Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Catherine Street Eel Market

from 11/30/07 from pseudo-intellectualism

The cartoon images from the slide show come from Patrick Reynold's great collection
of New York City history called the Big Apple Almanac
There was once an active eel market on Catherine Slip in the 1800's. Black citizens engaged in a form of minstrelsy to earn a living and perhaps a free meal. The slide show is padded with an excerpt from an 1889 nytimes article about the area:

A Rodgers and Hart work:
Hawks and crows do lots of things,
but the canary only sings.
She is a courtesan on wings-
So I've heard.
Eagles and storks are twice as strong.
All the canary knows is song.
But the canary gets along-
Guilded bird!
Sing for your supper,
And you'll get breakfast.
Songbirds always eat
If their song is sweet to hear.
Sing for your luncheon,
And you'll get dinner.
Dine with wine of choice,
If romance is in your voice.
I heard from a wise canary
Trilling makes a fellow willing,
So, little swallow, swallow now.
Now is the time to
Sing for your supper,
And you'll get breakfast.
Songbirds are not dumb,
They don't buy a crumb
Of bread,
It's said.
So sing and you'll be fed.


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