Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A start

Today I read the two books that seem to me to provide the most immediate prompt for my notional new novel (I'm in somewhat low spirits, and thus cannot really imagine undertaking a huge new project right now, but also know that an interesting new book is the most likely thing to infuse me with vim and vigor if I can only get it rolling): The Bacchae and Andrew Dolkart's Morningside Heights: A History of its Architecture and Development.

A nice tidbit from the latter:
Thus, by 1900 residential development on Morningside Heights remained slow and erratic. The New York Tribune reported in 1900 that "The development of this beautiful hilltop has been retarded by its somewhat inconvenient accessibility." The major access problem was the "series of long and circuitous flights of steps" leading to and from the 115th Street station of the elevated on Eighth Avenue. In order to alleviate this problem, several large property owners in the area commissioned designs for an elevator that would transport people up and down the cliff of Morningside Park. As designed by civil engineers Percival Robert Moses and Samuel Osgood Miller, the elevator was to be a steel structure with two electric-powered cars. A walkway would extend out from Morningside Drive to the elevators and a cupola was to cap the open steel shaft.
Last night's light reading: Michael Lewis's The Blind Side (pretty interesting, even given near-complete lack of knowledge of football).


  1. Alternate-history Morningside Heights novel project!

  2. The Green Apple (?) grocery on Amsterdam up around 119th (?) has an assortment of old photos of the M.H. area posted near checkout...I was hypnotized by them the last time I went (a few months ago, which was the *first* time I'd been in there in 10+ years!)...