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By Sabine Haenni

Yiddish melodramas in regards to the tribulations of immigration. German performs approximately alpine tourism. Italian vaudeville performances. Rubbernecking excursions of Chinatown. within the big apple urban of the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries, those probably disparate rest actions performed related roles: mediating the giant cultural, demographic, and social alterations that have been sweeping the nation’s greatest urban. within the Immigrant Scene, Sabine Haenni unearths how theaters in ny created ethnic leisure that formed the tradition of the us within the early 20th century. contemplating the connection among relaxation and mass tradition, The Immigrant Scene develops a brand new photo of the city within which the flow of individuals, items, and photographs on-screen and on the street helped citizens negotiate the complexities of contemporary instances. In reading how groups engaged with immigrant theaters and the nascent movie tradition in ny urban, Haenni lines the ways that functionality and cinema supplied digital mobility—ways of navigating the socially advanced metropolis—and encouraged nationwide rules of immigration, tradition, and variety in brilliant and lasting methods.

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The Immigrant Scene: Ethnic Amusements in New York, 1880-1920

Yiddish melodramas in regards to the tribulations of immigration. German performs approximately alpine tourism. Italian vaudeville performances. Rubbernecking excursions of Chinatown. within the long island urban of the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries, those doubtless disparate rest actions performed comparable roles: mediating the huge cultural, demographic, and social alterations that have been sweeping the nation’s greatest urban.

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While such a procedure does not always allow for full accounts of (immigrant) cultural institutions’ chronological histories, it has the advantage of revealing some of the connections across media and across immigrant groups—of mapping distinct but overlapping entertainment zones where media cross and where cross-ethnic contact happens. The chapters seek to be aware of the power play inherent in scenic representation. Such an awareness involves attending to scenes produced both by mainstream culture and by the immigrants themselves, to include scenes that may have less easily found a way into mainstream representation—to supplement Henry James’s American Scene with the Immigrant Scene, so to speak.

On the one hand, historians have emphasized how urban spaces became increasingly available to women. 58 The institutionalization of new practices, including sightseeing tours and other forms of urban tourism, made the city available for consumption by women, even though middle-class women more frequently participated in institutionalized practices (which included tours to the infamous Chinatown) and were less easily allowed access Figure 5. “‘Seeing New York’ through a Megaphone,” Ladies’ Home Journal, January 1907.

A similar, if slightly different, delight animates Thomas Edison’s 1910 film The Police Force of New York City, in which we see police officers regulating traffic on Twenty-third Street, stopping runaway horses and speeding automobiles in Central Park, rescuing a worker, apprehending river thieves, and catching burglars. In this film, as well as in Marcosson’s conception of the subway’s moving picture, the city can no longer be thought of in static terms; mapping the city is not enough. In the age of moving pictures, people, animals, and machines circulate in the new metropolis, both legally and illegally: the city is characterized by “trafficking” in all sorts of things.

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