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Weegee - Naked City (1945)We have some great news to report today, and a great story to go along with it. Beginning today, New York Bound Books will be featuring posters from Georgetown Book Shop founder and once­New Yorker Andy Moursund (see his full NYC collection), who left West 110th Street when a 2-bedroom apartment was $40.00 a month, but still remains a Manhattanite at heart.

Although Andy no longer has his Washington-area shop, he still sells his poster reproductions featuring sports, books, propaganda, as well as a huge collection of, er, “unusual” items. We have created a gallery of his New York­-related posters that can be purchased through this website.

A 2004 Washington Post article describes his political posters:

Andy Moursund, owner of Georgetown Book Shop in Bethesda, has a massive collective of political posters spanning the political and cultural climate of the past two centuries. (photo: Washington Post)

Andy Moursund, owner of Georgetown Book Shop in Bethesda, has a massive collective of political posters spanning the political and cultural climate of the past two centuries. (photo: Washington Post)

Taken together, Moursund’s bizarre posters constitute an alternative American history, an unofficial Museum of Stuff That’s Way Too Weird for the Smithsonian. …Moursund has an odd sense of humor — “it’s kind of a black humor,” says his wife — and it’s reflected in his choice of mages for the posters. They’re all a tad off­kilter. This is kitsch with a twist. One poster is an ad for a 1934Fourth of July picnic — but it’s a picnic sponsored by the Communist Party. Another poster is an ad for a 1939“Pro­-American Rally” in Madison Square Garden — but it’s sponsored by American Nazis. “Onward Christian Soldiers,” says one poster —but the name of that beloved old hymn is written atop a photo of a 1925 Ku Klux Klan march in Washington.

Andy’s collection is indeed broad and wacky. It also contains numerous New York­-related posters that would be of interest not only to New Yorkers, but to anyone interested in New York. We are very pleased to include his New York collection on our site. To view the full NYC collection and for information on how to place an order, please visit our “NYC Posters” gallery or by clicking on the tab above. Below are a few examples of what awaits!


1934 Columbia vs Stanford (Rose Bowl)

1934 Columbia vs Stanford (Rose Bowl)


Abbott - Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday (1949)

Abbott – Greenwich Village Today and Yesterday (1949)


1923 Yankees vs Red Sox Opening Day program

1923 Yankees vs Red Sox Opening Day program

Father Coughlin's Social Justice  - Do Communists Control  Ne

Father Coughlin’s Social Justice – Do Communists Control New York

1930 Notre Dame vs NY Giants (Unemployment Relief Benefit   at

1930 Notre Dame vs NY Giants (Unemployment Relief Benefit)





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101 objectsA History of New York in 101 Objects
By Sam Roberts
336 pages, Simon and Schuster


From the New-York Historical Society website:

 Can one object define New York City? Can 101? New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts has assembled a kaleidoscopic array of possibilities in a new book, A History of New York in 101 Objects. Featuring objects from the New-York Historical Society collection, this exhibition assembles some of Roberts’s choices, which together constitute a unique history of New York.  By turns provocative, iconic, and ironic, and winnowed from hundreds of possibilities, his selections share the criteria of having played some transformative role in the city’s history.

tokenFrom the New York Observer:

The history of New York City has always been nuanced, its narrative hidden in everything from ticket stubs to water tanks. Now, Sam Roberts, the urban affairs correspondent at the New York Times and a Brooklynite at heart, has taken on the ambitious task of excavating the meaning within some of NYC’s most noteworthy artifacts in his new book, A History of New York in 101 Objects.

“It’s sort of an inanimate Humans of New York. It is a subjective, labor-of-love collection of objects that epitomize the transformation of New York over four centuries into the city that we know and love today,” Mr. Roberts said.

“It is not the history of New York,” he added. “It’s not even a history of New York. It’s really my history of New York through 101 objects.”

Within his compilation, Mr. Roberts left no room for nostalgia or ephemerality. Instead, he chose “things that would be more quirky. Things that would be more conversation pieces. Things that would make people think of history in a new light.” For him, it doesn’t matter if something’s trending at the moment. The real objects that define New York are those that will endure for decades to centuries.


knishKnish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food
By Laura Silver
300 pages, Brandeis University Press


From the Daily News:

Brooklyn ‘knish lady’ Laura Silver writes the definitive book about Eastern European potato staple from its roots in Poland to Brighton Beach, the knish is a part of American Jewry. And the city is experiencing a bit of a knishaissance.

She gained from loss.

When Mrs. Stahl’s knish shop closed in Brighton Beach in 2005, most New Yorkers shrugged and moved on at the departure of yet another neighborhood institution.

But Brooklynite Laura Silver took action, researching the seminal Eastern European staple, teasing out family stories, and even connecting with Mrs. Stahl’s descendents for “Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food,” a new book that is nothing short of a biography of the Polish potato-filled pastry.


new york modNew York: A Mod Portrait of the City
Written by Zdenek Mahler, Illustrated by Vladimir
128 pages, Universe



Exactly half a century old, this timeless illustrated classic artfully captures the “Mad Men” era of New York City for readers of all ages. The unique essence of New York City is poetically celebrated in Vladimir Fuka’s brilliant, colorful illustrations and collages and Zdenek Mahler’s playful accompanying narrative. The book takes readers on a charming journey of discovery through the magnificent metropolis’s architectural landmarks, cultural hot spots, and neighborhoods, from uptown to downtown, from Wall Street to Coney Island, and the Guggenheim Museum to Yankee Stadium. Interesting historical fun facts about the city and its inhabitants are combined with descriptions of the reality of everyday New York.


nyc 3DNew-York Historical Society New York City in 3D
In The Gilded Age: A Book Plus Stereoscopic Viewer and 50 3D Photos from the Turn of the Century


By Esther Crain and the New-York Historical Society
160 pages (paper), Black Dog & Leventhal

From the publisher:

This smart, upscale, and unique package contains 50 rarely seen stereoscopic images – including spectacular 3D views of bygone architectural marvels, as well as once-in-a-lifetime events such as the construction of the Statue of Liberty – and a paperback book that brings history to life.

