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Peter Salwen <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 10 Nov 2009 14:12:18 -0800
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For immediate release
Contact: Peter Salwen 917-620-5371

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A Birthday Walking Tour of Mark Twain Landmarks in Manhattan

=>  When: 1:00 PM Saturday, November 28 and Sunday, November 29

=>  Where: Broadway and Spring Street, southwest corner

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New York, November 10, 2009 -- November 30th will be Mark Twain's 174th
birthday, and admirers of the country's greatest humorist are invited to
celebrate on Saturday and Sunday, November 28th and 29th, by joining writer
and Twain expert Peter Salwen for a walking tour of "Mark Twain's New York."

The 2 1/2-hour excursion, liberally sprinkled with Twainian anecdotes and
epigrams, starts from Broadway and Spring Street (southwest corner) at 1:00
PM and visits a surprising number of sites in Soho and the Village where
Mark Twain lived, visited, did business and generally made himself

"Samuel Clemens made himself a universal figure through the writings he
signed "Mark Twain,"  Mr. Salwen says, "But 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 time near
the Hudson River than on the Mississippi, and for many years he was one of
the Big Apple's pre-eminent citizens."

The oldest extant writing 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. In his final
years he was almost universally adored as the city's sage and commentator,
his opinion sought and his comments widely repeated on every conceivable

"Twain's observations never feel out-of-date," Salwen says. "Take his
comment on New York just after the Civil War: "They have made 5,000 men
wealthy, and for a good round million of her citizens they have made it a
matter of the closest kind of scratching to get along." That could have come
from this morning's Op Ed page."

Some other timeless Twainisms:

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly
native American criminal class except Congress."

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three
unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and
the prudence never to practice either of them."

"The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely
food for laughter, they are an entire banquet."

"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.  Fifteen dollars.

No reservation needed, but guests can email [log in to unmask] for more
information or just to let us know you're coming.