Tour Locations | INFINITE CITY #4: Riots, Disasters and Bachelor Clubs
Birthplace of Henry James
To your right was the birthplace of Henry James, whose influential novels fused realism and impressionism.
After spending most of his life in Europe, he returned to his first home in New York to find it demolished. He had been expecting a plaque celebrating the site as the birthplace of a literary icon. He wrote that he felt “amputated of half his history” and that “tablets, in New York, are unthinkable.” He asked, "Where, in fact, is the point of inserting a mural tablet, at any legible height, in a building certain to be destroyed and make room for a skyscraper?”
In fact, there had been an attempt to commemorate his birthplace with a plaque but it had been mistakenly placed on the building next door.
Henry James was also disappointed to discover that a monumental marble arch had been built in the park while he was gone. He was not impressed. He called it "the lamentable little Arch of Triumph. Lamentable because of its poor and lonely and unaffiliated state. This melancholy monument."
Let's move on. Continue walking toward the park.