Be transported to New York during the Gilded Age and experience daily life in one of the world’s most vibrant cities through mesmerizing, contemporary 3D photography and exciting tales of the time.

Black Dog & Leventhal has partnered with the New-York Historical Society to present New York in the Gilded Age as it’s never been viewed before. This innovative package includes a sturdy metal stereoscopic viewer and 50 stereoscopic photographs of turn-of-the-century New York. The package also includes a 128-page paperback that provides a brief history of the stereograph craze and an overview of the city’s evolution during that time.

rebel soulsRebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians
By Justin Martin
368 pages, Da Capo Press

From The Boston Globe:

In the late 1850s Walt Whitman was living at home with his mother in Brooklyn, scraping by on journalism, not poetry. A compulsive rambler, Whitman found his way to a dark little spot on Broadway and Bleecker called Pfaff’s. Here, he found another family of sorts in the company of writers, wits, actors, and artists. Beer (and banter) flowed freely. It wasn’t quite Cheers, but there, everyone knew the struggling poet’s name.

Whitman now is a central figure in the American canon, but his Pfaff’s pals are all but forgotten. In “Rebel Souls,” biographer Justin Martin brings them wonderfully to life in his enjoyable romp through the milieu. Whitman is the emotional core of the book — Martin’s passages on Whitman’s romantic travails and his experiences tending to wounded soldiers during the Civil War are unforgettably moving. But the other members of the Pfaff’s coterie almost steal the show.









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The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter (photo: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times)

The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter at NYPL (photo: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times)

If you haven’t yet seen “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter” at the New York Public Library (Stephen A. Schartzman Building), you MUST MUST MUST.  This visually stunning and stunningly informative exhibition, curated by children’s book historian, author, and critic Leonard S. Marcus, presents familiar favorites as well as little known landmarks in children’s book history:

The ABC of It draws from collections across the Library to present literature for children and teens against a sweeping backdrop of history, the arts, popular culture, and technological change.  The books and related objects on view reveal hidden contexts and connections, inviting second looks and fresh discoveries.  They suggest that books for young people have stories to tell us about ourselves—and are rarely as simple as they seem. (The ABC of It Exhibition Program, page 3)

If you have children, they will love the colorful displays and will be delighted to pull books off the shelves to read or share.  But the exhibition should also be viewed solo, so that one can linger over the rare first editions of classics and read excerpts from old favorites.

Toward the end of the exhibit, there is a section devoted to books about New York City.  There are myriad books about our “storied city,” many favorites, and many of which I had never read or even seen (though perhaps you have!).  Here is a selection of titles I discovered that I thought were worth a closer look (all text is quoted directly from exhibition panels):


the blockThe Block

Langston Hughes; Romare Bearden, illustrator
New York: Viking, 1995


This volume’s powerful illustrations of Harlem neighborhood life are segments of a 1971 six-panel collage by Romare Bearden, and were paired for this book with poems by the artist’s contemporary Langston Hughes.  Hughes, like Bearden, was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.  Although the poet did not compose these lyrics with young readers in mind, accessibility and unadorned truth telling were always high on his aesthetic agenda, and from his very first appearance in print, in the April 1921 issue of The Brownies’ Book magazine, Hughes considered writing for the younger generation a priority.




Ludwig Bemelmans
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950

Ironically named Mr. Sunshine is the Scrooge—like New York landlord who, in this rascally tale by the creator of Madeline, meets his match in a flamboyant music teacher-tenant.  Ludwig Bemelmans, an Austrian-born illustrator and man about town, lived on Gramercy Park for years as well as at the Carlyle hotel, where the café-bar he decorated with murals still bears his name.  Here, the peripatetic artist, drawing in his manic, rapid-fire style, gives us his impressions of a raft of the city’s iconic landmarks, from the Faltiron Building and City Hall to the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty.





 pet metPet of the Met

Don and Lydia Freeman
New York: Viking, 1953


Following World War II, Don Freeman was ready for a change and returned to his native California with his wife and collaborator, Lydia.  As new parents, the Freemans began making picture books.  In Pet of the Met, the couple introduced readers to Maestro Petrini, a musical mouse in residence at the gilded old Metropolitan Opera House.  In this charming story, the maestro, who ordinarily works as the prompter’s trusted page-turner, enjoys a rare onstage moment during a performance of The Magic Flute as his adoring mouse family looks on from the balcony.



all of a kind family

All-of-a-Kind Family

Sydney Taylor; Helen John, illustrator
Chicago: Wilcox and Follett, 1951

A sort of Loew East Side Little Women, this episodic novel set in the year 1912 dramatizes the daily routines and holiday observances of a first-generation Jewish American family with five daughters.  Taylor based er first novel and its four sequels on memories of growing up in lower Manhattan and the Bronx. She modeled Sarah, the middle child, on herself.







next stop gran centralNext Stop, Grand Central

Maira Kalman
New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999


In 1998, Maira Kalman, a New Yorker cover artist and deadpan chronicler of the everyday, agreed to paint a series of temporary murals to conceal a major renovation project being planned for Grand Central Terminal.  Kalman began her research by simply “watching people go about their business”—commuters rushing to and fro and the usually unseen personnel who make the bustling rail hub function.  Based on the murals, Kalman’s picture book has taken its place as a classic depiction of the city’s kinetic energy and organized chaos.




William Low
New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1997


New Yorkers often assume that Chinatown has always occupied a prominent place in the city’s downtown landscape.  But Chinatown did not become a thriving ethnic enclave until the 1960s, when a new federal policy opened the door to greater numbers of Asian immigrant.  William Low, a Bronx-born first generation Chinese American artist, here celebrates the vibrant street life and durable traditions of the New York neighborhood that has become synonymous with Chinese food and culture.

