model for its own magnificence: "The people of ancient Rome lavished the revenues of the State in the con 74 METROPOLIS THE IMPERIAL struction of magnificent bathing institutions, which contained not only baths but gymnasiums, libraries, and in some instances theaters. The Baths of Diocletian contained 3,200 marble seats for the use of bathers, and were adorned with exquisite mosaics, classic columns, and the rarest pieces of statuary. The Fleisch man Baths are a modern adaptation of the famous baths of was one dollar, which imperial Rome."34 The cost for admission was a hefty entrance fee: in 1908 a loaf of bread cost five cents and the average yearly salary for all industry workers (excluding farm laborers) was five hundred and sixty-four dollars. The inscription on the entrance or "antelarium" to the Baths conflated Dante and imperial Rome: "Abandon Care All Ye Who Enter Here And Do As The Romans Did." Fleischman's 'Ro man' facilities included a tepidarium, a calidarium, a steam room, a natatorium or plunge pool (fig. 6), a shampooing room with marble compartments where bathers were scrubbed and a hundred scraped, an electric light bath (cabinets containing electric lights, to "stimulate all the vital forces" and help ail ments caused by "nervous exhaustion"), gymnasia, dressing rooms furnished with divans, a massage room for rubs with oils and perfumes, pedicure and manicure departments, barber and hairdressing salons, a solarium which contained a tropical gar den with trees, statuary and birds, a restaurant, plants, flowers, and a grill. The complex was adorned with marble pillars, mosaic floors, fountains, replicas of classical statuary, and its walls were frescoed with Roman scenes. Located at the top of the building was "The Diocletian Club Room," an exclusive club which provided valet service and round-the-clock services for those able to pay an extra annual fee. Fleischman's also pro vided less exclusive amusements: pool it offered and billiard games, a bowling-alley, and boxing matches in the gymnasium. The complex was noteworthy enough for it to receive a citation for excellence from the Commissioner of Health in 1908.35 Members of the Diocletian Club (and other privileged elites) could, if they wished, continue their Roman experience into the evening and dine at Murray's Roman Gardens (1907), designed Erkins and located on Forty-second Street between by Henry Seventh and Eighth Avenues inManhattan (fig. 7).36 Murray's Margaret Malamud 75 publicity material billed the Roman Gardens as a reproduction of a luxurious Pompeiian villa (Pompeii was considered "the New port of Rome") during the rule of Nero, the time of Rome's "greatest opulence and magnificence";37 and its promoters claimed that it was built "for the pleasure and delectation of the people in the one city in the new world, where such luxury and elegance are likely to find appreciation."38 The Manhattan Ro man-therned restaurant anticipated Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in the lavish and meticulous attention it devoted to creating a sumptuous pleasure palace for imperial entertainments and osten tatious consumption.39 Murray's "atrium" or interior court served as the main dining area, and it contained a huge fountain surmounted by a temple on a Roman barge; its sky-blue ceiling was lighted with electric stars, and festoons of vines and foliage covered the walls (fig. 8). Fountains, palm trees, frescoes of imperial Roman scenes and bucolic views of the Bay of Naples, Roman sculpture and statu ary, and marble and mosaic pavements adorned the dining area. A spacious balcony extended from a mezzanine at one end of the interior court from which patrons could overlook the banquet area. The mezzanine area was divided into two apartments, one having Roman details and decorations, the other Egyptian in design. The walls of both apartments were divided by columns into panels on which frescoes were painted; the Roman room's frescoes displayed a bucolic valley strewn with temples and baths (fig. 9). This room also contained statues and vases in Roman design and friezes representing war and hunting scenes. Private dining rooms were located on the second floor, including one from "the period of Antony and Cleopatra" which contained a fresco of the Egyptian Queen gazing from a balcony out over the landscape. There was also a fresco of the famous temple of Isis at Pompeii, which displayed a nude woman playing a lute, and a devotee of Isis worshiping with upraised hands. Guests could proceed from this room to the Pompeian Garden where palm trees, statuary, and two magnificent marble and mosaic foun tains designed by Stanford White for the 1893 Columbian Expo sition were displayed. 76 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS The design and atmosphere of Murray's Roman Gardens drew heavily on the richly detailed Pompeii in Edward Bulwer-Lyt ton's 1834 novel The Last Days of Pompeii and on nineteenth century paintings that dwelt on the material texture of imperial Roman life. The novel contains lavish descriptions of Pompeian domestic architecture and gardens, and the luxurious life of its inhabitants. Soon after its publication itwas adapted for perfor mance on stage as a and an opera and it remained enor play mously popular well into the twentieth century. Lytton, like many Victorians, was fascinated with the archaeological excava tions in Pompeii and what they revealed about the last days of the doomed city, and he spent time there before writing his novel. A visit to Pompeii was part of the Grand Tour, and many writers and artists produced detailed descriptions and paintings of Pompeiian daily life. Lytton's novel inspired painters like Alma-Tadema to illustrate some of its fictive scenes, and adver tising