People act differently in private than they do in public. At home, they seem more comfortable and relaxed whereas in public they tend to follow certain social rules and cues. In public, it wasn't common for someone to talk to the stranger next to them on the bus or street, whereas at their home conversation would flow all day.
The creation of Central Park was intended to make the poor view the "good behavior" of the rich. This was in the hopes that the less fortunate would become more motivated and desire to be sophisticated. However this backfired and made the rich simply show off (something they cannot do in the home). However, in Ragged Dick, this plan worked because the people who were well off made Dick desire to become a better person. He even hired his friend as a tutor to teach things in the privacy of his own home (he did not mind looking poor at home, but he desired to be "respectable" in the public).
Saloons were public spaces developing after drinking at work was done away with. They became public spaces for people to drink and even get their mail. At home people were drinking too. They would entertain several people even if they did not have the room. A lot of the at home drinking was not legal because they did not have permission, so it became a secretive practice.
Public life became more and more of a competition of who could out-do the other in terms of sports, clothes, academics, clubs, jobs, etc.. As we read in Middletown, teenage girls would drop out of school if their clothes were not as nice as their classmates'. Outside of the home it seemed that status dictated many aspects of social life. With the increasing importance of sports and clubs in high schools, it took away from family time in the home and mothers who would typically spend their days preparing dinner and doing chores in the household were taken away from those duties. The increasing public social life ultimately changed the dynamics of home life as was known before the turn of the century.
Families were much different in the home versus out in public. As seen in Middletown, families considered "the best way" to spend time together was when they were out in their cars and traveling. Many families said that they did not always have family dinners or attend church together, but they often took rides in the car together. Even if they really did not have the money to afford one, families had mortgages on their homes or stopped paying for other things in order to afford a car and achieve a certain social status.
When we talked about Central Park in class, this topic came up. The park gave people a way to act more like they do in private, publicly. For example, on the streets in the city they wouldn't strike up a conversation with strangers. In the park however, it's a much more relaxed space similarly to their home, and it was built somewhat for that purpose. This was also seen in Coney Island in a similar way, where it was a platform to act more relaxed and like you would at home. Girls were seen wearing bloomers and normally this wouldn't be acceptable but in this comfortable place, it was allowed.
As we read in 'Middletown', socialization typically happened in the public sphere. Even family relationships were cultivated outside the home since so much emphasis was placed on travel and seeing the world (especially with the introduction of cars.) Cars were considered such a luxury and freedom that families would go without meals to make payments on them. This shows how important being scene in public and being an active member of the public sphere was seen as at that time.
Public spaces have developed in a way that communicate a behavior that doesn't care for privacy. For example, social media is a current form of a 'public space.' Anything you post online (unless you're really good at working privacy settings) can be seen and heard by anyone, and most of the time that is the desired result. Because our generation grew up socializing in public spaces we now continue this socialization in private through public spaces online such as Facebook and Twitter. This is an example of how much lack of privacy there is in the current public media landscape and how little care there is about that.
Public spaces have developed over time and people have become more social. Before saloons were introduced people would be at work or at home. After the shortening of their work hours and the introduction of salons people became more social. Also, in Middletown we can see that clubs and sports were becoming more prevalent. People would come to watch the football games and it became a big thing for the people of that time. Since people were becoming more social, they were beginning to behave differently out in public. Especially beginning in the time of Coney Island. They were doing things such as posing for pictures in ways that would be taboo before.
New forms of public atmosphere were introduced such as department stores and amusement parks. These new places allowed for families to make a trip out of it and spend a day shopping or at an amusement park. Especially at amusement parks social behavior changed. People interacted with others they didn't know and teenagers were provided with a place to "hangout." Amusement parks became a place where people could let their guard down and maybe act in ways they wouldn't normally or in ways that might be looked at as inappropriate for the time.