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Conquering Gotham : a Gilded Age epic : the…

Conquering Gotham : a Gilded Age epic : the construction of Penn Station…

by Jill Jonnes

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256564,100 (3.88)21
  1. 00
    The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough (rakerman)
    rakerman: Conquering Gotham tells the story of the PRR tunnels under the North River and (to a lesser extent) the LIRR tunnels under the East River. The Great Bridge tells the story of the bridge over the East River. Although the bridge is finished before the tunnels begin, they touch on similar industrial history and a similar period in New York's history. The Great Bridge goes into more detail about the underwater work (the Brooklyn Bridge caissons) than Conquering Gotham does.… (more)
  2. 00
    Crossing The Hudson: Historic Bridges and Tunnels of the River by Donald E. Wolf (ALinNY458)
  3. 00
    The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City by Jennifer Toth (bnbookgirl)
    bnbookgirl: fabulous book about an unknown culture

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Showing 5 of 5
Engaging history of the construction of New York City’s Penn Station and the monumental challenges, physical and political, that had to be overcome. The technical points are put across with a minimum of jargon, and one grasps the points easily. The choice of illustrations is also good; too often, books like this skimp on them. The author also explains why Penn Station failed, a point that sentimentalists often overlook. One oddity is repeated references to the “Journal American” newspaper, which is anachronistic, since it wasn’t created until much later. Recommended, especially for railroad and NYC buffs. ( )
  EricCostello | Oct 21, 2017 |
An interesting combination of industrial and political history, at a time of dramatic change.

The author tends to do a bit too much speculative reconstruction of thoughts or events.

It was very interesting to see how many different people were connected and interconnected in this era in New York.

The repeated use of "Gotham" to refer to Manhattan is a bit overdone. ( )
  rakerman | Jan 11, 2015 |
Wonderful history of one the the greatest buildings ever created in America. The tragic, pointless destruction of Pennsylvania Station in the 1960's will always be rememberd as one of the saddest chapters in architectural history. The preservation of historic buildings movement was sparked by the razing of Pennsylvania Station and led to the saving of Grand Central Terminal later in the 1970's. The folly of the American trend to destroy such treasures can be seen in the current movement to recreate Penn Station in the Old Post Office building, located ajacent to the current Penn Station ( )
1 vote myrlton | Dec 2, 2010 |
I really enjoyed this. It was of a proper length for what it covered, plenty of background bio of the people involved and not overly technical in the building specifics. The author is a pleasant find, I have another book of hers in my TBR which will quickly move toward the top. ( )
  gordon361 | Aug 25, 2010 |
Sometimes confusing, but otherwise interesting recounting of the battle the Pennsylvania Railroad had in getting into Manhattan (Gotham). Conquering Gotham included conquering Carnegie, Tammany, Belmont and civil engineering challenges. Creating an incredible work of art at Penn Station, New York lost an opulence impossible to recapture by the demolition of Charles McKim's and Stanford White's original Penn. The book The Late Great Pennsylvania Station is superior in its writing and photographs. ( )
  phoenixcomet | Mar 19, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670031585, Hardcover)

The epic story of the struggle to connect New York City to the rest of the nation

The demolition of Penn Station in 1963 destroyed not just a soaring neoclassical edifice, but also a building that commemorated one of the last century’s great engineering feats—the construction of railroad tunnels into New York City. Now, in this gripping narrative, Jill Jonnes tells this fascinating story—a high-stakes drama that pitted the money and will of the nation’s mightiest railroad against the corruption of Tammany Hall, the unruly forces of nature, and the machinations of labor agitators. In 1901, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Alexander Cassatt, determined that it was technically feasible to build a system of tunnels connecting Manhattan to New Jersey and Long Island. Confronted by payoff-hungry politicians, brutal underground working conditions, and disastrous blowouts and explosions, it would take him nearly a decade to make Penn Station and its tunnels a reality. Set against the bustling backdrop of Gilded Age New York, Conquering Gotham will enthrall fans of David McCullough’s The Great Bridge and Ron Chernow’s Titan.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Traces the epic story of the struggle to build Penn Station, describing how the nation's most powerful railroad tackled Tammany Hall corruption and the forces of nature to create a tunnel system linking Manhattan, New Jersey, and Long Island.

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