5th Ave, 1905
So awesome. For once, the Flatiron from the South, Madison Square Park angling in above it. Kind of feel I lost some sort of cred, how long I took to recognize it.
The opening of Thomas Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, forthcoming fall 2013.
I’ve been intensely curious about Pynchon’s next novel since learning its setting—nervously, because it overlaps disconcertingly with my manuscript, and with intense curiosity: how will Pynchon, whose work is so artificed, and who uses the epic so artfully to bolster passages of unabashed sentiment, work closer to his present home?
I love the complexity of point of view in the first paragraph, how the reader’s knowledge is assumed, and how the shift from the narrator’s perspective more directly into Maxine’s happens through the expression of resentment of a unspoken sentiment by an absent speaker.
Zig’s “Doesn’t suck”—yeah, we’re ready for that (though, Zig?)
The blurry reflections from apartment windows—I’m so on board for that patience. That’s from someone who knows, loves their neighborhood, its brick and mortar and texture of light.
The cops dealing with bagel deficiencies—I hear a syntactic echo of Harold Brodkey:
The local macrobiotic restaurant was crowded with people dealing macrobiotically with the virility and exoticism factors
Most of all I’m struck by the quotidian-ness that it is so warned against by the cinematic, put-us-in-the-action, what’s-the-conflict school of How To Write (and of course the page has plenty of conflict, or things impending—the first paragraph’s resentment, and the reader’s knowledge of 2001 bearing down. But after a page, are we even to the end of the block?)
For me, it’s the pear trees. I’m sold because the days of white blossoms are so few, and a boy named Zig probably thinks he’s being pretty nine-year-old cool to grant that the moment doesn’t suck.
Our friendship was extremely convenient to major transportation, I said, and Vicky laughed, and immediately we had that, the line, and that we seemed to appreciate it equally, as a joke, and didn’t care that it was true. Her evening proofreading shift began at my preferred train’s departure time. So we had that, too, she said. Jostled between men in sweaty-backed shirts in a narrow bar on Forty-fourth Street, we’d hurriedly decided on an overly flowery white wine and were bent close over small glasses.
“The best kind of mistake,” she said. “Twenty minutes and it’s done.”
“How will that work, with the proofreading?” I asked.
“It’ll have to work, won’t it?” she said.Read on →
Burns Bros. Coal Wharf, Brooklyn. Beneath Manhattan Bridge, 1912
New York City Department of Records
I keep thinking about that poor dolphin in the Gowanus Canal, and the contaminated overflow into neighboring streets during Hurricane Sandy. Water quality studies
I know that logistical complexity as much as cost and bureaucratic knots have prevented cleanup, but it’s still incredible to me that the contamination is upward of a century and a half old.
If DUMBO once looked like this…
Lower Manhattan 1880-1932
I had some fun lining up the sequence Dan posted earlier…
Manhattan’s skyline, 1890 to 1932.
This amazing series of photos was featured in TIME Magazine’s LIFE Aug 31, 1942 issue, “New York’s Skyline Sits for a Long Portrait.” The photos come from two amateurs of the Pierrepont family: John Jay Pierrepont, “a wealthy New Yorker”, was inspired from his Brooklyn rooftop view and took hundreds of photos from the vantage point until his death in 1923. His great-nephew, Abbot Low Moffat, continued the tradition until the Pierrepont home was bought by the city of New York to turn into a public park.
When Pierrepont took the first photos in 1890, church steeples and ship masts are the tallest structures, with the most recognizable landmark being Trinity Church on lower Broadway. By 1930, the lower Manhattan skyline was dominated by towers after the building boom.
Read the original article at Google Archives.
I love the change in scale between ‘28 and ‘32.
(Baz Luhrmann, take note—Gatsby was summer of ‘22…)
Before The New York Times moved to 42nd Street and Broadway in 1904, the triangular plot was occupied by the Pabst Hotel, whose guests had an unobstructed view north to the spot at 44th Street where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue.