Nearly 600 captivating stores of notable former residents of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, some famous, some forgotten
What do Humphrey Bogart and Patty Hill (co-author of “Happy Birthday,” the most popular song of all time) have in common? Both of them once lived in the neighborhood of Morningside Heights and Bloomingdale, a strip of land that runs from the 90s to 125th Street, between the Hudson River and Central Park. Spanning hundreds of years, Notable New Yorkers of Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a compilation of stories of nearly 600 former residents who once called Manhattan’s Upper West Side home.
Over the years, the Upper West Side has gone from farmland and summer homes, to Revolutionary War battleground, to a working-class community with enclaves of the wealthy, to the diverse community it is today. Profiling a rare selection of wildly diverse people who shaped the character of the area, author Jim Mackin introduces readers to its fascinating residents—some famous, such as George and Ira Gershwin and Thurgood Marshall, and some forgotten, such as Harriet Brooks, Augustus Meyers, and Elinor Smith. Brief biographies reveal intriguing facts about this group, which include scientists, explorers, historians, journalists, artists, entertainers, aviators, public officials, lawyers, judges, and some in a category too unique to label. This collection also promotes accomplished women who have been forgotten and spotlights The Old Community, a tight-knit African American enclave that included such talented and accomplished residents as Marcus Garvey, Billie Holiday, and Butterfly McQueen.
The book is divided into five geographical sections: the West 90s, the West 100s, the West 110s, the West 120s, and Riverside Drive. Addresses are arranged in ascending order within each section, first by street number and then by street address number. While the focus is on people, the book includes an eclectic collection of interesting facts and colorful stories about the neighborhood itself, including the 9th Avenue El, Little Coney Island, and, notoriously, one of the most dangerous streets in the city, as well as songs and movies that were written and shot in the neighborhood. Notable New Yorkers of Manhattan’s Upper West Side provides a unique overview of the people who shaped the neighborhood through their presence and serves as a guide to those who deserve to be recognized and remembered.