Here’s a roundup of NEW(ish) New York books:


whitmanilluminated_crawfordWhitman Illuminated: Song of Myself
By Walt Whitman, Illustrated by Allen Crawford
Tin House Books
256 pages


From Tin House:

Walt Whitman’s iconic collection of poems, Leaves of Grass, has earned a reputation as a sacred American text. Whitman himself made such comparisons, going so far as to use biblical verse as a model for his own. So it’s only appropriate that artist and illustrator Allen Crawford has chosen to illuminate—like medieval monks with their own holy scriptures—Whitman’s masterpiece and the core of his poetic vision, “Song of Myself.” Crawford has turned the original sixty-page poem from Whitman’s 1855 edition into a sprawling 234-page work of art. The handwritten text and illustrations intermingle in a way that’s both surprising and wholly in tune with the spirit of the poem—they’re exuberant, rough, and wild. Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself is a sensational reading experience, an artifact in its own right, and a masterful tribute to the Good Gray Poet.


illustration from WHITMAN ILLUMINATED


j10060The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City
by William B. Helmreich
Princeton University Press
480 pages

From the publisher:

As a kid growing up in Manhattan, William Helmreich played a game with his father they called “Last Stop.” They would pick a subway line and ride it to its final destination, and explore the neighborhood there. Decades later, Helmreich teaches university courses about New York, and his love for exploring the city is as strong as ever.

Putting his feet to the test, he decided that the only way to truly understand New York was to walk virtually every block of all five boroughs–an astonishing 6,000 miles. His epic journey lasted four years and took him to every corner of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Helmreich spoke with hundreds of New Yorkers from every part of the globe and from every walk of life, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former mayors Rudolph Giuliani, David Dinkins, and Edward Koch. Their stories and his are the subject of this captivating and highly original book.

We meet the Guyanese immigrant who grows beautiful flowers outside his modest Queens residence in order to always remember the homeland he left behind, the Brooklyn-raised grandchild of Italian immigrants who illuminates a window of his brownstone with the family’s old neon grocery-store sign, and many, many others. Helmreich draws on firsthand insights to examine essential aspects of urban social life such as ethnicity, gentrification, and the use of space. He finds that to be a New Yorker is to struggle to understand the place and to make a life that is as highly local as it is dynamically cosmopolitan.  Truly unforgettable, The New York Nobody Knows will forever change how you view the world’s greatest city.


9781580054942Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York
Edited by Sari Botton
Seal Press
288 pages
$16.00 (paper)

From Powell’s:

Goodbye to All That is a collection of essays about loving and leaving the magical city of New York. Inspired by Joan Didions well-loved essay by the same name, this anthology features the experiences of 28 women for whom the magic of the city has worn off—whether because of loneliness after many friends marry, have kids, and head to the suburbs; jadedness about their careers; or difficulty finding true love in a place where everyone is always looking to trade up to a better mate, a better job, a better apartment.

With contributions from authors such as Cheryl Strayed, Ann Hood, Dani Shapiro, and Emma Straub, this collection is relatable to anyone who arrived with stars in their eyes, hoping to make it. Each essay reveals the authors own unique relationship with New York City, and together they encompass the complicated emotions all New Yorkers have about leaving.


9781623650209Unhooking the Moon
By Gregory Hughes
335 pages


From Kirkus Reviews:

Astonished to hear that their father had a drug-dealing brother in New York, newly orphaned Bob and his live-wire little sister, Marie Claire (aka Rat), hitchhike to the city from Winnipeg. For lack of a better plan, they wander Manhattan and the Bronx asking passersby if they know him. This strategy leads to encounters with a host of colorful city types, notably a pair of softhearted con men and a lonely rising rap star, plus plenty of terrific street theater and nights spent sleeping in, alternately, Central Park and a hyperluxurious apartment. And ultimately the children’s search is successful! Their information about Uncle Jerome is even (more or less) accurate, as he turns out to be the CEO of a huge pharmaceutical company. Though many of Hughes’ characters will sink emotional hooks into readers, Rat takes and earns center stage by glibly charming the pants off every adult, showing a winning mix of quick wits and vulnerability, and taking wild flights of imagination—her explanation of the (subtle) differences between a Windigo and a pedophile being a particular highlight. So appealing are they that when one of them suffers a tremendous blow, readers will feel it as intensely as the other characters. The dizzying highs intensify but also ameliorate that devastating low. Middle grade; ages 9 to 12.


9780763656966Tap Tap Boom Boom
by Elizabeth Bluemle, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Candlewick Press
32 pages

From Publisher’s Weekly:

In toe-tapping, jazz-chant verse, author, bookseller, and PW blogger Bluemle (How Do You Wokka-Wokka?) writes about the way a sudden thunderstorm “makes friends/ of strangers.” At the story’s start, two boys in a playground gaze through iron railings at a girl in a yellow dress hurrying to keep up with her father. On an ordinary day she’d disappear into the crowd, but when the rain starts pelting down, the boys, the girl and her father, and half a dozen others dash for the subway station: “Feet wetter?/ You’d better/ go down/ underground,/ where the water/can’t getcha./ You betcha.” Over photographic images of subway fixtures, Karas (The Apple Orchard Riddle) draws people chatting, sharing pizza, and shrinking away as their dogs shake themselves off, balancing the force of the storm with the warmth of city-dwellers sharing an unexpected break in their day. Bluemle’s story unfolds on a scale just right for preschoolers, with plenty of hullaballoo, subtle attention to the senses, and an affirmation of the way misfortune can lead to small miracles. Ages 3–7.

Illustration from TAP TAP BOOM BOOM

Illustration from TAP TAP BOOM BOOM





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GREENWICH VILLAGE STORIES Edited by Judith Stonehill

Edited by Judith Stonehill

As someone who blogs about memories of a bygone New York, the recently published Greenwich Village Stories, edited by Judith Stonehill, speaks to my heart and my mind.  Whereas I gather people’s recollections about pre-1990 SoHo, Stonehill collects stories of Greenwich Village pre-now, to create a mosaic portrait of this ever-changing neighborhood.  Published by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation in collaboration with Rizzoli, this “love letter to Greenwich Village, written by artists, poets, playwrights, musicians, restaurateurs, and other neighborhood habitués who each share a favorite memory of this beloved place. The sixty-six stories in this collection of Village memories are original and vivid—perfectly capturing the essence of the Village.”

