“Names of New York” Book Launch
Join a virtual book launch with “Names of New York” author Joshua Jelly-Schapiro in conversation with filmmaker Astra Taylor and discover the surprising stories behind the names of NYC’s streets and places!
Uncover the fascinating stories behind NYC’s famous place-names
Learn how the names and meanings of NYC places are being changed, all the time, by New Yorkers from around the world
Take part in a Q&A with author Joshua Jelly-Schapiro
About the event:
Drawing on his background in cultural geography, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro excavates the wealth of stories that are embedded in New York City’s place-names and uses them to illuminate the power of naming to shape experience and our sense of place. He traces the ways in which the native Lenape, the Dutch settlers, the British invaders, and successive waves of immigrants have all left their marks on the city and continue to reshape it. He explores how many New York place-names have accrued iconic significance far beyond the city’s boundaries. (“Brooklyn” is also the name of a notorious street gang in Haiti and of restaurants from New Zealand to Paris, and is among the top fifty names for girls in America.) In his new book Names of New York, Jelly-Schapiro interviews the last living speakers of Lenape, tours the harbor’s many out-islands with a tugboat captain, and meets with the linguists at the Endangered Language Alliance, who study the estimated eight hundred languages now spoken in New York the estimated eight hundred languages spoken in New York.
Documentary filmmaker, writer, and political organizer Astra Taylor will join Jelly-Schapiro to discuss his new book, how names shape our present environments, and how we can reconcile history with the future we want, in our neighborhoods and on our streets.
About Joshua Jelly-Schapiro:
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is a geographer and writer whose books include Island People: The Caribbean and the World, and (with Rebecca Solnit) Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. A regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, his work has also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Harper’s magazine, among many other publications. He is a scholar-in-residence at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, where he also teaches.
About Astra Taylor:
Astra Taylor is a documentary filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She is the director, most recently, of What Is Democracy? and the author of Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone and the American Book Award winning The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age. She is co-founder of the Debt Collective, a union for debtors, and contributed the foreword to the group’s new book, Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: The Case for Economic Disobedience and Debt Abolition. Her latest book is Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions.
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