Irish Heritage of NYC – Pints, Poetry & Pugilism
The Irish were America’s first great wave of immigration; as they fled the potato famine of the 1840s-60s, they arrived in New York City and changed the face of the nation. Learn about the highs and lows of the melting pot in America.
Walk the former Five Points neighborhood, now a Chinatown park; learn about the colorful teenage gangs that Scorcese made popular in his fim Gangs of New York. With colorful names like The Dead Rabbits and the Shirt Tails, and dressed in DIY costumes and outfits, they often contributed to the riotous atmosphere of the neighborhood that Charles Dickens called America’s filthiest slum. Learn about how it was also, not coincidentally, America’s first racially integrated neighborhood.
We’ll also visit Old St Patrick’s Cathedral and the extraordinary Irish Hunger Memorial, and listen to some classic and modern Irish poetry while explaining the power of the Irish in modern-day USA. The tour ends at a downtown Irish pub where we’ll hoist a pint of Guinness to celebrate this proud culture and history.
Matthew Baker reads some poetry at the Irish Hunger Memorial
The Five Points watercolor, By George Catlin, 1827
Gideon as a Bowery B'Hoy, explaining the history of the Gangs of NY
Those dangerous, dandy Five Pointers, soaplocks and all
Mark talking about the waves of destitute Irish at the Hunger Memorial