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An eye-opening history of Manhattan told through its most celebrated street. In the early seventeenth century, in a backwater Dutch colony, there was a wide, muddy cow path that the settlers called the Brede Wegh. As the street grew longer, houses and taverns began to spring up alongside it. What was once New Amsterdam became New York, and farmlands gradually gave way to department stores, theaters, hotels, and, finally, the perpetual traffic of the twentieth century’s Great White Way. From Bowling Green all the way up to Marble Hill, Broadway takes us on a mile-by-mile journey up America’s most vibrant and complex thoroughfare, through the history at the heart of Manhattan. Today, Broadway almost feels inevitable, but over the past four hundred years there have been thousands who have tried to draw and erase its path. Following their footsteps, we learn why one side of the street was once considered more fashionable than the other; witness the construction of Trinity Church, the Flatiron Building, and the Ansonia Hotel; the burning of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum; and discover that Columbia University was built on the site of an insane asylum. Along the way we meet Alexander Hamilton, Emma Goldman, Edgar Allan Poe, John James Audubon, "Bill the Butcher" Poole, and the assorted real-estate speculators, impresarios, and politicians who helped turn Broadway into New York’s commercial and cultural spine. Broadway traces the physical and social transformation of an avenue that has been both the "Path of Progress" and a "street of broken dreams," home to both parades and riots, startling wealth and appalling destitution. Glamorous, complex, and sometimes troubling, the evolution of an oft-flooded dead end to a canyon of steel and glass is the story of American progress.
This fascinating cultural history, studded with vivid details bringing the experience of Victorian-era travel alive, explores the beginnings of urban tourism, and sets the phenomenon within a larger cultural transformation that encompassed fundamental changes in urban life and national identity.".
“A well-written and comprehensive tale . . . a lively history of the people and events that forged modern-day New York City.”—The Urban Audubon Experience a seldom-seen New York City with journalists and NYC natives Sharon Seitz and Stuart Miller as they show you the 42 islands in this city’s diverse archipelago. Within the city’s boundaries there are dozens of islands—some famous, like Ellis, some infamous, like Rikers, and others forgotten, like North Brother, where Typhoid Mary spent nearly 30 years in confinement. While the spotlight often falls on the museums, trends, and restaurants of Manhattan, the city’s other islands have vivid and intriguing stories to tell. They offer the day-tripper everything from nature trails to military garrisons. This detailed guide and comprehensive history will give you a sense of how New York City’s politics, population, and landscape have evolved over the last several centuries through the prism of its islands. Full of practical information on how to reach each island, what you’ll see there, and colorful stories, facts, and legends, The Other Islands of New York City is much more than a travel guide.
In this remarkable book, Graham Hodges presents a comprehensive history of African Americans in New York City and its rural environs from the arrival of the first African--a sailor marooned on Manhattan Island in 1613--to the bloody Draft Riots of 1863. Throughout, he explores the intertwined themes of freedom and servitude, city and countryside, and work, religion, and resistance that shaped black life in the region through two and a half centuries. Hodges chronicles the lives of the first free black settlers in the Dutch-ruled city, the gradual slide into enslavement after the British takeover, the fierce era of slavery, and the painfully slow process of emancipation. He pays particular attention to the black religious experience in all its complexity and to the vibrant slave culture that was shaped on the streets and in the taverns. Together, Hodges shows, these two potent forces helped fuel the long and arduous pilgrimage to liberty.

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