For those that love New York City, especially old New York City, The Gargoyle Hunters is a thrilling fiction novel that draws heavily on true, practically unbelievable stories about the building and destruction of the city’s architecture. The New York Times aptly called it an “urban Indiana Jones-like escapade,” and writer John Freeman Gill does an impeccable job researching both obscure and notable architectural tales and building a rich narrative that is rooted in 1970s New York, yet connected to the present-day.
Untapped Cities readers will be delighted to find recognizable tales we have covered before and buildings we have brought readers inside of on our tours. The central yarn surrounds the brazen and seeming impossible real-life architectural theft of an entire historic Manhattan building that stunned the city and made the front page of The New York Times in 1974. The Woolworth Building also figures heavily into the story, and Gill interviewed members of the Suskin family, who manage the Woolworth Building, including Roy, who has taken our readers on multiple occasions down into the deep underbelly of what was once the world’s tallest buildings. Other landmarks, like the the eagles and statues of Penn Station, the Staple Street sky bridge, The Metropolitan Life Building, Stanford White’s Madison Square Garden, the Hardenbergh Rhinelander historic district (one of the smallest in the city), the Carnegie Mansion (now the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design), the World Trade Center, and more, also figure into the book.
Photo by The Ehrenkrantz Group/Collection of Tim Allanbrook, courtesy of John Freeman Gill.
Grab your copy of The Gargoyle Hunters on Amazon. On October 2nd, join Untapped Cities who is a partner for the Brooklyn Historical Society book talk New York’s Gargoyles: The Immigrants Who Made Them and the Hunters Who Saved Them with author John Freeman Gill in conversation with Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Untapped Cities contributor and author of The Stowaway, A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica.
If you are or become an Untapped Cities Insider, you can attend this talk for free.
Also join us for our next VIP tour of the Woolworth Building, either led by the great grand daughter of building architect Cass Gilbert or our Special Access Tour of the Woolworth Building, where you will be able to see the lobby caricatures of Frank Woolworth and Cass Gilbert that were mentioned in the Gargoyle Hunters.