Chronicles of Old New York: Walking Through Manhattan's Landmark Neighborhoods

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Overview

Whether you're a native New Yorker or a first-time visitor, explore New York as never before. Discover the dramatic true stories behind Gangs of New York and Age of Innocence and then see if for yourself with walking tours of Manhattan's historic neighborhoods.

Chronicles of Old New York features:

25 ...

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Overview

Whether you're a native New Yorker or a first-time visitor, explore New York as never before. Discover the dramatic true stories behind Gangs of New York and Age of Innocence and then see if for yourself with walking tours of Manhattan's historic neighborhoods.

Chronicles of Old New York features:

25 dramatic episodes from New York history

Walking tours of 9 historic Manhattan neighborhoods

58 detailed maps

118 period drawings, maps and photographs from the city's archives

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Can a 260-page book do justice to Harlem, Turtle Bay, SoHo, Greenwich Village, and other landmark Manhattan ‘hoods, both extant and long-gone? No. And yes. Roman, a real-estate broker and third-generation New Yorker, covers ground familiar to most locals, and maybe others: SoHo has the most cast-iron buildings in the world; Chinatown was populated by men because women weren’t allowed to emigrate; the Dakota was the city’s first high-end apartment building. Fortunately, the author peppers his effort with less familiar factoids as well: NYU’s first building was built by Sing Sing prisoners; Congress exempted John D. Rockefeller, Jr. from gift taxes to facilitate the donation of land that the UN was built on. Though accounts can be cursory (the Lower East Side gets four pages), and the author sometimes announces the obvious ( “America was thrilled when World War II ended”), the book includes walking tours and a guide to townhouse architecture, and packs a good bit of history into one handy source. It’s not for the specialist, but New Yorkers will learn a few new things, and history-minded tourists will find it a useful addition to their other guidebooks. (June)
From the Publisher

Can a 260-page book do justice to Harlem, Turtle Bay, SoHo, Greenwich Village, and other landmark Manhattan 'hoods, both extant and long-gone? No. And yes. Roman, a real-estate broker and third-generation New Yorker, covers ground familiar to most locals, and maybe others: SoHo has the most cast-iron buildings in the world; Chinatown was populated by men because women weren't allowed to emigrate; the Dakota was the city’s first high-end apartment building. Fortunately, the author peppers his effort with less familiar factoids as well: NYU’s first building was built by Sing Sing prisoners; Congress exempted John D. Rockefeller, Jr. from gift taxes to facilitate the donation of land that the UN was built on. Though accounts can be cursory (the Lower East Side gets four pages), and the author sometimes announces the obvious ("America was thrilled when World War II ended"), the book includes walking tours and a guide to townhouse architecture, and packs a good bit of history into one handy source. It’s not for the specialist, but New Yorkers will learn a few new things, and history-minded tourists will find it a useful addition to their other guidebooks.
--Publishers Weekly

 

Even if you're not traveling to New York any time soon, you'll love Chronicles of New York: Exploring Manhattan’s Landmark Neighborhoods, a new guide from Museyon. Extensively researched by author James Roman the guide is full of historical photos. I loved looking at the Easter Day strollers on Fifth Avenue or reading about the days when Park Avenue was lined with breweries, factories and small farms.

— Jan Butsch Schroder, May 21, 2010

—-Travelgirl magazine

 

It is said that New York Citys lifeblood runs green, the color of money. But for those of us who carry on lifelong love affairs with this hyperactive island, the story is much more nuanced and colorful. When you read these chronicles you too will find in them a universal pride in human accomplishment often in the face of adversity. Look for the genius, creativity, derring-do in every area of human endeavor, from economics to architecture, that have made and continue to imagine, one of the most fascinating human settlements on earth. And put this book on your favorite shelf, to be grabbed and read each time you decide to discover or rediscover one of our many and unique neighborhoods which, together, create the great metropolis.

—-Susan S. Szenasy,—-Metropolis Magazine
 

Not quite a history book and not quite a travel guide, this is rather an intriguing mix of both. Roman, a native New Yorker with a background in real estate and as a contributor to New York Living magazine, brings to this guide an intimate knowledge and love of New Yorks neighborhoods and the quirks of history that have helped shape the city. The historical segments are smart and easy to read, full of details that bring the city to life. The sections are arranged by both neighborhood and topic, from Harlem to George Washington, Prohibition, and the history of Fifth Avenue. The walking tours at the end of the book have good maps, photographs, and lists of relevant subway stops. An extensive bibliography helps to make up for the lack of footnotes or direct references to sources within the text. Verdict: A fun, intelligent walk through New York’s past for history and architecture buffs, best used with another guidebook for hotel and eatery information.