for Murray's Roman Gardens made the claim that it brought to life the villas described in Lytton's novel and in paintings. A patron of Murray's "can feast his eyes on an artistic and authentically exact reproduction of the most beautiful fea tures of Rome's most ornate homes, of the villas and palaces, resorts of her wealthiest and most cultured citizens, pleasure such as Bulwer-Lytton so describes."40 entrancingly New Yorkers did not need to actually visit the ruins at Pom at Murray's were to a sumptuous peii: patrons "transported" imperial Rome when they crossed the threshold. Erkins sought to recreate the Rome of the Caesars, the period when, he *' believed, "Rome reached its zenith of wealth and luxury. The restaurant's effects combined to create a villa, in the special words of its publicity material, "such as a Roman general would build on return from his conquests, replete with various trophies of victories."41 Murray's Roman Gardens was patronized by New York's "upper ten," men who enjoyed emulating the sup posed lifestyles of their imperial Roman predecessors, and it pro vided the beneficiaries of the new American empire with an environment that was with artistic taste and unri "synonymous valed elegance, the storehouse for all that was precious and beau tiful in the world that the Romans knew, conquered and Margaret Malamud 77 plundered" (fig. io).42 The Rome constructed at the simulated villa signifies and legitimates ancient as well as modern opu lence, imperial conquest, and privilege. New York elites were well known for hosting dinners worthy of the ostentatiousdisplays of wealth and consumption of Tri malchio, the freed slave of Petronius' Satyricon, At a dinner given by C. K. G. Billings inMarch 1903, known as the "Horse back Dinner," Sherry's restaurant in Manhattan refitted its grand ballroom for thirty-six guests and their horses.43 The guests ate on horseback on miniature tables attached to the pom mels of saddles, and were served by waiters dressed as grooms at a hunting party. Saddle bags equipped with rubber tubes dis pensed champagne, and elaborate oat-filled feeding troughs were set out for the horses who dined after their riders were finished. At another dinner party described by John Kasson, guests dined near a thirty-foot long ornamental pool containing four swans, discovered black pearls placed in their oysters, and found ciga rettes wrapped in one hundred dollar bills at their dinner places.44 The diners occasionally made their identification with the elites of the classical world explicit. In a photograph of a din ner given by or for Harrison Grey Fiske in the winter 1900 1901, the black tuxedoed dinner guests are shown relaxing after dinner with brandy and cigars: all are crowned with laurel wreathes, signifying their victorious status and privileged posi tions (fig. 11).45 ROMAN ENTERTAINMENTS FOR THEMASSES While New York's elites were indulging in private fantasies of Roman and building neo-classical imperial pleasures buildings to house art treasures from ancient and European cultures for their own enjoyment and the improvement of the populace, entertain ment entrepreneurs like Phineas T. Barnum, and Bolossy and Imre Kiralfy were constructing gigantic spaces for the perfor mance of spectacular events loosely based on popular images of the imperial Roman world for the enjoyment of the working classes. For a small fee, thousands of New Yorkers experienced 78 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS the entertainments of the ancient Romans at the cir supposed cus, at elaborate and at Island. stage-spectacles, Coney These popular entertainments provided image of a different the majesty and grandeur of imperial Rome than those suggested by the architecture of the City Beautiful movement inNew York. The didactic and uplifting intentions of that movement, which Rem Koolhaas has termed "the patronizing puritanism of the Urbanism of Good Intentions," was turned inside out in the cir cus and At these events, patrons were offered stage-spectacles.46 spectacles of imperial cruelty and decadence and other forms of 'Roman' entertainments with no to moral pretensions improve ment. Instead of uplift, the circuses and stage-spectacles created spaces for the performance of allegories of imperial power and spectacles of colossal Roman excesses. CIRCUSESAND STAGE-SPECTACLES Circuses capitalized on their distant link to Roman circuses. Many boasted that they were animating the Circus Maximus of ancient Rome; one circus poster boldly proclaimed "Ancient Roman Hippodrome. A Glorious Picture of the Eternal City under the Caesars, Reproducing with Startling Realism the Sports, Gladiatorial Displays, and Thrilling Races of the Circus Maximus."47 Madison Square Garden, once called The Great Roman Hippodrome, offered a variety of entertainments, includ ing light operas, romantic comedies, and P.T. Barnum's and John Ringling's circuses.48 The 'Roman' entertainments per formed at these circuses included acts like the Octavian Troupe, sixteen Roman soldiers and athletes who performed "the sports, games combats and tournaments of classic days. An historically correct representation of the thrilling scenes of the Caesarian period."49 Chariot races, tableaux of mythological figures (such as Hercules, the Apollo Trio, the Seven Sapphos), gladiatorial combats, and acrobats dressed as Romans who juggled 'Roman axes' were acts at a variety of circuses 12).50 Cleo popular (fig. often made an appearance in circus tableaux and in circus patra street parades, a spectacular form of advertising held on the Margaret Malamud 79 morning before the grand opening of the circus designed to entice people to come to the show. Adam Forepaugh's 1889 cir cus street parade, for example, displayed the