Walking Tour Celebrates Mark Twain, the New Yorker, on the 100th Anniversary of His Death

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This lively 2-1/2 hour walking tour in lower Manhattan celebrates the life and times in New York City of the great American humorist Mark Twain, who died just a century ago, in April 1910. Our tour begins at the southwest corner of Broadway and Spring Street at 1:00 pm every Saturday and Sunday throughout April. Price fifteen dollars. There also will be a special commorative tour at 3:30 PM Wednesday, April 21, the anniversary of Twain's death. For more information please visit http://www.salwen.com/twain.pdf or call 917-620-5371.

When Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) died at age 74, just 100 years ago next month, New Yorkers lost a cherished friend and companion. To mark the centenary of his death as well as the great humorist’s decades-long relationship with New York City, Peter Salwen, a writer and Mark Twain expert, will host a walking tour of “Mark Twain’s New York” at 3:00 PM every Saturday and Sunday afternoon in April, starting Saturday, April 3. A special tour at 3:30 PM Wednesday, April 21, will commemorate the anniversary of Twain's death.

The lively 2½-hour excursion, liberally sprinkled with Twainian anecdotes and epigrams, starts at the southwest corner of Broadway and Spring Street and covers a dozen or so sites in Soho and Greenwich Village where Mark Twain lived, visited, did business, and generally made himself conspicuous.

“Samuel Clemens made himself a universally beloved figure through the writings he signed ‘Mark Twain,’” Mr. Salwen says, “Many people are surprised to learn that he also enjoyed a special and almost life-long relationship with New York City. In fact, the creator of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn actually spent considerably more of his life near the Hudson River than on the Mississippi, and for many years he was one of the Big Apple’s preëminent citizens.”

The earliest surviving manuscript in Clemens’s hand, for instance, is a letter home from Manhattan written in 1853 (“I have taken a liking to the abominable place,” he confessed). In the 1860s, Twain's New York connections helped him make the leap from a regional humorist to a national literary figure. Later, he owned a publishing house near Union Square and had three different NYC homes in Greenwich Village, in Riverdale, and on Fifth Avenue.

Twain always appreciated what he called the “godless grace, and snap, and style” of the “born and bred New Yorker,” and New York returned the appreciation — with interest. In his later years the white-suited humorist was a familiar sight along Fifth Avenue, esteemed by all — or nearly all — as the city’s genial sage and an iconoclastic commentator on every conceivable subject. Or as Twain himself put it, “The New York papers have long known that no large question is ever really settled until I have been consulted.”

“Mark Twain’s New York” starts at the southwest corner of Broadway and Spring Street at 1:00 PM and ends about 3:30 at Twain's turn-of-the-century home on West 10th Street. No reservation needed. For information call 917-620-5371 or send an email to mtny@salwen.com. Fifteen dollars.

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Peter Salwen

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