The Archaeology of Home: An Epic Set on a Thousand Square Feet of the Lower East Side

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Over the phone, Katherine Greider heard the sudden bad news. An architect hired to recommend a series of repairs to the Greiders' home, an old row house on Manhattan's East Side, had determined from analyzing digital photos taken in a crawlspace below the basment floor, that the house's foundation was so ruined he felt compelled to report the hazard to city officials first thing. He left no doubt as to what Katherine, her husband and kids - and all the rest of the building's residents - shoudl do over the weekend. Greider's abrupt exile from her family's place of refuge began a personl travail, harrowing and comical in roughly equal parts, that involved screaming matches with the neighbors, mounting financial distress, a lawsuit, and other strange and exasperating dealing in the world of New York City real estate. It also launched a fervent inquiry into the past of No. 239 E. 7th Street. Greider's search led her all the way back to the windswept salt grasses that once covered the site of No. 239, the first building ever to rise on its patch of ground. The trail of occupants that her research unearthered inscribes the dramatic story of New York City and of America itself. Notes. 334p.

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