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10. OMNIBUS

Broadway, looking north from Chambers St.,
New York City, c1859.

New-York Historical Society
"The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,
The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-balls,
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous'd mobs..."
- Song of Myself (more...)

The omnibus, a regular stagecoach service on Broadway, began in 1827. It competed for space with pedestrians, delivery wagons, private carriages, and even foraging pigs, all crisscrossing the 80-foot-wide street that paved ever further north. Whitman liked to ride on the coach's upper deck, and often spoke with the drivers, who had colorful nicknames: Broadway Jack, Yellow Joe, Balky Bill, Old Elephant and his brother Young Elephant, Big Frank, Patsy Dee and Tippy.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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