For the full Lost New York program, click here. Friday afternoon‘s session and reception will be held in the Fales Library and Special Collections (70 Washington Sq. South, 3rd floor). Saturday’s sessions will all be held at 13-19 University Place, room 102 (first floor auditorium). All sessions are free and open to the public.
We’re pleased to have, as our final keynote session at the conference, two writers whose work we much admire, and who offer, we think, complementary approaches to the conference theme.
Marshall Berman, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at City College of New York and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, has an extraordinary track record commentating on — helping us to read, really — New York’s changing landscape, particularly in the twentieth century and beyond. His classic exploration of modernity, All That Is Solid Melts into Air, with its final chapters on New York in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, has provided many, including the documentarian Ric Burns, with a template for narrating the city’s post-war history, especially the conflict in the 1960s between Robert Moses and downtown residents and preservationists led by the Village activist Jane Jacobs. (Berman’s appearances as a talking head in the late episodes of Burns’s New York are among that series’ highlights.) Widely regarded as an urbanist and political theorist, Berman is at once a careful critic of New York’s ever-changing landscape and a relentless optimist about the possibilities for creative living this and other cities afford their inhabitants. His recent work includes Adventures in Marxism, On the Town: One Hundred Years of Spectacle in Times Square, and, as co-editor with Brian Berger, New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomburg. Click here for an interview with Berman in the aftermath of 9/11, in which he considers the city’s changes in the late 20th century and the impact of the World Trade Center’s rise and fall.
David Freeland is a freelance journalist and historian of popular entertainment, whose writing includes Ladies of Soul (two chapters of which center on New York performers Maxine Brown and Timi Yuro) and the recently published Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure. In that book Freeland leads readers through a series of locations in which forgotten forms of popular nightlife entertainment are still visible to careful observers, from the 1893 Chinese Theater, to Tin Pan Alley, to Horn and Hardart’s orignal Times Square automat. Freeland models for readers a practice of careful observation of our many-layered urban environments; as he peels those layers back he makes it possible for us to regain cultural memory of a lost city and its anonymous inhabitants. Freeland maintains a blog related to the themes of his recent work — which coincides neatly with our conference topic — at gothamlostandfound.com. His writing appears regularly in NY Press and elsewhere.
On Saturday afternoon each speaker will offer us an inroad into his recent writing before engaging in dialogue with one another and the audience.