New York City: An Island of Vice?

Friday, September 21, 2012, 6:30 - 7:30pm

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On Friday, September 21 at 6:30 PM, author Richard Zacks delivers a free lecture at 41 Cooper Square based on his new book, Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York.  Joseph Berger of the New York Times writes that Zaks, "tells the story of Roosevelt’s two-year campaign with gusto and authority and the wry observations of an author who knows how it will all predictably turn out."

From the book jacket: "In the 1890s, young cocksure Theodore Roosevelt, years before the White House, was appointed police commissioner of corrupt, pleasure-loving New York, then teeming with 40,000 prostitutes, illegal casinos and all-night dance halls. The Harvard-educated Roosevelt, with a reformer’s zeal, tried to wipe out the city’s vice and corruption. He went head-to-head with Tammany Hall, took midnight rambles looking for derelict cops, banned barroom drinking on Sundays and tried to convince 2 million New Yorkers to enjoy wholesome family fun. The city rebelled big time; cartoonists lampooned him on the front page; his own political party abandoned him but Roosevelt never backed down. Island of Vice delivers a rollicking narrative history of Roosevelt’s embattled tenure, pitting the seedy against the saintly, and the city against its would-be savior. "

Located in the 41 Cooper Gallery, located in 41 Cooper Square, on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.