Left Bank of the Hudson: Jersey City and the Artists of 111 1st Street

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Product Details
$26.95  $25.06
Fordham University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 0.7 X 8.9 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author
David J. Goodwin is an urban historian and historic preservation advocate and currently a librarian at Fordham University where he received his MA in Urban Studies. A resident of Jersey City, Goodwin has served as a member and chairman of the Jersey City Historic Preservation Commission and he is a current board member of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy.
This is a broad story of urban change from 19th century industrialization to 21st century gentrification through the narrow lens of one building in Jersey City. It served as a tobacco factory and warehouse, deteriorated it was revived by artists who used its vast spaces for studios and (illegal) residences. Purchased by a real estate developer who forced the artists out, it was demolished and replaced by residential towers for the wealthy. A local social, cultural, and political history reflecting global trends, fueled by an argument for architectural preservation and the value of the arts, it should be read by those interested in the past and future of all cities.--Maxine N. Lurie "Professor emeritas, History Department, Seton Hall University "
Through one-on-one interviews and careful research, David Goodwin transports us to the former arts capital of Jersey City: a sprawling warehouse that pulsed with the energy of hundreds of painters, sculptors, filmmakers and writers before they were evicted, and the building was demolished. You may think you've heard the story before--artists flock to a run-down neighborhood, they breathe in new life, they get pushed out--but in recounting the little-told saga of 111 1st Street, Goodwin proves the relationship between gentrification and the creative class is far less cut-and-dried, and far more compelling.--Rebecca Sheir, Placemakers
Goodwin tells the interesting story of 111 First Street, where a bunch of ragtag artists decided to take over an old tobacco factory on the industrial outskirts of the New York region in Jersey City, New Jersey. These same artists soon found themselves caught amid a changing and gentrifying city. This in-depth exploration of the varied people, politics, and economic forces serves as a fascinating discourse on how gentrification in urban areas can happen and all the drama that unfolds as a result.--Jonathan LeVine, Jonathan LeVine Projects
A former tobacco-company warehouse turned artist colony in Jersey City, N.J., serves as a microcosm of American urban development in the age of globalization. . . This close study of a specific arts community, forcibly disbanded, is useful both as an act of specific memorialization and as an exemplar of a wider phenomenon seen in cities across North America.--Publishers Weekly
Goodwin tells the gripping but sad tale of 111 First Street--a Jersey City tobacco factory that found its second life as a thriving arts community. Along the way, we meet eccentric artists, Russian mobsters, corrupt cops, greedy developers, and this being Jersey City, dysfunctional politicians. There's a cameo by a cast member of the Sopranos, arson, political backstabbing, earnest activists and a final act starring internationally-acclaimed architect Rem Koolhaus. But in the end, the story is a true tragedy. Goodwin questions the place of culture and history in a living city and in the process, carves out a piece of both for the reader.--Helene Stapinski, author of Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History
"Left Bank of the Hudson presents a well-researched slice of life in the transformation of Jersey City's formerly dismal downtown-waterfront district to a new 'gold coast' as it details how a group of urban-pioneer artists attempted to save through adaptive use one of the area's most important manufacturing buildings. While the subject artists lost their homes after a valiant struggle, author Goodwin preserves for them and the former cigarette plant a place in New Jersey history."--Randall Gabrielan, Monmouth County Historian and author of Hoboken: History and Architecture at a Glance
Goodwin's book is a history of a battle that strongly resembles the conflict of The Alamo, where artists were pitted against overwhelming forces in their attempt to defy history and create a community that could survive.--Hudson Reporter
"Left Bank of the Hudson is an engaging, dynamic book that succeeds at using the story of a place to tell a bigger story about all of us as a society. It is essential reading for anyone who cares about Jersey City, the arts, gentrification, economic development, or New Jersey history."--Jon Whiten, New Jersey Policy Perspective
Goodwin's engaging prose and compelling, well-reasoned arguments make this book both critical--and enjoyable--reading for urban studies scholars, tenant activists, and those who anticipate the gentrification of their own neighborhoods.--New Jersey Studies