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Devil’s Mile: The Rich, Gritty History of the Bowery
December 6, 2018 @ 6:45 pm - 8:00 pmFree
Victorian times were all about the suppression of anything salacious, as Alice Sparberg Alexiou, author of the new book, Devil’s Mile: The Rich, Gritty History of the Bowery, will explain. The era’s prudery just increased the urge to experience sex and weirdness—all commodities then were readily available on the Bowery. This is where the action was, in the form of freak shows, minstrel shows, gay bars (“fairy resorts”), concert saloons with back rooms devoted to fight contests and the waitresses doubling as prostitutes, anatomical museums that featured human fetuses and diseased human body parts pickled in formaldehyde, and scams offering cures for syphilis (which was then untreatable). The Bowery was at its most spirited on Saturday nights, where uptown swells headed for a night of slumming. But watch out, because you might get your drink drugged (a “mickey finn”), your pocket picked. Or even murdered.
Attendees are invited to pre-lecture receptions at 6pm. Talks begin at 6:45 pm.