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Enchanted New York: A Journey along Broadway through Manhattan's Magical Past Paperback – 27 October 2020
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A fantastical field guide to the hidden history of New York's magical past
Manhattan has a pervasive quality of glamour―a heightened sense of personality generated by a place whose cinematic, literary, and commercial celebrity lends an aura of the fantastic to even its most commonplace locales. Enchanted New York chronicles an alternate history of this magical isle. It offers a tour along Broadway, focusing on times and places that illuminate a forgotten and sometimes hidden history of New York through site-specific stories of wizards, illuminati, fortune tellers, magicians, and more.
Progressing up New York’s central thoroughfare, this guidebook to magical Manhattan offers a history you won’t find in your Lonely Planet or Fodor’s guide, tracing the arc of American technological alchemies―from Samuel Morse and Robert Fulton to the Manhattan Project―to Mesmeric physicians, to wonder–working Madame Blavatsky, and seers Helena Roerich and Alice Bailey. Harry Houdini appears and disappears, as the world’s premier stage magician’s feats of prestidigitation fade away to reveal a much more mysterious―and meaningful―marquee of magic.
Unlike old-world cities, New York has no ancient monuments to mark its magical adolescence. There is no local memory embedded in the landscape of celebrated witches, warlocks, gods, or goddesses―no myths of magical metamorphoses. As we follow Kevin Dann in geographical and chronological progression up Broadway from Battery Park to Inwood, each chapter provides a surprising picture of a city whose ever-changing fortunes have always been founded on magical activity.
Enchanted New York is full of wonderful anecdotes, and I enjoyed seeing how many of these addresses were still extant. It’s a nice mental ramble in these claustrophobic times. ― Religion Dispatches
It’s a place where poetry grows of chance encounters among strangers below the piers conjuring an alchemy of ideas, where we imagine other worlds; rituals invoke spirits, the dead dance with the living, and the faeries lead us into a blurry world in between. Here pieces of green find inspiration in the cracks in the sidewalk, crawling up from unknown worlds, eternal returns of the repressed. Cycling through these streets, one occasionally stumbles upon urbanist flaneur Kevin Dann, disappearing and reappearing on chance occasions; his Enchanted New York rightfully reminds us “New York City since the American Revolution has been a place where, at each step of its prodigious biography, both witting and unwitting actors have engaged in magic, often with enormous historical consequences rippling out far beyond Manhattan’s shores.” An important and abundant journey through a secret history of a distinct urban space informed by witches and dreams, faerie magic and a creative clash between a new colossus and Moloch. At a time of plague, when the poor are sleeping in the streets, and a cavalcade of bodies are marching for something better, read Enchanted New York and reimagine the city. -- Benjamin Heim Shepard, author of Illuminations on Market Street
Packed with fascinating details and arresting insights, Enchanted New York is a page-turner that illuminates forgotten corners of our cultural past. -- Jackson Lears, author of Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920
For over a decade Kevin Dann has been cycling friends, family, and clients over the streets of Manhattan to reveal delicious and tragic histories of the tension between the humane desire to understand the supra-sensible universe and the soul-crushing materialism that inundates Gotham. A more talented, erudite, and soulful guide does not exist. Enchanted New York renders those voyages into a book like a butterfly unfurling its wings as it emerges from the chrysalis shaped island. -- Gary Kroll, State University of New York, Plattsburgh
About the Author
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1479838268
- ISBN-13 : 978-1479838264
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