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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, November 02, 1919, Image 69

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Features of the News
and Personalities
Reactions to the
News of the Week
At Last Prohibition Clamps the Lid on Tight
PROHIBITION, so far as New !
York City is concerned, !
poems to bo a game that can
be played with considerable ;
pleasure by a large number of peo
_______ pie. The events
?j**S__~g3fc_*J>*' of the last w?
x jFi which has been a
,. ' u' hectic one, have ?
JL given more defini
j^Zr?xX ti?n t? t*">e rules of
jflrf (>v\ the frame and
mfrwsa AI '!IVC cramped the j
y'.._!l mBJ *y*e 0,? some of j
_H?_____B__?i____r : ;u> players, but j
jr. '..'. .- still paramountly a
sport and so accepted by the drink-1
ing men if not the dealers in the
pri atest c ty on the face of the
-\ chronological study of the ef
fort seeking to exterminate the
ancient demon establishes more of
farce than tragedy, more of hard
drinks than soft, so far as New
York City is concerned.
There have been, in effect, three :
different stages of prohibition in
New York since July 1. The first
-was the approximately dry state
from July ! to In. the second the ap
pro ately wet stage from July 15
te O ber 29, and the third the ex
tai proxirnately "bone-dry" pe
h has obtained since mid
? week, on the advice of William D.
Hirsl unsel for the liquor inter?
How does New York look dry?
-i question difficult to an
sw< r, because New York has not
ber*; genuinely dry at any time?
isn't i now, since men can still
mix their own drinks?and all that
passes as prohibition is, in a sense,
more apparent than real. It might
be bette r to ask how New York looks
wher it is superficially or at best
only * early dry.
summer the bars of the big
hotels 1 ave been the most conspicu?
ous examples of the dry state. They
still are. Instead of the noisy hum
that n< w and again breaks into
boii ? ness under a wet regimen
these bar? have been models of
decoi I sobriety; for the most
part the hotel writing room.
!* ?sary for the oldest
inhal recall the far-famed
\ny one can do that.
N ? the ktail hour is gone?
"shot," ??? ??????? put it. Whatever
else tl ere was in the thin glass and
its orang -.led content, appar?
ently th( re was something that made
for ty and stimulated con?
vers?t i for without the cocktail
the ' c? '? ur" has vanished.
Bari em to recall that a few
bra\- ;ouls Tied to perpetuate this
celebrated Broadway hour without
the regular "ammunition," but it
ha? not worked out. Attendance fell
off, u ' ;. ; it has between the acts
during the theater hours. The hotel
bar me distinctly second in
importance to the cigar stand, once
Its ad inet.
tittle (hange
Th? refore, when the dry wave hit
New York in midweek, with the re?
port that Colonel Porter was bur?
nishing his arms for target practice,
there was no change at all in New
York's appearance so far as the bars
of its leading hotels were concerned,
Mve that 2.To beer was not served.
In the saloons, caf?s and on the
roof gardens there still was among
drinl ing men the will to gaiety and
the desire to procure strong drink on
the "Q. T.," but it could not be done.
There was nothing to be but sober.
As one bartender said: "If you see
a drunken man now he isn't drunk.
He's drugged!" lie meant that any
<me who showed the effects of liquor
,hal undoubtedly been served inferior
*>V-ff by a bootlegger.
It was noticeable that the usual
?low of good feeling on the roof gar?
das and in cabarets and the rather
happy intimacy between the player
and the spectator were lacking and a
man who operates two roof gardens
?nade the outright statement that on
:'ie basis of last week's prohibition
-fie roof gardens might as well lock
up and go out of business?unless,
and here is the point that has been
outstanding since July 1, the spec?
tator had remembered to bring his
flask. The flask dodge is one that
the Anti-Saloon League has yet to
deal with.
Rut New Yrork has been outwardly
?Viber since last July and since none
but the bars that were willing to
take a chance and pay if caught
have been celling "hard stuff" since
About All the Liquor Dealers
Ask Now Is To Be Given
tween Now and Januar
Retire "Graceful
}f New York
16 to
y __ j
The White Ligias Are Still Bright, but the Hearts Are Heavy
-? ..-_b^_-~_p**--- y?-?'^^???'V-^' -VfV ?jrw~^ ^^_J2_i_?_____
tf hat Did ?t Mean? Everybody limited to Know
the advent of war-timo prohibition,
; there was naturally nothing to as
! tonish the eye after last midweek.