Egyptian Queen reclining on a colossal decorated barge which was pulled through the street by six plumed horses.51 Spectacular stage productions were one of the most popular forms of entertainment in late nineteenth-century America. Stage-spectacles took spectacle elements of Victorian theater and some of its melodramatic themes and reproduced them in gigan tic spaces for thousands of people. Enormous in scale and size, these productions featured elaborate scenery, hundreds of sing ers, dancers, and actors in extravagant costume who mimed the drama to orchestral The most successful stage accompaniment. spectacles of the era were produced by Imre and Bolossy Kiralfy, who were the undisputed masters of the medium.52 The two brothers along with other members of their family had emigrated from Hungary to New York in 1869. All members of the family were involved in dance, and in the 1870s Imre and Bolossy began producing shows. Both had experience in chore ography, design, and production, and they had European con nections to draw upon in order to get the artists and musicians necessary to put on their shows. They understood the American immigrant audiences' need for affordable entertainment, their desire for visual spectacle, and the advantages of mimed action, which solved the potential problem of the multiplicity of lan guages. In the 1880s they began producing and writing their own shows, but in 1886 Imre and Bolossy split over a business dis agreement, and Bolossy moved to England where he produced spectacles for the enjoyment of the British masses. Imre remained in America, and in 1887 he built an outdoor theater on Staten Island where he staged his Nero, or the Destruction of Rome. Nero was produced on a lavish scale and was performed to great acclaim in 1888.53 Advertising for Nero said it was a "gigantic, historical, bibli cal, dramatic and musical spectacle," and like other Kiralfy pro ductions, it combined dance, music, visual spectacle, and mimed action. Its program claimed that the production enabled the audience to be "transported in imagination to early Rome and 8o THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS to read through the eyesight a novel." The plot draws on the images of a cruel and decadent Rome prevalent in Bulwer Lyt ton's Last Days of Pompeii and Lew-Wallace's Ben Hur, in "toga" plays, popular from the 1880s on, and in Jean-L?on G?r?me's popular Roman arena paintings. The performance included representations of Roman arena events, such as gladia torial combats; an imperial orgy; Nero's attempted seduction of an innocent Christian girl; Christians burned as human torches in the arena; Christians thrown to the wild beasts in the arena; and Nero's burning of Rome. The drama ends with Nero's death and the dawning of Christianity, signaled by angels appearing to transport the martyred Christians to heaven. P. T. Barnum saw Nero and was so impressed that he immedi ately contacted Imre and asked him if he would be interested in shortening it into a "circus spec" and joining him with it on tour in London. Imre agreed, and the collaboration of the two popu lar entertainers marked a breakthrough in circus entertainment. Whereas earlier circuses offered multiple separate entertain ments, now they began to offer narrative on spectacles popular topics. Kiralfy's Nero became a part of Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth and it reached thousands of people, first on tour in London and then in New York and the nation. The joining of the two forms of performance was so successful that Barnum later commissioned Imre to create "circus of specs" some of his other productions for the Greatest Show on Earth including Kiralfy's The Fall of Babylon in 1890 and Columbus, and the Discovery of America in 1892. In 1912 Barnum and Bai ley's offered its New York audiences a Superb Spectacle Cleopa tra, loosely based on Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and other theater productions about the famous Egyptian Queen.54 As early as 1889, the Barnum and Bailey circus referred to itself as "a stupendous mirror of departed empires."55 Like Roman emperors, circus entrepreneurs provided spectacular entertainments; they made the "pastimes of the Caesars" avail able to masses of people and offered "a millionaire vision for even the poorest child."56 The Roman pastimes the entertain ment entrepreneurs created for the pleasures of their audiences were based on those depicted in popular novels and paintings, Margaret Malamud 81 especially the paintings of the Neo-Grec school. G?r?me's well known Roman paintings dwelt in detail on spectacles in the Roman arena, and the covers for many circus souvenir booklets and the advertising posters for Kiralfy's Nero reproduced his famous paintings of gladiatorial combats, wild beast hunts, and the martyrdom of Christians (figs. 13 and 14).57 Circus attendees were not at all disturbed by any moral consideration of the events in the arena: "Whatever may be thought of Nero, he deserves the best thanks of everyone for the races and the gladia torial contests which are brought off for his amusement." One might condemn Nero and still enjoy the spectacle. In creating a miniature imperial Rome some of the glory of that era devolved onto the circus itself and its modern re-cre ators; as Bailey said about his Greatest Show on Earth: "It is one of the nineteenth century's most colossal and magnificent achievements . .. to exhibit as she in the zenith Rome, appeared of her architectural, imperial, warlike, coliseum, civic and festal splendors two thousand years ago. We do this, and with a maj esty, perfection and superbness that would have amazed and captivated Nero himself." Barnum and Bailey's lavish entertain ments thus rivaled and even superseded the imperial spectacles once provided by Roman emperors. Similarly, a language of imperial power was employed to describe the success of the cir cus's "victory" and "triumph" in London: "Nero the new, tran scendent dramatic spectacle which reigned triumphant and resplendent in London for over two hundred performances." One poster for a circus held shortly after the Parade in honor of Admiral Dewey has circus performers proceeding in triumph through the Dewey Arch (fig. 15). Barnum boasted in a letter to his circus audiences that his show was so popular in London that he could "truthfully exclaim 'Veni, vidi, vici.'" Like Caesar (and later Cecil B. DeMille), Barnum had the skills necessary to orga nize, supervise, and direct masses of men and animals. After all, it was no easy task to recreate imperial Rome under a circus tent! One admirer said: "One is lost in admiration of the master ful generalship, the enormous labor, and the infinite care bestowed upon details ... all going forward with the regularity and apparent ease of clockwork." At a banquet given in Bar 82 METROPOLIS THE IMPERIAL num's honor at the Hotel Victoria in London, the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette suggested that Barnum ranked with Caesar himself or even Alexander the Great. "After all, are not the great men of all ages showmen? Was not Julius Caesar, when he crossed the Rubicon ... was not he a showman? Was not Alex ander the Great he burned Persopolis, with a a showman when magnificent display of ten thousand additional lamps?" Not only did Barnum appropriate the language of imperial victory for himself and his circus, he also conflated his achieve ments with those of the American nation. He referred to himself both as a conqueror and a diplomatic envoy from America: he went to England, he said, "representing the Republic in amuse ment," and returned "triumphant to his native land," wearing "the brightest laurels the old world could bestow." In Barnum's bombastic rhetoric, nationalism, patriotism, and the circus are conflated: "We went as Americans; we respectfully asked for rec ognition as Americans; and we won squarely on American merit." The victory obtained was the recognition and admiration of the British public for the unsurpassable entertainments he and America provided the citizens of the Old World. In the entertain ment arena, Americans had once again defeated the British, and proved American superiority. Barnum's triumph in London demonstrated, he claimed, "a pretty fair sample of American progress, for it proves itself at least one hundred years ahead of the kind Europe can produce." CONEY ISLAND Coney Island opened in 1895 and its amusement parks flour ished in the years before World War I. Like the Midways of the World's Fairs (which had been the inspiration for Coney's Coney Island offered an array of fantasy environ designers), ments and entertainments, and reenact including pyrodramas ments of the destruction of Pompeii and Roman chariot races. The architecture of its three amusement parks was wildly eclec tic: minarets, towers, domes, stucco, gilding, paint, over-decora tion, jumble, and garishness; and at night, Coney Island was Margaret Malamud 83 dazzling: a fairyland of electric lights. In the same way that the Midway at the 1893 Columbian Exposition had offered an invig orating contrast to the monumental, neo-classical, dignified, and correct White City, Coney Island offered an exhilarating anti dote to nearby New York City. During the summer months, mil lions of urban workers went to Coney Island where a carnival atmosphere prevailed, and the normal structures and rules gov erning social behavior were temporarily suspended.58 Coney Island was most popular with immigrants, out-of towners, and New York's middle and working classes, "the very groups that artists and City Beautifiers targeted for socialization and edification through public art."59 Like the circus, Coney Island functioned as an antidote and even a protest to the mor alism and ideology of the Progressive era. Coney Island had no didactic pretensions, indeed its architecture and sculpture pro vided a "parodie commentary" on the aims and ideals of propo nents of the City Beautiful movement. One contemporary called it "a mimic White City," and Coney Island's design and decora tive elements poked fun at "highbrow" architecture. At the heart of Dreamland, one of the amusement stood a beaux arts parks, shaped horseshoe organized around a lagoon, and its composi tion deliberately recalled but playfully subverted the majestic vision of the Court of Honor at the Chicago Exposition and the Electric Tower at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo (fig. 16). Chariot races were staged around the sunken plaza ringing the horseshoe, and its mock triumphal arches were adorned with clowns, pierrots, and masks.60 If Murray's Roman Gardens recreated the ritzy Pompeii of Roman patricians for the enjoyment of New York elites, nearby on Coney Island at Manhattan Beach that same Pompeii was destroyed by a fiery cataclysm in nightly performances of James Pain's pyrodrama The Last Days of Pompeii (fig. 17). By the late 1880s The Last Days of Pompeii had been adopted for perfor mance as a pyrodrama in England and it enjoyed considerable success there and later in America until well into the twentieth century.61 Pain's production was a very abbreviated rendition of the novel, and performances of it were held nightly in July and August, where as many as 10,000 spectators to watch. gathered 84 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS Bonfires and firework displays created the effect of an eruption, the flow of lava, and the burning of the city. There is an apoca lyptic flavor to Pain's Last Days: those who