Thanks to everyone who turned out for the book launch last night at Bowery Poetry Club. We had a full house, great readers, lots of friendly faces, and the fine staff of BPC on hand to keep the free drinks flowing.

You can’t make it out so well here, but above the stage at the venue was an amazing portrait of Walt Whitman made of red, blue, and yellow Lite Brites. We found it supremely appropriate.

Here’s a better shot, without the grinning editors in the way:

We were thrilled to have about not quite half our contributors on hand, three of whom read from their chapters. Here’s Betsy Bradley, reading about Irving’s invention of Old Mr. Knickerbocker, who quickly became New York’s shorthand for an authentic past — largely of Irving’s imagination:

And here’s Daniel Kane, reading from his chapter on poetry and punk rock in the East Village in the 1970s. He spent most of his time on a stellar critical archaeology of Richard Hell’s anthem “Blank Generation”:

Somehow we didn’t end up with a photo of Martha Nadell, who read from her chapter “Writing Brooklyn” — filling in for Caleb Crain, who was under the weather and couldn’t be there. In part Martha aimed to help us understand how Brooklyn had become a destination after so many years of being something writers helped their characters escape.

A good time was had by all, as they used to say in the small-town newspapers about neighborhood block parties. If you didn’t manage to make this one, I think we’ll wind up staging a few events at booksellers later this summer. Thanks once again to everyone who’s helped to make the volume a reality!