The New York Landmarks Conservancy
In partnership with The General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen of the City of New York
cordially invites you to:
A Block in Time: A New York City History at the Corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street
With author Christiane Bird
This will be an in-person and online lecture on December 6, 6:00 pm
A book signing will follow this lecture
Author Christiane Bird will recount the city’s history by way of a microcosmic block, in a lecture based on her well-received new book, A Block in Time: A New York City History at the Corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street.
This is the story of New York City, told through the prism of one block. It’s a story of forest and cement, bird cries and taxi horns, theaters and factories, gambling dens, and gourmet foods. It’s also the story of high life and low life, immigrants and tourists, farmers and aristocrats, crooked cops and moral reformers, toy stores, and social climbers–from Solomon Pieters, a former slave who was the first owner of the block, to Alexander “Clubber” Williams, the notorious police officer of the 1870s who accepted bribes and wielded his club with equal impunity, to Marietta Stevens, whose Sunday-night socials and scheming became the stuff of legend. Greed and generosity, guilt and innocence, extravagance and degradation–all have flourished on this one Manhattan block, emblematic of the city as a whole.
Venturing from the opulent halls of the Fifth Avenue Hotel to grimy Sixth Avenue brothels, from the era of the Lenape to that of the Dutch, from the Gilded Age to the twentieth century, when the block and the city were transformed into something closely resembling the Manhattan we know today, A Block in Time takes us on a dynamic, exhilarating tour of history. Welcome to New York, past and present, and hear all the lively, colorful, and edifying stories this small patch of land has to tell.
Christiane Bird is the author of The Sultan’s Shadow; A Thousand Sighs, a Thousand Revolts; and Neither East Nor West, among other titles. She has worked on staff for the New York Daily News and has written for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Miami Herald, among other publications.
“Enriched by Bird’s brisk character sketches and copious research, this is an entertaining and eye-opening snapshot of New York history.” Publishers Weekly
The book can be purchased in person at the lecture or online through the following link
General Admission: $10
Advance registration is required.