escape Pompeii are Christians, and molten lava purges and punishes the corrupt Roman city.62 A juxtaposition of the Roman Pompeiis inManhattan and at Coney Island is telling: at Murray's wealthy elites indulged in the supposed prodigious pleasures of imperial Rome while at Coney Island that same Pompeii was destroyed in a spectacular conflagration. In the novel and in the pyrodrama, the city and its luxury-loving citizens represent the dark side of empire, its cor rupt, decadent, and oppressive face. The contrast between the poverty of the immigrant working-class populations in their ten ements and the imperial splendor of the civic architecture and mansions and retreats of the elites was enor private wealthy mous.63 So this vision of an urban Armageddon offered specta tors a double pleasure: a voyeuristic enjoyment of lavish displays of luxury and extravagance set in doomed Pompeii and the moral pleasure of witnessing the ultimate triumph of justice. In The Last Days of Pompeii the unbearable conditions of metro politan life were transformed into melodramatic and fiery entertainment. CONCLUSION In a recent article reviewing a PBS documentary on Theodore Roosevelt, Matthew Jacobson noted that Roosevelt's enthusias tic support of American imperial expansion is elided in the docu mentary, and this elision evinces what he calls "imperial amnesia," by which he means the tendency in American national memory to deny a desire for or an active role in the acquisition of empire.64 Jacobson makes the important point that popular historiesof Roosevelt's presidency and analyses of the signifi cance of the Spanish-American War frequently obscure the fact that many Americans consciously chose and enjoyed imperial power. Theodore Roosevelt's imperialist policies outside the bor ders of the United States marked the dawn of America's Pacific Margaret Malamud 85 Empire and the emergence of the United States as an imperial power, but the ideologies that fueled this overseas expansion were rooted in America's triumphant conquest of its own indige nous populations and its defeat of other colonial powers in North America. In New York, the massive celebration of Admi ral Dewey's victory in the Philippines and the popularity of imperial Roman inspired architecture and entertainments should remind us that, at the turn of the century, many Americans liked an having empire.65 American imperialism, the new articulations of America's metaphorical relationship to ancient Rome, and a reframing of culture were intimately related. The enthusiastic adoption and adaptation of Roman references in a variety of cultural media in New York City was part of a wider phenomenon in the late nine teenth century in which new hierarchical definitions of culture were articulated and new institutions and rules for its enjoyment were elaborated and set in place. Much of the architecture that adorned New York (and other cities) in classical dress was com missioned by new urban elites, and it symbolized among other things their identification and appropriation of 'culture,' some thing that functioned to mark them as culturally distinct from the increasingly large populations of urban immigrants. Identifi cation with the accomplishments and grandeur of imperial Rome aided urban elites in fashioning a new cultural identity, an iden tity which increasingly utilized a connection to classical (and European) culture as a badge of its elevated status, privilege, and authority. Evocations of imperial Rome in the popular entertainments of New York's working classes offer notably different images of imperial Rome than those suggested by New York's civic archi tecture and the uplifting intentions of urban elites. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, thousands of New Yorkers enjoyed of Roman decadence and excess at the circus, at out spectacles door stage performances, and at Coney Island. Entertainment entrepreneurs played the role of populist emperors and offered the public voyeuristic access to a sumptuous and titillating realm of imperial pleasures. The deployment of the cultural resonances of imperial Rome in elite and mass culture suggest a revival of 86 METROPOLIS THE IMPERIAL and continuity with the classical world, but these articulations were shaped and reorganized by interests and conflicts formed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Analogies drawn between the ancient Roman and modern American empires in architecture, imperial spectacles, and popular enter tainments helped articulate and legitimate American imperial ism, and fabricated connections with the imperial Roman world came to undergird new cultural and class hierarchies. NOTES An early version of this article was given as the Department of Art Baldwin Lecture at Oberlin College, April 2,1999. Thanks to Susan Kane for inviting me to Oberlin and for several animated discussions about ancient Rome and Ameri can culture. I would also like to thank Karl Galinsky who made time in a very schedule to read and comment on an early draft. Thanks toMartha Mala busy mud for editorial suggestions. 1. America's relationship to Roman antiquity illustrates what Eric Hobsbawm has called invention of tradition," by which he means "the the ways in which groups, usually nations, establish a connection with a usable past as a means of constructing identity, validating present actions and values, and fostering group cohesion. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge 1983). 2. See, for example, the collection of essays in The American Renaissance 1876-1917 (New York 1979). 3. The key characteristics of City Beautiful design plans included neo-classical architecture, grand avenues, green spaces, massive buildings and civic centers, and a unity of design and scale. 