New York City, Prostitution and Commercialization

Carlos Cruz

Emily Brooks

SSN 240- 1828

March 20, 2018

New York City, Prostitution and Commercialization

            In 1936 there was a murder that later would become polemical in New York City. Jewett Lay was the most celebrated prostitute at that time who was murdered by her usual guest Richard P. Robinson. She was found in her room burned when Townsend woke up at 3 a.m. and noticed that something was wrong in the building. Townsend started suspecting that the possible murderer would be Robinson because he was the last guest who visited her. According to Philip Hone’s diary “This [was] the most awful case of depravity, murder, and arson”. In addition, one year before the murder, it had been demanded that tales of sex and scandals would be omitted on the daily press. However, an editor saw the opportunity to take advantage of the breaking news to do business and some other newspaper did the same later. Moreover, some people thought that Robinson was innocent whereas some other do not. Although, some other people outside of New York thought that the murder was the natural result of a society who allows prostitution. In addition, Jewett was an orphaned at age of thirteen and later adopted by a judge. Then, she had bad experiences that lead her to prostitution. Although, at the time of her murder she has many valuable goods. After the murder, Robinson’s behaviors had an effect on young man visiting women and the business in brothels increased. Many men were in the same situation as Robinson, they went to defend him of the murder in the courtroom. Then in the nineteenth century, many restrictions were applied about intimacy between young men and women that were discussed for a decade. Also, some journals defended men of sexual freedom, others defend prostitutes and another proposed that prostitution should be legal and regulated. Later, prostitution was viewed as normal life in New York City. However, in 1811 a mother complained that her sons spent considerable money with a miss and she considered that it may influence her younger children. So, at that time more young men started to visit prostitutes. Also, the author states that “sexual activity out of marriage and courtship rituals grew more common”. This type of situations become more common that different social classes were associated with prostitution. In some cases, there were some men who got married to a prostitute and the relationships broke up.

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