Even people who have never been to NYC or who were born too recently to have “been there” have their own “memories” of Greenwich Village, through the countless films, television shows, songs, novels, poems, and images they have seen that focus on this famous (and infamous) neighborhood.  People who have lived or worked there have more concrete memories.  For some, the Village means their very first apartment, a walk up facing Sheridan Square for $40 a month, for others it is the cupcakes at the Magnolia Bakery, enjoyed only vicariously through the taste buds of Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City.

That all of these are “memories,” no matter where or how they originated, speaks to the mythical nature of this neighborhood as well as its ability to transform itself depending on the eye of the beholder.  This is what makes these stories, these individual memories, so remarkable, especially when considered together as a group. At heart, they all describe the same essence of a place, one where creativity is nurtured and opportunity abounds, also a place where hard lessons are learned and children become adults, but the experiences surrounding this core vary spectacularly. Even so, Greenwich Village is recognizable to us in every tale.

Judith Stonehill has done a fantastic job curating this collection of gems. These stories and their accompanying illustrations are a record of a neighborhood and community, ever evolving. She has captured a very unique place that we all cherish, but, due to its singularity, that we know will never exist again as it was.

Edited by Judith Stonehill
In Association with the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
Universe Publishing, an imprint of Rizzoli
New York
Hardcover / 192 pages / 77 color and black-and-white illustrations
6 1⁄2 x 8 1⁄2
PRICE: $29.95 US & CAN


The following excerpts provide only a glimpse of the riches that are to be found in Greenwich Village Stories.


Bleecker Street Cinema. Photo by Robert Otter. 1965. (GVS, page 65)

Bleecker Street Cinema. Photo by Robert Otter. 1965. (GVS, page 65)

Graydon Carter

In an age of cities,
there is just one village
that is known by people the world over:

Greenwich Village.

It got there by being small.
Let’s keep it that way.

(Page 31)

John Guare

I found my first apartment a while later on the corner of West 10th Street and West 4th Street where those streets collide in a burst of Village logic. I lived in a four-story walk-up with a twenty-foot ceiling and skylight, wood-burning fireplace, eat-in kitchen, bathroom with a tub and shower, looking out into a bunch of back- yard gardens. The rent? $32 a month. The previous tenants were two sisters who had lived there for forty years at $22 a month.

I found out Lanford Wilson lived cater-corner to me on the 4th Street side and knew him by this time. I’d open my window and sit there violently tapping the keys of my typewriter to torment him or he’d do the same to torment me.

In 1973, John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved out of their apartment at 1051⁄4 Bank Street up to the Dakota and I got the apartment, which had been a sculptor’s studio built in the garden. It had a thirty-foot ceiling with skylights and a spiral staircase up to the roof. That rent was a massive $500 a month. Pilgrims who didn’t know their idol and his wife had moved uptown flocked to my door and left me love letters.

(Page 64)

High Line train running on elevated tracks through what is now Westbeth. 1936. (GVS, page 66)

High Line train running on elevated tracks through what is now Westbeth. 1936. (GVS, page 66)

Robert Hammond

There were maybe twenty people there, and we heard a presentation by the Regional Plan Association, which had been commissioned by CSX, the railroad that owned the High Line. They discussed different options, from demolition to using it for freight to making a park up on top of it.

After that, people got up and spoke about why it was a bad idea to repurpose the High Line. It was a blight on the neighborhood. It was going to fall down any day. It was holding up the economic development of the area. It was dangerous. It was dark underneath. A whole litany of arguments, and really vehement. I was surprised at how strongly these people felt. I had been thinking about speaking at the meeting, but not after all that.

I stayed behind afterward, trying to find anyone else interested in saving the High Line. There was no one except the guy who had been sitting next to me. He told me his name was Joshua David.

I said, “Well, you know, I’m very busy, but if you start something, I could help.” And he said, “Well, I’m also very busy. Maybe you should start something.” We exchanged business cards and agreed to talk later.

(Pages 67-8)

Washington Square Serenade. Drawing/collage by Tony Fitzpatrick. 2008. (GVS page 35)

Washington Square Serenade. Drawing/collage by Tony Fitzpatrick. 2008. (GVS page 35)

Ed Koch

I moved to Greenwich Village in 1956. My first apartment was at 81 Bedford Street and subsequently, 72 Barrow Street and later, 14 Washington Place, from which I moved to Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s residence. There were lots of things to like about the Village. One was my involvement with Citizens for [Adlai] Stevenson, the predecessor political club to the Village Independent Democrats (V.I.D.). He was running for president of the United States at the time against Dwight Eisenhower. Stevenson’s speeches have never been equaled in style or substance. They were thrilling. I campaigned for him nightly in Sheridan Square, standing literally and occasionally on a soapbox.

While that was a very involving activity for me, there was one other even more fulfilling: eating dinner. At that time, there were three restaurants that I regularly went to because the food was truly delicious and very cheap. The oldest of the three was Louie’s, a bar in Sheridan Square in a building that is no longer standing. Louie’s veal parmigiana was $1.75, and beer was a dime a glass. Another restaurant was the Limelight on Seventh Avenue, which had prix-fixe dinners for $1.80, which I think ultimately increased to $2.50. With a delicious three-course dinner, plus coffee, you also got the opportunity to peruse photographs in a gallery provided by the owner of the restaurant.

Then there was the Lion’s Head on Christopher Street in Sheridan Square, near the offices of the Village Voice, where the food was superb and even more varied than the others and just as cheap, but not prix fixe. The reporters and authors of books, plus the politicians, made it their dinner table away from home. It is no longer there.

Later, when I was mayor, about 1978, a fourth restaurant, the Buffalo Roadhouse, opened on Seventh Avenue. I really loved it, especially during the summer, because it had outdoor space. Its hamburgers and soups have never been equaled, at least for me. I believe the owner wanted to upscale and changed to French cuisine. It ultimately closed, and I didn’t miss it.

