Monday, March 05, 2001


Baslow learns, from this article in the New York Times, that a mansion stood as recently as 1938 on the block where he now lives. His father, who grew up ten blocks south, never spoke too much about the neighborhood of his childhood or, for that matter, about his childhood. He never spoke of the mansion (which would have been around until he was eleven years old).

Baslow understands. He himself has found that, at various junctures in his life, he could only move forward by more or less forgetting, wholesale, large portions of his life up to that point. His interest in history was, for the longest time, exclusively an interest in the history of ideas, of designs, of social forces, of trends. He has only very recently become even slightly interested in the physical manifestations of history, in history you can see and touch. It is because he has children old enough to be curious about such things.

Fourteen years ago, when Baslow first returned to Inwood to live as an adult, he noted the marble arch on Broadway and gave it no second thought. Today, he is glad to know the story of what it represents.

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