A new book, Notable New Yorkers of Manhattan’s Upper West Side: Bloomingdale and Morningside Heights, has just hit bookstore shelves. Published by Fordham University Press, the book was authored by New York City historian Jim Mackin. Jim has spent the last three years researching and writing on this fascinating and comprehensive volume about notables who at one time or another lived in the Bloomingdale and Morningside Heights neighborhoods.
Now, Mackin is ready to share it with the public. But where are they? Because of COVID-19, most of us are at home avoiding public venues. Jim has been doing Zoom presentations for local history groups and organizations, and they’ve been great successes – which means he’ll be doing many more. But given that Jim has written a book about people, it goes without saying that he’s a people-person.
Is a book signing event possible? If yes, where to do it and how? The answer: the Hungarian Pastry Shop, a local legend on Amsterdam Avenue and 111th Street. It has been a home-away-from-home workspace for writers, poets, scholars, and Jim. To meet the demands of these regulars, Philip Binioris, the owner, has gone outdoors with tables and chairs, socially distanced in the fresh, sometimes cold air (nothing will keep a devotee away from a croissant and a cup of coffee!). Now, the Pastry Shop will be the site of a book launch.
On Saturday, December 12 at noon (rain date December 13 at noon), Jim will be signing books at a table on Amsterdam Avenue, a spacious area because the street is closed to traffic. People can stop by and pick up a book in a minute or two, maybe three if there is a conversation with the author. This new approach reclaims the time-honored book launch tradition.
Jim’s book will take you on self-guided tours around the neighborhood – a great COVID-safe activity. You’ll get to see where Maya Angelou, Humphrey Bogart, Hannah Arendt, Amelia Earhart, Jonas Salk, Norman Rockwell, and many lesser-known but amazing characters lived. This book will introduce you to 591 notables and launch you on a fascinating journey.
A reminder to all: Be sure to follow the latest NYS and NYC COVID guidelines. Let’s keep you and our city safe.