Hogan = s Alley Folk Sailing Boats in Central Park @ shows
the tension surrounding the Park that continued into June
1896 and offers a scene that might be Frederick Law Olmsted
= s worst nightmare. A A captain @ holds a sign saying A
KEEP OFF THE GRASS @ and two identical signs are carried
on the other side of the pond in the background. Riis saw
a similar protest in reality--children chalking a fence in
a Mulberry Street yard wrote A Keeb of te Grass. @ Leisure
time for the working class was not an option in a city where
the public environment was so tightly controlled. The Yellow
Kid bears a yachting cap to match many worn by other kids.
The sailing boats are homemade, one of which bears a shirt
as a sail. While one kid has fallen into the pool and is
unhelpfully offered a box of lozenges, two others are in
the process of falling in. One sailboat is made of a street
sign. A flag bears a frothy beer and a discarded board says
A dis is a star board @ ; it mocks the indecipherable nature
of sailing terminology that belongs to the upper class. In
the right corner a group of kids perform music; when we look
closer you can see it = s a Hogan = s Alley Songster book
A and other songs of the see. @ The comic manages to mock
the habits of the rich and their attempts to contain or reform
the residents of Hogan = s Alley.
The Yellow Kid cartoons reference other specific problems
between the classes. A The Great Law Tennis Tournement in
Hogan = s Alley @ reveals a message similar to the protest
of blues laws, while making fun of tennis as an elite sport.
Scrawled on the fence behind the net are protests for free
baths on Sunday: A We want Dem Free baths open on Sunday
@ and A Clenliness is next to godliness let our free baths
be open on Sunday @ ; and near the top, A Signor AQUA/Lessons
in plain and fancy swimming/the second term will be given
in the water. @ In
A A Secret Society Initiation in Hogan = s Alley @ (September
13, 1896, New York World ), we see The Kid = s version
of a fraternal society, with variations of real society names:
the Elx, Ancient Order of Sons O Guns, Nights of Saint Chames,
Ancient Order of Glad Handshakers, The P.J. Lyons Association.
Perhaps the ultimate rebellion against society = s constraints
is pictured in A What They Did to the Dog-Catcher in Hogan
= s Alley, @ which shows the Hogan = s Alley children
beating a dog-catcher, with dogs attacking him as well; in
the background we see a boy and his dogs chasing another
catcher while the catchers = wagon is engulfed in flames,
apparently set on fire. Bill Blackbeard explains: A In New
York at the time, unlicensed dogs form the tenements were
gassed upon their arrival at the pound as a matter of course.
There was no waiting period to enable owners to recover their
pets, the assumption being that > those people = had no
means of buying a license anyway. @ The
Yellow Kid = s shirt notes, dogcatcher A don = t ketch no
Hogan = s Alley sausage today, @ suggesting perhaps that
the dogs were also used or sold for food by pound employees.
Dogs were a frequent feature in Outcault = s cartoons C they
appear in almost every drawing with the Yellow Kid (Buster
Brown also has a constant canine companion C Tige). Unlike
the upper class residents of the city, dog was the working
man = s best friend.
Outcault, The New
York World, Hogan = s Alley, August 30, 1896.