With our spring courses starting up — the Writing New York lecture Cyrus and I have team-taught since 2003 and my honors seminar The Port of New York, which I’ve taught periodically since 2006 — perhaps it makes sense for us to call our students’ attention to our favorite blogs that intersect with the study of New York literature and cultural history.
The blogroll to the right includes all of these resources but also aspires to some degree of comprehensiveness, so forgive me for being a little more particular here. Also, I’m less interested for the purposes of this post in professionally produced resources than in blogs, which we see as producing an extraordinary amount of vital, open-ended writing that aims to interpret and preserve the city and its literary and cultural traditions. For a set of more traditional library-based resources, see Bobst’s suggestions for approaching research on New York. CUNY’s Gotham Center also has a terrific website also worth exploring. And, of course, our own Cambridge Companion to the Literature of New York contains essays and reading suggestions that will guide those who have specific literary historical questions or concerns.
What follows is a set of blogs/Twitter feeds we find essential for students of New York history on the ground — material produced by ordinary New Yorkers who are attuned to noticing traces of the past still visible, or perhaps recently vanished. Some are written by academics or professional journalists, but many aren’t. We’d love to think this site aspires to be like some of these when it grows up. We’ve left historical societies and museums off this list, though we encourage you to look those up. You’ll find a longer list of our top 25 NYC Twitter feeds here. And I have a set of links on my personal website that more or less duplicates our blogroll but also includes resources for studying American culture more generally. Have fun exploring our blogroll too, which includes dozens of neighborhood- and news-oriented blogs. Please let us know if you’re aware of sites we’ve overlooked that obviously belong here. The only thing I won’t add are cupcake blogs. Sorry, SatC fans. Just the way it is.
The Bowery Boys — This is, simply, the best NYC history blog out there. They take their name from a nineteenth-century street gang and, later, the stars of film shorts, also known as the Dead End Kids, who typified for many Americans the insouciant attitude to be found on New York’s streets. Daily posts take up a range of topics, often but not always related to current events. Weekly podcasts go into greater depth, take you on the scene. Their archive is a treasure trove of NYC neighborhood/historical resources. Twitter: @boweryboys
Walking Off the Big Apple, a blog written by Villager Teri Tynes, updates the Baudelairean tradition of the fl