When Thoreau was in New York

A lot of people don't realize that H.D. Thoreau worked in New York for a while, as a semi-successful free-lance writer, and as a door to door salesman, selling subscriptions to a magazine. This was when he lived on Staten Island, in 1843. He also visited the city on numerous occasions, in his capacity as part-time C.E.O. and chief engineer (my titles but they are accurate) of the family pencil and later graphite business. While there, he hung out in various places around the city (Henry James' house, the Hudson River waterfront, the salt marshes where now the Fresh Kills landfill sits), including the City Hall area, where publishing was centered. While downtown, I have to believe he heard nicknames, such as these, presented by The Bowery Boys, the most excellent Victorian New York blog, as culled from Luc Sante's Low Life, and introduced like so: "Just in case you're sick of reading '25 Random Things' lists on Facebook, feel free to post this tally of 19th and early 20th century bar owners and criminals in retaliation."

1 Boiled Oysters Malloy (owner of the Ruins saloon)
2 Dan the Dude (owner Stag Cafe)
3 Will Fox (piano player at Gombossy's Crystal Palice, who played wearing boxing gloves)
4 Diamond Dan O'Rourke (owner of a self-named bar)
5 Silver Dollar Smith (self-named bar on Essex Street)
6 Mock Duck (Chinese gangster, circa 1900, wore chain mail, wielded hatchet)
7 Slippery Johnny Leipziger (random crook, fun name to say)
8 Blonde Madge Davenport (prostitute who killed herself at McGurk's Suicide Hall)
10 Big Mame (also tried to off herself at McGurk's, ended up only permanently scarring her face with carbolic acid)
11 Chick Tricker (owner of the saloon Chick Tricker's Flea Bag)
12 Scotchy Lavelle (pirate turned saloon owner)
13 Johnny Basketball (rough who attended a 1940s Bowery ball)
14 Bridgie Webber (owner of San Souci Music Hall)
15 Johnny Camphene (bar owner who served varnish solvent as a liqueur)
16 One-Armed Charley (bouncer at the Hole-In-The-Wall)
17 Sheeny Mike Kurtz (member of the Dutch Mob, front for a pickpocket gang)
18 Mallet Murphy (owner of self-titled bar, wielding a mallet on wily customers)
19 Humpty Jackson (hunchback gang leader, headquarterd at a now vanished Lower East Side graveyard)
20 Lobster Kid (one of Humpty's gang members)
21 Johnny Spanish (ruffian known for carrying a minimum of four revolvers at a time)
22 One Lung Curran (specialist in stealing the coats of police officers)
23 Happy Jack Mulraney (whose facial rictus kept a frozen smile on his face)
24 Paddy the Priest (murdered by Happy Jack for mocking him)
25 Ding Dong (leader of a phalanx of children crooks)

(Upper left, actual Bowery Boys, NY Public Library)

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