The journals are at least three things: an archive of gay history, including his personal experiences; an account of Coney Island, which he visited over many years and loved; and an account of New York City's cultural life -- his personal appraisal of countless ballets, plays, concerts, and operas. Here, I will focus on the first, which I think the most revealing ... and shocking. What follows are passages from the 1980s, when his favorite restaurant was the Hunan Spring, at the corner of West 11th and Hudson Streets, just a block from our building. There, among other things, he scribbled his favorite hates.
This problem could pursue him even at work, where he was very much the professional librarian, and the perpetrators weren’t always macho males. Once he received a call from a woman with the outfit responsible for the library’s burglar-alarm system, who wanted to make sure the system was operating. When he transferred the call to the appropriate staff member, he heard the woman say to someone, “He sounds as gay as they come,” unaware that Bob was still on the line.
If you love the city (or hate it), this may be the book for you. An award winner, it sold well at BookCon 2017 and 2018, and at the Brooklyn Book Festival 2018.
"If you want wonderful inside tales about New York, this is the book for you. Cliff Browder has a way with his writing that makes the city I lived in for 40 plus years come alive in a new and delightful way. A refreshing view on NYC that will not disappoint." Five-star Amazon customer review by Bill L.
"A real yarn of a story about a lovable pickpocket who gets into trouble and has a great adventure. A must read." Five-star Amazon customer review by nicole w brown.
"This was a fun book. The main character seemed like a cross between Huck Finn and a Charles Dickens character. I would recommend this." Four-star LibraryThing review by stephvin.
"A lively and entertaining tale. The writing styles, plot, pace and character development were excellent." Four-star LibraryThing early review by BridgitDavis.
"I am glad that I have read this book as it goes into great detail and the presentation is amazing. The Author obviously knows his stuff." Four-star LibraryThing early review by Moiser20.
What was the gay scene like in nineteenth-century New York? Gay romance, but women have read it and reviewed it. (The cover illustration doesn't hurt.)
"At times amusing, gritty, heartfelt and a little sexy -- this would make a great summer read." Four-star Amazon customer review by BobW.
"Really more of a fantasy of a 19th century gay life than any kind of historical representation of the same." Three-star Goodreads review by Rachel.