The word, “Dude,” first appeared in New York City to describe a new type of “dandy,” “swell,” or “lah-de-dah” seen on the streets of New York. Within New York, “Dudes,” generally, were a frequent target of satirists; outside of New York, “New York Dudes,” specifically, came under fire:
At breakfast the other morning a New York dude declined a piece of shad. He had been told that fish food made brain, and he did not want to unfit himself for the position he held in society.
St. Tammany Farmer (Covington, Louisiana), May 5, 1883, page 3.
A New York dude fell under a Broadway omnibus wheel the other day, and was completely sub-dude. – Lowell Courier.
The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas), May 11, 1883, page 7.
“It is really quite amusing,” remarked a New York dude after landing in Philadelphia, “I am used to being admired by the women, you know, but to-day as I came down the steps of the Broad Street Station a dozen men began exclaiming: ‘Hansom! Hansom! Hansom!’ in such a loud tone of voice that I could not help overhearing.
The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas), May 25, 1883, page 2.
Midwesterners who mocked big city dudes may have secretly yearned to be Dudes:
The Dudes Have Come.
J. J. Bliss will take pleasure in showing you the real New York dude, with largest, finest and cheapest line of Millinery and Notions west of Chicago.
Omaha Daily Bee (Nebraska), October 3, 1883, page 7.
“New York Dudes” became a stock character on the stage and in song:
““Yes,” said Mr. Tawmus, who is a very swell young man, “that dude song of Roland Reed’s is a nuisance. The pesky thing gets to running in your head and the first you know you’re walking along the street singing: ‘I’m a dude, ha, ha!’ and folks are laughing at you.””
Roland Reed had been performing the role of a New York “Dandy” or “Swell” in the hit play, Cheek, since May 1882. During the Dude-craze, he became a “Dude,” and not just any “New York Dude” – he was a “Perfect New York Dude.”
Everything new and elegant, including a view of Madison Square, New York, under the Electric Light. Incidental to the play, Mr. Reed will introduce his latest successful son, “I’m a perfect New York Dude.”
Lancaster Daily Intelligencer (Pennsylvania), November 13, 1883, page 3.
The lead character in the racetrack farce, A Friendly Tip, was also a “New York Dude”:
Grand Opera House!
W. J. Ferguson,
In his great creation
Sir Chauncy Trip.
The New York Dude in J. H. Farrell’s farcical Comedy,
A FRIENDLY TIP.
Daily Globe (St Paul Minnesota), October 24, 1883, page 1.