Privately owned, for-profit, seasonal, walled-off venues that boasted a variety of flora and fauna in addition to other services like stages, buildings, thespians, musicians, exhibits and victuals, New York City's Vauxhall and Ranelagh commercial pleasure gardens blossomed by the mid-eighteenth century. An in-depth analysis of these pleasure gardens not only contributes to how we understand colonists’ endeavours to support a more complete leisure sector, but also reveals the nuanced nature of the ‘rural vs. urban’ or ‘wilderness vs. civilization’ dyads. Ultimately, urban colonists hoped to embrace the rural nature of their surroundings to make their ‘cities in the wilderness’ more accessible, healthy places.
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