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.
A Block in Time: A New York City History at the Corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street by author Christiane Bird is available for purchase on Amazon.
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