(Page 92)

The Cardplayers, on Horatio Street. Photo by Ruth Orkin. 1947.

The Cardplayers, on Horatio Street. Photo by Ruth Orkin. 1947.

Jesse Malin

I think about the cycles a city goes through historically. People come and go; neighborhoods are built up, broken down, and reborn to find their place in time again. The streets walked by Emma Goldman, Bob Dylan, Charlie Parker, Diane Arbus, Allen Ginsberg, and Joey Ramone are the same streets my grandfather traveled from his tenement apartment to his high school to hear Albert Einstein speak. Even through all these changes, you can still find the art, the beauty, and even some trouble on these East Village streets. The sun still rises over Tompkins Square Park shedding light on a spray-painted wall that reads “The Future is Unwritten.”

(Page 105)

Wynton Marsalis

In 1981 I lived in the Village with my brother Branford. We had an apartment on Bleecker Street near Broadway. We must have been eighteen and nineteen years old then. Art Blakey lived there, too, and he got us into the building. I remember we used to leave the apartment at twelve o’clock at night and go to all of the clubs in the Village. We would go to the Tin Palace, the Village Vanguard, the Village Gate, and Sweet Basil. I played a lot at a place called Seventh Avenue South, too. And then, we would go to get us some break- fast at Sandolino’s around 5 a.m. and come home about 6:30 in the morning. We called that “doing the circuit,” doing all the clubs like that in one night. I remember all the musicians and gigs down here in the Village. It was very colorful—it reminded me a lot of the French Quarter of New Orleans. It was much more integrated than the rest of New York City, with a lot of different people, no judgment, and a lot of freedom.

(Page 107)

Swimmer, Back Flip. Pier 49, Bank Street. Photo by Shelley Seccombe. 1979. (GVS, page 127)

Swimmer, Back Flip. Pier 49, Bank Street. Photo by Shelley Seccombe. 1979. (GVS, page 127)

Isaac Misrahi

My mother used to say, “If you want to be young forever, move to the Village.” I arrived more than twenty years ago and have lived here ever since. I will probably move out feet first.

(Page 121)

Ioannis Pappos

I was part of the cocky Hermès-tie invasion of the West Village. At the peak of the dot-com craze, I moved to New York and leased a loft on Leroy Street at the Printing House, which was practically a frat house for Wall Streeters. The annual rent could buy a small condo in Texas, but it was spacious. My first night I gave my bike a spin around the living room— I had arrived.

Right away I recognized that the West Village was in the throes of collision. It harbored a mishmash of different species and formed a battleground of sorts for MBAs like me with money (at least on paper) and subletting artists. We had Pastis and Da Silvano, they had El Faro and Tavern on Jane. We all mixed at Florent and rubbed shoulders, literally, at snug La Bonbonniere during hangover Sundays. Dog walkers and tattooed musicians would “Hey, man” me at Meatpacking District parties, and I felt somehow abashed—it was as though they picked up on every- thing about our white-collar raid and still they pardoned us. I wanted to see them fighting for rent-justice, I expected contempt and dirty looks, but those madcaps didn’t seem to give a damn. I envied them. As soon as the 9/11 mourning subsided, the Spotted Pig and six, seven (I’ve stopped counting) Marc Jacobs stores sealed my hood’s fate: being poor and marginal in the West Village was now almost suspicious.

(Page 126)

Mary Help of Christians R. C. Church, on East 12th Street. Photo by Allen Ginsberg. 1985. Despite community protest, the church was demolished in 2013.  (GVS, page 135)

Mary Help of Christians R. C. Church, on East 12th Street. Photo by Allen Ginsberg. 1985. Despite community protest, the church was demolished in 2013. (GVS, page 135)

Lou Reed

My favorite moments in the Village are always with the beautiful sun drifting over the Hudson River. And as I look out, I am taking photos in my mind or with one of my cameras. It’s always great for me to start the day with a beautiful photo and then three hours of tai chi, all these golden moments in the Village.

(Page 131)

Brooke Shields

The friendliness one encounters in the West Village is unlike that of any other area in the city. People still make eye contact and are actually interested to hear how you are doing. There is an Old World warmth you feel from your neighbors and a sense that they look out for each other. I am thrilled my girls are experiencing life in a real neighborhood in the middle of such a metropolitan city. I want them to grow up walking to school and knowing and supporting local shop owners and restaurant proprietors. We know our mailman! Whenever I describe our neighborhood to people, they think I live in Vermont or Connecticut. Nope, it’s the Village, I say. And I love it.

(Page 145)

Matt Umanov

In the early 1970s, when my guitar store was very small and located on a then-sleepy block of lower Bedford Street, we had well-known musician customers as well as the occasional clueless walk-in. On a particular day, a somewhat ragged-looking hippie-type kid walked in, took down a guitar from the display wall and started playing, quite badly. After ten minutes of torture, Susie, my wife at the time, and I were just on the verge of shutting this kid down and showing him the door when in walked Bob Dylan, a sometime regular there. Without saying a word, Bob picked up a guitar and started playing with the kid. They were, in a word, collectively awful, and if it hadn’t been Bob, we would’ve tossed them both, on general principles. They never said a word to each other, just played together, and after about fifteen minutes the kid put down the guitar and left.

(Page 161)


ABOUT THE EDITOR: Judith Stonehill is the author of New York’s Unique and Unexpected Places, Greenwich Village, and Brooklyn. She was the co-owner of the New York Bound Bookshop. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) was founded in 1980 to preserve the architectural heritage and cultural history of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. GVSHP is a leader in protecting the sense of place and human scale that define the Village’s unique community.













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The following are a few NEW New York books that caught out attention, in no particular order:

RNPicking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City

By Robin Nagle

Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux
304 pages, $28.00

From the NY Observer:

Once upon a time, in a world before the Department of Sanitation, New York City’s streets flowed with raw sewage. Slaughterhouses and farms dumped animal waste in the drinking water, and the number of yellow fever-driven deaths and exiles stretched into the tens of thousands. By the 1850s, New Yorkers were up to their necks in an accumulation of rot and bodies that became known as “corporation pudding.”

