Sunday, January 25, 2015

And now a book! "Seeking New York"



Over five years ago, in 2009, I met up with a good friend, Paul Anater—who was then working in an architectural office in Florida—for lunch.  I remember strolling along West 54th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues and doing what I cannot help myself from doing:  narrating the stories of Manhattan.  That particular block holds a trove of extant one-time residences from Fifth Avenue’s gilded age and I paused several times to point out the Lehman mansion, the Moses Starr house, and the James Goodwin residence, among others.  I talked about the magnificent John D. Rockefeller house, demolished for the Museum of Modern Art.

As we moved on to 5th Avenue Paul remarked, “You have to write a blog.”

I would have dismissed the idea—I wasn’t really positive at the time what a blog was—but my friend was persistent.  After a few months of being badgered, I sat down one Saturday afternoon and wrote a post.  Then I realized I couldn’t put it out there without a title.  I gave it little thought because I was much less confident than Paul that anyone would be interested in my writing.  Hailing from Ohio and writing about New York City, I dubbed it “Daytonian in Manhattan.”

After six years of writing about more than 1,500 Manhattan buildings, statues, fountains and “other points of interest that make Manhattan fascinating,” it seems that, indeed, there are people reading the blog.  What Paul Anater realized on that afternoon in 2009 is that my retelling of the personal histories is much more absorbing than the mere regurgitating of architectural styles, dates and materials. 

Having heard tales of authors receiving rejection letters, and knocking fruitlessly on the doors of agents and publishers; I was dumbfounded two years ago when I received an email from London containing four words I never could imagine reading:  “May we publish you?”

It was the start of a wonderful relationship with Pimpernel Press, Ltd. and a talented crew led by Jo Christian.  I learned how much work and how many people are involved in the publication of a book.  There were graphic designers, fact checkers, an indexer (I never knew such a person existed), photographers and editors.   And finally last fall Jo sent a message saying we were “ready for press.”

Pimpernel Press, Ltd., who is publishing the British edition, teamed with Rizzoli for the U.S. publication.  And now the two houses are announcing the upcoming releases—March 19 in Great Britain and March 10 in the United States.  It is rather surreal to see my name on the cover of the books and in the press releases from Rizzoli:


and Pimpernel Press:


Seeking New York tells the back stories of about 50 buildings with one or two fountains or statues in the mix.  They are stories that not only bring those places alive; but are the type of personal histories--good and bad, grand and humble--that make Manhattan the wonderfully unique place it is.


And if my mother has anything to do with it, Seeking New York will be a best-seller.  She has already pre-ordered 10 copies.

27 comments:

  1. Yeah! Congratulations! I'm looking forward to a signed copy and coffee, er, a walkabout next time I'm in NYC (?) Kindest, Andrea

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  2. This is truly great news. Just a few days ago I was wishing you had a book — I love the blog but find reading a bound book much more relaxing and enjoyable. May you write many sequels!

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  3. Big congratulations—please keep working on the sequels.

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    1. I'll tell the publisher you said that!

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  4. Congratulations, this is wonderful and I have people who would love copies. I love New York, after all, it is my home town, and I've loved reading your stories since the beginning. So happy for you! Sequels? I'm totally for that, but wonder if there is any chance of expanding to say Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens?
    Also, any chance of author appearances in the NYC area?

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I would love to branch out into the outer boroughs; but it seems I'll never finish Manhattan! As far as appearances, I haven't heard anything yet; but will keep everyone updated.

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  5. Wonderful news, the internet is great but as your publisher realized and has been stated by others, the printed work is still something that has to be maintained
    and lets one enjoy the read and journey you will take us on without having to look at a screen. I can't wait to have a copy and , keep us posted for a book signing. Thank you for all you effort.

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    1. thank you. I'll definitely keep you in the loop regarding any events! Thanks for the support

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  6. Fantastic news. I love this blog and the stories behind the often overlooked background buildings that occupy the streets of Manhattan. You give us their histories and the owners backgrounds and their current situations, sometimes just before their own demolition occurs shortly after appearing in your blog. Hopefully one day you can publish a comprehensive book on the many existing and lost buildings from your blog. I don't believe the detailed subject matter has been captured anywhere else or done any finer than your blog. You provide architectural, societal, preservation and historical commentary. Congratulations. NYarch

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    1. Thank you. That was a pretty powerful compliment. I'm honored.

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  7. Cannot wait to buy one. Why are the covers slightly different? Any little differences in content or format between the 2 publishers?

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    1. The covers are slightly different because they were by different people on either of the publisher's staff. The text is the same--other than the variation in British and American spelling, of course.

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  8. Congrats to you! What a great achievement and I will be looking for that great book to purchase!

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  9. Congrats! This is wonderful news. I've been following your blog for a couple of years and I look forward to having your words in book form.

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    1. It is very exciting, Jacquelin, I have to admit. Thanks for following, too.

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  10. You just sold another copy......I can't wait to enjoy your new book Mr. Miller.

    Congratulations!

    ***

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  11. Wow Tom, thank you! I may have hounded and harangued you at the beginning but you did all the work. All credit goes to you my friend. You deserve every accolade you get and then some. Cheers!

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  12. This is great news! Been waiting for this for several years. BUT ..... ONLY 50 ! How on earth did you narrow it down?? ALL your blog posts are fantastic and I would love to see more than 50 in a book :) :) Congratulations, Tom. The way you describe these NYC gems and the stories about them you recap are truly unique accomplishments. I know the book will be a treasure.

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    1. Thanks so much. I was incredibly difficult to pare the list down. I told the publisher it was like choosing which of my children would go into the life boat and which would sink with the ship!

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  13. Tom, I hope you see this (since its a comment on an old post) but I am wondering WHY you don't have any mention of the book on your blog Home Page ? One of those sidebar widgets that tells info about the new book? (Like your 'About Me' one.) I scrolled through a ton of pages trying to find this one, and finally remembered you had a search function :)
    Seriously, a lot of people may have missed this posting in January and I am really surprised you don't want to ADVERTISE your wonderful book on your own wonderful Blog !! Can't wait to go buy it !

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    1. Thanks. Good point. I don't have any conrol over those advertisements; but maybe I can figure out a widget thing. Thanks again!

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    2. You got 'er done! Good to see the link to find out about your BOOK on the home page. Happy sales! You deserve this success with all your hard work.

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    3. Took me a bit of poking around, but, sure enough I did! Thanks to you!

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