Valentine's manual of old New York

(New York. :  Valentine's Manual, inc.,  1923.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 135  


the old days—some people call them the good old days—
the old Sinclair House at the corner of Eighth Street and
Broadway, where E. L. Ashman, who began as a bare¬
legged boy skinning mules on the towpath of the Erie
Canal, became a millionaire; and the Ashland House, on
Fourth Avenue at 24th Street, named after the home of
Henry Clay in Kentucky and opened about the time he
died, which for years upheld the great reputation of the
American plan hotel, and whose bar, though small, was a
famous resort, equally for strangers and for men about
town, for more than half a century.

Some Famous Bars

That was the great day of the wine-buyer, as they used
to be called, meaning men that spent money liberally on
French champagne. There had been very little cham¬
pagne drunk in this country in our earlier years—we were
too poor. About ten years after the war of the Rebellion
closed, when the country was feeling the stir of a new
and great prosperity which has kept on increasing ever
since, certain men began to buy champagne liberally in
public places. It is certainly a glorious wine and it
leaped into popularity in this country as quick as we had
the money to spare for it. Wine-buyers were of two
classes—scions of wealth, including sometimes their
wives, but not very often—and the wine-agent, the man
who, often from abroad but always with a good work¬
ing knowledge of English, was introducing some new
brand of wine to this country. The young scion of
wealth would often spend two or three hundred dollars
and more at a bar like the Hoffmann in a single after-

  Page 135