Christopher Columbus & Washington Irving

The current historic interpretation and understanding of Christopher Columbus stands as complicated. To put it mildly.

Controversy aside, Christopher Columbus figured prominently in the formation of a uniquely American cultural identity. This seems to be forgotten today amid our debates over identity politics and historical grievances.

Proof: Washington Irving, the writer with whom I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time, penned a multi-volume biography of Columbus. Continue reading

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Small Discoveries of Wonder

While sitting outside a tiny coffee shop in the Upper West Side in Manhattan on a recent afternoon, I looked across the street and noticed the architectural details of a seemingly nondescript building (ground floor business with several stories of apartments). The building’s artistic flourishes surprised and delighted me.

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Tales of Our Cities: Jersey City’s Book Festival

Every September, the Jersey City Free Public Library organizes an annual book festival in downtown Jersey City. The event showcases local authors and promises something for readers of all ages. This past Sunday marked the 10th Annual Tales of Our Cities.

While researching my book, I relied heavily on the treasures in the New Jersey Room of the Jersey City Free Public Library. Therefore, I was thrilled to be invited to Tales of Our Cities to discuss my book, Left Bank of the Hudson: Jersey City and the Artists of 111 1st Street (Fordham University Press). Continue reading