New York City native James Renner is a licensed tour guide and appointed historian of Community District 12. Renner is a member of numerous local organizations, including the Washington Heights-Inwood Historical Society, the Harlem Heights Historical Society, the Washington Heights Neighborhood Association, and the Washington Heights Business Improvement District Management Association.
Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hillby James Renner
The history of Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill is interesting not only because the communities played a major role in the American Revolution but because of their cultural and educational institutions and residents whose culture and ethnicity have contributed to the well-being of the area. These communities have always been a haven for immigrants who have… See more details below
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The history of Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill is interesting not only because the communities played a major role in the American Revolution but because of their cultural and educational institutions and residents whose culture and ethnicity have contributed to the well-being of the area. These communities have always been a haven for immigrants who have come here to live and work since the pre-Columbian era. Native Americans came to trade goods, Jewish refugees came during the 1930s to flee the tyranny of the Nazis, and since the end of World War II there has been an influx of the Latino community. The area is also noted for its dolomitic Inwood marble, which has been quarried for government buildings in New York City and some of the federal buildings in Washington, D.C. Through vintage images, Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill illustrates the transformation of this area over the decades.
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As a 'history buff' I was initially pleased when I received this book as a gift. But as I went through the book I was incredibly surprised at the poor quality of the this book. It is supposed to cover 3 neighborhoods in upper Manhattan and the book does have 3 sections. But the 2nd one is entirely devoted to the George Washington bridge! Last time I checked it is not a neighborhood. Inwood and Marble Hill are lumped together in 1 chapter. The quality of the photos selected for this book is terrible and oddly enough some of the worst ones are those of plaques and other stationary items, that still stand. They are out of focus and/or blurry. I have located better pictures while doing my own research, and I haven't been appointed local historian! The sequence of photos do not seem to flow any order and seem to jump here and there and back again. And the repition of almost identical photos is mind-numbing! The captions and brief descriptions that accompany some of the photos is almost child-like in its writing style. He states the obvious such as pointing boats in one photo, which are clearly visible but does not identify other items that should be. In another instance he points out newly constructed apartment building then goes on to state that they will be rented to nieghborhood residents to live in. The book seems like something put together by a novice, like one of those home-grown recipe books sold to raise funds. Very dissappointing, especially that the publisher would allow something like this to go to print.