A Block in Time: A New York City History at the Corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street

A Block in Time: A New York City History at the Corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street

by Christiane Bird
A Block in Time: A New York City History at the Corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street

A Block in Time: A New York City History at the Corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street

by Christiane Bird

Hardcover

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Overview

Gotham meets The Island at the Center of the World in this dazzling history of a single block in Manhattan from the Age of Exploration to the present.

This is the story of New York City, told through the prism of one block, bordered by Twenty-third Street to the south, Twenty-fourth Street to the north, Fifth Avenue and Broadway to the east, and Sixth Avenue to the west. It's a story of forest and cement, bird cries and taxi horns, theaters and factories, gambling dens and gourmet foods. It's also the story of high life and low life, immigrants and tourists, farmers and aristocrats, crooked cops and moral reformers, toy stores and social climbers—from Solomon Pieters, a former slave who was the first owner of the block, to Alexander “Clubber” Williams, the notorious police officer of the 1870s who accepted bribes and wielded his club with equal impunity, to Marietta Stevens, whose Sunday-night socials and scheming became the stuff of legend. Greed and generosity, guilt and innocence, extravagance and degradation—all have flourished on this one Manhattan block, emblematic of the city as a whole.

Venturing from the opulent halls of the Fifth Avenue Hotel to grimy Sixth Avenue brothels, from the era of the Lenape to that of the Dutch, from the Gilded Age to the twentieth century, when the block and the city were transformed into something closely resembling the Manhattan we know today, A Block in Time takes us on a dynamic, exhilarating tour of history. Welcome to New York, past and present, and hear all the sordid and edifying stories this small patch of land has to tell.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632867421
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 03/01/2022
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 263,425
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Christiane Bird is the author of The Sultan's Shadow; A Thousand Sighs, a Thousand Revolts; and Neither East Nor West, among other titles. She has worked on staff for the New York Daily News and has written for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Miami Herald, among other publications. She holds a BA in literature from Yale University and an MALS in American Studies from Columbia University. She lives in New York City with her family.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 In the Land of the Real People 1

2 Half Freedom 13

3 The John Home Farm 26

4 The Making of Block 825 36

5 From Pigs to Ostriches 50

6 Eno's Folly 63

7 War 78

8 Cracks in the Vault 93

9 Hotel Living 107

10 Death Onstage and Off 123

11 Ladies of the Night 137

12 At the End of the Nightstick 153

13 Is She a Lady or Is She Not? 169

14 Betrayal 184

15 Roundsmen of the Lord 202

16 American Beauty 219

17 Modern Times 238

18 On the West Side 254

19 Toys, Toys, Toys! 267

20 Dark Days 278

21 Time Awaits 291

Acknowledgments 307

Image Plate Credits 309

Notes 311

Bibliography 331

Index 345

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