That’s the cautionary tale behind a new book out this month, Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks With the Sanitation Workers of New York City, in which author Robin Nagle reminds readers that we ought to be a little more appreciative of the men and women who clean up after us, lest we tempt such a fate—or, God forbid, have to deal with our own trash.

For the last 12 years, Ms. Nagle, a New York University anthropology professor, has been studying and advocating for the city’s “garbage faeries,” the vital yet largely invisible work force whose labor gets noticed only when it hasn’t been done. Sanitation workers have a higher on-the-job mortality rate than any other uniformed department in the city, she writes—including police officers and firefighters—yet their duties aren’t remotely as revered.


9780060882389_custom-c735802ed61fa746973aa6d2f8518c1bea5cbef5-s6-c30Miss Anne In Harlem

By Carla Kaplan

576 pages, $28.9

From The Daily Beast:

When Etta Duryea, the white wife of black prizefighter Jack Johnson, killed herself in 1912, contemporary newspapers reported it as “the logical outcome for a ‘woman without a race.’” The boundaries were clear, the consequences of crossing the color line dire in the years before World War I, when American assumptions about everything from patriotism and class to gender and race were secure, bigoted, and unchallenged. But in the 1920s and ‘30s, a small but dauntless group of white women flung down a gauntlet to these assumptions, declaring their alliance with African-American culture during the height of the Harlem Renaissance.

In Miss Anne In Harlem, Carla Kaplan’s clear-sighted, empathetic assessment of a half-dozen of these women, she casts a fresh eye over people and relationships too often reduced to stereotypes. She explores the complicated reality of individual lives to illuminate our collective struggle with fraught questions about race and identity that are as uncomfortable and unresolved today as they were in the 1920s and ‘30s.


pb3485-300x450Hell’s Kitchen and the Battle for Urban Space: Class struggle and progressive reform in NYC 1894-1914

by Joseph J. Varga

Monthly Review Press
269 pages, $18.95

Hell’s Kitchen is among Manhattan’s most storied and studied neighborhoods. A working-class district situated next to the West Side’s middle- and upper-class residential districts, it has long attracted the focus of artists and urban planners, writers and reformers. Now, Joseph Varga takes us on a tour of Hell’s Kitchen with an eye toward what we usually take for granted: space, and, particularly, how urban spaces are produced, controlled, and contested by different class and political forces.

Varga examines events and locations in a crucial period in the formation of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, the Progressive Era, and describes how reformers sought to shape the behavior and experiences of its inhabitants by manipulating the built environment. But those inhabitants had plans of their own, and thus ensued a struggle over the very spaces—public and private, commercial and personal—in which they lived. Varga insightfully considers the interactions between human actors, the built environment, and the natural landscape, and suggests how the production and struggle over space influence what we think and how we live. In the process, he raises incisive questions about the meaning of community, citizenship, and democracy itself.


lost synogoguesThe Lost Synagogues of Manhattan: Including Shuls from Staten Island and Governors Island

by Ellen Levitt

Avotaynu Press
204 pages, $26.00

From the Lost Synagogues Press Release:

Ellen Levitt completes her trilogy of books about former synagogues throughout the five boroughs of New York City, with the publication of The Lost Synagogues of Manhattan. It describes existing buildings in Manhattan (as well as Staten Island and Governors Island) that once housed synagogues but are now being used as churches and other houses of worship, private residences, schools and community centers, even restaurants and an art gallery. Her first book The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn was published by Avotaynu in 2009; her second book The Lost Synagogues of the Bronx and Queens was published by Avotaynu in 2011.

Each of the 83 featured formerly Jewish houses of worship in the new book includes one or more photographs showing how it appears today with a narrative that explains the history of the building and, in some cases, interviews with former and current congregants and occupants. Many of the facades still have Jewish symbols. Some buildings have been faithfully preserved, while others are in disrepair. This is supported by extensive research and stirring stories.


9780195099881From Pariahs to Partners: How Parents and Their Allies Changed New York City’s Child Welfare System

by David Tobis

Oxford University Press
$29.95, 336 pages

From Publishers Weekly:

After being approached by an anonymous donor, Tobis, who has worked in New York City’s child welfare system since 1979, used the donation to co-create the Child Welfare Fund, which aims to help children and families in need and reform the city’s welfare system. His account begins with a brief history of child welfare efforts in N.Y.C. before 1995. Many reform efforts were doomed before they began, despite good intentions, due to institutional inertia and limited social services. Tobis details his efforts, and those of his allies, to make parents and foster children more aware of their rights within the system, and provides statistics that highlight flaws in the system. Whether the efforts to transform New York’s child welfare efforts into something more effective and humane will survive rotating agency heads and funding issues remains to be seen, but Tobis, at least, seems optimistic. This potentially important book, however, is hampered by an over-reliance on anecdotes. While a useful and engaging introduction to the subject, the treatment remains cursory, leaving the reader yearning for a more thorough text.


9780813558684_p0_v1_s260x420Pizza City: The Ultimate Guide to New York’s Favorite Food

by Peter Genovese

Rivergate Books
200 pages, $22.95

From the NPR website:

New York City’s Lombardi’s Pizza opened its doors in 1905, marking a special centennial for a food that has become an American staple.

Food writer Ed Levine is a regular contributor to the Dining pages of The New York Times and is the author of New York Eats and New York Eats More. His new book is Pizza, a Slice of Heaven: The Ultimate Guide and Companion.

Levine and a host of other writers weigh in on questions that liven up tables of pizza eaters daily. From style distinctions — New York vs. Chicago vs. gourmet — to comparing the U.S. version to pizza’s Italian roots, Pizza dishes facts and opinions of a cultural force.