4. The use of classical architectural models for American buildings was not new in the late nineteenth century. Federalist architecture in particular had for American and Thomas employed Roman forms buildings Jefferson's designs for the University of Virginia and the Virginia state capital are only two exam of the early American interest in Roman architecture and architecture's role ples in "the invention of tradition." Jefferson and Federalist architects, however, ad mired and invoked the Roman Republic rather than imperial Rome. 5. See the discussions in New York 1900: Metropolitan Architecture and Urbanism 1890-1915 by Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin, and John Mas sengale (New York 1983), 11-25, and Lawrence Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America (Cambridge, MA 1988), 169-242. 6. New York 1900 (note 5), 20. Triumphal Roman arches celebrating American heroes and military victories were among the earliest neo-classical structures built to adorn New York public spaces, and civic extravaganzas were organized to commemorate and events. Among those heroes the earliest was the Washing ton Square Arch erected in 1876 to mark the centennial of George Washington's inauguration. Stanford White designed an Arch (1889-92) to replace the tempo Margaret Malamud 87 rary arch, and he was also responsible for the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch at the Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn (i 899-1902). 7. My description of the Dewey Parade is based on the Official Programme and Souvenir Reception of Admiral Dewey by the City of New York to Admiral Dewey September 29th and 30th, 1899 an^ Moses King, The Dewey Reception in New York City, located in the Prints and Photographs Division of the New York Historical Society. For a discussion of the sculpture of the Arch, see Mich?le Bogart, Public Sculpture and the Civic Ideal inNew York City, 1890-1930 (Chi cago 1989), 100-104, 342. The quotation is from the Official Programme, 6. Note also: "The Battle of Manila Bay transformed the United States from an insular to a world power," 3. 8. Official Programme (note 7), 7. 9. Official Programme (note 7), 7. 10. Bogart, Public Sculpture (note 7), 104. 11.Moses King, New York. The American and the Foremost Cosmopolis City of the World (Boston 1894), 2. 12. Green quoted in Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A His tory of New York City to 1898 (New York, 1999) 13. New York 1900 (note 5), 178. 14. The Center of the First City of the World: Concerning the New Grand Central Station, Forty-second Street, New York (New York, 1904), 1; and again: "Situated in the center of New York, the greatest city in America, the financial center of the world, and the most important commercial city on the globe, it occupies a unique position and is an ornament to its surroundings," 4-5. This pamphlet was put out by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, Passenger Department, and is located in the Rare Books Division of the Avery Architecture Library at Columbia University. 15. The result: "A renaissance of architecture which is no mere resurrection of old styles, but really the creation of a new type, organically in accor developed dance with the new conditions among which it has grown up," Center of the First City (note 14), 4. 16. Center of the First City (note 14), 3. 17. Center of the First City(note 14), 19. 18. For Pennsylvania Station, see especially Steven Panssien, Pennsylvania Sta tion: McKim, Mead and White (London 1996), and New York 1900 (note 5), 40-42. 19. In comparing the plans for Penn Station and the Baths of Caracalla, Janet DeLaine has pointed out that the relationship between the concourse and the waiting hall in Penn Station is the same as the relationship between the frigidar ium and the natatio of the Baths. Janet DeLaine, "The Romanitas of the Railway Station," in The Uses and Abuses of Antiquity, ed. Maria Wyke and Michael Biddiss (Bern 1999), 145-66. 20. As Richard Wilson put it: "Between the two spaces, one of modern materi als, the other of (seemingly) ancient prototypes, McKim obviously intended for a dialogue to take place on the nature of American civilization," McKim, Mead and White, Architects (New York 1983), 217. 21. McKim, Mead and White (note 20), 217. 22. W. Symmes Richardson, "The Architectural Motif of the Pennsylvania Sta tion," in History of the Engineering Construction and Equipment of the Penn 8 8 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS sylvania Railroad Company's New York Terminal and Approaches, ed. W. M. Couper (New York 1912), 77. 23. Lawrence Levine, The Opening of the American Mind: Canons, Culture, and History (Boston 1996), 60. The framers of the constitution had of course looked to the Roman Republic for a model for the new American republic; the point here is that there is now a new cultural identification with Europe and antiquity. 24. Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 177. 25. In addition to Levine, see Paul DiMaggio, "Cultural Entrepreneurship in Nineteenth-Century Boston, Part II,"Media, Culture and Society 4 (1982), 303 22; and Neil Harris, Cultural Excursions: Marketing Appetites and Cultural Tastes America inModern (Chicago, 1990). 26. Suzannah Lessard, Architect of Desire: Beauty and Danger in the Stanford White Family (New York 1996), 115. 27. Stanford White quoted in Lawrence G. White, Sketches and Designs by Stanford White (New York 1920), 24-25, cited in American Renaissance, 15. 28. Lessard, Architect of Desire (note 20), 285. White was later shot by Nes bit's husband, Harry Thaw, a wealthy Pittsburgh industrialist, at a rooftop gar den of a restaurant White had designed inManhattan. 