Biking was chic in the 1850s, just like today. But so-called “Hipsters” probably couldn’t afford them; they ran from $100-150 (which would be $1600-$2400 today!)
Arresting the mayor. A train station trunk discovered with naked woman inside. Duping the press into starting a panic on Wall Street. Click through for some of the craziest incidents of yesteryear.
Lots of words and phrases in the book still have the same meaning—a “crib” was a person’s home then too, the police have always been “pigs”—but there are quite a few whose meanings have slightly shifted as well: To “break a leg” then wasn’t something you said to an actor about to go on stage—it was what you called seducing a girl (which is why, we guess, mothers of children born out of wedlock were called “ankle” and “broken leg”). And while to “croak” still meant to die, newspapers at the time were also called “croakers.”
Another example: Thanks to Mario Puzo most of us think of a “Godfather” as the head of a mob, or the “mobility” in 1859 talk, but back then they were something entirely different. Godfathers were “jurymen; so called because they name the degrees of crime as to grand or petit larceny, etc., etc.”
Read the list at Gothamist.