NotoriousCoverMy Notorious Life

by Kate Manning

448 pages, $26.99

From the author’s website:

Based on a true story from the scandalized headlines of Victorian New York City, My Notorious Life is a portrait of Axie Muldoon, the impoverished daughter of Irish Immigrants who becomes an enormously successful—and controversial—midwife. Separated from her siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, Axie parlays the sale of a few bottles of “lunar tonic for relief of female complaint” into a thriving practice as a female physician known as “Madame X.” But as she rises from the gutter to the glitter of Fifth Avenue, Axie discovers that the right way is not always the way of the law, and that you should never trust a man who says, “trust me.” But what if that man is an irresistible risk-taker with a poetical soul? Soon, Axie’s choices put her on a collision course with one of the most zealous characters of her era: Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, and it will take all of her power and wealth to outwit him and save herself and her family from ruin.

A love story, a family saga, and a vivid rendering of a historical time and heated political climate, My Notorious Life is the tale of one woman making her indomitable way in a difficult world. Axie Muldoon is a heroine for the ages.

9780618859900_lresThe Big Crowd

By Kevin Baker

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
424 pp., $27.00

From the Houghton Mifflin website:

From “the lit world’s sharpest chronicler of New York’s past” (Rolling Stone), a novel of two Irish brothers who travel from the gangland waterfront to the halls of power.  Based on one of the great unsolved murders in mob history, and the rise-and-fall of a real-life hero, The Big Crowd tells the sweeping story of Charlie O’Kane. He is the American dream come to life, a poor Irish immigrant who worked his way up from beat cop to mayor of New York at the city’s dazzling, post-war zenith. Famous, powerful, and married to a glamorous fashion model, he is looked up to by millions, including his younger brother, Tom. So when Charlie is accused of abetting a shocking mob murder, Tom sets out to clear his brother’s name while hiding a secret of his own.The charges against Charlie stem from his days as a crusading Brooklyn DA, when he sent the notorious killers of Murder, Inc., to the chair—only to let a vital witness go flying out a window while under police guard. Now, out of office, Charlie lives in a shoddy, Mexico City tourist hotel, eaten up with regrets and afraid he will be indicted for murder if he returns to the U.S. To uncover what really happened, Tom must confront stunning truths about his brother, himself, and the secret workings of the great city he loves.Moving from the Brooklyn waterfront to city hall, from the battlefields of World War II to the beaches of Acapulco, to the glamorous nightclubs of postwar New York, The Big Crowd is filled with historical powerbrokers and gangsters, celebrities and socialites, scheming cardinals and battling, dockside priests. But ultimately it is a brilliantly imagined, distinctly American story of the bonds and betrayals of brotherhood.

golemandjinni_pbkTHE GOLEM AND THE JINNI
By Helene Wecker
486 pp., Harper, $26.99

From the Harper Collins website:

In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.


riddle of the labyrinthTHE RIDDLE OF THE LABYRINTH: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code
By Margalit Fox
Illustrated. 363 pp, Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, $27.99

From the back cover:

The Riddle of the Labyrinth is the true story of the quest to solve one of the most mesmerizing riddles in history—Linear B—and of the three brilliant, obsessed, and ultimately doomed investigators whose combined work would eventually crack the code. There was Evans, who had discovered the script but could never unravel it; Alice Kober, the fiery American scholar whose vital work on Linear B never got the recognition it deserved; and Michael Ventris, the haunted English architect who would solve the riddle triumphantly at the age of thirty only to die four years later under circumstances that remain the subject of speculation even now.

For half a century some of the world’s foremost scholars tried to coax the tablets to yield their secrets. Then, in 1952, the script was deciphered seemingly in a single stroke—not by a scholar but by Ventris, an impassioned amateur whose obsession with the tablets had begun in childhood. The decipherment brought him worldwide acclaim. But it also cost him his architectural career, his ties to his family, and quite possibly his life.

That is the narrative of the decipherment as it has been known thus far. But a major actor in the drama has long been missing: Alice Kober, a classicist at Brooklyn College. Though largely forgotten today, she came within a hair’s breadth of deciphering Linear B before her own untimely death in 1950. As The Riddle of the Labyrinth reveals, it was Kober who built the foundation on which Ventris’s decipherment stood, an achievement that until now has been all but lost to history. Drawing on a newly opened archive of Kober’s papers, Margalit Fox restores this unsung heroine to her rightful place at last.


topsyTOPSY: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P. T. Barnum and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison
By Michael Daly
288 pp., Atlantic Monthly Press, $27.00


In 1903, on Coney Island, an elephant named Topsy was electrocuted, and over the past century, this bizarre, ghoulish execution has reverberated through popular culture with the whiff of urban legend. But it really happened, and many historical forces conspired to bring Topsy, Thomas Edison, and those 6600 volts of alternating current together that day. Tracing them all in Topsy The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison, journalist Michael Daly weaves together a fascinating popular history, the first book on this astonishing tale.


New York Bound Books at 50 Rockefeller Plaza

New York Bound Bookshop at 50 Rockefeller Plaza

There’s no turning back the clock, but one way I always tried was by visiting New York Bound…with its passing goes one bookstore in which we could find, if only for an hour, what we have lost since bookstores lined Fifth Avenue.  The city, no less than its customers, is left with a hole in its heart.                                 

—Frank Rich, The New York Times, June 29, 1997

Stoddard Corner Bookshop in Hudson, New York is honored to offer the stock of New York Bound Bookshop and selected volumes from Barbara Cohen’s private collection to a discerning public– large holdings of New York material, as well as books on books, art, European history, and a significant amount of ephemera.

The story of Ms. Cohen’s distinguished, forty-year career as a respected bookseller began and fittingly, concludes, in Columbia County, New York. In the early 1970s, her late husband, Myron, converted a toolshed on their Gallatin property where Ms. Cohen specialized in old, rare, and out-of-print books, maps, prints, and ephemera about New York. In 1976, New York Bound Bookshop moved to South Street Seaport’s Fulton Market, then to West 54 Street, and finally, with business partner Judith Stonehill, to the Associated Press Building lobby at 50 Rockefeller Plaza.

