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January 19, 2006
Sweet Moses King
This might seem silly, but lately it has felt like my variety of new old places to explore is dwindling. I have found myself looking too hard and winding up bored and disappointed. Call it a minor winter funk or whatever, but I've been yearning for new discoveries like no one's business...and that is why this new find made me grin.
I came across a copy of Moses King's King's Views of New York, 1896-1915 & Brooklyn, 1905 at the Strand this weekend and was both enthralled and perplexed. The book was amazing-- hundreds of photographs and drawings of New York-- yet I had never heard of Moses King before. After a little research, I found that he wrote a bevy of guidebooks and photo collections of cities across America, mostly during the turn of the century/early-20th century.
Yesterday, I managed to find a copy of King's Handbook of New York at work. People, it is about 900 pages of New York goodness circa 1892-- a guide that takes you through what seems like every single neighborhood in the city, describing buildings and houses in detail along the way. It's kind of like an earlier version of the WPA Guide, yet another tome that I cannot live without. My favorite section thus far is "The Sanity Organizations: Board of Health and Health Statistics--Hospitals and Dispensaries--The Morgue--Curative Institutions--Insane, Inebriate and other Asylums."
I cannot wait for my copy (a reproduction for 5 bucks-- not bad) to come in the mail. There will be a lot of walking this spring.
Posted by callalillie at January 19, 2006 2:08 AM | City Life , History
Do you guys do group walking tours?
We need to introduce you to our friend who is a NYC tour guide and knows his stuff. Perhaps when we finally have a dinner together (post spring semester)??
Posted by: Tiya at January 19, 2006 9:43 AM
Have you ever been to Snug Harbor on Staten Island? That might satisfy your jones for a bit. ALot of it has been resotored, so it's not all decrepit and decaying like you like, but still pretty cool.
Posted by: Dave at January 19, 2006 9:56 AM
I am have encouraging a Staten Island trip to Corie for some time. There is also that shipyard graveyard that looks splendid. We really need a car.
Posted by: Alexis at January 19, 2006 10:16 AM
ship graveyard? rust? corrosion? decay? what are we waiting for? I've got the car, we just need decent weather. i'll galdly chauffeur.
Posted by: bobtrancho at January 19, 2006 11:06 AM
There is also a former insane asylum on Staten Island that was formerly in the location of where some of the CUNY buildings are now. They have (apparently) tried to hide this because the facility was outed for serious abuse of their patients and horrendous conditions that led to its shutting down and also to many of the laws that now exist for mentally ill people today.
Posted by: yp at January 19, 2006 11:08 AM
I've always wanted to visit the Seaview Hospital Women's Pavillion on SI to see the frescos. It is also home to one of the most haunting pieces of graf (the words, not the visuals)I've ever seen a photo of: I taste like the dreams of mad children.
Posted by: corie at January 19, 2006 11:33 AM
I just finished a book you might like- it's an oral history of Manhattan from 1890 to just after WWII (1950 or so). Called "You Must Remember This" by Jeff Kisseloff, published in 1989 by Harcourt. New York City fascinates me-as well as older buildings and architechture- and this book was awesome. It's tons of quotes about daily life from the people who lived it, broken down by neighborhood.
How do you get a copy of King's Handbook? I'd love to see all those photos.
Posted by: Amanda at January 19, 2006 3:02 PM
Ah yes, I have read "You Must Remember This." It's in our NYC bookcase. In regard to finding the books, most of the major libraries-- NYPL, BPL and various university libraries should have it. They might be in the rare book section, though. I found a copy online through abebooks.com.
Posted by: corie at January 19, 2006 3:06 PM
Posted by: bobtrancho at January 19, 2006 3:23 PM
Dear Corie--where can I get a copy of King's Views of NY--for around that price! I've only seen the ones for $35
Posted by: Jane at January 20, 2006 1:36 AM
Jane-- my bad. There's a copy for $20 on abebooks.com. The book that I bought for $5 was the United States handbook (I couldn't resist). The Views of New York and the Handbook of New York are two different things. Both are really cool, though-- the handbook is much longer and has smaller pictures.
Posted by: corie at January 20, 2006 9:11 AM
>>>There is also a former insane asylum on Staten Island that was formerly in the location of where some of the CUNY buildings are now. They have (apparently) tried to hide this because the facility was outed for serious abuse of their patients and horrendous conditions that led to its shutting down and also to many of the laws that now exist for mentally ill people today.
The famed Willowbrook, where Geraldo Rivera made his reputation making the conditions there known via a series of reports on WABC TV in 1971-72.
Posted by: Kevin Walsh at January 20, 2006 1:42 PM