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Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

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Park Slope was the source of all of Lovecraft’s horror! Here is where he lived with his future ex-wife.

H.P. Lovecraft spent his formative writing years in Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights. From a thoroughly researched Brooklyn Eagle feature story:

W. Paul Cook, H.P. Lovecraft’s old friend and sometimes publisher, summed it best in memorial: “To the very end of his days he hated New York with a consuming passion. I mean the city itself, not the many good friends he had there. But it took the privations, trials and testing fires of New York to bring his best to the surface.”

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five_fistsI just finished The Five Fists of Science. by Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders. It’s an entertaining story, like  a Steampunk Ghost Busters by E.L. Doctorow. It’s a comic adventure about Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla stopping J. P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie from summoning a Cthulhu-thing to destroy New York City. Personally, I prefer historical fiction to leave the actual figures in the background and invent fictional main characters. Like in this book, Thomas Edison goes on a hunt for the Yeti in Tibet, which has nothing to do with either the story or the historical Edison. If it hadn’t been Edison, I would have thought it was just an interesting sidebar. The Batman book Detective No. 27 was more my style, with an old-timey Bruce Wayne as the main figure and Teddy Roosevelt and others making appearances lasting just a few panels.

The writing and art are pretty good, and it’s a quick read. Actually, now that I count it, it’s actually 100 pages long! — it just wasn’t very memorable. It’s mainly inspired me to find more pulp science fiction.

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king_in_yellowAccording to Robert W. Chambers in his disturbing, decadent The King in Yellow: The Repairer of Reputations (Amazon, Librivox), in 1920, a marble and gold “lethal chamber”, or suicide booth, was installed on the south side of Washington Square “between Wooster Street and 5th Avenue”. The streets have changed since the story was published in 1895, but I believe this is today West 4th St. between University Pl. and Laguardia Pl., which is now the site of  NYU’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library. The madness in the story takes place a few blocks away at what would today be Thompson St. and Bleecker St.

This story is definitely of its time; the Gilded Age, the Belle Epoque. Washington Park was the home of Manahattan’s elite and was the original home of those other expat authors who investigated decadence, Edith Wharton and Henry James.

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eruvmap1A secret (or little-known) boundary line runs around my apartment and surrounds the neighborhoods around Prospect Park. It is the boundary of the Park Slope Eruv, which allows Jews limited travel on the Sabbath, as long as they stay within the eruv. The boundaries for eruvs were traditionally the physical fences surrounding all the courtyards in a Jewish neighborhood, but they are now commonly demarcated by wires suspended from utility poles and lightposts, which means you’d never know you were in an eruv unless you knew what to look for. The Congregation B’nai Jacob on 9th street maintains the Park Slope Eruv and members of the congregation check each week before the Sabbath to see that the boundary is intact and that Jews can travel.

I love the idea of a gigantic pentagram drawn under my town protecting me from evil. That’s not what an eruv is, but I still like the idea.

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Gotham Gaming Guild

Rob from Gotham Gaming Guild has posted an invitation to NYC rpg players on nerdnyc.com. They’re going to meet near NYU at Think Coffee every other Friday night, starting 2/27/2009. I’m signed up to play in a Call of Cthulhu game.

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