Gardens of Eden: Long Island's Early Twentieth-Century Planned Communities
Edited by Robert B. MacKay
W. W. Norton & Company (2015)
Reviewed by Tim Keogh
Today, New York’s high-profile real estate developers build high-rise condominiums in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island City. Their massive glass towers offer Gotham’s professional class apartments with floor-to-ceiling windows, gyms and rec rooms, trendy restaurants and organic markets, all just one elevator ride away. But a century ago, Gotham’s bourgeoisie looked beyond the confines of industrial New York, and the most prominent developers built and planned entire communities along rail lines in the expansive farmland of Queens and Long Island. Constructed in the shadow of Gatsby’s ‘Gold Coast,’ these were the fashionable areas of early twentieth century New York, with architecture and community designs that remain appealing today. For those intrigued by the idealism of suburban planning, or the beauty of Tudor or Spanish-style housing, this new book, Gardens of Eden, offers a coffee table-sized collection of rare pictures, along with intriguing narratives for twenty-two of Long Island’s most iconic early twentieth-century suburbs.
This is the first in a series of posts drawn from the authors' recent work
Never Built New York, published courtesy of Metropolis Books.
The following is an excerpt from the author's new book, The Roots of Urban Renaissance:
Gentrification and the Struggle over Harlem, courtesy of Harvard University Press.
By Jason M. Barr and Gerard Koeppel
The Manhattan street grid plan of 1811 — both figuratively and literally — defines the city. It has created its identity while prompting continuing debate about whether it’s the “greatest grid” or “one of the worst city plans.” Despite the endless fascination after 200 years and counting, the grid’s history and its effect on Gotham are still not fully understood. We aim to correct the record. Here, we introduce some key misconceptions and their corrections; in eight monthly installments, we will discuss each one in more detail.
An Associate Professor of Social Science and chair of Interdisciplinary Studies and Urban Administration at the New York Institute of Technology, Bloom is the author of three books and the editor of several more; among the latter, an edited volume he assembled with Matthew Gordon Lasner, Affordable Housing in New York (Princeton University Press, 2015) may be of particular interest to our readers. Our conversation touches upon the place of figures like Robert Moses and Austin Tobin in JFK’s development; the ways in which the airport’s history reflected racial and class dynamics in the city; and Bloom’s approach to visual sources, which he employs to great effect. This hardly exhausts the book’s range of inquiry; readers will find that The Metropolitan Airport also offers fresh insights into subjects ranging from environmental history to the impact of airline deregulation. In all, Bloom has written a landmark study of JFK. He has also provided a model for how to place airports within the history of cities.
— Mason Williams
This post is an excerpt from the author's recent book Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted,
reprinted courtesy of Merloyd Lawrence Books / Da Capo Press.
By Gerard Koeppel
If a picture is worth eighty thousand words or so, one image captures what this book is about. And if every picture tells a story, this image tells two...
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