Relief from the Chaos of Urban Life

Section Summary

The burgeoning cities brought together both rich and poor, working class and upper class; however, the realities of urban dwellers’ lives varied dramatically based on where they fell in the social chain. Entertainment and leisure-time activities were heavily dependent on one’s status and wealth. For the working poor, amusement parks and baseball games offered inexpensive entertainment and a brief break from the squalor of the tenements. For the emerging middle class of salaried professionals, an escape to the suburbs kept them removed from the city’s chaos outside of working hours. And for the wealthy, immersion in arts and culture, as well as inclusion in the Social Register, allowed them to socialize exclusively with those they felt were of the same social status. The City Beautiful movement benefitted all city dwellers, with its emphasis on public green spaces, and more beautiful and practical city boulevards. In all, these different opportunities for leisure and pleasure made city life manageable for the citizens who lived there.