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Book Talk: Notable New Yorkers
November 30, 2020, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Author Jim Mackin talks about his new book, some of the people he’s written about and some of the curiosities about the neighborhood that he uncovered during the course of his research.
About the book: What do Humphrey Bogart and Patty Hill (co-author of “Happy Birthday,” the most popular song of all time) have in common? Both of them once lived in the neighborhood of Morningside Heights and Bloomingdale, a strip of land that runs from the 90s to 125th Street, between the Hudson River and Central Park. Spanning hundreds of years, Notable New Yorkers of Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a compilation of stories of nearly 600 former residents who once called Manhattan’s Upper West Side home.
Over the years, the Upper West Side has gone from farmland and summer homes, to Revolutionary War battleground, to a working-class community with enclaves of the wealthy, to the diverse community it is today. Profiling a rare selection of wildly diverse people who shaped the character of the area, Mackin introduces readers to its fascinating residents: some famous, such as George and Ira Gershwin and Thurgood Marshall, and some forgotten, such as Harriet Brooks, Augustus Meyers, and Elinor Smith. Brief biographies reveal intriguing facts about this group, which include scientists, explorers, historians, journalists, artists, entertainers, aviators, public officials, lawyers, judges, and more.
While the focus is on people, the book includes an eclectic collection of interesting facts and colorful stories about the neighborhood, including the 9th Avenue El, Little Coney Island, and, notoriously, one of the most dangerous streets in the city, as well as songs and movies that were written and shot in the neighborhood.
Michael Miscione, Manhattan Borough Historian from 2006-2019, read the book and had this to say: Mackin’s book “is an exhaustive and ofttimes surprising Who’s Who of Upper West Siders who have shaped the worlds of art, culture, politics, and science. After reading his book I thought, ‘Harlem and Greenwich Village boosters take note! The Upper West Side deserves a seat at the table.’”
To order the book, visit https://www.fordhampress.com/9780823289295/notable-new-yorkers-of-manhattans-upper-west-side Enter promo code UWS20 for a 20 percent discount.