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The new book Notable New Yorkers of Manhattan’s Upper West Side: Bloomingdale-Morningside Heights (Empire State Editions, 2020) is a compilation of stories of nearly 600 former residents who once called Manhattan’s Upper West Side home.
Over the years, the Upper West Side has gone from farmland and summer homes, to Revolutionary War battleground, to a working-class community with enclaves of the wealthy, to the diverse community it is today. Profiling a rare selection of diverse people who shaped the character of the area, Mackin introduces readers to its fascinating residents: some famous, such as George and Ira Gershwin and Thurgood Marshall, and some forgotten, such as Harriet Brooks, Augustus Meyers, and Elinor Smith. Brief biographies reveal intriguing facts about this group, which include scientists, explorers, historians, journalists, artists, entertainers, aviators, public officials, lawyers, judges, and more.
While the focus is on people, the book includes an eclectic collection of interesting facts and colorful stories about the neighborhood, including the 9th Avenue El, Little Coney Island, and, notoriously, one of the most dangerous streets in the city, as well as songs and movies that were written and shot in the neighborhood.
Author Jim Mackin is a member of the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group, a local historian and the force behind Weekday Walks. The programs he has done for the BNHG in the past have been enormously popular and his guided tours of the west side are a must for anyone who lives in the neighborhood or has any interest in the history of the city.
Mackin is set to give a talk about the book, some of the people he’s written about and some of the curiosities about the neighborhood that he uncovered during the course of his research on Monday, November 30th. This event will be held via Zoom, at 5:30 pm. For more information or to register, click here.
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