Earlier this year, I received an invitation from a librarian at the Philadelphia City Institute to speak about my book, Left Bank of the Hudson (Fordham University Press). I didn’t need to consider my calendar or conflicts: I quickly accepted.
Philadelphia remains a special city for me. I lived there in the early 2000s. The City of Brotherly Love introduced me to the joys and frustrations of urban life. The layered, complex history of Philadelphia captured my imagination. I met the woman who would become my wife there. I owe much to that city.
Personal nostalgia aside, Philadelphia holds an august position in American culture and letters. I was flattered and humbled to contribute–albeit in a small way–to this rich heritage.
Friends in the City sponsored the event. This group organizes cultural and educational outings throughout Philadelphia.
This was a great night with an engaged, smart crowd. Two women recollected visiting 111 1st Street during its prime as an artists community. Audience members easily related the broader topics of my book to current events and trends in the City of Brotherly Love. At one point, I asked if anyone knew who H.P. Lovecraft was. “Of course,” responded a gentleman toward the back.
When I first moved to Philadelphia nearly twenty years ago, I attended author events throughout the city. I met some great and known (and unknown) writers. I shall never forgot those encounters. Maybe an audience member might say the same about me in the years to come.