His new book earnestly places the well-traversed late 19th century in a broader historical perspective and identifies what distinguished New York’s elites from the upper crusts of other cities.
At first, Old World prejudices and hereditary pedigrees prevailed.
A glowing obituary of James De Lancey in the 18th century conspicuously neglected to mention that his father had made his fortune in commerce, while another, in extolling a deceased lawyer, felt obliged to recall that he possessed “a character unblemished, even by that licentious malice of the world, which takes a particular pleasure indiscriminately to vilify the whole profession.”
The preferred occupation was simply “gentleman.”
A reference to Col. William Duer’s wife snidely noted that Lady Kitty Duer had inherited that fake title from her father, the “self-styled Lord Stirling of New Jersey.”
But few events opened the floodgates more to the proliferation of a privileged class than the departure of the “American Court” that had smugly established itself in Lower Manhattan when New York was the nation’s capital, before Congress mercifully decamped for Philadelphia and the Potomac at the end of the 18th century.
By the end of the 19th, the upper class was building the subway and public libraries, but also resisted opening the Metropolitan Museum on Sundays, the one day off for most workers, or allowing free admission that day unless the city increased its subsidy.
Mr. Hood, a professor of history at Hobart and William Smith Colleges upstate, found that totems of who belongs and who does not still exist, despite the diffusion of power and the blurring of class barriers.
The New York Times, he writes, reported in 1979 that while the two most common surnames in the Manhattan telephone directory were Smith and Cohen, the latest Social Register listed 600 Smiths and only one Cohen. Do the Cohens still care, though?
Society as he found it — to invoke Ward McAllister’s term — may have died with the last Mrs. Astor and with Aileen Mehle (also known as Suzy Knickerbocker), but privilege, and resentment against it, endure.
That helps explain the resonance of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s anti-elitist “tale of two cities” campaign pitch and the election of a self-proclaimed populist from Fifth Avenue as president.Continue reading the main story
Seeing a super blue blood moon next week has got people excited for all kinds of reasons.
It’s the combination of a total lunar eclipse with a blood moon, plus a supermoon and a blue moon.
A Blue Moon gets its name when it is the second of two full moons to appear in the same calendar month.
The first one of 2018 took place on January 1 and the second is on January 31.
Lucky stargazers will also get to witness a supermoon - when the full moon appears larger and brighter than usual - and there’s also going to be a total lunar eclipse.
All in all, it’s a pretty amazing sight, the likes of which hasn’t been seen for 150 years.
What is the super blue blood moon eclipse's spiritual meaning?
Blood moons are thought to be part of prophecies, originally serving as an omen in the Book of Joel, where it is written "the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes."
GETTYThe super blue blood moon eclipse has spiritual significance, a rabbi has said
Christian Headlines has reported that Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, believes the Blue Blood Moon has special significance in light of current world events linked with Israel.
Citing US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognise it as the capital, he said: "The Talmud states that Israel is judged by our actions, by our commitment to Hashem (God), and not by astrological signs.
“In fact, the Talmud states that a lunar eclipse is a bad sign for those who hate Israel.”
Other theorists point to blue moons as being spiritually significant.
GETTYThe super blue blood moon eclipse is on January 31
Blue moons have a romantic place in popular culture - you’ve probably heard the saying “once in a blue moon” referencing their rarity.
Astrologists believe full moons are when lunar energy is at its most powerful, being able to affect tides through the pull of the moon’s gravity.
Athena Perrakis, founder of sacred website Sage Goddess, told Refinery29.com: “A lunar eclipse reveals what’s hidden about you, kind of your internal landscape.”
Wicca, also known as Pagan Witchcraft, is also said to attribute special meaning to blue moons.
Astronomer Brad Tucker, from the Australian National University, declared that the red appearance of the moon is caused by light bending and filtering properties our the atmosphere.
He explained: "That red appearance is really the sunrise and the sunset of the Earth falling on the Moon.”