Script No. 6
New York City was especially busy in 1807.
Perhaps the busiest bee in this bustling hive was inventor Robert Fulton.
In May, the final coats of paint were being applied to his latest invention,
a steam-powered passenger boat. In July, as the vessel's engines were being
installed, he was demonstrating another invention, the torpedo, sinking
a target ship in the city's harbor on the third attempt. The following month,
after a one-mile spin on the East River and a test cruise around the lower
tip of Manhattan, he made a run for Albany, traveling there and back in
28 hours and 45 minutes.
Other events were happening in Manhattan that year. A Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill
pubblished The Picture of New York, the world's first city tour guide. Military
engineer John McComb Jr. was completing a fortress on the island's southern
tip, to be known as Castle Clinton. Meanwhile, Mayor De Witt Clinton, for
whom the castle was being named, was voted out of office and replaced by
Marinus Willett. Willett would only serve one term before Clinton reclaimed
the mayor's office. Manhattan was even growing physically. A state commission
granted the city jurisdiction over underwater land, along the Hudson and
East rivers, extending 400 feet out from shore.
Three other people were very busy this year. In January author Washington
Irving, his brother William, and fellow writer James Kirke Paulding were
preparing to launch a literary venture ­p; a satirical periodical, a
potpourri poking fun at life in New York City. They had a name all picked
out. New Yorkers have always liked to eat well. The young entrepreneurs
thought that one dish in particular would provide the perfect name for their
paper. This dish was supposedly named for, or by, an apocryphal member of
Marie de Medici's court. The main ingredients were chopped-up turkey, veal
or chicken, mixed with onions and anchovies or pickled herring, seasoned
with oil and lemon juice. The name of the dish and the periodical ­p;
Simon may be way ahead of me here ­p; Salmagundi.
For Classical 91.5, this is David Minor.
© 1996 David Minor / Eagles Byte
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