It is rather an erroneous opinion
that a few ?lays, a week or even a
i month of "bone dry" prohibition ran
, greatly alter the appearance of
j any city. Habit leads the drinking
! man into his regular haunts, even
, though he is not served as usual, and
, there is, as a consequence, no great
: change in the looks of any saloon,
j however chastened it may be in
. spirit.
For two weeks after the war-time
! prohibition of July 1 went into ef
! feet New York City was dry. The
', big hotels took the lead in this di
| rection, and most of them have since
stood pat on a dry policy. There
! have been capitulations. Up to last
j week one well known hotel which
? displayed large placareis, "No in
j toxicating liquors sold here," prob
ably considered these signs in the
light of ornamentation. At any rate,
hard drinks were going over the bar
day after day and night after -night
for the asking?-and the paying.
This hotel was not alune; it only
happened to be more conspicuous.
There are a great many others which
have adopted the public policy of
"on with the dance," and the private
policy of on with the drinks.
Intelligence Service
liy July 15 the average saloon
i keeper and caf? proprietor had ar
: rived at the conclusion that if the
government intended to take active
enforcement measures it was mak?
ing a mighty poor job of it. The
intelligence service that is main?
tained by the liquor interests could
find no obstacle in the way of re?
suming the sale of liquor to friends,
, claiming that as a matter of ab?
stract justice they had a right to do
In consequence the sale of hard
stuff was resumed in all the five
boroughs of the greater city. The
amount of caution with which the
goods were dispensed depended en?
tirely upon the personality of the
proprietor. If he took a don't-give
a-damn attitude he served whiskey
' cpenly and at advanced prices t<7
any one and found the traffic sr.
profitable that the investigator will
discover cases of saloonkeepers try?
ing to buy back casks of whiskej
from customers to whom they sol?
them the last week in June. If tht
' customer were persuaded to put bac!
into common circulation the liquic
treasure he had stored in his celia:
it may be assume?! he did so at ?
nice profit.
Not every saloon sold to all com
ers. In fact, most of them vio
lated the law on the basis of friendl;
: connections, the deduction bein.
that the keeper never had so man;
friends ?a his life as he has had
during the past three months.
.irrest Without Detention
Hero and there there were ar?
rests. But what came of them?
How many bartenders are now in ;
jail for selling liquor? The saloon
gentry has escaped virtually un
scathed. A bartender haled into
court paid $50 in fine and was re?
leased with a judicial warning to
commit no further violations. The
saloonkeeper who employed the bar?
tender was not gathered in the
toils. If by any chance he was
brought to court he offered ttie in?
genious explanation that he didn't
know what his bartender was do?
ing. That this was the result of
a preconceived plan seems evident
from the fact that the bartender
who faced a judge in the morning
was invariably back on the job at
Under these circumstances the
ancient d?mon again became a mem?
ber in good standing. Operators
of cabarets and revues who had
been crying bankruptcy in June
merely cut down their shows and
took in as much as $1.30 a high?
ball. The contradiction in fact was
obvious to every Broadwayite. The
caf? proprietor declared he was
I forced to cut down his revue bo
cause of prohibition?many of the
;cuts ranging from 81,000 to $2,000
a week?when as a matter of fact
1 he was getting twice as much for
a highball as he ever received be?
fore and was selling an inferior
As an answer o this the pro?
prietor claims that he sells only to
his friends and that his patronage
has been immeasurably reduced
?particularly amo?g out-of-towners
because of the generally accept?e
theory that prohibition is a fact
As to the first it is significant thai
any one who has the "right look'
could, up toVast Tuesday, be servec
with hard liquor in any one of a
great number of cafes in the down?
town theatrical section and tin* out?
lying districts of New York. The
"friend" business has been apocry?
phal and overdone. As to the sec
ond claim, those who visit New Vork
from out of town?and there are
000,000 a day?have invariably
been shocked at the open tratfic in
liquor in New York City, although
some of them not to the extent that
they have not. gayly participated in
the unexpected boon. The expres?
sion of a famous surgeon visiting
the recent convention of surgeons
at the Waldorf-Astoria was that he
was dumfounded by the open man?
ner in which the liquor traffic was
conducted in New York, and that
he had particularly observed that at
banquets ami dinners the usual
quota liad not been diminished.
