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OUR FINAL SPRING 2013 FORUM ON MAY 9TH WILL BE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, no reservations required. Admittance will operate on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 212-817-8471. FREE for CUNY Graduate students.

Unless otherwise noted, all Forums take place at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Books will be available for purchase and signing by the respective authors.



Aspects of the African-American Experience in NYC 
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
, 6:30-8 PM
Concourse Level, Rooms C201, 202 and 203


This Forum will address several different aspects of the African-American experience in NYC as examined by recent Ph.D.’s from the CUNY Graduate Center.  Kristopher Burrell will examine the role of ideology in the New York City civil rights movement and specifically the relationship between black intellectuals and the challenges to American liberalism during the mid-1960s. Kevin McGruder will speak about the making of Harlem's Strivers' Row while Carla Dubose will discuss the foundations of the Black South Bronx. And Thomas Harbison will speak about the changing priorities for the reform of Harlem's public schools between 1914 and 1954. Click here for a video of the event.







Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America (RESERVATIONS FULL)
Thursday, February 28, 2013, 6:30-8 PM
Elebash Recital Hall


Grand Central: How a Station Transformed America (Grand Central Publishing) is a rich and entertaining history of the iconic Grand Central Terminal just in time to celebrate the train station's 100th fabulous anniversary. In the winter of 1913, Grand Central Station was officially opened and immediately became one of the most beautiful and recognizable Manhattan landmarks. In this celebration of the one hundred-year-old terminal, Sam Roberts of The New York Times looks back at Grand Central's conception and amazing history, as well as the far-reaching cultural effects of a station that continues to amaze tourists and shuttle busy commuters. Along the way, Roberts will explore how the Manhattan transit hub foreshadowed the evolution of suburban expansion in the country and fostered the nation's westward expansion and growth via the railroad. With stories about everything from the famous movies that have used Grand Central as a location to the celestial ceiling in the main lobby (including its stunning mistake) to the homeless denizens who reside in the buildings catacombs, this is a fascinating and exciting look at a true American institution.

To register for this event, click here.


More Powerful than Dynamite: Radicals, Plutocrats, Progressives and New York’s Year of Anarchy
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
, 6:30-8 PM
Martin E. Segal Theater


In the year that saw the start of World War I, the United States was itself on the verge of revolution: industrial depression in the east, striking coal miners in Colorado, and increasingly tense relations with Mexico. On July 4, 1914, a detonation destroyed a seven-story Harlem tenement. It was the largest explosion the city had ever known. Among the dead were three bomb makers; incited by anarchist Alexander Berkman, they had been preparing to dynamite the estate of John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of a plutocratic dynasty and widely vilified for a massacre of his company’s striking workers in Colorado earlier that spring. More Powerful than Dynamite (Walker and Co.) charts how anarchist anger, progressive idealism, and plutocratic paternalism converged in that July explosion. Its cast ranges from celebrated figures such as Emma Goldman, Upton Sinclair, and Andrew Carnegie to the fascinating and heretofore little known: Frank Tannenbaum, a homeless teenager who dared to lead his followers into the city’s churches; police inspector Max Schmittberger, too honest for his department and too crooked for everyone else; and Becky Edelsohn, a young anarchist known for her red tights and for spitting in millionaires’ faces. Historian and journalist Thai Jones creates a fascinating portrait of a city on the edge of chaos coming to terms with modernity.






Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built (RESERVATIONS FULL)
Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 6:30-8 PM
Elebash Recital Hall


When Joel Russ started peddling herring from a barrel shortly after his arrival in America from Poland, he could not have imagined that he was witnessing the birth of a gastronomic legend. Here is the story of this "Louvre of lox" from its humble beginnings through the Great Depression, the food rationing of World War II, the passing of the torch to the next generation just as the flight from the Lower East Side to the suburbs was beginning, the heartbreaking years of neighborhood blight, and the almost miraculous renaissance of an area from which hundreds of other family-owned stores had fled. Filled with delightful anecdotes about how a ferociously hardworking family turned a passion for selling perfectly smoked and pickled fish into an institution with a devoted international clientele, Mark Russ Federman's reminiscences combine a heartwarming and triumphant immigrant saga with a panoramic history of twentieth-century New York, a meditation on the creation and selling of gourmet food by a family that has mastered this art, and an enchanting behind-the-scenes look at four generations of people who are just a little but crazy on the subject of fish.

To register for this event, click here.



L is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir
Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 6:30-8 PM
Martin E. Segal Theater

LESL is for Lion (SUNY Albany Press) is an achingly true story of a Bronx tomboy whose 1960s girlhood was marked by her WWII veteran father's lullabies laced with dissociative visions of trench warfare.  At eighteen, on the edge of freedom, Annie Rachel Lanzillotto’s studies at Brown University were halted by the growth of a massive tumor inside her chest.  She walked out of Sloan-Kettering just as A.I.D.S. was named, and made a wild, truth-seeking ride out of survival, going into the fray of gay clubs and cross-dressing on the streets of Egypt.  This poignant and authentic story could only happen in New York, with this quintessential New Yorker as narrator and guide into the world of Italian-American characters, immigration, gay sub-culture, cancer, mental illness, gender dynamics, drug addiction, domestic violence, the childhood wonder of Spaldeens – all climaxing in a reluctant return home to the timeless wisdom of her peasant grandmother.




Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race around the World
Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 6:30-8 PM
Elebash Recital Hall


fsdafIt’s 1889, and the world is newly dominated by steamships, railroads and the telegraph. Two women take on the race of their life, spanning twenty-eight thousand miles through Europe, the Middle East, Far East and the North American frontier – for months, captivating the attention of the United States and much of the world beyond. Matthew Goodman’s EIGHTY DAYS: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World (Ballantine Books) recreates the true story of two intrepid women determined to outdo Jules Verne’s fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. Through meticulous attention to detail and years of research, Goodman brings these two trailblazers to vivid life as they face wild ocean crossings and freezing mountain train journeys.







New York City Cartmen, 1667–1850
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 6:30-8 PM
Elebash Recital Hall


fsdafThe cart men—unskilled workers who hauled goods on one horse carts—were perhaps the most important labor group in early American cities. Revised and re-issued in 2012, New York City Cartmen, 1667–1850 (NYU Press) uncovers the forgotten world of one-horse cart drivers who monopolized the movement of private and commercial goods in New York City from 1667-1850. The cart men dominated the city streets while proving politically adept at preserving and institutionalizing their economic and racial control over this entry-level occupation. The cart men possessed a hard-nosed political awareness, and because they transported essential goods, they achieved a status in New York City far above their skills or financial worth. The cart men's culture and their relationship with New York's municipal government are the direct ancestors of the city's fabled taxicab drivers. This is a stirring street-level account of the growth of New York, growth made possible by the efforts of the cart men and other unskilled laborers.



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