The Underbelly of the Gilded Age: Notorious Sites from Cleopatra’s Dagger

The Underbelly of the Gilded Age: Notorious Sites from Cleopatra's Dagger

Join Carole Lawrence, author of the historical thriller Cleopatra’s Daggerfor a virtual tour of the dark side of the Gilded Age!

  • Learn how the abuse of animals as sport in places like Kit Burns’ Rat Pit led to the creation of the country’s oldest animal protection society, the ASPCA

  • Peek into the criminal culture of the Bowery B’hoys, still alive in popular myth and film; their clash with arch rivals the Dead Rabbits inspired the famous fight scene in The Gangs of New York

  • See the disembodied hand from the Statue of Liberty, which sat in Madison Square Park for six years as a tourist attraction to raise money for the completion of the statue

  • Learn how the enormous gap between the wealthy and poor led to riots, anarchy, and eventually social reform 

  • Find out how the squalor and poverty of New York tenement buildings led to the origin of the country’s first modern apartment building (originally called “French Flats”) familiar to us today

About the event:

Join award-winning author Carole Lawrence for a tour of Gilded Age New York, including locations from her Edgar Award nominated thriller, Cleopatra’s Dagger, set in 1880, when the division between the obscenely rich and dirt poor was so stark that it led to riots in Tompkins Square Park and the rise of the radical reform movement still alive in the East Village today.

Peek into Justus Schwab’s infamous saloon on East 3rd Street (still standing today), where socialists and bluestockings rubbed shoulders with radicals Emma Goldman and anti-war writer Ambrose Bierce.

Tour the sumptuous mansion of Lady Astor, with her fabled “400” – elite wealthy families on her social registry, a group so exclusive that the Vanderbilts were snubbed as being too “nouveau riche.”

Walk the crooked, narrow streets of the notorious Five Points – today’s Chinatown – home to the city’s most villainous and impoverished, portrayed in such films as Gangs of New York. In these twisted, dangerous streets in the oldest part of town, pickpockets ran rampant as rats, while sailors and prostitutes cavorted in notorious places like Harry Hill’s Dance Hall, and the unwary traveler was likely to be garroted or “Shanghaied” – kidnapped to serve on one of the many sailing vessels lining the South Street Seaport.

About Carole Lawrence   

Carole Lawrence (a.k.a Carole Buggé, C.E. Lawerence, Elizabeth Blake) has too many pen names. She has published fifteen novels, six novellas and several dozen short stories and poems. Her most recent novel, Cleopatra’s Dagger, was nominated for an Edgar Award as Best Original Paperback. Many of her works appear in translation internationally.

Her play Strings Attached was recently produced Off Broadway on Theatre Row by The Pulse Theatre. Winner of both the Euphoria Poetry Competition and the Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award, she is a two time Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee and First Prize winner of the Maxim Mazumdar Playwriting Competition, the Chronogram Literary Fiction Prize, Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Award, and the Jean Paiva Memorial Fiction Award. She was a finalist in the McClaren, MSU and Henrico Playwriting Competitions, and was nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award. Her plays and musicals have been presented nationally and internationally. She was sponsored by The Paper Mill Playhouse for a TCG Playwriting Award two years in a row, and was a Playwriting Fellowship finalist at Manhattan Theatre Club.

She was Featured Composer at the Broadway Songbook at Lincoln Center, and Featured Poet in both China Grove Literary Magazine and Quill and Parchment Poetry Magazine. She is a Fellowof Hawthornden International Writers Retreat, and was Writer in Residence at Byrdcliffe Art Colony, Lacawac Sanctuary and Karuna Colony. She teaches writing at NYU and Gotham Writers Workshop, as well as the Cape Cod and San Miguel Writers Conferences. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Authors Guild, Sisters In Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America.

In a past life, she made a living acting and doing improv comedy. She also founded The Montclair Maulers, the first women’s rugby team in New Jersey. They did not win a single game for three seasons. She can often be found hunting mushrooms in the woods or playing Bach on the piano when no one is listening.

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