BG-Letters to PhilDuring the early years, the New York Bound Bookshop played a vital role in the completion of the popular Anderson Isometric Map of Midtown New York and published four books about New York—from a rare 19th century manuscript to the reprint of a fascinating 1932 book about New York—including Letters to Phil: Memories of a New York Boyhood 1848-1856 by Gene Schermerhorn with a foreword by Brendan Gill.  She also co-edited Trylon and Perisphere, a book about the 1939 New York World’s Fair, and a compilation of literature and art of New York entitled New York Observed, published by Abrams. After New York Bound Bookshop closed, Ms. Cohen and Ms. Stonehill worked together to bring about reprints of E.B. White’s Here is New York, Tony Sarg’s 1927 portrait of the city renamed New York Up and Down, Charles Lockwood’s seminal Bricks and Brownstones, and the Milos Sasek’s beloved classic Here is New York.  Over the years, Ms. Cohen has served on the jury for the New York Society Library’s awards that honor the best books about New York as well as the Small Press Center, a non-profit organization to benefit small press publishers.

Stoddard Corner in Hudson, NY

Stoddard Corner in Hudson, NY

After the bookstore closed in 1997, Ms. Cohen began assembling a bibliography of books on New York using the knowledge she gathered over her forty years devoted to acquiring antiquarian books and printed matter about New York and advising authors on little-known works.  This research resulted in the launch of a website,, that offers obscure and invaluable bibliographic data on New York City, with editor Yukie Ohta at the helm.  Ms. Cohen’s interests have also recently evolved from bookselling to showcasing “Biblioarte,” works that celebrate books as art and art as books.

Join us as Barbara Cohen and New York Bound Books close the final chapter where it all began—in upstate New York.


June 22 – 23 & June 29 – 30, 2013

11 AM – 5 PM
Ms. Cohen will be present.

Stoddard Corner Bookshop
757 Columbia Street
Hudson, New York 518.478.3660

Catalogue at



9780814771549_FullHabitats: Private Lives in the Big City
By Constance Rosenblum

New York University Press
256 pages

From the NYU Press website:

There may be eight million stories in the Naked City, but there are also nearly three million dwelling places, ranging from Park Avenue palaces to Dickensian garrets and encompassing much in between. The doorways to these residences are tantalizing portals opening onto largely invisible lives.  Habitats offers 40 vivid and intimate stories about how New Yorkers really live in their brownstones, their apartments, their mansions, their lofts, and as a whole presents a rich, multi-textured portrait of what it means to make a home in the world’s most varied and powerful city.


9781419706721Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers
By Becky Cooper
Foreword by Adam Gopnik

Abrams Image
120 pages

From the Abrams website:

Armed with hundreds of blank maps she had painstakingly printed by hand, Becky Cooper walked Manhattan from end to end. Along her journey she met police officers, homeless people, fashion models, and senior citizens who had lived in Manhattan all their lives. She asked the strangers to “map their Manhattan” and to mail the personalized maps back to her. Soon, her P.O. box was filled with a cartography of intimate narratives: past loves, lost homes, childhood memories, comical moments, and surprising confessions. A beautifully illustrated, PostSecret-style tribute to New York, Mapping Manhattan includes 75 maps from both anonymous mapmakers and notable New Yorkers, including Man on Wire aerialist Philippe Petit, New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov, Tony award-winning actor Harvey Fierstein, and many more.


9781593720520_sq-a7241315f316a663409b50259cc79fd04e1173a3-s2New York City of Trees
By Benjamin Swett

QuantuckLane Press
160 Pages

From Benjamin Swett’s website:

It is common to talk about how trees improve living conditions in cities by filtering and cooling the air, absorbing excess rainwater, and making neighborhoods more attractive, but little has been said about the equally important role of trees as storehouses of a city’s past. Just as trees remove carbon from the atmosphere and hold it for many years in their woody tissue, so do they sequester the shared experiences of the people who live alongside them. The growth rings of trees contain, in organized fashion, physical manifestations of the world and of the human presence in it at different times in a tree’s history. Trees also store memories through the associations they carry for the people who live alongside them and see them every day. By looking at a group of trees I have known over many years, scattered around the five boroughs of New York City, I have tried to show how much of the life of New York is contained in its trees.

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Marking Spaces at the Queens Museum

Marking Spaces at the Queens Museum

The Queens Museum of Art‘s new exhibition, “Marking Spaces: New York City’s Landmark Historic Districts on the Panorama of the City of New York,” commemorates fifty years of the New York City Landmarks Law founded on April 19, 1965.  This exhibition kicks off a two-year anniversary celebration by placing yellow flags on the museum’s Panorama of the City of New York indicating the 109 historic districts throughout the City.

Mayor Robert Wagner enacted the city’s landmarks preservation law a year and a half after the Beaux-Arts Pennsylvania Station, designed by McKim, Mead & White was razed.  The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was formed to protect New York City’s architectural and cultural landmarks.

According to the Queens Museum website:

The designated historic districts of New York City represent some of the oldest and most distinctive areas in the city. Designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, these neighborhoods have been singled out for their unique “sense of place”. Each one is rich with history and architectural character, and together they help tell the story of New York City and its development into the world capital it is today.

Brooklyn Heights was the first historic district designated in November 1965, followed the next year by districts in Greenwich Village, Gramercy Park and the Upper East Side. Today, there are 109 historic districts with 18 historic district extensions numbering more than 30,000 buildings across all five boroughs.

Robert Moses originally had the Panorama, 9,335-square-foot architectural model of every building in the five boroughs, built for the 1964 World’s Fair. By placing the flags on the Panorama to designate historic landmarks, the museum will highlight the work of the Landmarks Preservation Commission over the past fifty years, and, one hopes, will allow the visitor to imagine what the city would look like had the commission not existed.

This exhibition will be on view through June 02, 2013.

Read more about The Queens Panorama of the City of New York, as well as Otis Bullard’s Moving Panorama of New York in my post Struck By Wonder: The Queens Panorama of the City of New York and Otis Bullard’s Moving Panorama of New York

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