Taxi Dancer

The sad world of “taxi dancers” was explored by Maxwell Bodenheim in the June 12, 1926 edition of The New Yorker.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 4.38.53 PM
June 12, 1926 cover by S.W. Reynolds.

Bodenheim visited a “cheap Broadway dance hall” populated by taxi-dancers and their patrons. It worked something like this: A male patron would buy dance tickets for ten cents apiece, and for each ticket a chosen “hostess-partner” would dance with him for the length of a single song.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.54.44 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.55.11 AM

He also described the pathetic strutting and preening rituals of both dancers and patrons:

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.12.18 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.12.28 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 11.00.59 AM
“TAXI-DANCERS” waiting for customers at a Broadway dance hall in the early 1930s. The image was scanned from an article in Weekly Illustrated (Oct. 6, 1934) that described new regulations banning the vocation.

A couple of other bits from the issue: An interesting headline for the profile of NYC Fire Chief John Kenlon…

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.08.58 AM

…and this advertisement for apartments at 1035 Fifth Avenue. I thought the ad was interesting because children are rarely featured in The New Yorker. In case you are wondering about their social class, these are children living on posh Fifth Avenue, and that’s a nurse-maid, not mother, chasing behind them in nearby Central Park.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.20.43 AM

1035-fifth-avenue
PRICEY DIGS…1035 Fifth Avenue as it appears today. Converted to a cooperative in 1954, prices range from about $2 million for a three-bedroom to more than $10 million for a four-bedroom unit. The Italian-Renaissance-palazzo style building was designed by J. E. R. Carpenter, who designed many other large apartment buildings between the 800 and 1100 blocks of Fifth Avenue. (City Realty)

On to the June 19th issue, and a couple more items of interest…

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 10.22.38 AM
June 19, 1926 cover by Carl Rose.

As I’ve noted before, a common theme of the early New Yorker’s cartoons was the comic imbalance of rich old men and their young mistresses. This time Rea Irvin explores the subject with this terrific illustration:

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.30.30 PM

My last post (“After a Fashion”), featured the June 5, 1926 issue and Lois Long’s account of her visit to Coney Island. I also noted that she would soon become the wife of cartoonist Peter Arno. Perhaps they visited the park together, because this is the cartoon Arno submitted for the June 19 issue:

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.32.22 PM

Next Time: The Annual Scandals…

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.35.03 PM

 

 

 

Published by

David O

I read and write about history from the perspective that history is not some artifact from the past but a living, breathing condition we inhabit every moment of our lives, or as William Faulkner once observed, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." I read original source materials, such as every issue of The New Yorker, not only as a way to understand a time from a particular perspective, but to also use the source as an aggregator of various historic events. I welcome comments, criticisms, corrections and insights as I stumble along through the century.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s