"Audubon Park’s Journey from Farmland to Cityscape"
Spady weaves together a compelling story of urbanization of a small, yet diverse, area of Manhattan. He examines the lives of many of the early residents, their often conflicting interests in maintaining a rural space, yet having effective access to the city center. With this book, Spady has shown us as historical junkies of urban history how examining the microcosm of one relatively small neighborhood can reveal a great amount of understanding of how our communities expand and contract, while providing a glimpse of how successful communities come together around shared desires for sustaining livable spaces.
— David Grinnell,
Spady’s definitive look at this forgotten neighborhood’s history honors the naturalist’s vision just as surely as Audubon’s own paintings paid tribute to the fine, feathered world.
— Greg Young,
Told by its resident keeper of the flame and founding director of the Audubon Park Alliance, this well-documented saga of demographics chronicles a dazzling cast of characters and a plot fraught with idealism, speculation, and expansion, as well as religious, political, and real estate machinations.
— Roberta J.M. Olson, Ph.D.,
Curator of Drawings, New-York Historical Society Museum and Library
It is a marvel. And though it’s as painstaking as an academic treatise, it’s a griping historical adventure story. In its pages one is propelled through time and space.
— Michael Henry Adams,
independent architectural, social and cultural scholar focused on Harlem, Newport and LGBT+ history
An illuminating treat! Matthew Spady introduces a remarkable old New York enclave that once flourished beyond Manhattanville in Upper Manhattan, personifying a suburban allure that shaped the breadth of the burgeoning city. A work rich in vivid historical detail and anecdotal observation as it retraces the neighborhood’s fascinating arc from remote woodland estate to the enduring Beaux Arts streetscape one still visits today.
— Eric K. Washington,
historian, biographer, tour guide, photographer
Matthew Spady’s deeply researched and well-written history of the origins and growth of what came to be known as Audubon Park sets a very high bar for historians and scholars. One of Mr. Spady’s accomplishments as a writer is maintaining a neutral tone while developing his story that could easily lead one to quiet lamentation over the environmental costs of the decades of development.
— Daniel Patterson,
Emeritus Professor of English, Central Michigan University
As a historian, Matthew Spady is a superb tour guide―and vice versa. His vivid chronicle of the evolution of Audubon Park is confident and enlightening, a primer on how to excavate and assemble a portrait of a neighborhood.
— John Taliaferro,
author of Grinnell: America’s Environmental Pioneer and His Restless Drive to Save the West