On May 19, 2019, I presented my talk, “Washington Irving: A Knickerbocker in New Jersey,” on behalf of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy at my favorite neighborhood cafe, Froth on Franklin.
For several years, I have served as a board member of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, a local organization advocating for and promoting the architecture, culture, and history of Jersey City. Additionally, the group organizes and sponsors public events, lectures, and tours throughout the year.
Froth on Franklin is a welcoming cafe, where one always bumps into a neighbor or friend. Throughout the event, the owners of Froth on Franklin played the consummate hosts: every guest was strongly caffeinated and well fed.
Cafes and coffeehouses historically have served as sites for intellectual debate and discussion. Thus, Froth on Franklin was the perfect spot to chat about American’s first internationally renowned writer, Washington Irving, and his deep connections with Jersey City and the Garden State.
A bright and beautiful May evening prevented me from splashing my slideshow on the cafe’s wall. Thankfully, a guest suggested that we gather around my laptop on a long table.
Unintentionally, we scheduled the event on the night as the Game of Thrones finale. Nonetheless, we shared a wonderful conversation. One couple even traveled from Warren County, New Jersey to learn about Washington Irving. Quite a compliment.
Everyone in the audience wanted to share their own reflections on Washington Irving, historic sites, and local history. Several people even suggested favorite Irving pieces for everyone’s summer reading lists.
A perfect end to the weekend.