Sei hing Quality
It was this situation that made
of prohibition a game that any one
could play. The game became in
the end a matter not of finding
places where hard stuff was sold?
that was easy- but of finding a
place where there was an estab?
lished quality in the output. The
New Yorker had become'soured on
taking a drink of "synthetic," head?
achy booze merely for the pleasure
of beating the game. He must have
good booze.
A certain party of convivial souls
taxied from Times Square to a
saloon on 125th Street to quaff what
were said to be a few of the final
remaining drops of genuine Scotch
in New York. The price was 45
| cents a drink, a saving over White
Way costs of a sufficient amount to
more than pay the taxi bill, in addi?
tion to being assured the genuine
! thing in drink.
! A certain restaurant on Sixth
Avenue has gained more fame than
ever it could in orrlinan* charnel?
by letting it be known that dr'nki
are to be hud at all hours and that
the quality is of pro prohibition
quality. This caf?, in consequence
has done a landoffico business. The
is all that its owi er
fur it, it is Berved without ??;??
mysterious hocus-pocus; hu?
result the caf? has k.'pt all
old customers, in addition to adding
more new ones than it can accom
modate. This paten*: violation has
been almost laudable in its above
the-boardness; yet nothing
done about it.
To instance even the majority I
the places, many of them old wtsli
tutions, where liquor might have
have been had up to last V.'e<lne?
d.iy, would consume no ^nd of
space. Ir suffices to say that from
July 15 to October 2S when the
word went out from the Retail
Li?juor Dealers' Association to
clamp on the lid?no thirsty man
could in all faith presume to say
that he was imposed upon by prohi?
bition conditions as they have twer?
worked out in New York If ther?
has been imposition it has been in
the matter of quality, not of scarc?
Waiters Profit
Some of the byproducts >f this
situation have been amusing For
one thing it has made necessary at>
increased vigilance in dealing with
waiters. If the proprietor main
tained his 'rallie ?>n a friendly
basis no "ueh nice distinction de
terred the waiter. Waiters b*?gan
setting themselves up in business
They obtained whiskey of <i?>ubtfu.
pedigree and confidentially advised
the customer that h<? could be served
on a cash basis, whatever the atti
tude ?if the caf? might be toward
the customer and prohibition. In
this manner, wherein the waiter
evaded the checker and sold his own
booze for cash and profit, th.<* caf*1?
became a victim of negative fraud
at the hands of its own help. Some
waiters finessed tins practice to the
extent that miniature serving tray,
with slots to hold small whiskey
glasses, were secreted in their coat
p ick?ts. It is needless to add that
the '? ili "ing waiter received a satis
factory sum for his doubly deceiT
ing service.
Bellboys likewise profited by boot?
legging, and in some of the verj
hotels that prohibited liquor traffic
investigation proved bellboys were
on the quiet getting as much as $15
a quart for rye and Bourbon whis
key. Good Scotch was, as it ha?
always been, almost priceless.
Such had been the spectacle in
New York during the alleged <\r
wave, and which lasted up to I
feat of the Presidei t's veto on the
Volstead act last Tuesday. What
ever,has been the situation in othei
towns and cities, this metropolis has
taken its liquor stand in its owi
hands, and on the ba-.???, with soni"
notable exceptions, of business a?
Last week when the President'?
veto was overridden by both house-*
of < longress affairs to k ai *'? t
turn. At the time the Re i
Dealers' Association was in session,
and the word went forth that noth
, ing containing more than ?.tie-half <?f
1 per cent of alcohol in volume
, should be sold. The word of the av
sociation is law, and the lid was
actually clamped on, at least among
? the six thousand association mem
Continv-gd on page two

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