Mapping New York Literary History Project

Mapping New York Literary History Project

Welcome to Mapping New York’s Literary History, a digital literary history project produced by Lehman College English majors in concert with English professor Bret Maney. To begin exploring our interactive project, open this post.

Sadness and the City: A Look at Allen Ginsberg’s “My Sad Self”

Sadness and the City: A Look at Allen Ginsberg’s “My Sad Self”

By S. R. | I stood at a window, maybe ten stories high in a vacant office building, resting my fingers against the glass, pressing lightly, as if to test the strength of the barrier separating me from them. Them—the faces I could almost make out. The looks of sadness and joy I could almost […]

Ota Benga: The Pygmy in the Bronx Zoo

Ota Benga: The Pygmy in the Bronx Zoo

By Faydelin Stoddart-Smith | In the early twentieth century, a human was exhibited in the same cage as monkeys in the Bronx Zoo. The Monkey House, also known as the Primate House, was a popular location at the zoo. It once housed grey-handed night-monkeys and apes, including a famous orangutan named Dohong. However, due to […]

The Bethlehem of Hip-Hop

The Bethlehem of Hip-Hop

By D. P. | By popular consensus, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, in the Morris Heights neighborhood of the Bronx, is regarded as the birthplace of hip-hop culture. The visitor to this address will find that 1520 Sedgwick Avenue sits in the middle of a mess of roads and waterways: Robert Moses’ Cross Bronx and the Major […]

Waltzing out of The Lowell: Dorothy Parker’s Sojourn in an East Side Hotel

Waltzing out of The Lowell: Dorothy Parker’s Sojourn in an East Side Hotel

By Jalissa Cintron | Quickly splashing up the subway station stairs, I run in between drops of rain up Lexington Avenue. I soon find myself at The Lowell Hotel on 28 East 63rd Street, at Madison Avenue in New York City. Looking up, beyond the seventh floor, I cannot see. The sky is heavy and […]

Hunter/Lehman College’s Band of Sisters

Hunter/Lehman College’s Band of Sisters

By D. C. | What we know as Lehman College today was originally the Bronx campus of Hunter College. Female students would take classes at the Bronx campus for two years and then complete the rest of their education at Hunter College in Manhattan. During the decade before the beginning of World War II, only […]

The Black Yankee: Jay-Z on Fame, Social Hierarchies, and the Yankee Hat

The Black Yankee: Jay-Z on Fame, Social Hierarchies, and the Yankee Hat

By L. S. | Yankee Stadium is the diamond-shaped, seven-story home field of the New York Yankees, located at One East 161 Street, in the Bronx. Seating approximately 50,000 people, the Stadium—and the New York Yankees—are staples of the Bronx community, so much so that the team is affectionately known as “The Bronx Bombers.” The […]

“The Red Record” on 20th Avenue and Bay Ridge

“The Red Record” on 20th Avenue and Bay Ridge

By J. S. | You’ve heard the stories.  You may have even lived through them.  We’ve certainly glamorized those times in spite of how dangerous they were.  New York City during the 1980s was no walk in the park.  It was downright scary.  The birth of the AIDS epidemic left a portion of its population […]

Entwined Legacies: Piri Thomas and Spanish Harlem

Entwined Legacies: Piri Thomas and Spanish Harlem

By D. R. | Spanish Harlem has been home to countless authors, artists, musicians and actors.  It encompasses 96th Street up to about 140th street from Pleasant Avenue to Fifth Avenue.  It is the prototypical urban environment with high crime and constant police sirens. However, there is a charm about it and if you grow up here […]

“Reflecting Absence”: The World Trade Center Memorial Fountains

“Reflecting Absence”: The World Trade Center Memorial Fountains

By Najee Johnson | The twin reflecting pools are located at the World Trade Center and are surrounded by five buildings. As a representation of the twin towers’ absence, the memorial fountains are placed at the former footprints of the North and South towers. The pools give New Yorkers, tourists, family and friends an opportunity […]

The Walls: A Poem

The Walls: A Poem

By Jwendlen Nivens | Junior steps into his overalls, / and using a large cellulose sponge / dabs and chisels to clean the pillars. / While the radio plays Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” / He sings along off key and in spanglish / Junior, dust, dirt, and grease become one. […]

A True Cock and Bull Story of Lower Manhattan

A True Cock and Bull Story of Lower Manhattan

By S. G. | The Charging Bull, cast in 1989, currently stands in Bowling Green Park, which is located on Broadway and Morris Street in the historic financial district, in Manhattan, New York City. This massive bronze bull stands in the middle of the street, body leaning to one side in an aggressive stance—a main tourist attraction […]

America, Can You Hear Them now?

America, Can You Hear Them now?

By A. C. | At times, there’s an insatiable effort to neutralize the spirit of people. It’s cruel to ask someone to be less them, and consequently become more of something else. In Women Native, Other, philosopher Trinh T. Minh Ha states that “it’s a positivist dream of a neutralized language that strips off all its singularity […]

My Word Is Better than Your Word: A Review of Louise Bennett’s Monologue “Jamaican Language”

My Word Is Better than Your Word: A Review of Louise Bennett’s Monologue “Jamaican Language”

By Kiki Melvelle | Who is to say dat your English is betta dan mine?

Frank O’Hara’s Plaque

Frank O’Hara’s Plaque

By G. G. | I am not an avid traveler by any means; my expeditions have been limited to adventures in movies, books and poetry. Frank O’Hara’s works are known for their diary-like quality, and through them you can explore New York. When I got on the train with my friend one Saturday our destination […]

Jackie and Pee Wee: An Embrace Against Racism

Jackie and Pee Wee: An Embrace Against Racism

By F. R. | Brooklyn, New York is home to one of New York City’s most iconic locations, Coney Island. On Coney Island, you find attractions such as the Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk, the New York Aquarium, Luna Park, the Cyclone rollercoaster and the original Nathan’s Famous. If you walk down Surf Avenue, past […]

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