Henry  Bock Building, 428 East 75th STreet

Henry Bock Building, 428 East 75th STreet

I’ve lived in this Yorkville neighborhood for decades, and have passed this interesting little white carriage house at 428 East 75th Street practically daily, looking up each time to acknowledge the HENRY BOCK 1895 dedication up top! I’ve been inside it, as well, as several of our animals were patients of the vet who occupies part of the space…

It took about ten years, but I finally decided to research Henry Bock and figure out why his name was on this building!Henry Bock

First stop was ancestry.com. The Bock record in the 1900 census is one of those lovely finds where the enumerator hand writes the street name in the margin. So, here, in 1900, I found the Henry Bock family at 428 E. 75th.  Henry, head of household, lived  with his wife Phillipine, 5 children, 2 boarders (both Horseshoers) and a servant.  Henry Bock listed his own occupation as Horseshoer and indicated that he was a naturalized citizen, was married 15 years, arrived in the US in 1883 and owned the building with a mortgage!

The Henry Bock family in the 1900 census!

The Henry Bock family in the 1900 census!

The most interesting thing to me is that real estate records of 1895 show that Phillipine had her hands and name in  428 East 75th Street, as well as in multiple other transactions in the same time period!  (anyone researching this Bock family? contact me and I’ll give you what I’ve got! I suspect the transactions may involve Phillipine’s family…!)

By 1910, Henry & family are gone from NYC, relocated (or, in one of my favorite old-timey expressions, “removed”) to Seattle, Washington!

The Bock family in 1910

The Bock family in 1910

The Bock family may not have lived on my street for very many years….and they may have deserted my fair city for the northwest, but Henry (and Philippine) did leave their mark, and I (perhaps I’m the only one?) do think of them, almost 120 years later, every time I pass!

FDR Drive between 75th & 76th Street.

FDR Drive between 75th & 76th Street.

One of my favorite spots to pass while tooling down the FDR on Manhattan’s East Side, is the outer wall of the old East Side House at 76th Street.  The building’s been long incorporated into the Town School, but if you look closely as you pass, you can see the writing above what might have once been a side door of a building that hasn’t been a settlement since the mid 1900’s.

In 1891, the East Side Settlement organization rented a house on a wide lawn on the East River at 76th street for use as a men and boy’s club, later opening to women and girls, with a nursery and classes and neighborhood programs and a library funded with five thousand books from the New York Free Circulating Library. The library, geared toward the immigrant Czech and German population, was ultimately absorbed by the New York Public Library Webster Branch.
After a period of fundraising, the red brick East Side House was built in 1902 to accommodate concerts, art programs, classes and more. A portion of the riverbank was fenced in to provide swimming for the neighborhood children, a direct water access enjoyed for a short period until Exterior Street was cut through along where the highway would later be built.
There is still a thin strip of sidewalk between the old East Side House and the highway–a shortcut I sometimes walk along from 79th street to my own block, though the view of what remains of the house is much better from across the river promenade on the other side of the highway.

East Side House, NYC

East Side House, NYC

Although the East Side House moved from this location in the 1960’s, the neighborhood is still a wonderful area with John Jay Park and the NYC outdoor pool available to everyone! I’ve lived in this neighborhood for most of my adult life and never tire of exploring its history and stories!

NYC - 2256 - A Gazillion Little BitsThe New York City of A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS in the year 2256 is a vastly changed landscape, though much relates to the city of today.

City parks, such as Carl Schurz @ 84th, Central Park, Thomas Jefferson @ 112th, uncluttered by the rubble and ruins of the streets, are home to small communities.

Most bridges are gone.  The feet of the Brooklyn Bridge remain exposed and foundations of other East River crossings can be found, submerged.  The George Washington Bridge, covered in food gardens, is intact, ending in a wall that blocks access to NJ, where subterranean fires have burned for generations.

Sam Tsui has created a wonderful map to accompany my novel and I’m pleased to share it with you, here!  Click the map to Zoom!

You can also use the “Look Inside” feature at Amazon to preview the map and first few chapters. Click to visit the book on Amazon –> A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS

 

So excited to reveal my cover and announce that the Kindle edition of A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS is available now on Amazon!! (paperback available in about a week!) The “Look Inside” feature at Amazon has a good amount of the novel available to preview, so take a peek….

This amazing cover design (go on, click on it to Zoom!) was created by Sam Tsui, and while some of you may know him from the music world, I want you to know that he is a wonderful artist who has been kind and generous enough to bring this post-apocalyptic world to life through his art!!! Special bonus, he also created the map of NYC, 2256 inside the book!!

A Gazillion Little Bits (full cover)

A Gazillion Little Bits

New York City. 2256.

Isolated by shifting lands, fire and beasts, fewer than thirteen thousand people live in the ruins and rubble of Manhattan without technology, government or any connection to the world from which they’ve descended.

Until the mysterious whispers arrive, followed by a stranger who holds what may be the key to the city’s ultimate survival.

A GAZILLION LITTLE BITS coming soon to Amazon!  Stay tuned for sneak preview of cover designed by Sam Tsui!

Stay tuned for the publication of my debut novel, A Gazillion Little Bits — a post apocalyptic story that takes place in New York City, two hundred years in the future.

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