How can one of Manhattan’s 30,000 blocks tell the story of New York City through the ages?

A Block in Time (Bloomsbury, March 2022) is a deep dive into the history of 23rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, tracing its changes from the Ice Age to the present day. Author Christiane Bird explores the lives and stories of this block’s residents, workers, and visitors – a cast of glamorous, grimy, and notorious characters – to tell the story of New York City’s growth and transformation.

A Block in Time takes readers on a lively journey through New York City history through the lens of a single block. Bird uses to journalistic research to tell the stories of the remarkable characters and diverse places, from gambling dens to gourmet restaurants, associated with this corner of the city.

This OHNY Stacks talk featured a conversation between author Christiane Bird and OHNY Board member Dee Dunn and uncovered the sordid, eye-opening, and ultimately human stories of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.

Purchase A Block in Time here.

Speaker Bios

Christiane Bird (Author) is the author of The Sultan’s Shadow; A Thousand Sighs, a Thousand Revolts; and Neither East Nor West, among other titles. She has worked on staff for the New York Daily News and has written for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Miami Herald, among other publications. She holds a BA in literature from Yale University and an MALS in American Studies from Columbia University.

Dee Dunn (Moderator) is a creative leader and catalyst, cultural producer and educator. She works with arts and cultural organizations on strategy, programs and products that promote engagement and stimulate positive leadership and action. In addition to Open House New York, Dee is on the Boards of the Sara Little Turnbull Foundation, En Garde Arts, Industrial Designers Society of America Design Foundation, and Diversify by Design.


OHNY Stacks

OHNY Stacks is a series of book talks exploring the unknown, the unseen, and the unnoticed. Join us on Thursday evenings with authors of highly acclaimed books critical to understanding the past, present, and future of New York—as well as national trends or global issues that influence the shape, structure, and experience of cities and urban life today.