Cover image for In old New York : a classic history of New York City
In old New York : a classic history of New York City
Janvier, Thomas A. (Thomas Allibone), 1849-1913.
First St. Martin's Press edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xx, 285 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York : Harper & Brothers, 1894. With new introd.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F128.4 .J35 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Illustrated throughout with maps, etchings, and entertaining line drawings, plus a new map pinpointing all the locations in the text, this "walking tour" of Manhattan past offers a rare treat for New Yorkers and history buffs everywhere.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Today's New Yorkers are famous for both their fierce loyalty to their hometown and their intense desire to tell you how they can make it better. Things were no different in 1894, when historian and social commentator Janvier first published this meticulously detailed, floridly anecdotal and occasionally cranky love letter to his adopted home, reprinted here with a helpful new introduction by Brooklyn College history professor Edwin G. Burrows. After painstakingly outlining the city's early growth and development, Janvier, a self-trained historian, rants that an 1807 city commission charged with laying out the city's streets threw away "the magnificent opportunity... to create a beautiful city." By creating Manhattan's now famous grid of streets and avenues, they thwarted continued development of the complex, interlocking networks of ponds, woods and small neighborhoods that had made up the city until then. It's a classic clash between romantic idealism and "progress," present in the writings of Jane Jacobs and other modern urbanologists. Janvier is best when describing the quirky, intricate history of Greenwich Village and the development of Chelsea around the Episcopal Theological Seminary, citing both as examples of his small-is-beautiful philosophy. A man of his time, Janvier's nativism and racism are omnipresent: he is as likely to state that "even the bad smells have foreign names" as he is to rhapsodize about sylvan glades. Still, this long-out-of-print classic adds welcome historical perspective to contemporary urban studies. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Histories of Manhattan abound, but most cover the late 19th century through World War I and Prohibition, etc. When Janvier says old, however, he means it: this 1984 volume stretches back to pre-Colonial times when the wicked city was no more than woods with a handful of settlers and Indians waiting around for Bloomies to open. An excellent match for some of the later histories that only cover this period in brief. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.