Ellen Olenska, the heroine of Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence (1968), is immediately marked as an outsider to New York society when she returns from Europe and strolls on Fifth Avenue with Julius Beaufort, a man of questionable virtues. Mrs. Welland, a prominent social figure in the city, thinks to herself: “It’s a mistake for Ellen to be seen, the very day after her arrival, parading up Fifth Avenue at the crowded hour with Julius Beaufort” (1968: 32). This first social faux pas defines her character irrevocably, since Ellen Olenska could have declared her impropriety no more extensively than by her transgression on Fifth Avenue, the most public thoroughfare in middle-class New York, on the day after her arrival in the city. Similarly, Lily Bart, the tragic heroine of Wharton’s The House of Mirth (1984), positions herself outside the bounds of decorum when she is seen on the wrong street in New York, at the wrong time of day, and is forced to lie about her destination, a lie that ultimately leads to her destruction. Edith Wharton saw the streets of New York as a public stage, where the intricate scripts of bourgeois behavior were played out each and every day. And as public stages, the scripts were monitored closely.