29. Catharine Edwards, Imagining Rome: British Artists and Rome in the Nineteenth Century (London 1996), 13. 30. For Alma-Tadema's recreations of Rome, see Elizabeth Prettejohn, "Recre ating Rome in Victorian Painting: From History to Genre," in Imagining Rome (note 29); Vern Swanson, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: The Painter of the Victo rian Vision of the Ancient World (New York 1977); Christopher Wood, Olym pian Dreamers: Victorian Classical Painters 1860-1914; and Mario Amaya, "The Roman World of Alma-Tadema," Apollo (December 1962), 771-78. 31. For public baths, see New York 1900, 137-41. 32. New York 1900 (note 5), 138. 33. New York 1900 (note 5), 139. 34. My description of these Baths is based on an advertising booklet printed in 1908, The Fleischman Baths, located in the Public Baths File of the Prints and Division at the New York Historical Society. All quotations are Photographs from this booklet which is unpaginated. 35. A copy of the citation is placed at the end of Fleischman's advertising booklet. 36. My description of Murray's is based on Charles R. Bevington New York Plaisance?An Illustrated Series of New York Places of Amusement, no.i (New York 1908), and Henry Erkins, "Murray's Roman Gardens," Architects' and Builders' Magazine 8 (Sept. 1907), 574-79. Brief discussions of the Roman Gar dens can also be found in New York 1900 (note 5), 224-25, and in Rem Kool haas, Delirious New York (New York 1994), 101-103. 37. Erkins, "Murray's," (note 36), 575. 38. Bevington, New York Plaisance (note 36), no page number. 39. For an analysis of images of imperial Rome at the Caesars Palace complex (there is no apostrophe in Caesars), see my "As the Romans Did? Theming Ancient Rome in Contemporary Las Vegas," Arion 6.2 (1998), 11-39; and Mala mud and Donald McGuire, "Living Like Romans in Las Vegas: The Roman World at Caesars Palace," in Imperial Projections: Ancient Rome in Modern Margaret Malamud 89 Popular Culture edited by Sandra R. Joshel, Margaret Malamud, and Donald McGuire, forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press. 40. Bevington, New York Plaisance (note 36), no page number. 41. Erkins, "Murray's," (note 36), 575. 42. Bevington, New York Plaisance (note 36), no page number. 43. For this dinner, see Grace Mayer, Once Upon a City: New York from as Photographed 1890-1910 by Byron (New York 1958), 224-25. 44. John Kasson, Rudeness and Civility: Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America (New York 1990), 202. 45. The photograph is in Mayer, Once Upon a City, 222-23. Mayer was unable to identify the precise occasion for the dinner. 46. Koolhaas, Delirious New York (note 36), 70. 47. Charles Philip Fox and Tom Parkinson, Billers, Banners and Bombast: The Story of Circus Advertising Posters (Boulder, CO 1985), 160. 48. In 1873 P. T. Barnum leased from the Vanderbilts the New York and Har lem Rail Road shed, which took up an entire square block bounded by Madison and Fourth Avenues and Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh streets. Barnum remodeled it as the Great Roman and put on performances of the Hippodrome world's first three-ring circus. After Barnum gave up the lease in 1879, Vander bilt renamed itMadison Square Garden. In 1885 Vanderbilt razed the building and sold the site to a group of millionaires, including Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan, who hired Stanford White to design the new Madison Square Garden. John Culhane, The American Circus: An Illustrated (New York History 1990), 104-5. 49. From the 1898 Forepaugh-Sells Company's Official Route Book of the Cir cuses, located in the Billy Rose Theater Collection, Circus File, New York Pub lic Library. 50. The circus poster collections at the Library of Congress, Prints and Photo graphs Division, and at the New York Historical Society's Prints and Photo graphs Division contain fabulously illustrated posters advertising these and other non-Roman acts. 51. Another of Forepaugh's circuses in 1888 featured a tableau with such a lavish barge and gorgeously dressed Cleopatra that it presented a scene "far sur passing the poet's most fitful dream." Charles Philip Fox and F. Beverly Kelby, The Great Circus Street Parade in Pictures (New York 1978). The quotation is taken from the poster advertising the 1888 Cleopatra spectacle. 52. For the Kiralfy Brothers, see the short articles in the Diction Biographical ary of Dance; for Imre Kiralfy, see Barker, "Imre Kiralfy"; for Bolossy, see Bolossy Kiralfy, Creator of Great Musical Spectacles: An Autobiography, ed. Barbara Barker (Ann Arbor, MI 1988); and see Laurence Senelik, "Spectacle and the Kiralfys," Dance Chronicle 12 (1989), 149-54, a review of Barker's Bolossy Kiralfy. 53. The Billy Rose Theater Collection at the New York Public Library has the souvenir program for the Staten Island Nero which includes a synopsis of the events of the spectacle, and the Library of Congress has Imre Kiralfy's copy righted 1888 manuscript. 54. The circus performance included her seduction of Antony and their double suicide, enlivened with many dancing girls, animals, and elaborate sets and cos 90 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS turnes. The souvenir program book for the can be Superb Spectacle Cleopatra found at the Billy Rose Theater Collection at the New York Public Library. 55. Bluford Adams, ? Pluribus Barnum: The Great Showman and the Making of the United States Popular Culture (Minneapolis, MN 1997), 188. 56. A claim asserted in a poster for The Great Barnum and Forepaugh Combi nation, located in the Circus File at the Museum of the City of New York. 57. A copy of the important and lavish program for the 1890 New York per formance can be found in the Circus File at the City Museum of New York. AH of the quotations below, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from this document. 