A few weeks back, my dad emailed me a link to John Strausbaugh’s Times article on the history of jazz and other popular entertainment at Lincoln Square, a “cradle for serious grooving” roughly in the area where Lincoln Center now stands.
The email also served as a reminder that I’d promised here, last fall, to keep tabs on Strausbaugh’s series of neighborhood notes and walking tours. So I should mention that, since I last mentioned these installments, Strausbaugh has also published entries on the Upper East Side and what he calls “P.T. Barnum’s New York,” meaning lower Manhattan in the 19th century.
I’ve also noticed that the Times is maintaining an interactive map with convenient links to each piece in the series, allowing you to get more details on specific sites Strausbaugh mentions along the way. As always, each installment is accompanied by a downloadable walking tour, though I have yet to give one of these a go. I’d love to hear from someone who’s tried out one or more of them.
Also in the realm of virtual NY, I’ve been meaning to say something about the Virtual LES articles that popped up in the paper a while back. You can visit the virtual LES at vles.com. I have more I want to say about that — including some gossip about the site’s treatment of rock and roll venues — but that will have to wait for another time.
On the general subject of the LES — cleaned up, virtual, or otherwise — I’ve been keen on getting Richard Price’s new novel, Lush Life, set in the neighborhood in the 90s. Friends have recommended that I listen to his interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. I haven’t yet, but you can beat me to it by clicking here.
(Price, incidentally, will be speaking at the Tenement Museum on Tuesday, April 15, at 6:30 pm.)
One reason they’ve been on me about Price is that I’ve been obsessing, over on The Great Whatsit, about nostalgic and antinostalgic strains in New York writing. I haven’t had the time or space to work out everything I’m thinking on the topic, but for initial noodling around — with fugitive comments on Edith Wharton, Michael Chabon, Adam Gopnik, Theodore Dreiser and others — you can begin here.
[update, later that night: if Lush Life is half as entertaining as Sam Anderson’s review of it in New York magazine, I think I’ll dig it. Sam, by the way, among other things is an advanced PhD student in our department; he just won the NBCC’s Balakian Award for his reviewing. Go, Sam!]