— Sara A. Miller, July 22, 2010—-Library Journal
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982232064
  • Publisher: Museyon Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/6/2010
  • Series: Chronicles Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 347,047
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

A third-generation New Yorker, James Roman has regaled listeners with his chronicles of old New York as a real estate broker and sales manager for 15 years in Manhattan, and as a lecturer at the Real Estate Board of New York and New York University. He served as Editorial Contributor to New York Living magazine for six years, and contributes regularly to publications that document emerging technology. Readers can find him on re-runs of the HBO television series Six Feet Under, a break he attributes more to luck than to acumen.
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Table of Contents

Chapter l George Washington Slept Here: When New York Was the Capital of America 13

Chapter 2 Drunk on Water: Aaron Burr's Profitable Gamble 19

Chapter 3 Early Bohemia: The Roots of Greenwich Village 25

Chapter 4 Fifth Avenue's First Breath: A Potter's Field Becomes Washington Square Park 31

Chapter 5 From Dynasty to Tragedy: The Story of the Astor Family 39

Chapter 6 A Bear on Broadway, and a Riot at The Opera: A Brief History of Astor Place 47

Chapter 7 Slumming: The Story of Five Points 53

Chapter 8 Manhattan's Incandescence: Thomas Edison Electrifies New York 63

Chapter 9 From Deutal Cove to Coveted Address: The Evolution of Turtle Bay 69

Chapter 10 The Gold Coast: Fifth Avenue Moves Uptown 75

Chapter 11 Park Avenue: The Frog Prince 83

Chapter 12 Mr. Vanderbilt Builds His Dream House: A Mansion on Millionaire's Row 89

Chapter 13 Down the Middle: Central Park, and How It Got That Way 95

Chapter 14 It Happened in Gramercy Park the Cooperative Gets a Lift 101

Chapter 15 Assassination of an Architect: The Story of Stanford White 107

Chapter 16 Art in the Alley: The Ashcan School and the Carriage Houses of Greenwich Village 113

Chapter 17 Apartment Life: The Dakota and the Golden Age 119

Chapter 18 Lower East Side: An Immigrant Tale 129

Chapter 19 Prohibition and all that Jazz: The Speakeasy Days of New York 133

Chapter 20 A Harlem History: Philip Payton Builds a Neighborhood 139

Chapter 21 The Master Builder: The Controversial Character of Robert Moses 145

Chapter 22 Manhattan Hears the Beat: How New York Got Hip 153

Chapter 23 Soho Story: A Neighborhood Grows 159

Chapter 24 Chelsea: The Western Frontier 169

Chapter 25 Fathers and Sons: Real Estate Dynasties of New York 173

Walking Tours

Financial District 180

Chinatown/Soho 190

Greenwich Village 198

Astor Place 206

Gramercy Park 214

Turtle Bay Walking Tour 220

Midtown Walking Tour 226

Upper West Side Walking Tour 232

Harlem Walking Tour 236

Appendix

Townhouse Style 242

Bibliography 248

Index 250

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2010

    sweet spot of edutainment,

    Chronicles of Old New York hits the sweet spot of edutainment.

    New York City's history is visible if you know where to look, and author James Roman knows just where that is, and entertains us with well researched, bite size nuggets that constantly relate back to existing neighborhoods and buildings.

    Some of my favorites:
    -11th St was shaped by a landowner who protected his turf with a chained up bear.

    -When NYC homes were first electrified, a burned out bulb required a call to the Edison Co (forerunner of today's ConEd), which would then dispatch a technician to the home for the task of putting in a new bulb.

    -For some years in the 1800's, upper classes resided in townhouses that lacked indoor plumbing and so chamber pots and outhouses were a fact of life, while at the same time many of those in the servant class lived in apartments with indoor plumbing.

    -A group of mothers in the 1950's turned public opinion against NYC Commissioner Robert Moses's overeaching projects that would have destroyed Soho and Washington Square (if only he had been stopped before demolishing Penn Station!)

    - Central Park is built on in part on the area formerly known at "Seneca Village," a community of modest farms developed by blacks, where runaway slaves had found safe haven. The graveyard of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is located in what is now Central Park.

    Author James Roman has included walking tours - a big big plus! Each tour is clearly labeled with how far and how long each walk is, the relevant subway and bus lines, and includes easy to read thumbnail descriptions of highlights of the tour. For those like me who are easily geographically confused, there are plenty of recent and vintage photos of the sights of each tour.

    Other pluses - The book itself is small enough to carry comfortably, and sports a cover that does not shout "tourist." i

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 21, 2012

    Historically Great

    This book is a great read.Good for any teacher who is teaching History. There is so much to be learned from this book. Barnes and Noble has it under travel, but it should be under histoey because it tells you all about historical New York.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    Another book coming?

    I read a review about this book in the Chicago Trib - and since I was heading off to the Big Apple decided to give it a read. When it arrived, what I expected was the standard 'tourist guide' with all the hot spots. Though it certainly has that, it's much more of an entertaining history lesson that gives amazing and colorful context to perhaps the most famous city in the world. When I got off the plane and saw the skyline for the first time, I could hear those stories whisper through the streets, which made my trip. A must if you're off to the NYC - even if you're a seasoned local.

    I also heard there was a second book coming, either on Los Angeles or Las Vegas? Let me know and I'll place my order.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2010

    A Contemporary Time-Traveler's Guide to Manhattan

    This is a fun and readable 4-dimensional guide to today's New York (the fourth dimension being time). It's not just about where you are in the city, but who was there before you, and why the neighborhood looks and sounds and feels like it does - maybe even why it smells like it does. This is deep New York, and the added dimensions the author provides make a walk along even Manhattan's most familiar sidewalks a new and (I'm going out on a limb here) transcendental experience. If you love (and who doesn't) Jack Finney's "Time and Again" and ever wondered (and who hasn't) what it would be like to be its protagonist, well, you will never be closer to that experience than when taking James Roman's walking tours from "Chronicles of Old New York." The lively biographies of past New York denizens and luminaries provide plenty of characters with whom to interact in your guided time travels. If you live in New York, this book will enrich your life every day. If you're visiting Manhattan, it will leave you with memories and knowledge that will delight you long after your "I Heart NY" souvenir t-shirts have gone up to the attic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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