58. See John Kason's fascinating analysis of the carnivalesque aspects of Coney Island in Amusing the Millions: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century (New York 1978). 59. Mich?le Bogart, Public Sculpture (note 7), 243. I am indebted to Bogart's discussion of Coney Island in this section. 60. Amusement park entrepreneur Frederick Thompson, who designed Luna Park, one of Coney Island's parks, brought his skills into Manhattan. His New York Hippodrome (1905), located on Sixth Avenue between Forty-third and Forty-fourth streets, contained an enormous theatrical space for the performance of extravagant events. Its design also playfully subverted neo-classical architec ture: the Hippodrome's column capitals had elephant heads, there were horses on the spandrels, and passersby could see live animals in cages through the glass on the street level. New York 1900 (note 5), 208-209. 61. For the pyrodrama, see the discussion inMaria Wyke, the Past: Projecting Ancient Rome, Cinema and History (New York and London 1997), 157; and David Mayer, "Romans in Britain 1886-1910: Pain's 'The Last Days of Pom peii,'" Theatrephile 2.5 (1984-85), 41-50. 62. Visitors to Coney Island could also experience the destructionof Pompeii at the Dreamland. One of its buildings took the form of a classical temple, and its front was decorated with Charles Shean's fresco of the Bay of Naples with the dormant volcano in the background. Inside, patrons could witness the eruption of Vesuvius, which was realized with scenic and mechanical equipment and an extraordinary electric display. 63. Nightmarish of an urban Armageddon visions were popular in the litera ture of the i88os and 1890s: Joaquin Miller's The Destruction of Gotham fea tures Bowery mobs sacking and burning mansions of the wealthy and pillaging and gorging themselves at fashionable restaurants. The fires become an inferno that consumes corporate office buildings and carries rivers of molten lead through the city, purging and purifying it. See the discussion of this and other novels like it in Burrows and Wallace's Gotham (note 12), 1155-56. Novels like these express middle-class Protestant angst about the conditions of metropolitan life and the threats to civic life posed by the enormously wealthy and the immi grant aliens in their midst. They form the sensationalist counterpart to the unease experienced and expressed by Henry James, Edith Wharton and other novelists who found themselves in a New York they no longer recognized. 64. Matthew Frye Jacobson, "Imperial Amnesia: Teddy Roosevelt, the Philip pines, and the Modern Art of Forgetting, Radical History Review 73 (Winter 1999), 116-27. Margaret Maiamud 91 65. As Jacobson put it: "We consciously chose imperial power and many Americans liked it." "Imperial Amnesia," (note 64) 126. 92 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS 'IWrT ,?*' ! II' *& *?> ;% "ir* Figure i Charles Lamb, Dewey Triumphal Arch, 1899, demol ished. New York Historical Society. Margaret Malamud 93 ,.-'- +**>?.??^^ jijCr-?M ?*/ir <> :?L:' It Figure 2 Baths of Caracalla, reconstruction of the central hall of the Baths. Rome, early third century. 94 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS Figure 3McKim, Mead and White, Pennsylvania Station, 1910, demolished: general waiting room. New York Historical Society. Margaret Malamud 95 H *$: _,it Figure 4 McKim, Mead and White, Pennsylvania Station, 1910, demolished: concourse. New York Historical Society. 96 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS Figure 5 Advertisement for The Fleischman Baths, Bryant Park Building, 1908, demolished. Pamphlet: The Fleischman Baths, 1908. New York Historical Society. Margaret Malamud 97 MNiX't? ^ 71' Figure 6 Advertisement for The Fleischman Baths, 1908, demol ished: natatorium decorated with lavish Roman details. The Fleischman Baths. New York Historical Society. 98 METROPOLIS THE IMPERIAL Figure 7 Henry Erkins, Murray's Roman Gardens, 1907, demol ished: main entrance. New York Plaisance: An Illustrated Series of New York Places of Amusement, 1 (New York 1908). Margaret Malamud 99 r:;t* ?: Figure 8 Henry Erkins, Murray's Roman Gardens, 1907, demol ished: main dining room. New York Plaisance. 100 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS :0 i #=? Figure 9 Henry Erkins, Murray's Roman Gardens, 1907, demol ished: fresco on wall of the Roman room. New York Plaisance. Margaret Malamud ioi % \r* io Henry Erkins, Roman Gardens, 1907, men at Figure Murray's dinner inmain dining room. New York Plaisance. 102 THE IMPERIAL METROPOLIS ^1 &% W. iOt~ Figure ii Joseph Byron, photographer, Harrison Grey Fiske Dinner, 1900-1901. Museum of the City of New York. Margaret Malamud 103 UOHH ROBIN**?! PEMENDOUS TRIUMPHAL ROMAN SPCCTACUIAR TOURNAMENT 12 Circus Poster, circa 1890s, Roman enter Figure advertising tainments. Library of Congress. METROPOLIS 104 THE IMPERIAL . < _ f& %?; ^'^i*ifwf* A" Figure 13 Jean-L?on G?r?me, Pollice Verso, 1872. Phoenix Art Museum. Margaret Malamud 105 l?IEvuIR.AL??* .rHUMsBA? Figure 14 Cover for Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth souvenir booklet, 1890, reproducing Jean-L?on G?r?me's Pollice Verso, 1872. City Museum of New York. METROPOLIS I06 THE IMPERIAL FOREP?UGH& BROTHERSfS^ SELLS GREATERNiW?ORK^GRrrTINeA??HEDEWfYAR^TolHi^-MO^^i^HOF?iLpARA^fS Figure 15 Circus Poster, circa 1899-1900: Circus Performers Pass under the Dewey Triumphal Arch. Library of Congress. Margaret Malamud 107 & Figure 16Dreamland, Coney Island, 1905. Library of Congress. METROPOLIS I08 THE IMPERIAL Figure 17 Poster advertising the pyrodrama The Last Days of Pompeii, circa 1890. Paine Archive.
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