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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Arriving in the New World

Friday, October 13th., New York.

Last night. Taking pilot and (?) health officers aboard. But perhaps they were ship's officers. First we saw some coloured lights which we took for something on land. It proved to be a ship, and then it proved of course to be the pilot boat. We had been burning flares.

Lusitania arriving in New York, 1910

Doran and two Press men came into saloon off revenue cutter. Only I didn't know they had come off revenue cutter. I was interviewed by two journalists apparently on behalf of the crowd. This was while ship was manoeuvring into dock. And at last we were on shore, after I had been interviewed by three other people. Irwin Cobb was part of our group.
Called at two hotels (free lunch counter etc.) and had time at the N.Y. Central to go to Hotel Belmont, which was our second hotel. I had had views of Broadway, 14th Street, 5ht Avenue etc. Lots of sky signs. Roads up. Not very many people but a sensation of grandness, immensity, lights , heights. Streets full of holes. Cable cars long and noisy but fewer at that time of night.
We got into a long train, smoker - rather shabby, and exactly at 11.19 left the station. I had a lot of evening papers, a wilderness to me. We crossed the Harlem, saw the old ship canal, and then skirted the Hudson. very blue arc lights. Through the town a regular succession of lightning glimpses of long streets at right angles to the track.
Cobb said you could see N.Y. and get a good idea of it. I said: "But what about the home life of people to learn?" he said: "There is none. It's a half-way house. Constant coming and going and changing of centres and so on. Only one man in three is American born." He indicated a whole vast quarter as we passed - probably several miles - which he described as nothing but apartment houses and bedrooms ... Arrival at Yonkers. Station being reconstructed. All wood stairs etc. A buggy, on remarkably thin wheels, and two horses, brown and white, ill-groomed, waited for us. And we seemed to drive a very long way. Through an Italian quarter. We passed through a district full of the remains of decorations of Christopher Columbus Day. which is today. At last, after sundry hills and dales, into an obviously residential quarter. her all roads interminably winding curves. Then the house.

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