Synopses & Reviews
New York is a city of few boundaries, a city of well-known streets and blocks that ramble on and on, into our literature, dreams, and nightmares. We know the city by the byways that split it, streets like Broadway and Madison and Flatbush and Delancey. From those streets, peering down the blocks and up at the top floors, the city seems immense and endless.
And though the land itself may end at the water, the city does not. Long before Broadway was a muddy cart track, the water was the city's most distinguishing feature, the rivers the only byways of importance. Some people, like William Kornblum, still see the city as an urban archipelago, shaped by the water and the people who have sailed it for goods, money, pirate's loot, and freedom. For them, the City will always be an island.
William Kornblum New York City native, longtime sailor, urban sociologist, and first-time author has spent decades plying the waterways of the city in his ancient catboat, Tradition. In At Sea in the City, he takes the reader along as he sails through his hometown, lovingly retelling the history of the city's waterfront and maritime culture and the stories of the men and women who made the water their own. In At Sea in the City and in Kornblum's own humility, humor, and sense of wonder, one detects echoes of E. B. White, John McPhee, and Joseph Mitchell.
"The glorious anachronisms of sailing stand out in high relief against the backdrop of New York City in these vignettes of sailing around Manhattan..... The eight essays glide along nicely, even as Kornblum approaches the unromantic waters around the East Coast's largest airport and the churning oil-sheen tides of the Arthur Kills." Publishers Weekly
"An unhurried, knowledgeable tour of New York City's waterfronts via catboat....Few get to see the city from this angle, and Kornblum's watery transit finds not only a past but perhaps even a future for New York City's shoreline, with stirrings of restoration as natural habitats are allowed to regain their health. Revelatory and heart-gladdening." Kirkus Reviews
An inveterate sailor and native New Yorker views the history, architecture, wildlife, and urban shoreline of this resilient city from a wholly unique and dazzling perspective.
About the Author
William Kornblum is a professor of sociology at the City University of New York. He is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Chicago and was among the nation's first Peace Corps volunteers. He is the author of numerous scholarly books and articles on the people of New York. A native New Yorker, he's been sailing around the city his whole life.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Pete Hamill
1 - Home Waters
2 - Up on the Rolling Sea
3 - Jamaica Bay, Gateway
4 - Into the Narrows
5 - Concrete
6 - East River Passage
7 - The Hell Gate
8 - At the Throgs Neck