The Seven Beauties in Our Midst
Oh, Bloomingdalers! You are in for a treat. Journalist and author Daniel J. Wakin will be presenting at the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group's meeting on Wednesday, January 17th, at 6:30 p.m. at Hostelling International New York. For several years now, he's been researching his obsession: Bennie the Bum, a bootlegger and associate of Legs Diamond, and virtually every other person he could find who occupied space in one of the townhouses in this picture. Located on the stretch of Riverside Drive between W. 105th and 106th Streets, the stunning buildings are familiar to so many neighbors. Dan simply calls them "The Seven Beauties."
A son of Bloomingdale, Dan has written this block's history like each house was a living, breathing neighbor with untold secrets to offer up. Associated with one of these demure dames was a heist, a getaway, an amputation, another amputation. Well you get the picture. Everyone has their back pages, as Bob Dylan would say. And Dan is revealing them all in his book "The Man with the Sawed-Off Leg and Other Tales of a New York City Block."
Neighbor and resident historian Gil Tauber told me that Nina Simone lived on that block. I hope Dan has something to say about what happened with Miss Simone. I've often wondered if she was one of Duke Ellington's tenants.
I'll be writing more about the book as soon as I get my hands on it. But come out and hear Dan speak on January 17th. And make sure to scroll all the way down for a lagniappe. (If you are receiving this via an email subscription, remember to click on the title of the post to get to the video).
Click here to see images or videos that don't come through when you read this post in an email.