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(Courtesy of Preservation New Jersey)

The Apple Tree House: Jersey City’s Salon

Last week, I attended an entertaining and fascinating lecture on the Lenape Indians, the indigenous people inhabiting the New York metropolitan region and the entire Garden State prior to European exploration and colonization. Where might you ask? At the Apple Tree House. Right in Jersey City.

BK Painting

The Urban Pastoral

After recently enjoying the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, I wandered through the building’s American wing. Whenever I visit this particular museum, I seek out my favorite work in its collection, Winter Scene in Brooklyn by Francis Guy.

Mike Mignola's cover artwork for Children of Lovecraft.

Weird Fiction: Never That Far Away

My wife recently was nominated for an award for her article in Atlas Obscura. Last week, we attended the awards ceremony at the Society of Illustrators. While checking in our coats, I noticed a familiar face on the wall: Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

"Learning New Jersey ... One Building at a Time" by Gabrielle Esperday, Ph.D. Apple Tree House, Jersey City, New Jersey. March 22, 2018. (Courtesy of Robert Farren)

A Snapshot of Jersey City Culture

Let’s face it: transplants to New York love to scoff at New Jersey.  (Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that native New Yorkers lack this prejudice.) Contrary to this popular stereotype, culture exists in the Garden State.

A Night at a Movie Palace: Loew’s Jersey Theatre

Last weekend, my wife and I enjoyed the 1954 classic On the Waterfront in 35 mm film on the big screen. (The movie was shot in Hoboken, New Jersey.) While the film was riveting, the true attraction was the movie theater itself. The Loew’s Jersey Theatre stands across the street from the Journal Square PATH…

Emmy F., Kirk Howle, and his art. (Courtesy of Perfume Professor)

Art, Drinks, and Conversation: An Evening at Virile

On Small Business Saturday, November 25, 2017, Virile Barber & Shop invited me to discuss Left Bank of the Hudson with guests over drinks and food (courtesy of Wurstbar) in downtown Jersey City. Before cable news and social media, people visited barbershops to trade gossip, debate politics, and discuss events of the day. This tradition…

Lax Photo

The World in a Grain of Sand

Last week, I visited my hometown, Olean, New York, to attend my younger sister’s wedding. As I walked through the streets and returned to my old haunts, I found myself looking at them in a new light. Robert Lax was born in Olean and he died in Olean.

A Percent for the Arts: Needed in Jersey City

On the evening of June 14, 2017, Jersey City arts advocates crowded the city council chambers and dominated the public comments segment of the council meeting. Speaker after speaker approached the microphone and articulated the integral role of the arts in the life of the city. Arts contribute to the local economy. Arts improve the…

Jersey City: The Quiet Stories of History

Recently, a local historian and lifelong Jersey City resident shared with me his joyous surprise upon discovering a cache of newspaper articles concerning a prominent late-nineteenth-century resident of his neighborhood and this resident’s failed attempt to sell his private park to the Jersey City government. This nineteenth-century gentleman was Bernard Vetterlain. Bernard Vetterlain earned his…

Slouching Toward Bethlehem: American Barbarism

“The arts are essen­tial to any com­plete national life. The State owes it to itself to sus­tain and encour­age them … Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the rev­er­ence and delight which are their due.” Thus spoke Sir Winston Churchill about the special, vital place of arts and culture in…